1. English and Scientific names: Smith’s Longspur (Calcarius ornatus)

2. Number of individuals, sexes, ages, general plumage (e.g., 2 in alternate plumage): 14 in basic plumage

3. Locality: Parish:   Caddo___________________________________________

   Specific Locality: Shreveport airport____________________________________

4. Date(s) when observed: January 26, 2013

5. Time(s) of day when observed: approximately 13:50 (we started walking at 13:40)

6. Reporting observer and address:

Jim Holmes

Sacramento, CA 95817


7. Other observers accompanying reporter who also identified the bird(s): Terry Davis, others on the LOS Winter meeting trip to the airport

8. Other observers who independently identified the bird(s): initially identified by Terry Davis

9. Light conditions (position of bird in relation to shade and to direction and amount of light):  overcast

10. Optical equipment (type, power, condition): Swarvoski EL 42 (new)

11. Distance to bird(s): as close as 20 feet when flushed

12. Duration of observation: birds flushed on several occasions and watched at leisure as they circled around in flight. 

13. Habitat: Shreveport airport with short grasses and bare ground.  I believe the grasses are Aristida grasses.

14. Behavior of bird / circumstances of observation (flying, feeding, resting; include and stress habits used in identification; relate events surrounding observation): All birds were flushed from the ground.  They called as they flew up and during flight.  The flock was flushed several times during our walk.  The birds stayed in the same general area.

15. Description (include only what was actually seen, not what "should" have been seen; include if possible: total length/relative size compared to other familiar species, body bulk, shape, proportions, bill, eye, leg, and plumage characteristics. Stress features that separate it from similar species): Small brown passerines flushed from the ground.  The birds were not seen well enough on the ground to describe.  In flight, a buffy longspur.   White in outer tail seen poorly several times but not able to differentiate from other species of longspurs.  At least 3 birds were noted to have prominent white wing patches while in flight (as they approached the ground to land).  The white in wing was not well visible when circling high over our heads.  These were assumed to be male birds.

16. Voice: Birds called when flushed and in flight.  The call was a rattle “br,bit,bi,bitt” given as they flushed and in flight.  It sounded similar to a Brown-headed Cowbird.  Prior to walking in the field, I played the call from www.allaboutbirds.org so that we would be familiar. 

17. Similar species (include how they were eliminated by your observation):

Other species of longspurs were ruled out by voice.  In addition, direct comparison in flight revealed several of the Smith’s to have white wing patches (coverts).  I was unable to appreciate any differences in white in the tail between the Smith’s and Chestnut-collared Longspurs.

18. Photographs or tape recordings obtained? (by whom? attached?): Tape recordings of the Smith’s longspurs were obtained by Terry Davis. I have a copy if needed.

19. Previous experience with this species: I have seen this species on several occasions in California, Nevada, Texas, and Alaska. 

20. Identification aids: (list books, illustrations, other birders, etc. used in identification):


a. at time of observation: www.allaboutbirds.org website. This website has the song and then the call on the same recording. The calls we heard were similar to the last notes on this website. 

b. after observation:

21. This description is written from: _____ notes made during the observation (_____notes attached?);___X__notes made after the observation (date:_Jan. 26, 2013); _____memory.

22. Are you positive of your identification if not, explain: yes

23. Date:_February 16, 2013_________Time:11:00am (Pacific)