Brown-headed cowbirds (Molothrus ater) are parasitic birds, as they do not create a nest of their own but lay eggs in other bird's nests. The young tend to be larger than the host bird's actual young, and generally the cowbird chicks boot out the bird's actual hatchlings. So in the end, the cowbird chick is the only one left in the nest, and the mama bird has been fooled into thinking it is one of it's own.
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Keith Christenson - Wildlife Biologist