Although the brown-headed cowbird is a year-round resident of North Carolina, I didn’t see it until this year. The unpopular bird ate seeds on the deck long enough for me to get a photo. It is a black bird that looks like his head was dipped in brown paint. I won’t begrudge him one dinner out at my expense. The bird is disliked because it lays eggs in other birds’ nests. What a freeloader! The cowbird frolics, carefree, as the foster birds hatch and feed the interlopers as if they were their own. The only thing I like about the bird is that it takes advantage of others without forming vast bureaucracies to oversee the program.
According to various sources on the internet, the phrase “how now brown cow” was used in elocution lessons. It’s only as old as I am and just about as relevant. Has anyone else ever heard it?