Utah County Birders Newsletter
Upcoming Field Trips
Provo CBC - Report
2006 UCB Birding Challenge
Backyard Bird of the
Wed, January 10th.
Ann Neville - Senior adviser - biological
research for Kennecott Utah Copper Corp. She is in charge of the Inland Sea
Shorebird Reserve and biologist over the Oquirrh Mountains Kennecott property.
She will talk to us about The Inland Sea Shorebird
Reserve and how Kennecott is managing their land on the
We will meet a little late to try to avoid the BYU football game traffic.
BYU Security has been notified of our meeting. They have told us that if you are
stopped by security you need to tell them "YOU ARE WITH THE UTAH COUNTY BIRDERS
AND YOU ARE ATTENDING A MEETING IN THE BEAN MUSEUM."
Meet at 7:15 PM in the Bean Museum Auditorium on the BYU Campus.
Friday, January 26th - Sunday, January 28th
The St. George Winter Bird Festival.
Information about the festival may be found on the
Red Cliffs Audubon web
This year’s banquet features Reece Stein as our speaker. Reece is an award
winning reporter for KUTV’s “Roughin’ it Outdoors.” Reece has covered every
corner of Utah and beyond. Come and enjoy hearing about Utah’s birds and the
Friday Evening Special! Free Presentation by Bobby Harrison - Ivory-Billed
Woodpeckers - Dixie State College - Dunford Auditorium - 7:00 p.m.
Come to the UCB meeting and watch your e-mail for more information regarding our
(or, meditations on qualifications)
By Merrill Webb
Recently I had a telephone conversation with a woman who had called inquiring
about the date of the Provo Christmas Bird Count (CBC). When I informed her that
the count had been held a week earlier, she indicated that she was more than
just a novice and would like to be involved as a participant in the next year's
CBC. The discussion then turned to my involvement with the count as the
compiler, and eventually to my responsibility of serving as the new president of
the Utah County Birders. Then she asked two questions that I thought were kind
of interrelated. "What qualifications should a person have in order to be a
'birder'?" she asked. And then the second question, "What qualifies you to be
"Ahh, good questions," I responded, actually having contemplated the second one
quite recently myself.
So, how would you answer her?
Here are some possible answers for the first question, a few that I actually
shared with my caller.
(1) A birder ought to be more than just a passive bird-watcher, for example,
someone who does more than just put some seed in a bird feeder and who thinks
the finches and sparrows that come to the feeder are "cute" and fun to watch.
(2) A birder should have some skill in identifying more than just a few
different kinds of birds, for example someone who can tell the difference
between a Lark Sparrow and a Song Sparrow. My younger brother called me from his
home in St. George to share an exciting find while I was looking for birds along
the Provo River during the recent Provo CBC. There was a Vermilion Flycatcher in
his yard. And it was an immature male. He knew that was what it was because he
had looked it up in four different field guides I had suggested he purchase over
the years. He still doesn't enjoy trying to identify sparrows (like the ones
previously mentioned), but he purchased a new pair of binoculars last week to
help him see the birds more clearly. He is on his way to becoming a birder (even
though he might not appreciate that appellation just yet).
(3) A birder should be someone who enjoys sharing his hobby with others. I have
a student who lives in the same neighborhood as Reed Stone. She informed me that
she went birding with both Reed and his brother, Kay, during the holidays and
that she saw her first Lewis' Woodpecker. She couldn't tell me the location of
where it was, only that it was really a beautiful bird, and that they had been
able to get very close to it. This wasn't the first time Reed has shared his
love for birds with her, or with other B.Y.U. students who he has helped. And I
know there are many others in our organization who have taken B.Y.U. students
out to help them meet requirements for certain classes.
(4) A birder is usually one who keeps at least one list of the birds he/she has
seen. All you have to do is take a look at the internet site Milton Moody
maintains to see the variety of lists people keep.
(5) A birder is one who chases a rare bird at least once a year. A recent
example is the Worm-eating Warbler that quite a few from this area (Utah Valley)
drove to Ogden to observe. Bonnie Williams told me that she wouldn't have driven
up to Ogden alone if she hadn't been invited by others to go with them to see
this rare visitor to our state.
(6) A birder is one who enjoys actually studying and learning about the behavior
of a bird (or group of birds). If you have an opportunity to go birding with
Kris Purdy take advantage of it. She has made an art out of studying the nuances
of many different kinds of birds. Kris never seems to be in a hurry to just
check off a bird on a list. In fact, I don't think she even keeps a list like
many other birders, at least not for listing's sake.
(7) A birder gets enjoyment from observing the beauty of certain kinds of birds.
Who hasn't gained an appreciation for birds after viewing the magnificent
plumages of a male Wood Duck, or a male Western Tanager for the first time,...or
the second time.....or many times thereafter? I remember one of my former
zoology students seeing a Great Blue Heron for the first time. After many years
of birding it is still her favorite bird.
