Utah County Birders Newsletter
November 2000


Wednesday November 15th at 7:00 pm 
in the Bean Museum Auditorium on the BYU Campus.

Featuring Dean Mitchell of the Division of Wildlife Resources.

Dean will speak about the Split of the Sage Grouse into the Greater and Gunnison Sage Grouse and their possible listing under the Federal Endangered Species Act.

December Meeting:
The December meeting is going to be moved up a week to the 13th. We will be preparing for the Christmas Bird Count which will be held on the 16th.


Saturday November 18th 
Full Day
 Meet at The Bean Museum at 7:00 A.M. 
Destination and target species will be determined by the Hotline reports.

Tuesday November 28th Half Day Meet at The Bean Museum at 7:00 A.M. Utah County or neighboring county. Destination and target species will be determined by the Hotline reports

Don't forget the CHRISTMAS BIRD COUNT Saturday, December the 16th.

Rain, Rain,Rain
by Darlene Amott

 Yes, it does rain in some parts of the country. Recently, I took a long Labor Day weekend trip up to Island Park in Idaho. Specifically, we stayed in the Mack's Inn area on the North Fork of the Henry's river, where my sister-in-law has a cabin. Usually, I go up there in June or July. I had never been in that area at this particular time of the year, and I was anxious to see what birding was like near the end of summer. We were there four days, and it rained on and off for the first three days. It wasn't too cold, but it was inconvenient. Some of the roads I wanted to travel were so muddy we opted not to try them, but others were fine. The birding proved to be far better than I had expected. Some of the best birding was, surprisingly, right by the cabin. There is a feeder in front of the cabin window, and there is a wide window sill. We put mixed seed in the feeder, since that is all that is available up there, and peanuts on the sill. The peanuts were put out for the squirrels and chipmunks, but the chickadees got most of them. In spite of, or maybe because of the rain, there were more birds at the feeder than I have ever seen up there. Time of year made a difference, too, I'm sure. There was plenty of natural seed in the area, but the seed we put out was dry and easier to get to in the rain. It was a delight. Every day I sat and watched a steady stream of birds come and go. Among the usual birds were, Mountain Chickadees, Red Crossbills, Red-winged Blackbirds, (yes, at the feeder) Brewer's Blackbirds, Ruby-Crowned Kinglets, Yellow Warblers, and Golden-crowned Sparrows. When the rain stopped, I would walk the few feet down to the river and sit and watch the Osprey, Pelicans, Kingfishers, Gulls, Great Blue Herons, and Swallows. As I sat there I listened to the Cranes, which I eventually saw, as well. I would love to return at the same time next year, but my sister- in-law, who is neither a birder nor an outdoor person, was discouraged by the rain and is thinking of an earlier date for next year. Of course, if a person can stand the mosquitos, June isn't a bad time either.

Robin's View

I'm not political...
by Robin Tuck

I'm not political. But, perhaps I should reconsider. Several months ago, Julie and I noticed a puff of yellow on the mountain road. I pulled over and picked up a Yellow Warbler, still warm, probably killed by an auto impact moments before. I was saddened, but amazed at the bird's lightness. I am impressed by the works of nature at such times when the marvels of the bird's engineering and the fragility of it's life come together at one moment. I guess I lump all birds together in my mind because the fragility and beauty I see in one, I ascribe to all others. Because of this, I have trouble contemplating control methods for bird populations that appear to be out-of-control. Further, who am I to determine what constitutes 'out-of-control'? So, today, I received a phone call from a lady who was preparing for a Cub Scout lesson on bird flyways. In spite of all my studies and the talks I've heard, I know very little about bird flyways except for the awesome flight of the Wilson's Phalarope from Bear River Bird Refuge to Argentina. Like anyone with Internet access, I searched for 'bird flyways' and came upon an article about bird strikes, the other side of the collision that left the Yellow Warbler dead on the road. Excepting that the strikes are with airplanes. See <http://www.alpa. org/internet/alp/febbird.htm> for the article. The article discusses the impact a large bird would have on an airplane. Considering Kinetic Energy, hitting a bird with an airplane can be devastating to the airplane (It doesn't do the bird any good either). The article states: "Colliding at 130 knots, a 4-pound bird (for example, an adult great black-backed gull) hits an aircraft with more than 2 tons of force, concentrated in a small area. At 260 knots, the same bird delivers a 9-ton punch." Consider what a 25 pound American White Pelican would do. Now, what does this have to do with politics? Anywhere birds flock can be a danger to low flying aircraft, especially at high speeds. The Provo Airport has been recently upgraded to handle larger commuter jets. The Provo Airport is also surrounded by choice wetlands.

