Photo of the Week: Shiny Cowbird in Michigan

“This looks like the place to be”, I said as I sat down on the bench behind the Whitefish Point Bird Observatory, on the shore of Lake Superior, in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

I took a look about, and noticed there were a lot of birders sitting on the benches, their cameras with their long lenses all focused on the same black bird on the ground.

A bit odd, since it didn’t seem to be a special bird. When I rounded the corner, I thought it was a Brown-headed Cowbird.

“You’re right,” this is the place to be, the fellow responded. “Did you see that bird on the ground?”

My ears perked up when he continued.

“That’s a Shiny Cowbird. Typically seen in Florida, Bahamas, and South America, not Michigan. Look at the purple shine on the bird.”

I took a closer look.

That bird was different, it didn’t have the brown color of the Brown-headed Cowbird. And it didn’t have the yellow eye of the Brewer’s Blackbird.

“The bird’s been here since this morning. I shared it on ebird and people have been coming all day to see it.”

Like the Ivory Gull seen earlier this year in Flint, Michigan, the Shiny Cowbird seems to have found its way to an area where it’s not usually seen.

Not sure what brought a southern bird here to Michigan, especially the southern shore of Lake Superior, but I was glad to see it.

Life bird for me! (A life bird is the first time you’ve seen a particular species of bird.)

Photo of author

About the Author

Deborah Edwards-Onoro helps small businesses, consultants, nonprofits, and higher ed with creative and distinctive websites. Deborah shares her expertise with web design, user experience, and accessibility on her blog, social media, and at meetup events. As organizer of Refresh Detroit, West Metro Detroit WordPress, and Metro Detroit WordPress, she encourages members to share their knowledge and experiences. In her free time, you'll find her birding, shooting photos, reading, or watching tennis.
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