Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 7-2001

Common name:

Cassin's Sparrow

Scientific name: Aimophila Cassinii
Date: 23 May 2001
Time:  5:45
Length of time observed: 30 Mintues
Number: 1
Age:  adult
Sex: ?
Location: 12.7 miles north of highway 50-6 approx 1 mile wast of the Nevada border. So. of Gandy, UT
County: Millard
Distance to bird: 30 to 70 meters
Optical equipment:  
Weather: clear, slight wind
Light Conditions: just before sunrise - getting fairly light.
Detailed description of bird: An overall grayish brown sparrow with some streaking of gray or brown on the back. lighter gray unstreaked breast & throat. Fairly long tail which was rounded and dark brown. Pale outer border of the tail was visible.

The most distinctive I.D. on the bird was the song. I have familiarized myself with the song listening to Petersen's bird song tapes. I have also heard the song of the other Cassin's Sparrows found in Utah in Wah Wah Valley a few years ago. The song starts with 2 notes followed by a long descending trill then ends with a short note then a higher note (see diagram). The song was given in flight usually as the bird took off from the ground.

Song or call & method of delivery: already given in detail above
Behavior: The bird would fly up from the ground give its song fly a short distance and land again
Habitat: This was dust habitat. I first heard the bird in a thick greasewood area then sighted the bird beyond the greasewood in sparse desert shrub.
Similar species and
how were they eliminated:
I relied primarily on the song and behavior of this bird for identification. While I was able to get some visual I.D. on the bird's shape and color markings I wasn't able to get I.D. on bill size & shape or detail on facial coloration, color of lores, supercillium, etc; or other specific details. Other sparrows possibly found in the area include Brewer's (different song, no pale outer tail feathers, shorter tail, different behavior); Vesper (while it has white outer edge to feather, its paler gray, streaking on breast, different song, behavior, tail not as long or rounded). I know the Botteri's Sparrow is very similar and while I've never seen a Botteri's I know it has a different song and there are no records this far north.
Previous experience with this & similar species:  I was able to observe & hear the song of the Cassin's Sparrow located in Wah Wah Valley a few years ago.
References consulted: Peterson's Bird Songs of the West, 
Sibley Guide to Birds, 
National Geographic Field Guide to N.A. Birds
Description from: Notes at time of sighting.
Observer: Terry Sadler
Observer's address: 887 Germania Ave. Murray, UT 84123
Observer's e-mail address:
Other observers who independently identified
this bird:
Date prepared: 19 June 2001
Additional material: Original Document

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