Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 2022-42

Common name:

Tennessee Warbler

Scientific name: ?  [Oreothlypsis pereigrina]
Date: 9-22-2022
Time: 1230pm
Length of time observed: 30minutes
Number: 1
Age: ?
Sex: ?
Location: along the Weber River on UDWR Property near Peterson, Utah
County: Morgan
Latilong: ?
Elevation: approx. 5000ft
Distance to bird: 10 to 50 ft.
Optical equipment: Nikon 10x42, Nikon D7200 camera with 150x600mm lens also camera and binos used by Arnold and Aaron Smith
Weather: clear and sunny
Light Conditions: poor in the under story of trees but great when bird would move into clearings
Description:        Size of bird: small warbler maybe 5 inches
(Description:)       Basic Shape: warbler
(Description:)  Overall Pattern: yellow/gray above with yellow/white below with very white under tail feathers
(Description:)            Bill Type: very small thin typical warbler
Field Marks and
Identifying Characteristics:
Description of Field Marks nearly identical to an Orange-crowned Warbler though all around lighter than OCWA I'm used to seeing and with a very obvious white under tail.
(see photos)
Song or call & method of delivery: never made a noise
Behavior: flitting around in the leaves and branches of a large willow tree feeding on insects it was finding
Habitat: riparian area with corn field on one side river on other
Similar species and how
were they eliminated:
Orange-crowned Warbler is more olive green over all with yellow not white under tail feathers one was seen in tree with this bird showing a great comparison. Warbling Vireo is larger and much larger, different shaped bill.
Previous experience with
this & similar species:
only seen once before in Arizona with a birding group and the white under tail was the big point the experts were noting to group.
References consulted: in the field we used sibley bird app, ibird pro app, and photos on the internet, at home I compared my photos to my library of bird books including Sibley's, Peterson, National geographic, stokes, etc.
Description from: (Notes taken at time of sighting - Notes made later - From memory - )
Aaron spotted light colored warbler feeding in top of a large willow. Bird initially thought to be a Orange-crowned Warbler but looked a bit light. For several years I've been watching the OCWA in fall for a Tennessee Warbler since the two species look so similar. Aaron quickly noted the pure white under tail feathers on this bird. There was an OCWA in the same tree which gave great comparison of the difference in the under tail of the birds. The three of us spent at least 30 minutes watching bird trying to get decent pictures and making sure of our identification that this was TNWA. Light was very poor in the under story of the trees and do to the leaves changing everything was very yellow, however the bird was seen in good sunlight several times to confirm the id of TNWA. Was only able to get decent pictures of the underside and head of this bird, though did see the upper side which basically reminded me of an OCWA except for the white under tail.
Observer: Weston Smith
Observer's address: 1375N 6800E Croydon, Utah
Observer's e-mail address: **
Other observers who independently identified this bird: Aaron Smith, Arnold Smith
Date prepared: 9-24-2022
Additional material: Photos
Additional comments: hoping my father and brother will send me their comments and pictures so I can add them.

Here is Aaron's info on the warbler you can add to the additional info.
Warbler was same basically same size as orange crowned warblers(several seen in the area). White under tail. Have seen several orange crowned warblers over the years. This was not an orange crowned warbler. Looked at pictures online with my phone to compare while watching the bird. Was a match to several pictures I found of reported Tennessee warblers from back in Eastern States. Watched for several minutes. Brother got pictures which shows white under tail. Aaron

Here is Arnold's email to Weston with a photo:

This is the best picture I got, it needs to be lightened. The following are my thoughts when we first saw the bird:

My first impression of this Warbler we sighted on September 22, 2022 was that it was a Warbling Vireo. However, I soon noticed it had pale yellow on the throat and breast down to where the front edge of the wings tuck in. I also noticed it had snow white under tail coverts. These two facts along with the face pattern made me quickly realize this must be a Tennessee Warbler.