NINTH REPORT OF THE UTAH BIRD RECORDS COMMITTEE*
Steven P. Hedges, Keith L. Dixon, Ella D. Sorensen, Clayton M. White
The ninth report of the Utah Bird Records Committee
summarizes 38 records of 34 species that were reviewed by the Committee.
Of those 38 records, 28 were accepted by the Committee and 10 were not
accepted for reasons to be discussed later. Committee members who reviewed
all or some of these records were Keith Dixon, Steven Hedges, Craig Kneedy,
Ella Sorensen, and Clayton White. First state records were accepted for
Garganey, Boreal Owl, and Golden-winged Warbler, which increase the Utah
bird list to 408 species.
All records evaluated by the Committee are listed
by common name and scientific name using the nomenclature and taxonomic
order of the 7th AOU Check-list (1998). The following information is included
with each accepted record: common name, scientific name, Committee number
of the record in parentheses, the number of birds observed along with age
and sex of known, date(s) of occurrence, location of sighting, all known
observers in parentheses with the initial finder listed first, observer(s)
who submitted written documentation of the record (doc: ), observer(s)
who submitted photographs of the record (photo: ), and literature reference
for sightings published in American Birds (AB), Field
Notes (FN), or Utah Birds (UB). Information for
unaccepted records is the same as for accepted records except that names
of observers and those submitting documentation are not included.
The Records Committee would like to thank those
individuals who submitted documentation of their sightings to the Committee.
The Committee encourages all observers to document and submit a report
of unusual sightings. Multiple documentation of sightings is often more
valuable than a single report, since one observer may notice key field
marks that are missed by other observers. Those field marks may be the
difference between a record being accepted or not accepted. The Committee
also encourages the submission of photographs and tape recording of songs
or calls, which significantly aid in the proper identification of records.
RECORDS ACCEPTED BY THE COMMITTEE
PACIFIC LOON Gavia pacifica. (3-1990); one; 6-30 Jul 1990; Ivins
Reservoir, Washington Co.; (WNS,CK,SH); doc: WNS; photo: WNS; AB
Pacific Loons have been recorded nearly every fall
in Utah for the past few years and there are several spring and winters
as well. However, this bird is the first summer record of Pacific Loon
in Utah. This bird was first reported as a Common Loon, but photographs
submitted by the initial observer, and subsequent observations by others
including two members of the Records Committee, easily led to the proper
identification of this bird.
YELLOW-BILLED LOON Gavia adamsii. (5-1996); one; 29 Dec 1996-1
Jan 1997; Gunlock Res., Washington Co; (MAP,JCB,SS); doc: MAP.
Inland records of Yellow-billed Loon in the western
U.S. have increased substantially in recent years. Utah's first record
occurred at Fish Springs National Wildlife Refuge in 1991 and since that
time there have been five additional documented records, all from Lake
Powell or Washington County. This is the second record for Washington County.
ROSS'S GOOSE Chen rossii. (21-1984); one adult; 31 Oct 1984;
Minersville Res., Beaver Co.; (SH); doc: SH. (20-1988); two adults, one
immature; 29 Oct 1988; Fish Springs National Wildlife Refuge, Juab Co.;
(JDE); doc: JDE.
Ross's Goose occurs annually as a spring and fall
transient throughout Utah and is also a regular winter visitor to Washington
County. Records of this species are no longer being reviewed by the Committee.
AMERICAN BLACK DUCK Anas rubriceps. (1-1947); one; 8 Nov 1947;
Ogden Bay Waterfowl Management Area, Davis Co.; (1-1967); one; 15 Oct 1967;
Farmington Bay Waterfowl Management Area, Davis Co.
Both of these records are specimens of banded birds
collected during the fall waterfowl hunting season. Details of these records
were published in Utah Birds 11(3):40.
GARGANEY Anas querquedula. (4-1996); one; 27 Oct 1996; Great
Salt Lake, Davis Co.; (TS); doc: TS.
This well-described bird is the first record of
Garganey for Utah. There are several spring and fall records of Garganey
along the West Coast, particularly in California, and also a spring record
for Arizona. A female Garganey can easily be confused with a female Green-winged
or Blue-winged Teal. Key field marks that separate Garganey from Blue-winged
Teal are the prominent head markings (dark brown crown, light supercilium,
dark eye line, light stripe under the eye line, and white spot in back
of the bill), brownish-gray shoulder patch, and green speculum bordered
on the front and rear with white. Garganey is separated from Green-winged
Teal by its larger size, heavier bill, and head pattern.
