[All photographs copyright, Gary Nunn 2013] – This male Bronzed Cowbird Molothrus aeneus was discovered by Paul Lehman and Barbara Carlson at the RoadRunner Resort in Borrego Springs on 19 May 2013. Found during the heat of the day, it was seen actively displaying on the ground to other nearby species of Icteridae. A female Bronzed Cowbird was not seen at the time of discovery of this fine looking male, and one has not been seen subsequently. This would appear to be a lone extralimital male that has ventured some distance beyond the species localized distribution in the Imperial Valley, California and southern Arizona. This species can be shy and secretive, often slipping away unnoticed in well wooded yards and thick riparian areas. Finding a displaying male is the best opportunity to study this handsome looking icterid! I watched this male puffing itself up and vibrating its wings, as it followed after nearby birds. Perhaps the female Brown-headed Cowbird, the object of his affection, was not quite the match because when really excited males will also jump into the air fluttering down noisily.
Bronzed Cowbird is very rare in San Diego County with few recent records, the last in 2007 and also found in Borrego Springs. Bronzed Cowbird is considered a Category A rarity by San Diego Field Ornithologists.