Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 2002-15

Common name:

Bronzed Cowbird

Scientific name: Molothrus aeneus
Date: 8 May 2002
Time: ~6:00 PM
Length of time observed: About 20 seconds total
Number: 1
Age: Adult
Sex: Female
Location: Around the south gate of Red Hills Golf Course in St. George
County: Washington
Latilong: 19
Distance to bird: 2 observations between ~8 feet and  ~40 feet
Optical equipment: Baush and Lomb Elite 8 x 42 binoculars, Kowa TSN 823 scope at 20 power
Weather: Clear
Light Conditions: Bright, sunny
Detailed description of bird:      The bird was generally charcoal gray above and lighter gray underneath. The head was also charcoal gray above and on the sides down to a fairly distinct line (where the molar line would be); the throat was a much lighter gray color and the breast was and intermediate gray. 
     The bill was thick and stocky and the upper edge of the upper mandible was slightly curved. 
     The eye was reddish orange in color.
Song or call & method of delivery: No song hear
Behavior: It was on the grass mulling around with the other cowbirds, then it flew to the golf course grass, then back to the top of a telephone pole (where I observed it in the scope), then it flew away.
Habitat: Residential, golf course.
Similar species and
how were they eliminated:
     Brown-headed Cowbird:  (The bird was with a male and a female Brown-headed Cowbird which made for a good comparison)  The eye was reddish-orange not black. It was a bit larger and the head was proportionately bigger.  The bill was larger, longer and the upper edge or the upper mandible was more curved.   The head was not light brown like the female or dark brown like the male B.H. Cowbird; it was a charcoal gray color.
     Shiny Cowbird:  This bird isn't likely to be here and it is even smaller in size and has an even straighter bill than the Black-headed Cowbird.  It also has a black eye -- not red.
Previous experience with this & similar species: I've seen a male Bronzed Cowbird in Texas, but not a female.
References consulted: National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America, and The Sibley Guide to Birds
Description from: From Memory
Observer: Milton Moody
Observer's address: 2795 Indian Hills Drive, Provo Utah  84604
Observer's e-mail address:
Other observers who independently identified
this bird:
Junece Markham and KC Childs were with me when I saw it and they also saw it the next morning for a few seconds in the same area.
Date prepared: 12 May 2002
Additional material: None