WHITE-TAILED KITE Elanus leucurus. (13-1990); one immature; 2
Nov 1990; St. George, Washington Co.; (WNS); doc: WNS; photo: WNS.
This bird was initially reported as a Mississippi
Kite, but photographs of the bird were sent to several authorities on kites
who confirmed the bird as an immature White-tailed Kite. This is the second
report of this species for Utah. White-tailed Kites have been expanding
their range in recent years and should become more common in Utah.
GYRFALCON Falco rusticolus. (16-1990); one adult; 15 Nov 1990;
Logan, Cache Co.; (RDA,GAA,KA,SD,RR,LR); doc: RDA; photo: RDA. (3-1991);
one immature female; 26 Dec 1991; Magna, Salt Lake Co.; (AJH,PM,BE); doc:
AJH; photo: RW.
There are several records of Gyrfalcon for Utah
and most previous sightings have been individuals of the dark race, but
Record 16-1990 was an extremely white bird and Record 3-1991 was a gray
morph. There is always speculation about the origin of any Gyrfalcon observed
in Utah, since Gyrfalcons are popular birds in falconry. Record 16-1990
was of particular concern since white phase Gyrfalcons are extremely rare
in the West, but the bird showed no signs of captivity, such as jesses,
bands, or unusual feather wear. The fall of 1990 was a good flight year
for Gyrfalcons in the western U. S. and several were recorded in states
adjacent to Utah, so the Committee considered record 16-1990 to be a valid
wild bird. Record 3-1991 was captured and banded, and likewise showed no
indications of being a captive bird.
LEAST TERN Sterna antillarum. (6-1997); one adult; 25 May 1997;
St. George, Washington Co.; (MW,LWe,JM); doc: MW.
This sighting is the third documented record for
Utah and the first for southern Utah. Previous sightings include one at
Fish Springs National Wildlife Refuge on 3 June 1981 and another at the
same location on 12 June 1993.
INCA DOVE Columbina inca. (6-1996); 1 Jan 1996-7 Aug 1997; Washington,
Washington Co.; (JK,MW,SS,PS,MDa,LWi,DT,DSh); doc: JK; photo: JK.
Inca Doves are well established in many areas of
Washington County and are increasing in other areas of southern Utah (Utah
Birds 12(3):48-52). This species is likely to be removed from the Committee
review list on the next revision.
BOREAL OWL Aegolius funereus. (2-1997); one adult; Jun 1997;
Heber; (DSt,others); photo: DSt.
This bird was photographed on the Uintah National
Forest and constitutes the first accepted record for Utah. Boreals Owls
were found in Colorado and Idaho in the 1980s, so were suspected of occurring
in Utah. The first Boreal Owl in Utah was reported in March 1993 on the
Ashley National Forest and there have been a few other undocumented sightings
between 1993 and 1997, but none of the previous sightings were adequately
CHAETURA SWIFT Chaetura spp. (24-1985); one adult; 13
May 1985; Grafton, Washington Co.; (CAM); doc: CAM.
This record was submitted as a Vaux's which is the
expected species of Chaetura in Utah. However, the description did
not adequately eliminate Chimney Swift, so the Committee decided to accept
this report simply as a Chaetura swift. Separating the two species
is not always possible with a brief observation or in poor light conditions.
BROAD-BILLED HUMMINGBIRD Cynanthus latirostris. (5-1997); one;
13 Sep 1997; Zion National Park, Washington Co.; (BZ,PZ,MSP,CG,BS,CC);
doc: BZ ; photo: BZ.
This is the fourth record of Broad-billed Hummingbird
for Utah and the third from the Zion area. All records have been males
observed at feeders. The previous Zion area sightings were 10 October-25
November 1978 at Springdale (photographed) and 9-10 September 1979, also
at Springdale (Utah Birds 2(3):69-70). The other Utah record was
observed and photographed 24 July-4 August 1986 at Jensen, Uintah Co.(Utah
ANNA'S HUMMINGBIRD Calypte anna. (1-1997); one adult male; 29
Mar 1997; Zion National Park, Washington Co.; (MSP); doc: MSP.
There have been several winter and spring sightings
of Anna's Hummingbird in Utah since the first state record was recorded
at Salt Lake City on 16-25 November 1985 (Utah Birds 2(3):73-74).
RED-BREASTED SAPSUCKER Sphyrapicus ruber. (17-1993); one adult;
15 Oct 1993; Fish Springs National Wildlife Refuge, Juab Co.; (TS); doc:
This sighting was the third record of Red-breasted
Sapsucker for Utah.
