Should be named the “Bison Bird” for its pre-settlement role in following the constantly moving herds of bison on the Great Plains while feeding on the insects that they dislodged from the vegetation. This nomadic lifestyle was not conducive to nesting in one place, thus they evolved into a parasitic nester.
Since Cowbirds are parasitic nesters that are raised by different species, they do not imprint on their biological parents. So how do they recognize their own kind for mating? Research suggests that young cowbirds might actually look at their own feather coloration and then seek out other individuals who look like them.