Utah County Birders Newsletter
December 2005

    December Meeting
    Upcoming Field Trips
    Provo CBC
    Feather Talk
    Field Trip Report - Local City Parks - November 12th, 2005
    Backyard Bird of the Month
    November Hotline Highlights


Wednesday, December 14th.

Christmas Bird Count Preparation - We will receive instruction and assignments for the Provo CBC.  We will also have a power point presentation on the birds we will most likely see on the count. 

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


There are no UCB Field Trips this month.

Please participate in the Christmas Bird Counts in your area.


December 17th (Sat): Provo Christmas Bird Count - Come to the Utah County Birders Meeting on Dec. 14th (see above) or contact Merrill Webb at 801-224-6113 or merrill_webb@yahoo.com.  We will compile the results at the Utah Academy of Sciences, 940 West 800 South, Orem.

Feather Talk
By Alton Thygerson

All I Want for Christmas Is…

December heralds the start of three months of cold weather birding. Species are thin in numbers. The month’s best bird has just as much chance of turning up at a backyard feeder as it does at a hotspot. Adding a new bird for your life list may rest on being just plain lucky.

December can be a preparation month—a downtime to get ready for spring three months hence! Your preparation can include flipping the pages of your favorite field guide or acquiring some bird CDs or tapes as an attempt to recognize those bird songs previously heard but have now faded with time.

December provides two big events of the year in a birder’s life--a Christmas Bird Count and Christmas itself. This article focuses upon Christmas. This is the time to treat yourself by either buying your own gift in the name of your spouse or friend or providing a list of gift ideas. Let us not forget that it’s better to give than to receive despite your wants and wishes.

Here’s a list of potential gifts, and no, there won’t be any $1,600 Swarovski binoculars or a field guide listed. These gift ideas are unusual with the birder in mind:

1. Woolie – this is a self-contained, ready to hang package of nesting material made of 100% natural sheep wool. $6.95

2. Princeton Mint Audubon Bookmark (each feature a different bird such as Say’s Phoebe, Yellow Warbler, etc.) $3.00

3. Birdwatcher Socks – they have designs featuring bird species (e.g., Puffin, Hummingbird, etc.). $8.95

4. Pajaro Shoulder or Waist Bag – a great way to carry a field guide, checklist, notebook and incidentals into the field. They come in several colors. $29.95

5. Delorme Atlas Carrier – for those going into areas where the ordinary highway map is deficient, birders can use a Delorme Atlas (every state has one). A canvas bag keeps your atlas clean even under the seat or tossed in the truck of your vehicle. $12.59

6. Polar Neck Tie –- this can provide relief when the temperatures rise (Washington County during the summer or a lot of other hot spots). You soak it for 45 minutes and place around your neck for a cooling effect. $7.50

7. LifeList Pin – the American Birding Association has pins (with a different specie on each) and numbers from 200 through and including 700 for recognition of reaching a certain number of birds. $5.95

8. Trekker – this is a light-weight solution for birding in wet and/or muddy locations. These boots fit over your shoes or hiking boots.

9. Bug Shirt – provides protection against biting and stinging insects. With the West Nile Virus scare, you might want to consider this when birding in mosquito infested locations and especially at sunup and sundown when mosquitoes are most prevalent and likely to bite. $34.95

10. Video or DVD – there are several available from bird family identification to birding specific locations. Prices vary around $30.00

All of the above can be accessed at the American Birding Association website at http://www.americanbirding.org.

Other ideas:

1. An annual Utah State Park Pass necessary for entrance to Antelope Island and all the other State Parks.

2. 2006 Calendar featuring birds. National Geographic, Sibley, etc. all have them. Most local bookstores carry several selections.

3. One of the dozen or more books reviewed during the October Utah County Birders’ meeting. When Ned Hill reported that A Parrot Without a Name was one of the best books he had ever read, I immediately purchased a copy. I would have done the same thing after Tom Williams’ review of Kingbird Highway, but I have read it. And, this applies to all the other book reviews shared that evening.

Still lost about your bird-related gift? Browse for gift ideas by:

1. Visiting one of the two Wild Bird Centers in Utah (Salt Lake City and Layton). It’s difficult to leave these stores without something.

