LOUISIANA BIRD RECORDS COMMITTEE

REPORT FORM

     This form is intended as a convenience in reporting observations of species on the Louisiana Bird Records Committee (LBRC) Review List. The LBRC recommends the use of this form or a similar format when submitting records for review (to assure that all pertinent information is accounted for). Attach additional pages as necessary. Please print or type. Attach xerox of field notes, drawings, photographs, or tape recordings, if available. Include all photos for more obscurely marked species. When completed, mail to Secretary, Louisiana Bird Records Committee, c/o Museum of Natural Science, 119 Foster Hall, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA 70803-3216.

1. English and Scientific names: Shiny Cowbird (Molothrus bonariensis minimus)

 

2. Number of individuals, sexes, ages, general plumage (e.g., 2 in alternate plumage):

One, presumed worn/ molting adult (AHY) male

 

3. Locality: LOUISIANA: (parish) Plaquemines Parish

 

Specific Locality: off Coast Guard Rd. (nr. jct. of Stone Rd. x Cypress Cove Rd.), ca. 0.5 mi. SE of Tidewater Rd., Venice

 

4. Date(s) when observed: 13 September 2011

 

5. Time(s) of day when observed: ~3:15 4:00 PM CDT

 

6. Reporting observer and address: Devin Bosler

Boothville, LA

7. Other observers accompanying reporter who also identified the bird(s): None

8. Other observers who independently identified the bird(s): None

9. Light conditions (position of bird in relation to shade and to direction and amount of light)

 

Clear sky w/ optimal afternoon sunlight. Sun angle high. Backlighting or glare not a problem.

 

10. Optical equipment (type, power, condition): Zeiss Victory FL 8x42, Kowa TSN 881 Angled 88mm scope w/ 20-60x optical zoom , Canon Powershot SD1100 IS (all equipment in excellent condition).

 

11. Distance to bird(s): within 20 meters

 

12. Duration of observation: <10 min. total over 45-min. period

13. Habitat: Open, developed industrial area with nearby fragmented baldcypress swamp, freshwater marsh, saltwater canals/ channels, refineries, chemical plants, office bldgs., etc. Patchwork of short-grass fields, low-lying flooded overgrown ditches, and gravel parking lots. Heavy commercial/ industrial traffic.

 

14. Behavior of bird / circumstances of observation (flying, feeding, resting; include and stress habits used in identification; relate events surrounding observation):

 

Observed at rest, preening, foraging, and in flight. Closely associated with mixed-spp. cowbird flock comprised of about 160+ Bronzed and 100+ Brown-headed Cowbirds. Roving with smaller sub-flock comprised of several European Starlings and both Bronzed and Brown-headed Cowbirds. Roosting/ preening on utility lines/ poles. Foraging on ground in low, wet grassy patches. Flying from barbed-wire fence to utility lines/ poles, etc. Rarely perching for extended periods of time. Fairly skittish and wary.

 

15. Description (include only what was actually seen, not what "should" have been seen; include if possible: total length/relative size compared to other familiar species, body bulk, shape, proportions, bill, eye, leg, and plumage characteristics. Stress features that separate it from similar species):

 

A relatively small, compact, entirely glossy black cowbird with violet-blue iridescence on head, breast, and upperparts. Plumage apparently faded with wear appearing brownish on upperparts (not head) and breast. A proportionately long, slightly wedge-shaped tail. Relatively thick, sharply-pointed all-black bill. Dark brown irides. Black tarsi and feet.

 

Adult (AHY) male on basis of molt timing. Undergoing body and flight feather molt. Upperwing coverts, secondaries, and inner primaries replaced. Retaining worn outer primaries.

 

16. Voice: Silent.

17. Similar species (include how they were eliminated by your observation):

 

All N.A. blackbirds and grackles can be eliminated by its relatively small, compact build and dark brown iris. Entirely glossy black plumage and lack of contrasting brown head eliminates male Brown-headed Cowbird (M. ater). Bronzed Cowbird (M. a. aeneus) can be eliminated by smaller size, entirely glossy black plumage, smaller, more-slender bill, and dark brown (not red) irides.

18. Photographs or tape recordings obtained? (by whom? attached?): Digiscoped photos by Devin Bosler. Yes, attached.

19. Previous experience with this species: Very familiar with species from trips to s. FL and three previous encounters in LA. Observed a single adult male on three separate occasions at Grand Isle (Jefferson Parish) in April (30 Apr 2006, 14 Apr 2007, and 19-20 Apr 2008). Observed at least two males at Florida City (Miami-Dade Co.) on 23 Aug 2006.

 

20. Identification aids: (list books, illustrations, other birders, etc. used in identification):

a. at time of observation: none

b. after observation: National Geographic Complete Birds of N.A. (Alderfer et al. 2005).

 

21. This description is written from: __Yes___ notes made during the observation (_____notes attached?);__Yes___notes made after the observation (date:_____); __Yes___memory.

22. Are you positive of your identification if not, explain: Yes, positive.

23. Date: 20 September 2011 Time: 10:30 PM CDT