2-B-2017 Brown-headed Cowbird

STATUS
Accepted
DATE VOTING COMPLETED
1ST ROUND
7-0
HOW MANY OBSERVED?
1
DATE SIGHTING OCCURRED
DATE REPORT PREPARED
REPORTER
Charles Swift
LOCALITY OF OBSERVATION
U. of Idaho Dairy, Moscow, ID
HABITAT WHERE THE BIRD WAS OBSERVED
Dairy cow agricultural area surrounded by fields close to urban area
DID YOU TAKE NOTES?
No, not at all
DID YOU CONSULT A FIELD GUIDE OR OTHER REFERENCE WORK?
Yes, later the same day
WHICH GUIDE(S) OR REFERENCE(S): DID YOU CONSULT?
I think I glanced at Sibley Western Guide to confirm id (along w/ photos) later that day.
DESCRIPTION OF THE BIRD(s)
Plain cold gray bird smaller than nearby Starling, with short conical bill, pale throat, moderately short tail (for a blackbird) with rounded retrices. Presumed female (males should all be in typical plumage by this date). Photos on eBird
BEHAVIOR OF THE BIRD(s)
Perched on overhead wire w/ starlings, near dairy cow barns.
HOW AND WHEN DID YOU POSITIVELY IDENTIFY THE BIRD, AND WHAT CLINCHED THE IDENTIFICATION FOR YOU?
I suspected cowbird immediately and obtained a few photos for my eBird report and follow-up. I've had them here fairly late in the fall. Cowbirds (especially females) are likely easily overlooked in winter and perhaps more regular that is understood.
HOW DID YOU ELIMINATE SIMILAR SPECIES? WHAT WERE THEY?
Although relatively plain bird there aren't many similar confusing species (except for another cowbird species which would be exceedingly unlikely)
WHAT IS YOUR EXPERIENCE WITH THIS (AND SIMILAR) SPECIES?
Extensive (and I have made it a point to search for cowbirds at this location in the fall when they are easily overlooked)
DESCRIBE YOUR GENERAL BIRDING EXPERIENCE
Advanced birder w/ ~40 years experience.
WERE PHOTO(S), VIDEO, AND/OR AUDIO OBTAINED FROM THIS SIGHTING?
Photo
SUPPORTING IMAGES

FIRST ROUND VOTING:

Shirley Sturts
Accept

well documented

Dave Trochlell
Accept

This was indeed a Brown-headed Cowbird, a species that's now being increasingly detected in small numbers in winter among blackbird flocks feeding in agricultural areas in Idaho and our region.

Doug Ward
Accept

Good description and diagnostic photos. Good Winter record.

Jay Carlisle
Accept

Well described & good pics

Darren Clark
Accept

Bill shape eliminates female Brewer's Blackbird, which could appear similar.

Cliff Weisse
Accept

Description and photos support the identification of Brown-headed Cowbird.

Lisa Hardy
Accept

Good description; photos show diagnostic coloring and stubby bill.