Hotline Photos

Streak-backed Oriole?

2 Jan 2014
Washington City, Utah

(E-mail from Kevin Wheeler --  2 Jan 2014) :

The oriole found, photographed, and reported by Russell Schreiner during the St. George Christmas Bird Count on December 26 was again observed by Russ on Dec 31. I re-found it this morning (Jan 2) about 9:00, and observed it for short moments as it perched up twice; never giving great or lengthy views, but what I saw seemed to indicate that it may be an adult female Streak-backed Oriole. Russ met me there this morning and took a few photos, and we can forward them if they document the bird well.

The bird has a bright yellow face face and neck (more orange around the malar area), and yellow all the way to the vent, with perhaps a little gray on the flanks (but less so than most most local orioles do). The crown, nape, and back are all olive-greenish, but the back has small black chevrons. The throat is black, with the black extending up into the face, but not behind the eye (as a male Bullock's would). The wings are mostly gray, with a bold wingbar (I couldn't really detect two, as I thought it should have). The beak seemed pretty straight, not curved (as a Hooded's). It may have been giving little "woot" calls before it perched up and I saw it, although there was a mockingbird in the area as well that could have been confusing things. The features of black back-chevrons, orange malar, black throat - but not eyeline, lead me to think that it may be a female streak-backed oriole (it looks much like the one in Sibley, but without the bold 2nd wingbar), but I don't have much experience with those (or any oriole in winter, for that matter), and would appreciate any feedback, or opinions from anyone else that may be able to re-find it and/or photograph it.

To find the bird, take Green Springs Drive in Washington City (I-15 exit 10) toward the golf course. The first street on the left hand is Cove Drive. You can park here. The bird has been seen in the mesquites along here, and then in the trees on both sides of the golf cart tunnel that goes beneath Green Springs Drive a little further South. Please note that the Golf Course has "No Trespassing" signs up; please be respectful when looking for this bird. Where I saw it, it could be observed from the sidewalks. Thus far, the bird has only been seen in the mornings between 8:30 and 9:30, but I don't know if Russ has looked other times of the day.

It's an interesting bird to be wintering here, whatever it is!
Kevin Wheeler
Hurricane, UT

Photos by Russell Schreiner

Above Photo cropped and "shadows lightened" by the webmaster

Above Photo cropped and "shadows lightened" by the webmaster

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