BLACK PHOEBE Sayornis nigricans. (20-1990); 3 Feb 1990; Bountiful,
Davis Co.; (DJ,MH,RS,MS,GR) doc: DJ.
Black Phoebes are permanent residents of extreme
southern Utah, especially Washington County, but are rare in other portions
of the state. Many of the extralimital records are from winter.
EASTERN BLUEBIRD Sialia sialis. (1-1996); one adult male; 16
Mar 1996; Lytle Ranch, Washington Co.; (MDe,PD,JK); doc: MDe.
This sighting is the second record of Eastern Bluebird
in Utah and the first of the pale southwestern race which nests in southeastern
Arizona. The first state record, from Moab on 16-23 December 1989 (Utah
Birds 5(4):86-88), were two males of the darker eastern race.
GOLDEN-WINGED WARBLER Vermivora chrysoptera. (3-1997); one female;
30 Aug 1997; Fish Creek, Wayne Co.; (TR,AS); doc: TR,AS; FN 52:99.
This bird was observed in riparian habitat along
a southern Utah stream and is the first record for the state.
BLACK & WHITE WARBLER Mniotilta varia. (59-1985); one female;
30 Sep 1985; Arches National Park, Grand Co.; (CHW); doc: CHW. (1-1987);
one adult male; 27 Apr 1987; Alton, Kane Co.; (BRL); doc: BRL.
Black-and-white Warbler is one of the more common
species of eastern warbler that occurs in Utah, with records scattered
all over the state. It has been recorded most often during spring and fall
migration, but there are also records for July and December.
HOODED WARBLER Wilsonia citrina. (7-1992); one adult male; 5
Jun 1992; Abajo Mountains, San Juan Co.; (CL); doc: CL.
This is the fourth record of Hooded Warbler from
SUMMER TANAGER Piranga rubra. (10-1989); one adult male; 25 Sep
1989; Logan, Cache Co.; (AF); doc: AF.
Summer Tanager is a common summer resident of Washington
County. There are a few records elsewhere in state and most are from September.
SCARLET TANAGER Piranga olivacea. (8-1996); one adult male; 27
May 1996; Utah Lake, Utah Co.; (MTS, many others); photo: MTS.
This is the second documented record of Scarlet
Tanager from Utah. The first record, also a male, was collected at St.
George on 17 Jun 1950 (Utah Birds 1(3):54-55).
ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK Pheucticus ludevicianus. (7-1995); one
adult male; 2 Nov 1995; Washington, Washington Co.; (JK); doc: JK.
There are several Utah records of Rose-breasted
Grosbeak for November. Rose-breasted Grosbeak is a rare but regular migrant
through Utah, while the closely-related Black-headed Grosbeak is a common
summer resident statewide. However, Rose-breasted Grosbeak is the more
likely of the two species to be found in Utah during November. Female and
immature Rose-breasted Grosbeaks can be differentiated from female/immature
Black-headed Grosbeaks by their boldly and extensively streaked breast
and pure white belly. Immature male Rose-breasted Grosbeaks also have reddish
underwing linings (yellowish in Black-headed Grosbeaks and female Rose-breasted
RUSTY BLACKBIRD Euphagus carolinus. (1-1990); one adult female;
7 Jan-10 Feb 1990; Fish Springs National Wildlife Refuge, Juab Co.; (JDE,CK);
doc: JDE; AB 44:300.
This is the fourth documented record for Utah and
all are from late fall and early winter. Rusty Blackbird probably occurs
in Utah more often than is reported, but can be easily overlooked in flocks
of other blackbirds.
BRONZED COWBIRD Molothrus aeneus. (7-1996); one adult female;
2 May 1996; Washington, Washington Co.; (JK,SS,DT,MK); doc: JK; photo:
JK; FN 50:311.
This is the second record for Utah. The first record
was an adult male photographed in December 1984 at Genola, Utah Co. (Utah
RECORDS NOT ACCEPTED, IDENTIFICATION UNCERTAIN
AMERICAN BLACK DUCK Anas rubriceps. (7-1991); seven; 29 Aug 1991;
La Sal Mountains, San Juan Co.
