Utah County Birders Newsletter
May 2019

    Monthly Meeting
Upcoming Field Trips
    Captain's Log
    Bird of the Month 
    Field Trip Reports


Printable Version


Thursday, May 9th at 7:00 pm at the Monte L. Bean Museum.  Map to Museum

Jesse Lee will be our guest speaker with a presentation titled ďCosta Rica - A World of WingsĒ


May 13th   -  Utah County Hot Spots trip for the club to prepare for the festival trip if anyone wants to go. It will be on May 13th 7-3. meet at Walmart parking lot NE Corner.

Friday, May 31st and Saturday, June 1st - WASHINGTON COUNTY 
     Lead by Suzi Holt. You will need your own accommodations.
     We will meet at the McDonald's on Bluff Street Friday morning at 6 am to head out to Lytle Ranch. Bring a lunch. On the way back we will stop by Utah Hill to look for the Black-chinned Sparrow, then look for a Bell's Vireo and Common Blackhawk along the Sanra Clara River. We may go to Snow Canyon, Tonaquint Nature Park, Brooks Narure Park and Boits/Cox Park if time permits.
     Saturday we will start out looking for Inca Doves in Hurticane, then head to Kolob Terrace. Meet at 7 am at the Wal-Mart in Hurricane in the SW corner of the parking lot. It is located east of the Sand Hollow turn off, along Hwy 9, 180 N 3400 W Hurricane


Utah County Birders Captainís Log - May 2019
            by Keeli Marvel

Hello my faithful and courageous Birders! Spring has sprung and migration is in full swing! The past couple of weeks have brought an influx of spring migrants in my neighborhood and Iíve been celebrating each new arrival. Iím still participating in the 5MR challenge and this month the special challenge (in addition to adding birds to my 5MR list is to keep a yard list of species I see/hear in or from my yard. While I feel like I donít have the birdiest of yards compared to some, it definitely hasnít been too shabby and itís certainly made spring migration that much more fun as I try and spend more time outside in my yard spotting migrants. Iíve racked up 83 species in my 5MR and 22 species in my yard. So far my yard list includes the following:

House finch
Great horned owl
American robin
Sandhill crane
California gull
Canada goose
American goldfinch
House sparrow
Eurasian collared dove
American Kestrel
Red-winged blackbird
Yellow-rumped warbler (Myrtle)
Yellow-rumped warbler (Audubon)
Northern flicker
Lesser goldfinch
Black capped chickadee
White crowned sparrow
Western kingbird
Swallow sp
Turkey Vulture
Yellow Warbler

I head to TX on Monday for a work training and Iím hoping to pick up a few more lifers while Iím down there. Stay tuned for next monthís article to find out if Iím successful!

Happy Birding!

Keeli Marvel



Western Scrub-Jay aka Woodhouse's Scrub Jay    (Aphelocoma woodhouseii )

       by Jim Strong  

This bird is very entertaining for me each morning as I fill my variety of feeders. A pair of Western Scrub-Jays are usually near by or in the trees waiting for a few welfare peanuts (in the shell). If I do not share the peanuts quickly they let me know in a hurry....such selfishness! They can really be noisy. We have not had them brave enough to take a peanut from our hand but that may change. I made a mistake one morning and left the peanut can near the feeders and it did not take the Jays long to empty the 100 or so peanuts. They bury them in my yard and the neighbors yard maintaining a long term food supply. Since they do store seeds and nuts its likely they serve as a major distributor of seeds of oaks and pines by not returning to eat them or possibly forgetting where all of the seeds were hidden. They do have remarkable memories for their food storage program. Recent research has suggested that Western Scrub Jays are among the most intelligent of animals. However they are not above stealing the nut caches of other jays and some woodpeckers.

Woodhouse's Scrub-Jay - new name after species split

Description: Blue head with a thin white eyebrow and no crest. The throat is white with a blue streaked necklace. The back is gray with a dark gray saddle, blue band on the chest with whitish and grayish under parts. The legs, feet and bill are black.

The Scrub Jay is a tame bird especially around picnic areas, parks and feeders and very approachable for the photographer. Pairs of jays form long term bonds and the young may stay with the parents for as long a two years and assist their parents with other nestlings the following year.

Male and female are colored alike and the juveniles are similar to the adults.
Nest: cup type built by both sexes and 1 brood per year.
Habitat: Variety of habitats, including brushy open country, desert scrub, orchards and canyons.
Eggs: 2 - 6 pale green or gray with reddish brown markings.
Incubation: 15 - 17 days by the female and fed by the male.
Fledging: Altricial young are naked, helpless with eyes closed and fledge within 19 days.
Life span in the wild: Approximately 9 years
Food: They are opportunistic feeders that have a varied diet of insects, seeds, mice, frogs, berries
     fruits, acorns, eggs and nestlings of other birds. They will visit areas around seed feeders.
Size: 11 inches, wingspan 16 inches, weight 2.8 ounces
Migration: Non migratory

Smithsonian BIRDS OF NORTH AMERICA by Fred J. Alsop III
FIELD GUIDE TO BIRDS By Donald and Lillian Stokes (Western Region)
BIRDS OF UTAH BY (field guide) by Stan Tekiela
WIKKIPEDIA (computer)


Field Trip Reports


19th and 20th of April,  2019

Fish Springs National Wildlife Refuge
Report and Photos by Keeli Marvel

Nine birders met on a beautiful Friday evening to make the trek out to Fish Springs National Wildlife Refuge. We made a couple stops along the way to check out LONG-BILLED CURLEWS south of the Dugway Proving Ground gate and then a quick stop at Simpson Springs. It was a fairly quiet evening but we saw 6 or 7 curlews in all along the way. Once we got settled in at Fish Springs we went out for a moonlight walk, however, it was a pretty quiet night.

The next morning we started the tour of the refuge by picking up a few birds around the housing area. There were YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS, WESTERN KINGBIRDS, BROWN-HEADED COWBIRDS and a few folks in our group saw a SAGEBRUSH SPARROW between housing and the picnic area. At the picnic area we had a FOY LAZULI BUNTING, more butter butts, a RUBY-CROWNED KINGLET, and more cowbirds.

The rest of the field trip we drove all the way out and around the waterfowl management units, winding our way back along the dike roads between them. We saw a ton of waterfowl, including several FOYs for many of us. We dipped out on bitterns (except for one audible from the bunkhouse) and snowy plover, but highlights included BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT HERONS, FORSTERíS AND CASPIAN TERNS, FRANKLINíS GULLS, SNOWY EGRETS, one lonely WILSONíS PHALAROPE, SANDHILL CRANES, a PRAIRIE FALCON, WHITE-FACED IBIS, LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER, a plethora of SAVANNAH SPARROWS, MARSH WRENS, COMMON YELLOWTHROAT, and most of the expected species of ducks.



White-faced Ibis flock

We also saw several FOY sparrows and thrashers including BLACK-THROATED SPARROW, LARK SPARROW, BREWERíS SPARROW and SAGE THRASHERS and also heard VIRGINIA RAIL, SORA, and WILSONíS SNIPE.

The spring green-up in the west desert made for a beautiful drive and we had a great time getting to know each other and getting to see some of area behind the gates at Fish Springs that arenít always publicly accessible. Thanks to everyone who joined us!