A brown-headed cowbird perches, as always, at the top of the tallest tree in the yard to maximize the reach of his one-second gurgle.

The black-robed cowbird at the top of the dead elm burbles authoritatively, like the Grand Ayatollah of the yard taking credit for the rain.

Twelve cowbirds in the sunlit crown of a walnut tree take turns with their single, liquid syllable, the blue sky gurgling in every ditch.