Utah Birds Website


Silver Lake Flat Reservoir    by Merrill Webb    ©Merrill Webb


 Photo Gallery Bird Index | County Pages | Feature Pages | Recent Rare Sightings & PhotosPlaces to Bird

Utah Birds Website Proposal

Displaying Dusky Grouse  
by Paul Higgins   
Paul Higgins

Young Common Goldeneyes leaving their cavity nest  
by Eero Mustonen   ©Eero Mustonen

Utahbirds.org is a live, interactive site engaging daily with Utah birders. It is a highly ranked birding website maintained by a small staff looking to find it a new home in Utah academia so that the site and its contributions to Utah birding can continue. The site's excellent content and close connection to and use by the Utah birding community makes it a valuable asset, data source, and opportunity for student and faculty research.


After a short background and description of the birding site's content, I'll mention the site's research, historical, citizen science, and birding community value—and the possible academic departments, faculty, and students who could benefit from continuing this important natural science and environmental resource.
The Utah Birds website was developed in 1997 by the Utah County Birders organization, its current sponsor. It was created to provide a single site for birding organizations and people interested in birds in the state of Utah. For much of the last 20 years this website has been ranked number 17 among birding websites in the English-speaking world by Birding.com.  Now, it is
ranked # 21 in the top 30 in Thayer Birding.
The site is about 13.5 GB in size and is hosted by ZMC Consulting in Highland, Utah. Its webmaster and primary caretaker for the past 23 years, Milton Moody, resides in Provo, Utah and can be reached at webmaster@utahbirds.org to answer any questions about the site or its content.

Some Site Content and Assets

Arches National Park  
by George Lyman   
 ©George Lyman

Common Loon    by Jack Binch    ©Jack Binch

Uinta Mountains    by Merrill Webb  ©Merrill Webb

Utah Bird Records CommitteeNearly every state has a committee that reviews and vets sightings of rare birds and publishes their results. All relevant sightings in Utah since the committee began in about 1980 have been digitized and posted on our website. Also, historical sightings from reliable sources (some from as early as the 1800's) have been listed by species on the comprehensive list of sightings of rare species reported.

Photo Gallery. The Photo Gallery is a collection of photos of the birds of the US & Canada, taken by around 250 different photographers, mostly from Utah. These photos are arranged by plumage, sex, age, activity, etc. to show the different aspects of each bird species. There are over 17,000 photos in this collection.

 Utah Listing Records. The birders of the state send in the numbers of species seen in different locations and over a given length of time to see how they compare with other Utah birders’ numbers. The site also includes numbers for sightings in different states, foreign countries and regions, as well as the different counties in our state. This motivates birders to get out and look for birds they need for their lists and at the same time be inspired by Utah's stunning landscapes and the variety of birds living in the state's many habitats.

 Birding Organization Information. There are links to the different birding organizations in Utah, including a website for the Utah County Birders, which is the website's sponsor. We also post information about special events around the state like birding festivals, the annual Christmas Bird Count (there are around 30 or them in the state), and other things of interest to the birding community. We've also set up Google Group email lists for most of the birding groups of the state.

Good Birding Places. We have collected information and photos of over 600 good places to see birds in Utah. We list them individually and also by county. Each of the birding place pages has links, if available, to eBird data for that location and other nearby places. On the individual County Pages we have other county information that might be useful in finding birds in that area.

 Print Center. We have the latest official checklists for Utah as well as local checklists, like one for every county, as well as other documents that might be useful to birders.


Website Resources

Close-up of a Double-crested Cormorant
by by John Crawley   ©John Crawley

A Western Grebe feeding its young
by Kent Keller    ©Kent R. Keller

Male American Kestrel eating lunch
by Kendall Brown    ©Kendall W. Brown


Canyon Wren     by Cliff Miles  ©Cliff Miles

Antelope Island      by Carol Gwynn   ©Carol Gwynn


    ●  Utah Rare Bird Committee
     ●  Photo Gallery (variety of views for each species)
     ●  Checklists of Birds in different parts of the state


     ●  Comprehensive Rare bird sightings list.
     ●  Utah Rare Bird Committee reports
     ●  UBRC Archives    

   Citizen science

     ●  Christmas Bird Counts in Utah
     ●  Connection with eBird
     ●  Communication with groups in state

   Community Outreach

     ●  Listing Records
     ●  Places to find birds in Utah
     ●  Feature articles
     ●  Photo Gallery
     ●  Photographers 

Organizations That Could Benefit from Managing the Website
 (with some examples)

     ●  Biology/Zoology/Ornithology/Ecology
With a lot of reviewed sight records available for study, students can learn the ins and outs of differentiating similar species by field marks, habitat, and behavior. 

     ●  Biology Teaching in Primary and
Secondary Schools
By using the numerous photos, tools for teaching students can be created to show characteristics of different bird groups as well as showing diagnostic characteristics for different species within the groups.

     ●  Computer Science
There are many challenges to create software that will make if easy and convenient for users to submit sightings records of rare birds, contribute bird photos and photos of good birding locations, send in information to post on the website, as well as report their birding numbers to be listed with those of other birders.  Programming to meet specific needs with an interacting public would be a very challenging and educational experience. 
     One specific example would be to automate The "Utah Bird Records Committee" to function according to its bylaws, from public submission of records, to a nine-member review committee voting and commenting on them, to creating searchable databases that can be used for the study of birds populations. This would be a very complex and useful challenge for computer programmers.

     ●  Statistics
Sighting data for rare birds from as early as the 1800's can be combined with voluminous eBird data to provide a comprehensive database for bird ecology research. Using statistical and machine learning tools, wildlife management could use these data to get a more complete picture of wildlife health. Such analyses could guide or motivate management decisions and interventions to preserve ecological stability.

  Museums and Conservation Organizations.

     ●  Life Science Museums
Museum outreach programs like, photo contests, field trip opportunities, school education programs, etc.  could be facilitated through the website.
     ●  Audubon Society and birding groups
With a connection between birding groups and museums and conservation organizations, all can be mutually benefited by an exchange of information, the sharing of assets and using the expertise of their members, university students and staff to enhance the  public's awareness of birds and the environment.
  State Agencies.

     ●  Utah Division of Wildlife Resources
     ●  Utah Division of Parks & Recreation
The many programs, festivals and education events provided by government agencies can be facilitated by advertisement and  communication through the website, and assistance from experts and students associated with universities of the state participating in these activities could be beneficial to all.


This would be a good opportunity for university students to Learn while serving
      Since a university may have an ornithology department, a computer science department and a museum of natural history or the like, it would be an ideal place to use all of the data and different aspects of the Utah Birds website in a coordinated effort, to benefit students and increase the community awareness and appreciation of the natural world around us.

The Utahbirds.org staff would like to work with you to further the appreciation of nature in Utah.

If you have any question, just email the webmaster at UtahBirds@gmail.com




Click thumbnails to see random pages on the website.

  Here's an example of other sections of this extensive website;   Feature Articles


Click thumbnails to see random pages on the website.

       ...and a link to the Index to Bird Species


Click thumbnails to see random pages on the website.

       ...and a link to the latest bird photos submitted;   New Bird Photos  (and a link to Photos of the Month)


Click thumbnails to see random pages on the website.

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