Utah County Birders Newsletter
March 2005

    March Meeting
    Upcoming Field Trips
    Feather Talk
    Field Trip Report - Feb 12 - Farmington Bay and Antelope Island
    Field Trip Report - Feb 26 - Alta, Salt Lake Cemetery and City Creek Canyon
    Random Observations
    UOS Update
    Backyard Bird of the Month
    February Hotline Highlights


Wednesday, March 9th.

Birding and Birdlife in Ecuador presented by Bryan Shirley & Milt Moody.

Bryan and Milt will use a power point presentation with photos of birds and birding locations of Ecuador, from the high Andes at Cotopaxi National Park and the mid-elevations of Yanacocha Preserve and Tadayapa Valley, to the lower elevation of the upper Amazon Basin at Sacha Lodge and Yazuni National Park in eastern Ecuador. It will be fun and informative. Come and enjoy!

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


March 12th (Sat):  James Walter Fitzgerald WMA, Clover Springs (Tooele County) - Meet at 7:00 am at the Orem Center Street Park & Ride.

March 19th - 26th (Sat - Sat):  Southern California - led by Aaron Smith - Bird San Diego, Santa Cruz Island, Salton Sea, etc. See the Yellow-Billed Magpie, Island Scrub Jay, California Gnatcatcher and more! Contact Aaron Smith at (801) 373-5153. We must know who is going by the 8th so that arrangements can be made.

March 26th (Sat): Utah Lake Front Tour (Am. Fork Boat Harbor, Timpanogos Treatment Plant, Lindon Boat Harbor, Powell Slough, Provo Boat Harbor) - 7:00 am - Noon.  Meet at Orem Center Street Park & Ride.

April 2nd (Sat): Carbon County Sage Grouse Lek, Scofield Reservoir, Carbon County hot spots. Meet at 5:00 am at the Sam's Club parking lot in East Bay in Provo. (starting time subject to change, watch for reminder at the end of March)

Feather Talk -- February 2005
By Alton Thygerson

The U.S. Forest Service’s National Survey on Recreation and the Environment estimates 70 million people in the USA make time to see and enjoy birds. It is the USA’s fastest growing outdoor activity.

A dilemma happens when you explain this outdoor activity to someone. What do you call it—birding or bird watching, and what to call yourself—birder or bird watcher? For most, the terms are used interchangeably, and many of those enjoying birds do not really care about which term applies to their activity or to them.

Several things started me on this article: (1) the customized Utah County Birders license plate saying: "I’d Rather be Birding" awarded to those achieving the 2004 Contest criteria — note the terms birders and birding appeared on the license plate holder, and (2) the magazines entitled Bird Watching Digest, Birder’s World, and Birding — note the use of the terms bird watching, birder, and birding.

Therefore, which is it—bird watching or birding? I came across a fun website aimed at identifying a birder:

• You might be a birder if you think Peterson or Sibley are books.

• You might be a birder if you think LBJ does not stand for Lyndon Baines Johnson.

• You might be a birder if there are days when getting up at 5:00 a.m. is something you have looked forward to.

• You might be a birder if you have ever seen a Butterbutt.

• You might be a birder if you have heard of Long_billed Curlew, Great Kiskadee, Plain Chachalaca, or Western Wood_Pewee.

• You might be a birder if you know birds named after Lewis and Clark.

• You might be a birder if you know the real name for the shopping mall’s parking lot pigeons.

• You might be a birder if you can correctly name three North American sparrows.

• You might be a birder if a CBC is not something you would want to do in March.

Here is how I replied to the Deseret News reporter Sharon Haddock who is doing a feature on Utah County birding. A birder is very dedicated, and frequently travels to view new species or to gain greater bird identification skills. He or she tends to be a lister (seeing or listing as many birds as possible on a specific outing, day, or year or in a specific locations such as the backyard, county, state, country or even the world). A bird watcher is more temperate and perhaps shows less enthusiasm. Birds fascinate them, and many find it enough just to enjoy watching birds even if it’s only in their backyard.

Don’t get hung up on terminology! There is no definite distinction. Use whichever term you prefer.

Millions enjoy bird watching or birding as a hobby. Why? Because birds are fun to look at, birds are beautiful, many birds sing beautiful songs, and bird behavior is fascinating. Personally, I find that part of the fascination is in the chase, and looking at clues and then playing detective in determining a bird’s identity. Nevertheless, for whatever the reason, the main thing is to get out into nature and enjoy them.

