buffalo bird n
1 = cowbird n 1. hist
1870 MA Weekly Spy (Worcester) 23 Dec /3 KS, Along these trails some times we fall in with thousands of the black buffalo bird; they follow the cattle in these large droves, and live upon the flies which keep along with the cattle. 1873 Minneapolis Daily Tribune (MN) [12 Oct 2]/3 ND, The buffalo bird . . is quite a character in his way; the friend of the white man’s horses and cattle as formerly of the Indian’s buffalo. 1890 Dodge City Times (KS) 20 June /5, The farmers are at war with the buffalo birds. 1908 Forest & Stream 71.611, [Letter:] About each cow there seemed to be from 30 to 60 blackbirds, most or all of which were the cow bunting of the books, but what in old times on the plains we used to call “buffalo bird.” This little bird was a constant and noticeable associate of the herds of buffalo, cattle and horses which roamed the prairie. . . Most old hunters will recall it. 1917 Anthony Mammals Amer. 43, It is interesting to note that . . the Buffalo had one little companion and friend—the cowbird or Buffalo bird. 1934 Natl. Geogr. Mag. 66.118/2, In early accounts of prairie life they [cowbirds] were known as “buffalo birds” for the same reason.
2 = Canada jay n. obs
1876 Dodge Black Hills 125 SD, Found in the Hills proper . . [is the] Buffalo-bird—a large species of jay. 1882 Ingersoll Knocking Round 52, The Canada jays began to assemble to share in the coming meal. “What are those birds, Steve?” I asked our old head packer. “Well,” he replied, “in Oregon we used to call ’em ‘camp-robbers;’ in Californy I’ve heerd ’em called ‘meat-hawks;’ and up North we called ’em ‘buffalo-birds.’”
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