Utah County Birders Newsletter
May 2002


Wednesday, May 22.

Meet at 7:00 PM in the Bean Museum Auditorium on the BYU Campus.

The meeting this next time will be an opening at the Bean Museum
followed by an evening bird walk at the BYU Botany Pond, lead by Dennis Shirley.
We will focus on migrating warblers. We expect the walk to take 45 minutes.


Saturday, June 1st
100 Species Big Day

6:00 A.M. at the DWR Office in Springville
Plan on a full day, until we get 100 species

Saturday, June 15th

5:00 A.M. at the Provo Temple or
7:00 A.M. at Provo Falls
Full Day - Dress in layers
Bring a lunch, water, and snacks


The More Things Change, The More They Stay The Same
by Dennis Shirley

Last night, I couldn't sleep. So I got up and left the house three hours before sun-up and drove northeast 'till it began to get light. At gray dawn, I watched a lek of sage grouse strut and pop. I had wondered if they would still be there. Then, being near a reservoir, I decided to check it out for water birds. I was surprised to find no waterfowl to speak of, only an hundred or so western grebes. That got me thinking, since just a couple of weeks ago the place was teeming with ducks. I believe I had counted thirteen species in short order, many in large rafts of several hundred.
   As the morning progressed, and I traveled back across the width of the state, I repeated this survey process at seven large reservoirs and all the small farm ponds, water treatment plants, and streams I could find. I was amazed at how much things had changed in a short time. I did end up seeing ten species of ducks, but what was interesting was the dearth of numbers. I tallied a total of only two ring-neck ducks, two lesser scaup, two red-breasted mergansers, and nine common mergansers, along with the usual nesting resident ducks. Notably absent were canvasbacks, wigeon, and goldeneyes.
   I've heard it said "the more things change, the more they stay the same."   This is certainly true of the mixture of our state's bird life throughout the year. Each year the biological clock strikes a certain time and the birds respond. Come ----- or high water (and in Utah this year, it's low water), things change, seasons change, and yet many things remain the same. Like the swallows of Capistrano, we can predict with some certainty when winter visitors leave, migrants go through, and summer breeders arrive. Just in the last week or so, groups of broad-tailed hummingbirds hit the feeders and waves of nuptial plumaged yellow-rumped warblers and yellow warblers arrived. Just yesterday, I heard singing male warbling vireos in my neighborhood for the first time this year. Yellow-breasted chats were absent in Goshen Canyon on Tuesday when I specifically went looking for them. On Thursday, there were seven territorial males in one small stretch.
   It really perks my sense of wonder at how orderly and precise birds follow the same patterns year after year. As we compile more and more personal records, it will be fun to compare dates of first and last appearance of
seasonal species and , at the same time, add to our understanding of these amazing creatures.