Special note: Gratitude is expressed to Leena Rogers, Tuula Rose, and Milt Moody for arranging UCB’s Award Dinner in February. Over 70 people attended which may be the highest attendance ever at a UCB activity. Good food, good friends, great speaker (Dennis Shirley), great awards for the 2004 Bird Challenge winners, and great door prizes made for an outstanding evening. No 2005 challenge for Utah County Birders is in the offering, but expect such a contest in 2006. Any and all suggestions are welcomed.

Field Trip Report
12 Feb 2005
- Farmington Bay and Antelope Island
by Larry Draper

 UCB at Farmington Bay - February 12, 2005       photo by Eric Huish

Utah County Birders at Antelope Island - February 12, 2005    photo by Eric Huish

On Saturday the 12th of February a group of around 12 Utah County Birders participated in a field trip to Farmington Bay and Antelope Island. We left from Orem bright and early in three cars and progressed to north of Salt Lake City when our caravan was stopped by the closure of I-15 (we later found out there had been a 16 car pileup which closed the freeway for several hours). On the way up we saw from the cars: Rock Pigeons, and European Starlings to start off our list for the day. We proceeded to Glover lane where we saw :

Northern Shoveler, Ring-necked Duck, Common Goldeneye, Mallard, Northern Pintail, Red-winged Blackbird, and Northern Harrier.

We then proceeded to Farmington Bay where we saw: Bald Eagle, White-crowned Sparrow, California Gull, Canada Goose, Herring Gull (those with the pink feet and the red mark on the lower bill), Ring-billed Gull (smaller gull), American Pipit, Pine Siskin, American Goldfinch, American Tree Sparrow (a lifer for at least one of our Utah County Birders), Downey Woodpecker, and on the way out at a house we saw House Finch, House Sparrow, Yellow-headed Blackbird, Dark-eyed Junco, and the ever hard to find American Magpie (right!).

Our next stop was the Kaysville ponds where we saw hardly anything, an American Kestrel, and a four-legged varmint (Muskrat) swimming in the pond. The next stop was Antelope Island where just entering the park we saw a Japanese Green Pheasant off to the north. Other species seen on the causeway or near the visitors center included:

Western Meadowlark, Killdeer, California Gull, American Goldfinch, Horned Lark, Raven, Eared Grebe (way off to the south in the Great Salt Lake), Loggerhead Shrike, Chuckar, White-crowned Sparrow, Red-wing Blackbird, Ruddy Duck, Great Blue Heron.

Our last stop was Lee Kay Ponds where we saw: Mallards, C. Gulls, C. Goldeneye, Common Merganser, Ruddy Duck, Herring Gull, Kestrel, and Northern Flicker.

UCB at Alta - February 26, 2005       photo by Eric Huish

All in all it was a nice field trip where by my count we saw about 38 different species, not a bad total for a mid winter outing.


Field Trip Report
Feb 26
- Alta, Salt Lake Cemetery and City Creek Canyon
by LeIla Ogden

Eleven birders (Tuula Rose, Milt Moody, Bonnie Williams, Leila Ogden, Eric Huish, Brady Heward, Robert Brown, Aaron and Shauna Smith, Wade Miller and Leena Rogers) started from Orem Center Street park & ride at 7:00 a.m. for Alta. We forgot how cold it was going to be up there so we didn't stay long. Just long enough to get our 2 target birds (Black Rosy -Finch, and Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch at feeders) plus Clarks Nutcracker, Mountain Chickadees, Pine Siskin, Red-breasted Nuthatch, and flicker.

We then zig-zagged around Salt Lake City Streets looking for Pomera's Harris Sparrow. We didn't find him, but saw lots of Cedar Waxwings, Rock Pigeons, Downy Woodpecker, goldfinch, Black-capped Chickadee, Mourning Dove, junco, House Finch, California Quail and robins.

At the Salt Lake Cemetery we found our Golden-crowned Kinglet (several) Brown Creeper (several), and several other species. We then went to City Creek Canyon looking for the Winter Wren. Again we missed it, but the mile or so gradual hike was wonderful. Sun was shining---looked and felt like Spring---and we saw a few new birds for the list: Song Sparrow, A frantic-flying and squawking Belted Kingfisher, Townsend Solitaire, Coopers Hawk and two red-tails flying circles in the sky.

