Utah County Birders Newsletter
January 2013

    January Meeting
Upcoming Field Trips
    Meet the New UCB President
    Bird of the Month
    Field Trip Report
- New Year's Day Birding
    Provo CBC Report

    Merrill's 2012 Birding Goals
Backyard Bird of the Month
    December Hotline Highlights
Newsletter is now Online Only


Thursday, January 17th, 2013 (note 3rd Thursday, not our usual 2nd Thursday)

Time for our annual New Year's Party! For our monthly meeting we will be meeting at the Golden Corral on University Parkway (225 West 1300 South). Like previous years, we will have a room reserved in the back for the club, and everyone will pay individually as you enter the restaurant. We will be recognizing individuals who completed the 2012 birding challenge, so please get your information in to one of the Birding Challenge committee members, Milt Moody, Leena Rogers, or Alton Thygerson as soon as possible.  Challenge details - http://www.utahbirds.org/ucb/BirdingChallenge2012.pdf

Meet at 7:00 PM at the Golden Corral on University Parkway in Orem (225 West 1300 South). Tel: 801-225-6299


Note - Future meetings will be held at the Orem Public Library while the Bean Museum is under construction.  Meetings are at 7:00 pm on the 2nd Thursday of the month.


19 January 2013: North Utah County - Meet: Orem Center St. Park & Ride at 8 AM. - We will bird North Utah County to search for Longspurs, Rosy-Finches, and other winter rarities. Specific area is to be determined. Plan on a half day trip.

24-26 Jan 2013: St. George Bird Festival
.  A great opportunity to get some sunshine and see some of the wintering birds in Southern Utah that we don't generally see in our neck of the woods.  Make your own arrangements.

2 February 2013:  Farmington Bay - Meet: Orem Center Street Park & Ride at 7 AM - Our main location will be Farmington Bay for Bald Eagles, Gulls, Etc. After that we will hit a couple other areas (chasing any good reports) before heading home. Will be gone most of the day.

9 Feb 2013:  Bald Eagle Day.  A DWR Wildlife Event.  Come and go as you wish at any of the Bald Eagle Day locations. The ever-popular Bald Eagle Day will be on Saturday, February 9, 2013 at five locations. The times vary according to the location and are as follows: Salt Creek Waterfowl Management Area from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Farmington Bay Waterfowl Management Area from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Fountain Green State Fish Hatchery from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Split Mountain/Green River from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Cedar Valley from 3 p.m. until dusk.

We are actively recruiting people to lead local half-day field trips, any time, any place.  If you would like to lead a field trip or if you have any ideas for this yearís field trips, please contact Bryan Shirley at - bt_shirley@hotmail.com  

Meet the New UCB President: Keeli Marvel


Keeli Marvel holding a Cooper's Hawk

For those of you who donít know me yet, or donít know much about me (we obviously have never been birding together) Iíd like to introduce myself.

I was born in Provo, but moved around a lot as a kid. Wherever we lived it seemed like my parents always found somewhere to go camping or exploring, and thatís how we spent most of our vacations . Spending so much time outdoors led me to choose a major at BYU in the Plant and Wildlife Sciences Department where I completed both a bachelorís and a masterís degree in Wildlife and Wildlands Conservation. It was during my undergraduate education that birding first showed up on my radar. One of my required electives was an Ornithology course taught by Dr. Hal Black. His unorthodox teaching style had me hooked. Iím not sure birds were ever in my consciousness before, but that semester they became an obsession. In my ornithology class, we sang songs about birds, we wrote poems about birds, we ate KFC in class so we could study the leftover bones and learn about how bird bones are hollow and light compared to other animals. In order to get an A for the semester, we were required to identify (on our honor) 200 separate species of birds. I remember finding the black and red feathered remains of a bird that had met an unfortunate fate and returning to class to report. ďDr. Black, I found a black bird with red feathers on its wingsÖwhat kind of bird is it?Ē Dr. Blackís response: ďWhat do you think it was? My answer ďA blackbird with red wings?Ē Bingo. If only they were all that aptly named.

Someone suggested one of the best ways to get all the birds we needed that semester -in addition to our end of semester trip to Lytle Ranch-was to attend the Utah County Birders field trips. I remember riding along with Reed Stone and his brother and being completely amazed that they could call out the identity of birds they could see as we were driving down the road at 65mph. I also remember birding with Bryan Shirley the day of the ornithology final trying to squeeze in a few species more before our lists were due. I ended the semester with 175 species on my list, and a life-long hobby. Sometimes I just look back and wonder how I was so unaware of the amazing world of birds that exists around us.

