Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 2002-

Common name:

Lawrence's Goldfinch

Scientific name: Carduelis lawrencei
Date: October 3, 2002
Time: 12:00 - 02:00 pm
Length of time observed: off and on for 1.5 hours
Number: 1
Age: Adult
Sex: Male
Location: Cheksani Cliffs development, south of Kanarraville
County: Iron
Latilong: 19
Elevation: ~1700 m
Distance to bird: 5 - 25 meters
Optical equipment: 10x42 binoculars, 20-60x scope
Weather: Partly cloudy, light breeze
Light Conditions: bright mid-day light
Detailed description of bird: Small grayish finch with a broad short beak. Very distinct black face extending from top of crown to forehead, across loral area and down throat. Broad short pale bill set off by black face. Gray cheeks. Black eye. Underside light gray (sides, flanks, belly) with large circular bright yellow patch on breast. Undertail coverts lighter grey. Nape and upper back also gray. Olive green wash across back, bright yellow rump. Wings gray, black, with bright yellow patch across scapulars, coverts, secondaries and primaries. Underside of tail white with black lateral and terminal edges. Upperside of tail black with white patches visible in flight.  [photos]
Song or call & method of delivery: Very distinct two part call note (high pitched) delivered
in flight. Flight call was distinct enough to pick goldfinch out of
large mixed swirling flock.
Behavior: Feeding in large sunflower patch, hanging on and occasionally feeding upside down, often low on the plant and near main stalk. This bird was loosely associated with a very large mixed flock of ~ two hundred Lesser Goldfinch, American Goldfinch, and Pine Siskins. Flock would often take wing and fly around the area, typically re-lighting in sunflowers, but occasionally landing on nearby tree or shrub. Lawrence's Goldfinch would often separate from the mixed flock.
Habitat: Very low density residential area with large field of sunflowers, small cottonwood/willow riparian area, and large areas of oak/ pinyon/ sage habitat.
Similar species and
how were they eliminated:
This was a very distinct bird. Lesser and American Goldfinch were eliminated by presence of black face, and large yellow wing patches.
Previous experience with this & similar species: No previous experience with Lawrence's Goldfinch.
References consulted: Kaufman's Birds of N.A.
Description from: Notes taken at time of sighting
Observer: Rick Fridell
Observer's address: 3505 West 290 North, Hurricane, UT 84737
Observer's e-mail address:
Other observers who independently identified
this bird:
Steve Summers found this bird on the afternoon of 10/02/02.
Date prepared: 11-04-02   (General Public)
Additional material: Photos
Additional comments: It appears there was an east and northward "irruption" of Lawrence's Goldfinch this fall, with sightings in eastern California, southern Nevada, and many across Arizona.