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

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

3. Locality: Parish:   _Terrebonne_________________________________

   Specific Locality: _LUMCON Marine Center, Cocodrie________________

4. Date(s) when observed: 5/10/2013

5. Time(s) of day when observed: 10:00am, 12:15pm

6. Reporting observer and address: John Conover, P.O. Box 561 Chauvin, LA 70344

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): Dark, overcast skies 10:00am (immediately after heavy rain), overcast skies but significantly improved light conditions 12:15pm.

10. Optical equipment (type, power, condition): Canon EOS 50D w/ lenses in excellent working condition (EF 70-300 f/4-5.6 IS UM and EF 50mm f/1.4 UM).

11. Distance to bird(s): 5-35 feet.

12. Duration of observation: 15 minutes; 2 minutes.

13. Habitat: Surrounded by saline marsh, LUMCON grounds are elevated, grassy, holding freshwater in places (abundant cattails/St. Augustine in localized areas) more akin to a short-grass meadow habitat overall.

14. Behavior of bird / circumstances of observation (flying, feeding, resting; include and stress habits used in identification; relate events surrounding observation): Bird was exhausted, allowing very close interaction with observer as it scrounged for food underneath and immediately around a portable Lab that is housed next to LUMCON’s Maintenance building.  Later, the bird fed in the yard immediately adjacent to the Maintenance building, joined by a male Brown-headed Cowbird.

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): Close proximity allowed excellent views of a bird the same general size of typical cowbirds found in this area in Spring; dark (not red) eyes, slender shoulder/neck profile compared with Bronzed, black head separating it from Brown-headed, highly purple iridescent back (even in poor lighting conditions this was obvious) separating it from both Bronzed and Brown-headed; build of bird seemed in-between profiles of Brown-headed and Bronzed, although this was my general impression when the bird was first observed (pre-positive ID); black bill, black feet.  Multiple photos were taken of the bird underneath the Lab with a 70-300mm lens, although lighting conditions were frustratingly low. I was able to move around the portable Lab until the bird came out into the open, in better (but still fairly poor) light. Upon playing the song/rattle calls of Shiny Cowbird on IBird Pro app, the bird in question allowed me to get approximately 5 feet away at the closest, where a series of photographs were taken using a macro lens for better resolution (EF 50mm f/1.4 UM).  No flash was used in any photos taken.

16. Voice: No vocalization.

17. Similar species (include how they were eliminated by your observation): As noted above, Bronzed male has a “bull neck” appearance completely lacking in the species described, a red eye, and a different iridescent coloration than the bird I encountered.  A Brown-headed male has a brown head and no apparent iridescence. Females of these species lack the extreme dark (ie black) coloration of the bird I discovered, and also no iridescence.


18. Photographs or tape recordings obtained? (by whom? attached?): Multiple photos taken by John Conover, two of which are attached below.  Photos have not been color-corrected or altered to improve brightness/contrast.

19. Previous experience with this species: One encounter in late 1980s or perhaps very early 1990s in Cameron Parish.

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

Internet (Google Images)

a. at time of observation:  None.

b. after observation: Google Images

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

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

23. Date:5/14/2013_Time:_9:15am