Later on in graduate school, I took a World Bird Families course to learn even more about the amazing diversity of birds on this planet. I think this was my favorite of all the classes I took at school (and there were a lot!). I also had the opportunity to take the summers off and work various field jobs while I was in college. I spent four summers southern Utah as a biological technician for the Forest Service doing Northern Flicker and Northern Goshawk surveys over all of Dixie National Forest. There is nothing more thrilling than approaching a goshawk nest and having a female goshawk make her presence very much known by screaming and diving at your head. I have fond memories of those summers. That field job led to my masterís degree, analyzing the impact of habitat on nest success of Northern Goshawks. After completing my degrees, I spent a few years working for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources in various positions, but mostly doing wildlife disease-related work. From there I moved on to my current job as Natural Resource Specialist for the Department of Defense at Dugway Proving Ground. Some days Iím stuck at my desk, but often enough I get out to do a little field work, and Iíve always got my binoculars with me. The last few years Iíve gotten to do some pretty cool stuff working with wildlife, and Iíll be forever thankful to my parents and my teachers for instilling that desire in me. Currently my husband and I (no kids yet) live in American Fork. Iím constantly thankful that he puts up with my bird addiction, and tries to get excited for me when I come home all fired up about the birds Iíve seen. Maybe one day Iíll convert him to birding. In the meantime, Iím trying my best to convert my brother and my three year old nephew who got his own first pair of binoculars after a trip to the Tracy Aviary.

I look forward to serving as president and to birding with you in the years to come. Happy New Years and Happy Birding!


Bird of the Month

No Bird of the Month this month.

If you would like to write an article for the Bird of the Month, please contact Eric Huish - poorwill_@hotmail.com

Click here for past 'Birds of the Month'.


Field Trip Report
New Year's Day Birding
- January 1st, 2013
Keeli Marvel

Thirteen birders met the morning of New Year's Day in single digits temps to kick off the new year with a new list of birds and bird a couple of hotspots in southern Utah County. Our first stop was the Lewis' Woodpecker spot in Woodland Hills where we saw at least 2 Lewis' Woodpeckers, and got good looks at several other species.

Our next stop was Salem Pond where we got most of the common species of ducks found in Utah this time of year (Gadwall, Ring-necked Duck, Canvasback, Redhead, Northern Pintail, Lesser Scaup, Northern Shoveler, Mallard, Ruddy Duck, Common Goldeneye, and a Green-winged Teal). We tried for a Virginia Rail, which have been seen in the little marsh at the end of the park on previous winter visits, but we were not successful. Also absent was a Horned Grebe reportedly seen there during the Payson CBC the previous Saturday.

Our final stops were the ponds and fields around west Payson, including the fields near the water treatment plant. We were lucky to get great looks at a Prairie Falcon perched on a power pole (very alliterative), along with some other raptors (Red-tails, American Kestrel, Northern Harrier) in the fields adjacent to the water treatment plant. We missed the Short-eared Owl that has been reported in that area the last couple of days. In one of the ponds in northwest Payson we found a female Cinnamon Teal. We ended the trip with around 38 species of birds for our 2013 list. Thanks for everyone who came out in the cold to enjoy the birds!


2012 Provo CBC
by Bryan Shirley


We had a tough day on the Provo Christmas Bird Count. It looks like we ended up with 92 species - the lowest we have had since 2000. Besides the snow, Utah Lake had no ice at all and that probably hurt our waterfowl numbers (all the ducks stay in the middle of the lake too far to see). We did have a couple of both Prairie & Peregrine Falcons, a few Bohemian Waxwings, 2 mockingbirds, and our East Bay resident Pelican.

Of course it was still a lot of fun.

20l2 Birding Goals by Merrill Webb

Alter reading the goals that were recommended for the year 2012 in the Utah County Birders newsletter I decided to focus on three of my own. My first goal. that of finding a total of 700 birds in North America (48 states plus Alaska and Hawaii) before I turned 70 years of age, had been an ongoing quest for the last couple of years. The other two were more immediate. One was, as Barbara Watkins asked (referring to the year 2012) in the fine article she wrote in last month's newsletter, "Did you add some birds to your life list?" So, where could I go to increase my life list in a short amount of time for not too much money? I decided on Brazil. The third goal ended up being more ambitious. By the end of March I had observed at least 36 birds in 13 counties (the UCB Challenge was to see that many in 12 counties by the end of the year). So I figured I might just as well attempt to see at least 36 birds in each of the Utah counties which I hadn't yet completed (16).

When I reached the age of 70 in November of 2011, I was still quite a few birds short of my goal of 700. But by going on a pelagic trip off the Outer Banks of North Carolina in February, and then finding a White-collared Seedeater later that same month in Texas my 700th species in the United States (50 Sataes). I was happy and relieved to have completed that portion of my goals even if it was a little later in my 70th year.

The trip to the Pantanal and the Chapada in Brazil with my wife, Lynnette, in August proved to be as productive as I had hoped. I added 164 bird species to my world life list including twenty different kinds of flycatchers and the beautiful Hyacinth Macaw. We also saw two jaguars, a family of river otters and many capybaras. the largest rodent in the world.

