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It’s late (early). I drove all day to get to the DC area for a 4-day meeting, spent the afternoon and evening catching up with friends, and I’m leading a bird walk at 6 AM. That means I need to get up in about 4 hours, and I still haven’t brushed my teeth.

A wren fooled into feeding a cuckoo chick. Image from NOVA scienceNOW.

A wren fooled into raising a very large, hungry cuckoo chick. Image from NOVA scienceNOW.

But I promised to announce the contest finalists today, and so I shall!

First, I have to thank everyone who made suggestions – you came up with some really clever, thoughtful, and funny taglines. I truly appreciate that y’all took the time to help me out because lately my brain is so not on the right wavelength for branding.

So without further ado or attempts at eloquence, here are the finalists, as determined by your own up-voting and what I liked best.

  1. Batty Bird Tells All (Raeyn)
  2. Not Otherwise Specified (Soul Survivor)
  3. Until Otherwise Specified (littlemisswordy)
  4. A Disorderly Bird and Her Orderly Words (Bill McMorrow)
  5. Out of My Tree (Jen) – notably interpretable as either declarative or imperative!
  6. Stirring the Cracked Pot (Sara)

So, uh, now what? Dear readers, I need your help once again – please vote on your favorite finalist! Votes received by Thursday, August 1, will be taken into consideration for selection of the new-and-improved tagline. This isn’t a democracy, so I’m not promising that popular vote will rule the day, but it should prevent me from flipping a coin when I can’t decide on a tagline because they’re all too good on their own merits.

And because I got curious and looked it up…a chickadee would never inhabit a cuckoo’s nest, but a cuckoo might theoretically inhabit a chickadee’s nest. Some cuckoos are “brood parasites” meaning that they lay their eggs in another bird’s nest and then bolt, leaving the unwitting nest owner to raise their young, often at the cost of the lives of the native nestlings. The behavior is so strongly associated with cuckoos that there is also a “cuckoo catfish” and a “cuckoo wasp” that foist their eggs off on others (check it out on NOVA!)