Raised by Others, Birds Use Code to Find Their Kind

Reproduction success hinges on several factors, not least of which is finding a mate within the same species. While this is an easy enough task for humans, it is seemingly more complicated for brown-headed cowbirds (Molothrus ater).

The animals are one of the more than 90 known parasitic bird species, so called because they lay their eggs in the nests of other bird species and leave the chick-rearing to other parents.