I had been able to complete eleven additional counties in Utah before leaving for our trip to South America, so I had four months left to complete the remaining five counties. These five counties were more distant From Orem so it took overnight trips in order to complete two counties with each trip. I finally completed my last one, Daggett, in November. I had one county where I was able to see more than 200 species during the year, Utah, and nine counties where I tallied more than 100 species in each one.

So what did I achieve and what did I learn from birding all over Utah during 2012? For one thing I added new birds to my county life lists in almost every Utah county, especially in Wasatch, Summit and Sanpete. I also submitted more than 900 checklists to eBird, which I hope will be useful to others in gaining a better understanding of the seasonal distribution of Utah birds.

This state has some great places in which to look for birds, both in terms of scenery and of avian diversity. In Wayne County I found a Nashville Warbler in the quiet surroundings of Capitol Reef National Park, and a couple of weeks later I heard some Clark's Nutcrackers along the Cockscomb near Teasdale. Drove up a rough forest service road into the Boulder Mountains where there had been a recent forest fire, and to my surprise I found Evening Grosbeaks and Cassin's Finches feeding on the seeds of cones that had opened due to the effects of the fire. A fall trip to Schofield Reservoir in Carbon County produced a Long-tailed Duck, and then a couple of weeks later a Rough-legged Hawk and a Northern Shrike. I observed more than 75 Redpolls at a feeder in Summit County in December, only to have two show up at my own feeders three days later. Alter observing the Rufous Hummingbird in Diamond Fork Canyon, Utah County, I was fortunate to find it in seven other counties during the fall migration. I found a Pygmy Owl in Millard County in February, which was a relief because I have had a hard time finding this bird, and then in November I found it in Wasatch County and Summit County. Due its varied types of habitats Washington County always produces some interesting birds. This year I saw the White-tailed Kite in the Washington Fields, Common Black Hawk along the Santa Clara River, Costa's Hummingbird and a Black-tailed Gnatcatcher at Lytle Ranch, a Golden-crowned Sparrow at Welcome Spring and a Rufous-crowned Sparrow in Springdale. Probably the bird that provided the greatest amount of relief was the Ruffed Grouse that strolled across a parking lot in Ephraim Canyon in October. I wasn't sure I would be able to find the birds I needed in Daggett County due to the lateness of the year, but I was pleased to find American Tree Sparrow, Northern Shrike, and Hooded Merganser (among others) which I wouldn't have found earlier in the breeding season.

There were 42 species that I found every month of the year, and many of the same birds in every county in the state (Starling, House Finch, and House Sparrow, for example). I think it is interesting to note that the Eurasian Collared Dove was first observed in Utah in the year 2000. I found it in every county this year.

Most frustrating miss was the Inca Dove. I looked for it every time I was in Washington County, but could never find it.

So, for me the year was a success. I achieved all the goals that I had set and had a good time doing it.


Backyard Bird of the Month

December 2012

Glenn Barlow
On December 28th we received a belated Christmas present in the form of a Spotted Towhee, which visited under our deck, then flew to a neighbor's lilac bush. The red eye surely stands out!

Steve Carr - Holladay
Red-breasted Nuthatch - A pair of them have actually been in the yard for 3 months, enjoying peanuts, suet, sunflower chips, and peanut butter.

Yvonne Carter - Highland
The feeders have been busy with juncos, house finches, spotted towhees, goldfinches, Northern Flickers working away on a dead tree stump, and Great Horned Owls called out in the evening.

Eric Huish - Pleasant Grove
A beautiful male American Kestrel has been perching above the bird feeders just outside the kitchen window. 

Milt Moody - Provo
A Gray-headed Juno completed the "Utah junco set" this month (Oregon, Pink-sided, Slate-colored, being the others -- no "White-winged" this month!)

Dennis Shirley - Elk Ridge
Townsend's Solitaire - Only for one five minute span.

Alton Thygerson - Provo
Red-breasted Nuthatch - First time ever seen in my backyard.


Report your favorite backyard bird each month to Eric Huish at 801-360-8777 or poorwill_@hotmail.com

Newsletter Announcement.  The Utah County Birders Newsletter is now online only. 


We've decided to stop the regular paper "snail mail" version of the UCB Newsletter.  This will save our club on Printing, Postage and Paper.  If you would like an email notice each month when the Newsletter is posted online please send an email to Eric Huish at poorwill_@hotmail.com  or subscribe to the ucbnet mailing list.  To subscribe to ucbnet just send an e-mail to ucbnet-subscribe@utahbirds.org


We are willing to print the online version of the newsletter and mail it out to anyone who still wants a paper copy or who doesn't have internet access.  If you know of anyone who enjoys the UCB Newsletter but doesn't have internet access please let Eric Huish or Keeli Marvel know and we will make sure they get a copy.