Female Brown-headed Cowbird (Molothrus ater)

It’s a stocky bird with plain brown plumage.

While walking around the open field next to the Montgomery Municipal Complex, I saw this bird sitting in a tree. It looks unlike any bird I had seen. Merlin ID identified it via sound as the Brown-headed Cowbird (Molothrus ater). But the colour of this bird did not match the expected blue-green and brown I aw in the photo in the app. I looked a little closer and realised this was a female Brown-headed Cowbird.

The female Brown-headed Cowbird (Molothrus ater) is a small, stocky blackbird with plain brown plumage. They are commonly found in suburban areas, open fields, and forest edges. Cowbirds are generalist feeders, primarily eating seeds from grasses and weeds, along with insects like beetles, grasshoppers, and caterpillars.

The name "Brown-headed Cowbird" derives from their association with grazing cattle. Historically, they followed herds of bison (and later cattle) to feed on the insects stirred up by the large animals. This behaviour led to their name. Additionally, Brown-headed Cowbirds are known for their brood parasitism, laying eggs in the nests of other bird species, which then raise the cowbird chicks, often at the expense of their offspring.

Brown-headed Cowbird (Molothrus ater)
Brown-headed Cowbird (Molothrus ater) · 27 April 2024 · FujiFilm X-T3 · XF150-600mmF5.6-8 R LM OIS WR

Eastern Bluebird (Sialia sialis)

I was at the Montgomery Township municipal complex for the farmers’ market and just as I got out of the car I heard the song of the Eastern Bluebird. The X-T3 and XF150-600mmF5.6-8 R LM OIS WR were still in the car from the morning walk around Charles H. Rogers Wildlife Refuge.

The Eastern Bluebirds favoured a few of the trees near the corner of a fenced-in area at the southern end of the parking lot. I didn’t notice it at first but the fence is the boundary for what appears to be a very small cemetery.

The municipal complex houses the Montgomery Township library, a new modern facility that offers a wide range of services. It has a diverse collection of books, e-books, audiobooks, and digital resources available for borrowing. The library also provides access to computers, Wi-Fi, and printing facilities for public use. Additionally, they host various events, workshops, and programs for all age groups, including children's storytimes, adult literacy classes, book clubs, and cultural events. This summer, the Montgomery Friends of Open Space will host their farmers’ market in the parking lot of the library.

The image was backlit. I had to work on recovering the detail in the shadows.

Eastern Bluebird Sialia sialis)
Eastern Bluebird Sialia sialis) · 27 April 2024 · FujiFilm X-T3 · XF150-600mmF5.6-8 R LM OIS WR