In the children’s book Horton Hatches the Egg, Mayzie the lazy bird leaves Horton the elephant with her egg while she takes off to have a good time. This happens a lot in nature, as there are quite a few bird species that have evolved to outsource nest building, egg brooding, and caring for young to other bird species. That leaves the parasitic bird more time to go breed again. The victim, the industrious bird who built the nest, is infused with maternal hormones and/or bad eyesight and will perform its duty -sometimes. Over time, bird species have developed techniques for fighting back against parasitic birds, and the battle is on to see whose offspring get a good survivable childhood. The parents fight, the chicks fight, and there’s a lot of lying and disguises and covert operations involved. No one is better equipped to draw us into the struggle than Ze Frank, who narrates the carnage.
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