(8) And finally, at least for this rendering, a birder is one who would rather
be out looking for the new bird for the year instead of sitting at home watching
a football game on New Year's Day. Robin Tuck and I ventured down to Juab County
early on January 1 to see what our first bird for the new year would be, hoping
that if we got an early enough start it wouldn't be a Starling or a Magpie.
Nope, it wasn't. Found a small flock of American Wigeons on Burraston Ponds
south of Mona.
So, are you a birder? If you have taken the time to read this, I suppose you
found that you met some, or all of the qualifications. We are a rather common
collection of individuals tied together by the common thread we share of a
passion for birds. Yet, we are all unique in our approach. We need to share this
passion with others. As for the second question she asked? Well, I will try to
provide an answer in the next installment of Merrill's musings.
Provo Christmas Bird
Count Results for 2006
by Merrill Webb, Provo CBC compiler
Provo CBC Compilation Party - December 16th, 2006
photo by Eric Huish
More than 30 observers went afield on December 16 for Provo's 35th
consecutive Christmas Bird Count (CBC). Considering that a nocturnal snowstorm
dumped 3-10 inches in various parts of the count circle, the day of the count
wasn't all that bad with the temperatures in the high 20's and very little wind.
An even 100 species were tallied, just down one from last year's total of 101.
Fifteen species of waterfowl were counted, but not in the numbers to which we
are accustomed due to the demise of Geneva Steel's settling ponds. Kind of
ambivalent feelings about that loss, though. Highest number of waterfowl was
Canada Geese with 3200 being reported. Wood Ducks were higher than usual with a
total of 20 being observed by two different parties. Ten species of raptors were
noted, highest number being American Kestrel with 108, followed by 67 Northern
Harriers. Eurasian Collared-Doves came in with a new high (61), and there were a
surprising number of Mourning Doves still hanging around (239). An unexpected,
and disappointing, surprise was that there were no Great Horned Owls or Western
Screech Owls seen or heard by the two groups of birders who went owling before
sunrise. However, two Short-eared Owls were observed in the foothills north of
Orem, and two Pygmy Owls were spotted in Provo Canyon during the daytime hours.
The numbers for American Crows and American Tree Sparrows were the lowest they
have been for some time, 123 and one, respectively.
Unusual species not usually seen on our count were: Barrow's Goldeneye (one
female on the lower Provo River), Great Egret (one, in the Flowserve area of
northwest Springville), White-faced Ibis (one in the west Springville fields
area), Northern Mockingbird (one, Swede's Lane area), Fox Sparrow (one at a
Provo feeder), Swamp Sparrow (one at the north end of the Skipper Bay trail
north of the Utah Lake State Park), and Black Rosy Finch (50 in the foothills
north of Orem).
The bird species with the highest number of individuals was Starling, no
surprise here, with an estimated 13,473 followed by Canada Geese and then
American Robin with 1396.
Thanks to all those who helped with the count this year. There always seems to
be unexpected and surprising results. I suppose that is what keeps us going out
year after year.
2006 UCB Birding Challenge
Those individuals who finished the 2006 Birding Challenge (All sixes for
2006) should get their numbers in to Milt Moody -
firstname.lastname@example.org. He’ll be
compiling them. All we need are the numbers and the categories that you
successfully completed according to the
Contest Rules. You can even substitute a challenge category of your own. You
just need to describe what you did and that you completed it. If you have any
questions call Milt at 801-373-2795 -
The first of the year is here and with it comes this reminder to pay your $15.00
2007 dues. As has been stated before, the web page is no longer free, hence the
raise in the amount of the dues. Thanks to those of you who have already sent
yours in. Those of you still wanting to do so may make a check to Utah County
Birders and send it to the following address:
2831 Marrcrest West
Provo, Utah 84604
Thanks for your participation.
Backyard Bird of the
Steve Carr - Holladay
Yellow-rumped (Audubon's) Warbler - 4 individual birds enjoying the
Eric Huish - Pleasant Grove
Killdeer - Calling from high above the house in the black of night.
Milt Moody - Provo
Fox Sparrow - From 11 December to the new year.
LeIla Ogden - Orem
Beautiful Cedar Waxwings were in my backyard this morning. A welcome
Cheryl Peterson - Provo
Bruce Robinson - West Jordan
Dark-eyed Juncos - Gotta love the bird, gotta hate the winter!!
Tuula Rose - Provo
Sharp-shinned Hawk - has found my feeding flocks and taken up residence.
NOT my favorite yard bird.
Mark Stackhouse - San Blas, Nayarit, Mexico
Mottled Owl - calling out in the darkness when I got home from the plaza
tonight, flew in to my call to the palm tree out front (new yard bird).
Alton Thygerson - Provo
Spotted Towhee - sometimes two at a time.
Bonnie Williams - Mapleton
Black-capped Chickadee - My Most dependable backyard bird.
We would like you to share your favorite backyard bird each
month. Please send your favorite bird at the end of the month to
email@example.com or call 360-8777. If you would like a reminder at
the end of the month e-mail the above address.