In late summer, Mallards are in eclipse plumage
and look somewhat like 'black ducks.' The observed did not attempt to differentiate
between an eclipse-plumaged Mallard and Black Duck. The observer described
the ducks as having pale tails, but Black Ducks have dark tails. The observer
also failed to see the speculum. The observer reported seven ducks in the
flock, which would be an extraordinary number for Black Duck anywhere in
the West. August 29 is also an extremely early date for Black Ducks in
Utah. Black Ducks normally do not migrate until late fall, so any Black
Duck observed in August would be strongly suspected of being captive escapees.
See Utah Birds 11(3):41-44 for a discussion of the status of American
Black Duck in Utah.
ZONE-TAILED HAWK Buteo albonotatus. (2-1991); one; 25 Jan 1991;
Washington fields, Washington Co.
Zone-tailed Hawks winter in Mexico, so a winter
record in Utah would be extremely unusual. The observer had no previous
experience with this species and did not adequately describe a Zone-tailed
Hawk. A "black" hawk similar in size and shape to a Red-tailed Hawk, with
a banded tail, and wings tilted in flight like a Turkey Vulture does not
eliminate dark phase Rough-legged Hawk or Harlan's Red-tail. The observer
even mentioned that "at first I thought it was a dark phase Redtail." There
was only one documented sighting of Zone-tailed Hawk in Utah at the time
of this sighting.
CHIMNEY SWIFT Chaetura pelagica. (23-1984); one; 2 May 1984;
Hurricane, Washington Co.
The description of this bird did not adequately
rule out Vaux's Swift, which is the regularly occurring Chaetura in Utah.
There are only two records of Chimney Swift for Utah.
WHITE-EARED HUMMINGBIRD Hylocharis leucotis. (6-1991); one female;
19 Sep 1991; Salt Lake City, Salt Lake Co.
The description of this bird did not fit a White-eared
Hummingbird. The description of the bird and an accompanying sketch showed
a bird with a narrow straight white line behind the eye. The bill was very
long, with a red base and black tip. White-eared Hummingbird has an extremely
short bill for a hummingbird and should have been obvious when compared
to other hummingbirds that were also seen at the feeder. The barred sides
found on the White-eared Hummingbird were also not mentioned. The description
most closely fit a female or immature male Broad-billed Hummingbird, although
some female Black-chins can also have a white stripe behind the eye. White-eared
Hummingbirds are very rare summer visitors to southeastern Arizona and
southwestern New Mexico. A sighting in Utah would be extremely unusual,
yet the observer did not think it was unusual enough to warrant reporting
the bird at the time of sighting.
RED-HEADED WOODPECKER Melanerpes erythrocephalus. (13-1988);
two adults; 26 Jun 1988; Abaho Mtns, San Juan Co.
This brief sighting was made as the birds flew through
a ponderosa pine forest at considerable distance. Light and shadow conditions
within forests can make affect coloration and other field marks, even for
a distinctive species like a Red-headed Woodpecker. Longer observations
are needed to confirm or not confirm initial perceptions, especially in
atypical habitats. Red-headed Woodpecker is a bird of deciduous woodlands,
so a high elevation sighting in a coniferous forest should have raised
a question in the observers mind to check the observation more closely.
VERMILION FLYCATCHER Pyrocephalus rubinus. (5-1989); one adult
male; 13 Jun 1988; Moab, Grand Co.
The coloration and pattern as described for this
bird did not fit a Vermilion Flycatcher. Observers are urged to take photographs
of rare birds, even supposedly obvious ones, since photographs can generally
be used to determine the identity of most observations.
PHILADELPHIA VIREO Vireo philadelphicus. (3-1992); one; 8 Aug
1992; Ogden, Weber Co.
Reports of Philadelphia Vireo are made nearly every
year in the West, especially in California, but the reports are seldom
substantiated as that species. Usually those reports turn out to be immature
Warbling Vireos. The date of Record 3-1992 is more than 2 months earlier
than nearly all vagrant sightings of this species in the western U.S. The
earliest date for Philadelphia Vireo in California is September and the
majority of records from that state are from October. Philadelphia Vireo
is a late migrant and not to be expected before mid September.
Immature Warbling Vireo is very yellow below and
with a stronger face pattern than an adult Warbling Vireo, so can be very
similar in appearance to Philadelphia Vireo. Fall Warbling Vireo can be
quite yellow below, sometimes yellower than Philadelphia, but the strongest
yellow is on the flanks. In Philadelphia Vireo, the throat and upper breast
are the brightest yellow. The observers stated that the bird was yellow
below from throat to undertail coverets, with a slight paling in the belly
area. One observer stated that the bird had a dark line from the lores
to ear, while the other observer did not mention this mark. Most Philadelphia
Vireos (but not all immatures) have dark lores, but most Warbling Vireos
also have a spot on the lores. The line behind the eye is generally more
prominent on Philadelphia Vireo.