2. Visiting one of the two REI stores in the Salt Lake Valley or the new Cabela’s in Lehi or Sportsman’s Warehouse in Provo. These places have binoculars, spotting scopes, clothing, and other outdoor items.

When I told my non-birding wife about this article, she gently reminded me that these were for the birder in the family. She may have had in mind what I did one Christmas during my teen years for my father. I liked a tie so much I bought it, and gave it as a gift so I could also wear it.

The year has come quickly to a close. As our childhood song goes: “…merrily, merrily, merrily, life is but a dream.” Publicly I express thanks the support team of UCB officers. When I took the job as president, I was guaranteed support and have received it.

Next year, look for the 2006 Bird Challenge (or contest). Leena Rogers and her crew promises another set of goals worthy of our pursuit of birds. Suggestions for any aspect of this every-two-year event are encouraged.

Utah County Birders at Bi-Centennial Park - 12 November 2005
photo by Eric Huish

Field Trip Report
Local City Parks - November 12th, 2005

by Leena Rogers

About a dozen enthusiastic Utah County birders and several visitors braved the cold, showery weather on Saturday morning to meet at 8:00 a.m. at Paul Ream Park in Provo Tuula Rose and Milt Moody had planned a field trip to several of the local parks, two local cemeteries, as well as Hobble Creek Canyon. Hobble Creek, especially, had looked very promising as they scouted out the field trip route a few days previously.

The birding gods were not smiling on Saturday morning. Most of the time we contended with a cool brisk wind mixed with a drizzly rain. I kept my binocs zipped inside my jacket to keep the rain off the lenses. Not to worry, there weren't that many occasions that called for their use.

The theme running through the morning seemed to be "Where are the birds?" They obviously were smarter than our birding group -- away from the elements, staying snug and warm, hidden away from view. The birds continued to evade us at each location. Well, the company was wonderful even if the birding left something to be desired!

At the Springville Cemetery we ended the day on a brighter note. The sun finally came out and Tuula Rose pointed out a rainbow displayed against a beautiful mountain backdrop. Just as we were ready to get into our cars and head for home a pair of playful Belted Kingfishers, darting and diving, flew past our group calling out to each other and reminding us why we continue to love birding!

Unbelievable as it sounds, the list below consists of the TOTAL number of birds we saw:

Paul Ream Park, Provo
Sharp-shinned Hawk, Kestrel, House Sparrow, Magpie.

Provo City Cemetery
Yellow-rumped Warbler, Cedar Waxwing, Northern Flicker, Magpie, American Robin.

Bi-Centennial Park, Provo
Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Lesser Goldfinch, Magpie, Sharp-shinned Hawk, Bushtits [flock], House Finch, Mallard.

Hobble Creek Canyon
Chickadees [heard], Red-tailed Hawk, Kestrel, Magpie.

Springville Cemetery
Sharp-shinned Hawk, Belted Kingfisher [pair].

Thanks Tuula and Milt for a fun morning. Continued good birding everyone!


Backyard Bird of the Month
November 2005

Glenn Barlow - Fruit Heights
Yellow-rumped Warbler - Yard First.

KC Childs - Provo
Song Sparrow - Fun to watch at feeders.

Steve Carr - Holladay
Downy Woodpecker - Pair seen at my feeder almost every day in November.

Wade Covert - Provo
Dark-eyed Junco - nice to have them back.

Eric Huish - Pleasant Grove
Western Screech-Owl - I'll sometimes see one sitting in the nest box entrance hole.

Selena & Alan Keller - Orem
Western Scrub-Jay - Part Albino.

Milt Moody - Provo
Lesser Goldfinch - 30 at a time in different plumages.

Tuula Rose - Provo
Sharp-shinned Hawk - A very small male sits in the tree. I have no other birds.

Reed Stone - Provo
Sharp-shinned Hawk - Sharpie in a tree, on guard. Took a STARLING from the yead----YEA!!!!!

Alton Thygerson - Provo
Sharp-shinned Hawk looking for a meal around the feeders.

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.