A great outing. And we were home before 2 p.m.

Random Observations

February 1st started out with a bang in my back yard. Every time I walked by my basement window there were lots of birds at my feeders and in the trees. I spent a lot of time looking out the window. The day started out with a Brown Creeper and ended with 3 Cedar Waxwings. By the end of the day I had counted 19 species. I have wondered what I missed when I left my rocking chair. One good thing, the Sharpie didn’t come around for lunch that day.

~ Bonnie Williams


 Driving along the west side of the Airport Dike I spotted two good birds in the same small tree right next to the road. One was a kestrel lunching on a mouse, the other was a shrike obviously also interested in the mouse, because it was moving from branch to branch, inching closer to the kestrel. While I was checking the shrike closer, hoping for a northern (it was not), both birds were spooked and flew. The kestrel ended up at the top of the next tree about 30 yards away, but the shrike came right back to the first tree, quickly hopping down to the bottom branches to check the ground. I checked the ground too, and sure enough, there was the mouse (most of it anyway), which the shrike quickly retrieved. The catch was just about as big as the opportunistic catcher and I watched it struggle as it dragged the mouse into safety under fallen branches for a tasty lunch, possibly dinner too.

~Tuula Rose

We would like to try to have a monthly ‘Random Observations’ column in the newsletter. If you have a random observation you would like to share please send it to newsletter@utahbirds.org.

Utah Ornithological Society Update

Membership in the UOS is not designed just for academic ornithologists and students, but is open to all people who are interested in birds, activity, research, behaviors, etc. The UOS conducts 2-3 field trips per year to search out rare or uncommon birds for those who may have trouble finding them on our own. It also sponsors and coordinates a major conference each year for participants to learn more about birds. One valuable aspect of these seminars is that the participants get to go on some great field trips led by birders who are intimately familiar with the specific locations where the conferences are held. For instance, late last summer the conference was held in Cedar City.

The conference this year will be in Logan, hosted by the Ornithology Dept. at USU. The folks there are lining up some good field trips to the Amalga Barrens, Logan wetlands, and other important places for us to see and experience. It would be helpful if many of the state’s active birders would support the UOS by becoming members. Memberships are based on the calendar year, so that the dues for 2005 are now due.

- Regular dues are only $10 per year (Most people do this one)
- Student dues - $5 per year (Please get a signature from a professor or teacher)
- Contributing dues - $15 per year
- Supporting dues - $25 per year
- Sustaining dues - $50 per year
- Life dues - $200 for the rest of a person’s life.

Send dues for membership and any other requests for information to:
1654 W. Trailside Road
Farmington, Utah 84025
E-mail - uosinfo@utahbirds.org
Include name, address, phone number and e-mail address. The UOS does not sell or otherwise disclose membership information without a member’s consent.

Backyard Bird of the Month
February 2005

Steve Carr - Holladay
Golden Eagle - Two soaring about 1/4 mile away.

KC Childs - Orem
Red-breasted Nuthatch

Wade Covert - Provo
Northern Flicker - fun to watch and hear.

Eric Huish - Pleasant Grove
Bald Eagle - Soaring in circles over the neighborhood.

Milt Moody - Provo
Sharp-shinned Hawk - Not subtle - two feet from feeders.

Cheryl Peterson - Provo
Mountain Chickadee

Bruce Robinson - West Jordan
Northern Flicker - 4, same tree, same time.

Tuula Rose - Provo
Mourning Dove - Sitting in a tree, cooing for company.

Dennis Shirley - Elk Ridge
Cassin's Finch - Two females frequenting feeders [White-throated Sparrow still here!]

Mark Stackhouse - San Blas, Nayarit, Mexico
Magnificent Frigatebird - white "raindrops" revealed about 100 overhead.

Reed Stone - Provo
Sharp-shined Hawk - patient, stealthy, agile and fierce!!!

Alton Thygerson - Provo
Mourning Dove - first visitor appeared on February 26.

Bonnie Williams - Mapleton
Ruby-crowned Kinglet - Comes most every day to my new Peanutbutter feeder.

Backyard Bird of the Month is a new monthly column. We would like you to share your favorite backyard bird each month. Please send your favorite bird at the end of the month to newsletter@utahbirds.org or call 360-8777. If you would like a reminder at the end of the month e-mail the above address.