Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 2002-

Common name:

Vaux's Swift

Scientific name: Chaetura vauxi
Date: July 4, 2002
Time: 9:00 pm
Length of time observed: 20 seconds
Number: 1
Age: adult
Location: North Logan, Utah, 1000 East, 1649 North
County: Cache
Latilong: 3
Elevation: 4620 ft
Distance to bird: 50-100 ft
Optical equipment: none
Weather: clear, 80+ F, no wind
Light Conditions: sunset, but still plenty of light to identify birds
Detailed description of bird: A small dark swift with rapid wingbeats was observed flying about 15-20 feet off the ground. The tail was very short giving the bird a stumpy look in contrast to the slender pointed wings ("cigar with wings"). The flight was the typical swift "twittery" flight, with very rapid wingbeats. The bird gave the typical flight call once during its pass by (see below).
Song or call & method of delivery: The bird gave the typical flight call: "chip chip chippity chippity chippity" once while flying across in front of me.
Behavior: The bird flow across in front of me about 15-20 feet above the ground and called once. It appeared to be moving between locations instead of feeding as it flew in a rather direct line.
Habitat: The bird passed over lawn with a few scattered trees and shrubs and over open fields.
Similar species and
how were they eliminated:
The most similar species is the chimney swift. The bird could not have been distinguished by the view I got, but the call was distinctively vaux's, not that of the chimney swift: Vaux's call is higher pitched and more "musical". The white-throated swift and black swift were eliminated by having quite different calls and differences in basic body shape and flight pattern (tail too long, wingbeats too slow in these species).
Previous experience with this & similar species: I have seen and heard a number of Vaux's swift in Washington, Oregon, Montana and northern Idaho, and one in Utah. I am fimiliar with their voice. In addition, I have heard hundreds of chimney swifts from my years living in Michigan.
References consulted: The Sibley Guide to Birds, National Geographic Guide, recording of Vaux's swift
Description from: From memory
Observer: Ron Ryel
Observer's address: 1649 North 1000 East, North Logan, UT 84341
Observer's e-mail address:
Other observers who independently identified
this bird:
Date prepared: July 5, 2002    (General Public)
Additional material:  
Additional_Comments:  not the best documented record due to short observational time, but I felt that it was important to submit this because of the lack of submitted records in Latilong 3 and the summer occurrence.