Utah County Birders Newsletter
April 2000

April Meeting

7:00 p.m., Wednesday, April 19 At the Bean Museum on the BYU Campus Provo, Utah.

 "BIRDING MEXICO" Presented by Reed Stone & Ivan Call. 

Reed and Ivan will report on there trip to San Blas Mexico.

Field Trips

April 28th
Strutting Blue Grouse, 5:30 -10:30. Meet at the Little Acorn at the mouth of Spanish Fork Canyon at 5:30 a.m.
May 6th
Sevier & Sanpete Counties, full day. Meet at the Been Museum at 6 a.m.
May 26th
To be announced

Birds and Windows

by Darlene Amott

In a recent "Wild Bird" magazine, there was an interesting letter to the editor concerning bird window strikes. I am sorry that I missed the article that elicited the letter, since there might have been some helpful information. I am sure all of us have struggled with the problem at one time or another, particularly if there are large windows involved. However, the letter and the editor's response mentioned an idea or two that caused me to think a bit. Two large windows in my house have caused problems over the years. My experience seems to indicate that neither louvered blinds nor curtains seem to help much. I currently use both and still have birds hitting the glass. Recently, I placed owl silhouettes on the outside of both windows. The birds still hit the glass, although I don't think it occurs as often as it used to. The comments in the magazine indicated that feeder distance from the window seems to be important. Maximum kills from window hits apparently occur in the 20 - 30 foot range. The closer the feeder, the fewer fatal hits there are. Dr. Klem, of Mulenburg College, has made extensive studies, and indicates that the optimum distance for a feeder is three feet from the window. Birds hitting glass from that distance can't gain enough speed to do any harm. Since I have one feeder just outside a window on the back of the house, I went out to measure the distance. It is twelve feet from the window. Whew! It's a bit farther than the three feet suggested, but it is not in the dreaded 20 - 30 foot kill range. Closer seems to be better. However, one qualification was indicated. When the feeders are farther away, presumably beyond the 30 foot range, more escape routes become visible to the bird. Chances of hitting a window are reduced. The preferred method of discouragement is still silhouettes placed on the outside of the window. Oops, I just noticed that both of mine have fallen off. Time to make some repairs. If you have had a successful experience with a deterrent, share it with us.

Robin's View

by Robin Tuck

That blasted American Black Duck...

I got there at 7:30 Saturday, but it left at 6:30. It's been seen since, but not by me. In fact, I only know of three people who have seen it. It's all in the timing. I would be tempted to declare that birding is a matter of luck were it not so that being good, real good, helps bring on more luck. The American Black Duck is a prime example of what it takes to be good. Merrill Webb found it first. Many of us believe Merrill to be the best birder in the state because he is able to find rarities. Most of us look at an unknown duck and pass it off as a "welfare" duck, some half-breed, not looking carefully enough to tell if it is really some other species. But Merrill looked at it and saw it for what it was, a wanderer from the east. It's not that this is a once-in-a- lifetime event, Merrill found the Field Sparrow last year at the Lindon Marina, also a first for the state. It's tempting to call both of these sightings incredible luck when in reality, it is simply skill. When you know what is supposed to be here in Utah and what is not supposed to be here it is easy to recognize the vagrant. Now, I'm certainly not the one to point fingers. My life is spent studying things that interest me, which includes a lot more than birds.But I do study some and I am getting better. I find birding to be relaxing and an interesting thing to learn about. I may never find a vagrant or have anything for the hot-line. But I am thankful for Merrill and the others in our group who can and do find the rarities even if I miss them by an hour or so. Thanks, Merrill. Keep it up!

County Contest Helps - Good Places to Bird

Finding 25 bird species in half a day in a unfamiliar county is difficult. If you know of some good places in a County here in Utah not previously published, please send a description of the site and directions to find it to robin@utahnature.com.  I'll publish the information in the Utah Birders Newsletter as soon as I get it. The following are some examples:

Helper, Carbon County, Utah
River Walkway

Helper has a wonderful paved walkway stretching for a mile of so along the Price River. This walkway winds through the riparian habitat between the Highway 6 and Helper. The trees block some of the road noise enabling singing birds to be heard.

Access is by turning east off Highway 6 onto Helper Main Street (State Highway 157) and bend immediately to the south. After two blocks, angle west (right) onto First Street where parking for 6 cars can be found. Restrooms are about a block south. The paved walkway extends both north and south from the parking lot.

Site visited March 18, 2000 at 4:00 pm. We saw Cassin's Finch, Dark-eyed Junco, Song Sparrow, Lincoln Sparrow, American Robin, American Dipper and House Sparrow.

Huntington, Emery County, Utah
Huntington North Reservoir


This 240 acre reservoir is a haven for waterfowl since much of this region is quite dry. The Huntington State Park is situated on the southwest end of the reservoir but better viewing can be had by driving a quarter mile past the park entrance and walking along a shoreline road where access is permitted only on foot.

The reservoir is about 2 miles north of Huntington on Highway 10. The road past the State Park is paved and off-road parking is available at the shoreline road. Restrooms are available in the park but there is a charge for entry.

Site visited March 18, 2000 at 10:30 am. We saw Ring-billed Gull, Lesser Scaup, Canada Goose, Common Merganser, Common Goldeneye, American Coot, American Widgeon, Gadwall, Pied-billed Grebe, Black-billed Magpie and a Golden Eagle.

Cleveland, Emery County, Utah
Desert Lake Wildlife Management Area

This Wildlife Management Area is written up in "Birding Utah" as being a good place to bird. Desert Lake is about 3 miles out on the dirt road from the (very) small town of Elmo toward the Cleveland-Lloyd Dinosaur Quarry. There are several bluffs overlooking Desert Lake providing good viewing of the birds below. Desert Lake is an important stop for migrating waterfowl due to the general lack of water in the area (the lake is well named -Desert Lake).

Drive to the small town of Elmo, then turn south on the Cleveland-Lloyd Dinosaur road, following it until it passes through the Desert Lake Wildlife Management Area.

Site visited March 18, 2000 at 2:00 pm. We saw Canvasback, Ruddy Duck, American Green-winged Teal, American Coot, American Widgeon, Ring-necked Duck, Bufflehead, Northern Shoveler, Mallard, American White Pelican, Double-crested Cormorant, Greater Yellowlegs, and Sandhill Crane.

Wild Bird photography Workshop

Allan Fuchs and Chris Weisbender will conduct a bird photography workshop in Salt Lake City June 21-30, 2000. The three session workshop will consist of an evening lecture / demo June 21, a Saturday field trip to Bear River Refuge June 24, and a final evening slide critique session June 30.

Participation will be limited to twelve people and will cost $125.00. 

Photographers beginning to advanced are welcome. For more information contact Alan Fuchs at 435-654-4776 or access the workshop website at www.visionquestphoto.com 

GREAT SALT LAKE BIRD FESTIVAL - Utah's Premier Bird Festival

This festival has something for you, whether you are a beginner or an expert.

At the Davis County FairPark
151 South 1100 West, Farmington, Utah
Contact Davis County Tourism (801) 451-3286
Festival is free, tours and Fun Run/walk and Bike Ride have registration fee.