Darrell J. Pursiful

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Uncanny Georgia: Like-a-Cow

cowbirdHere’s another one from Bill Grantham: the wak omo or “like-a-cow.”

Like-a-Cow was piebald. Several traveled together, moving in a single file and alternately. One moved for a distance and stopped, then moved again. The one behind then moved up. According to Lena, Like-a-Cow was a type of bird, its name referring to its similarity to a cowbird. It was described as the most dangerous of all birds and was believed even to attack and kill wolves. (Creation Myths and Legends of the Creek Indians [University Press of Florida, 2002] 36)

I like that, even though this creature is called “like a cow,” it is actually a bird. That’s a great way to throw people off the trail, isn’t it?

In case you’re interested (I was), a cowbird is a member of the genus Molothrus, a group of birds that usually feed on insects—especially the great swarms that may be stirred up by cattle—rather than wolves. Like the cuckoo, to which they are not related, they will lay their eggs in the nests of other birds.


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