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April 1997


Matt's Message
by Matt DeVries (

Two summers ago I worked for the forest service in Montana. I awoke every morning to what birders call the dawn chorus. Some time, before the crack of dawn, the world outside my tent or cabin would explode with sound. The noise was so loud and omnipresent that I couldn't begin my bird survey until the din settled down to the point I could discern individual birds.

I learned over the course of that summer that a bird's music was as distinct as a bird's plumage, sometimes more distinct. Since then, I have attempted to learn the calls and songs of as many birds as possible. Doing this has increased my enjoyment of birding and made me a better birder.

Now, I often identify a bird by ear before I am able to locate it with my binoculars. When I recognize a song or call, it creates an emotion or recalls an image: the creaking of a Yellow-headed Blackbird makes me smile and laugh, the scolding of a Marsh Wren reminds me that I am an intruder, and the singing of a Yellow Warbler tells me it is Spring.

And, when I can't identify a bird I hear, my imagination is piqued and I must discover what is making the sound. Sometimes the sound turns out to be a squirrel, others it is an old bird friend whose voice has faded in my memory, and sometimes I don't find out what it is and I am left to wonder and imagine.

Listening to birds has taught me a valuable lesson: when I stand quietly and listen, I see more birds. I think it is a useful and fun exercise, when spring is in full force and birds of all kinds are singing, to find a quiet place to sit down and listen to the birds.

Try it. Whether you experience the dawn chorus or an afternoon symphony, you will be enriched and entranced by the marvelous and diverse voices of the birds.


April Meeting
by Dennis Shirley

The April meeting will be held on Thursday, April 17, at 7:00 p.m. at Bean Museum. Ken McDonald, Wildlife Biologist for the Division of Wildlife Resources, stationed in Cedar City, will be our guest speaker. Ken will present a program about his outgoing avian management and research activities in Southern Utah. His report will include information about the Southwestern Willow Flycatcher, Ferruginous Hawk, and Songbird populations along the Virgin River in Washington County.

Ken has worked for the DWR since 1990, always involved with nongame terrestrial wildlife from the Utah Prairie Dog to various species of birds. He received his B.S. degree from the University of California at Davis and an M.S. from Ohio State University. His masters research involved the reintroduction of river otter into Ohio. Ken recently married his long-time sweetheart Jane on last Valentine’s Day. They reside in Cedar City.


Robin’s View
by Robin Tuck (


This month's article, "Lessons from the Contest," is found in the Robin's View section of this web site.


Field Trips
by Ned Hill (

April 26: Ouray National Wildlife Refuge and points in between. Meet at the Bean Museum parking lot at 5:00 a.m. Bring a lunch—we will be gone all day. Target birds: American Bittern, Black Tern, migrants, waterfowl.

May 10: Merrill Webb will organize us to canvas the county for Migratory Bird Day.

May 24th: postponed (Lytle Ranch turns out to be very busy this spring. We couldn't get reservations for Memorial Day weekend since a research group had reserved it quite a while ago. The next opening for a weekend is June 13-15 [see below].)

June 13-15: The new date for the Lytle Ranch trip. We have made reservations for the campground for Friday and Saturday nights. It holds 25 people. Target birds: Vermillion Flycatcher, Costa's Hummingbird, Phainopepla, Green Heron, Common Black Hawk, Ash-throated and Brown-crested Flycatchers, Summer Tanager, Hooded Oriole, Lesser Nighthawk, White-winged Dove, Black-tailed Gnatcatcher, Bell's Vireo, Cactus Wren, owls.

We are also interested in planning a trip to southeastern Arizona sometime this summer. How many of you would be interested? We would probably be gone about a week and visit such places as: Madera Canyon, Ramsay Canyon, Cave Creek Canyon, Sonora Desert Museum, Patagonia, Guadalupe Canyon. If you haven't been birding in Arizona, you can expect to see about 60-75 life birds. It is one of the most exciting birding trips in the country!

Share your ideas with Ned Hill at 375-2417 or 375-2419, or e-mail


Birders Web Site Created

This Newsletter is now available on the World Wide Web. If you have Internet access, you can view it at the following URL (Uniform Resource Location):

Please help improve the web site by submitting suggestions to We will enhance the web site as time permits.


Future Meetings

May 15. Birding on the Dry Tortugas - Merrill Webb.

September 18. Birds of the Great Salt Lake - Don Paul

Please tell Dennis Shirley your ideas for future meetings. His phone number is 423-1108.


Membership in the Utah County Birders is open to any interested person. Dues are $12 per year, although no one will be excluded if unable or unwilling to participate. Send dues to Beula Hinckley, 2067 N. 420 E., Provo, UT 84604

Executive Committee

President Matt DeVries ( 226-0958
Past-President Robin Tuck ( 377-8084
President-Elect Merrill Webb 224-6113
Secretary-Treasurer Beula Hinckley 377-3443
Programs Dennis Shirley 423-1108
Field Trips Ned Hill ( 375-2417
Membership Barbara Whipple ( 226-3931
Newsletter Weldon Whipple ( 226-3931

Telephone Hotline: 375-2487, 377-8084
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