This study evaluated the toxicity of a single size 7.5 lead shot to passerines. No mortalities or signs of plumbism were observed in dosed cowbirds (Molothrus ater) fed a commercial diet, but when given a more natural diet, three of 10 dosed birds died within 1 day. For all survivors from which shot were recovered, all but one excreted the shot within 24 h of dosing, whereas, the dead birds retained their shot. Shot erosion was significantly greater (P < 0.05) when weathered shot were ingested compared to new shot, and the greatest erosion was observed in those birds that died (2.2-9.7%). Blood lead concentrations of birds dosed with new shot were not significantly different (P=0.14) from those of birds exposed to weathered shot. Liver lead concentrations of birds that died ranged from 71 to 137 ppm, dry weight. Despite the short amount of time the shot was retained, songbirds may absorb sufficient lead to compromise their survival.