RUSH: I want to tell you about a story that fascinates me. Mob birds. How many of you people have heard about the brown cowbird? Or the plain old cowbird? There’s a couple different varieties. People have long wondered something about the cowbird. Let me tell you what the cowbird does. The cowbird does not make a nest, at least for the purpose of laying its eggs. The cowbird finds the nests of other birds and lays its eggs in those nests, and not of other cowbirds. They use the nests of sparrows and others. It’s a little bird, but it goes in other birds’ nests, other species of birds, and those other birds raise the cowbirds.
The cowbirds hatch, and the surrogate mother, surrogate birds raise birds that they did not birth. Scientists have been trying to figure out how in the hell they get away with this. How in the hell do cowbirds get away with leaving their eggs in the nests of other species who then raise the baby cowbirds? Why don’t the host birds just toss these strange eggs out? They’ve been researching this for years, and they have the answer now. If the host birds reject the strange eggs, the cowbirds come back and trash the place. What happens is, the cowbird deposits its eggs, lays its eggs in the nest of the other bird and then sits around and watches what happens. If the host bird destroys the cowbird eggs, the cowbird mother and father come back and totally destroy the nest and the eggs that are in it of the host bird. This is being called “Mafia behavior.”
?The so-called ?Mafia behavior,? by brown-headed cowbirds is reported in this week’s online edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. ?It’s the female cowbirds who are running the mafia racket at our study site,? Jeffrey P. Hoover, of the Florida Museum of Natural History and the Illinois Natural History Survey, said in a statement. ?Our study shows many of them returned and ransacked the nest when we removed the parasitic egg,? he explained.?
They have other people do the dirty work of raising their own babies. What they found is there’s not a shortage of cowbirds. These other species are raising the birds because these species know that when they see a cowbird egg they better raise it because if they don’t, the mother cowbird is going to come back and just totally ramshackle the home of the species. Who knew? Who knew that there were Mafia birds out there? The little brown headed cowbird — and there’s gazillions of them. They’re not endangered. They’re not threatened. They’re not affected by global warming.