New E-mail List for Utah County

Last month UtahBirds.org created a new mailing list for communications that are of interest only to birders of Utah county. It is a trial mailing list of sorts. (Hopefully we will know if it was a good idea after a three-month trial.) The mailing list is in no way intended as a replacement for the familiar BirdNet. All sightings and notices of outings should continue to be posted to birdnet@utahbirds.org. The new Utah County Bird Net is for posts that would be considered "spam" by other birders in the state. Posts to the new list might include electronic versions of the Newsletter, for example. Posts and subscriptions follow the same pattern as with the statewide birdnet: Send posts to: ucbnet@utahbirds.org Send [un]subscription requests to ucbnet-request@utahbirds.org-- with the word "[un]subscribe" in the body of the e-mail. (Don't include the quotation marks.) Happy birding!

Weldon Whipple, Listmaster

What's New on Our "Utah Birds" Web Site?
 (a note from the webmaster)

 The Occasional Wood Stork

The Wood Stork is listed on the official checklist of Utah as an "occasional" species. So how occasional is it? Well (I'm glad you asked), the first Utah sighting was in Iron County by a guy named Henshaw in the year 1872. He saw two of them. There were at least four specimens taken in the thirties along with several other sightings, but since then, there has only been one documented sighting, according to OUR records, anyway -- and they're pretty darn good (I'll get to that in a minute) -- and that was on the 24th of June 1973 at Fish Springs, seen by a guy named Kraft.
   There are about 90 "occasional" species listed on the official Utah checklist. (An occasional species, as defined on the checklist, is one that is "seldom found in the state and not reported annually.") Most of us have seen some of them: Little Blue Heron (thanks to Merrill), Ovenbird (thanks to Dennis), Scarlet Tanager (thanks to Julie), Prothonotary Warbler (thanks to Tuula), Field Sparrow (thanks to Merrill again) and all of these have been found in Utah Valley. And I'm sure we'd all like to see more. So where do we find these other rarities? And what time of the year are they likely to show up? Just check our web sight and you can find where they've been seen in the past and what time of year are likely to show up. And one more added benefit. When you find them, you'll be able to tell just how rare they are. For instance, let's say you find a Brown Pelican, not covered with oil or anything like the two that Eric's found or one that Merrill found, apparent victims of some oil slick in the Geneva area; no, you've found a real one. Well, you can say with confidence (after checking our web site, that is), that "a real Brown Pelican hasn't been seen in Utah since Steven Scott saw one and took a picture of it at the Bullfrog Basin Marina, back in 1984. So this is the first sighting in 16 years." (It's all on our web site!)
   So when you need answers to all your "rarities" questions, it's right at your finger tips (that is if you finger happens to be on a computer mouse). Just go to our "Utah Birds" web site (www.utahbirds.org), and click on "Sightings of Utah Rarities" and you get an indexed, easy-to- navigate list of sightings of all the "occasional" and some "rare" birds of Utah. It's pretty much all there more info than you'd ever need -- all from reliable sources. Check it out, it's really the easy way to find those rare birds you've been looking for, maybe even an occasional Wood Stork.