Other species that can be confused with Philadelphia
Vireo are Tennessee Warbler and Orange-crowned Warbler. Orange-crowned
Warbler, particularly birds of the race lutescens which are early
fall migrants through Utah and much different than the race orestera
which breeds in Utah, are similar in appearance to Philadelphia Vireo.
Vermivora lutescens has yellow underparts, a pale eye stripe, dark
line through eye, and a small white cheek patch. Some Orange-crowned Warblers
can also have a belly than is paler yellow than either the breast or the
Any possible sighting of Philadelphia Vireo requires
an immaculate written description and preferably also photographs to distinguish
from other similar species. There are no accepted records of Philadelphia
Vireo from Utah.
WOOD THRUSH Hylocichla mustelina. (21-1991); one; 23 Jun 1991;
Arches National Park, Grand Co.
This bird was observed at close range, but observer
mentioned that the eye ring was not distinct. The bold white eye ring is
one of the most prominent field marks on Wood Thrush. The bird was observed
hopping around and feeding on a lawn, which is unusual behavior for a Wood
Thrush but typical of a juvenile robin.
CLAY-COLORED SPARROW Spizella pallida. (17-1984); one adult;
22 May 1984; Bluff, San Juan Co.
Several field marks are required to adequately separate
Clay-colored and Brewer's sparrows. Most field guides place too much emphasis
on three marks to distinguish Clay-colored from Brewer's: a light median
crown stripe, gray collar, and distinct brown cheek patch. That is unfortunately
since those marks when used alone are not diagnostic of Clay-colored Sparrow.
The overall pattern and coloration of the crown
should be the first field mark to note. A spring adult Clay-colored Sparrow
usually has a brown crown with prominent black stripes and a light median
stripe. The observer did not describe the crown of this bird other than
to mention that it had a light median stripe. Some Brewer's Sparrows can
also have a faint median stripe, especially if viewed from the front, but
the crown of Brewer's sparrow is usually less distinctly marked. Clay-colored
Sparrow has gray on the sides of the neck and often on the back of the
neck as well. Brewer's Sparrow also has gray on the sides of its neck,
though it is usually a paler gray than on Clay-colored Sparrow. Clay-colored
Sparrow has a distinct brown cheek patch, but again this mark is not diagnostic
for that species since many Brewer's Sparrows also have a distinct brown
cheek patch. One mark that is usually diagnostic for adult Clay-colored
Sparrow is the color of the supercilium. It is white in adult males and
dingy white in females. In Brewer's Sparrow, the supercilium is brownish-gray.
RECORDS NOT ACCEPTED, ORIGIN OF RECORD QUESTIONED
PAINTED BUNTING Passerina ciris. (2-1992); two males; 1 May 1992;
Logan, Cache Co.
A male Painted Bunting is a fairly easy bird to
identify under good light conditions. Painted Buntings are rare in the
West and there are no previous records for Utah. Two males were observed
together at a Logan feeder, which seemed highly unusual, so the question
of the origin of these birds was raised. Introduction of birds from other
parts of the country is not new in Utah, having occurred only recently
in the Provo area with Northern Cardinals.
Observers cited: Keith Archibald, Gladys Ann Atwood, Robert A.
Atwood, Jutta C. Burger, Christi Carmichael, Marilyn Davis (MDa), Scott
Datwyler, Matt DeVries (MDe), Pia DeVries, Joseph D. Engler, Bruce Ewald,
Ann Flannery, Colleen Gibbons, Margy Halpin, Steven Hedges, Alan J. Hinde,
David Jensen, Craig Kneedy, Joshua Kreitzer, Matthew Kreitzer, Catherine
Landis, Blaine R. Lunceford, Phillip Magasich, Jim Matheson, Clyde A. Morris,
Michael A. Patten, M. Shane Pruett, Tim Reeves, Grenville Roles, Larry
Ryel, Ron Ryel, Terry Sadler, Al Schmierer, Dennis Shirley (DSh), Bob Showler,
Ray Smith, Mark Stackhouse, W. Neal Stephens, Dave Stricklan (DSt), Priscilla
Summers, Steven Summers, Dave Thompson, Clarice H. Watson, Lynnette Webb
(LWe), Merrill Webb, Lou Wilkinson (LWi), Becky Zurcher, Pat Zurcher.
*source: Utah Birds 14(4):51-63.