Bird Introductions – Brown-headed Cowbird

This is a common Brown-headed Cowbird (Molothrus ater) I post this picture and introduce you to this species to reinforce the fact that to me, ALL birds are special and important and worthy of photographing (and watching and studying and admiring too!) I realize that the poor old male cowbird here won’t get the kind of love a bald eagle will. But I want to share my love of birds as well as my love of bird photography (they are two separate but equal passions with me) in the hopes that I can get others interested in birds.

Brown Headed Cowbird Photo by Scott Bourne

These little guys are a favorite because frankly, they have more personality than just about any other bird. They are considered nuisance birds since they destroy the eggs of smaller songbirds, and while that seems harsh, I have learned that Mother Nature always has a plan and it’s best we don’t mess with or second guess it.

The females don’t build nests but lay eggs in the nests of other birds who actually end up raising the cowbird chicks. Brown-headed Cowbirds lay eggs in the nests of more than 220 species of birds.

Cowbirds often flock with other birds (such as blackbirds) and in poor light may be confused with blackbirds. As you can see here by looking at a photo made in good light, the cowbird (male) is actually brown and blue.

My VERY favorite thing about them is their vocalizations – of which there are many. In this photo, I caught the bird singing. They have a variety of sounds.

PERSONAL NOTE: I made this image while I was showing my pal Abe around the Puget Sound. Birding can be a solitary pursuit, but it doesn’t have to be. While I love to be by myself in nature – I also enjoy sharing my love of birds with others; especially newer birders like my pal Abe. It helps keep everything fresh for me and reminds me why I love birds and birdwatching so very much. Share your passion for birds with others. You may just find a new lifelong human friend in the process.

If you’d like to show your appreciation for this site, please consider the purchase of prints or gifts featuring Scott’s bird art, visit for more information.

Bird Introductions

Scott Bourne View All →

Scott Bourne is an Olympus Visionary, a professional bird/wildlife photographer, author and lecturer who specializes in birds. He is a pioneer in digital photography and was named one of the “30 most influential photographers on the Web” by Huffington Post. His photographic experience spans four decades and his bird/wildlife images have been published in more than 200 magazines and periodicals. He is also a Signed Master at Studio of Masters in China.

Scott has been a founder, co-founder, advisor or early stage investor in several technology companies such as NetRadio, Photofocus, and ViewBug.

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