cowbird

noun
cow·​bird | \ ˈkau̇-ˌbərd How to pronounce cowbird (audio) \

Definition of cowbird

: any of a genus (Molothrus of the family Icteridae) of New World blackbirds that lay their eggs in the nests of other birds especially : brown-headed cowbird

Examples of cowbird in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Federal and state officials, for example, have broken the necks of thousands of cowbirds to save the warbler, a songbird once on the brink of extinction. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Owl killings spur moral questions about human intervention," 14 Oct. 2019 Federal and state officials, for example, have broken the necks of thousands of cowbirds to save the warbler, a songbird once on the brink of extinction. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Owl killings spur moral questions about human intervention," 14 Oct. 2019 Federal and state officials, for example, have broken the necks of thousands of cowbirds to save the warbler, a songbird once on the brink of extinction. Phuong Le, The Know, "Government’s controversial owl killings spur moral questions about human intervention," 19 Oct. 2019 In pre-settlement times, the cowbird followed herds of bison in the shortgrass prairies of the central U.S., picking seeds out of their dung. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "North America’s Rarest Warbler Comes Off the Endangered List," 11 Oct. 2019 Sometimes, yellow warblers try to prevent the birds from coming back by building a new floor over the cowbird eggs and laying a new clutch of their own. Micah Walker, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Audubon turns east side park into a haven for bird watchers," 3 Sep. 2019 That scene is what prompted me to investigate cowbirds a while back. Jo Ellen Meyers Sharp, Indianapolis Star, "The Hoosier Gardener: Summer brings catbirds out in the open," 18 July 2019 But the cowbird eggs managed to crack their hosts’ eggs about 10 times as often. Erica Tennenhouse, Science | AAAS, "Cowbird eggshells could double as deadly weapons," 8 May 2018 Bronzed cowbirds, metallic black with eyes and otherworldly red. Shannon Tompkins, Houston Chronicle, "For hunters, South Texas colors a feast for the senses," 3 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'cowbird.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of cowbird

1810, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for cowbird

Time Traveler

The first known use of cowbird was in 1810

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Statistics for cowbird

Last Updated

4 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Cowbird.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/cowbird. Accessed 23 January 2020.

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More Definitions for cowbird

cowbird

noun
How to pronounce cowbird (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of cowbird

: a brown and black North American bird that lays its eggs in the nests of other birds

cowbird

noun
cow·​bird | \ ˈkau̇-ˌbərd How to pronounce cowbird (audio) \

Kids Definition of cowbird

: a small North American blackbird that lays its eggs in the nests of other birds

More from Merriam-Webster on cowbird

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with cowbird

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about cowbird

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