Utah County Birders Newsletter


        April 2021 

    Monthly Meeting
Upcoming Field Trips
    President's Message
    Bird of the Month 
    Special Articles 
    Field Trip Reports


Oliver Hansen will present "Birding in Beliz" this Thursday, April 15th at 7pm via Zoom.

Summary of March's Meeting
.... and inks to the meeting recording and more information

Thanks to all those who joined us for our March Meeting. We had a great presentation on the North American Breeding Bird Survey from Cooper, Bailey, and Russ. The meeting was recorded for anyone who missed it and can be found here:


To find out more info about the BBS and see what routes are still available to survey in Utah, please go to https://www.pwrc.usgs.gov/bbs/

To sign up for a Utah BBS route, email BBS@tracyaviary.org or contact Cooper Farr with the Tracy Aviary at cooperf@tracyaviary.org or Russell Norvell with the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources at russellnorvell@utah.gov.


Easter Egg Hunt Birding Field trip in Utah County

April 16-18th

We will be putting up "10" Easter Eggs at these birding hotspots. You will need to find at least "5" Easter Eggs during the weekend of April 16-18th for one entry in the drawing. Take a picture and send a list of your outing to nospam@suziholt.com.

All entries due by Monday April 19th. Drawing will be held on Tuesday April 20th at 10 am. We will have 3 prizes.

 1. Salem Pond (Turquoise Blue)

2. Spring Lake (Yellow)

3. Warm Springs WMA (Light Pink)

 4. North Shoreline Trail (Dark Green)

5. Highland Glen (Dark Purple)

 6. Powell Lake (Orange)

  7. East Bay (Red)

  8. Provo River Trail Oxbow (Blue)

  9. Swede Lane (Light Green)

10. River Lane (Light Blue)

Do one, two, three, four or do all of them! A fun activity to do with friends, kids or grandkids!

Happy Easter!!


President's Message - April 2021

            by Machelle Johnson


Last year, in the middle of the covid pandemic, an article came out about how birding makes you happy. According to this article, being around 14 more bird species was the equivalent to earning an extra $190 a month, based on a monthly income of $1,837.00. Well. How about that. Researchers found that living near natural surroundings, especially in areas with more species of birds, had a closer link to life satisfaction than income. I would have to say that as a group of birders, we already knew that.

Yellow Warbler
by Jim Bruce    ©Jim Bruce

I moved from central Orem to SW Provo 4 years ago. I'm in a new housing development, but my daily drive takes me past Provo Bay. I can't see the lake from my house but I see the wide open sky and the awesome sunrises and sunsets. Being so close to the lake, I've added new species of 'backyard birds' to my list. I'm still in a suburban area but it feels more rural than my previous residence, and I really like that aspect of it.

A similar article came out in 2018, long before anyone had heard of Covid-19. The article was published on CNN Health, called "Birdwatching for peace of mind and better health". The author, Amy Chillag, talks about birding bringing excitement year-round. She relates the focusing of your binoculars to refocusing a cloudy, scattered mind. And how the sound of bird song and rustling leaves makes you want to take a deep breath of fresh air, and let the tensions disappears. It's an escape. You can leave your problems at home for awhile and enjoy your surroundings, the fresh air, the beautiful scenery, the thrill of seeing and hearing birds.

Both articles dive deeper into the subject and I've listed the links below if you want to read more. I found one more article that fits in with this subject: "Top 10 Reasons to Be a Bird Watcher". See if you agree:

10. Birds are all around us.
  9. It's a connection with nature.
  8. Birds get us outside.
  7. It's a "flexible" pastime.
  6. It's economical.
  5. You can gain new friends.
  4. Birds can be enjoyed year-round.
  3. It often leads down other paths.
  2. Bird watching is for life.
  1. It promotes habitat conservation.

So with warmer spring weather, and spring migration happening, now is the time to take advantage of your 'raise'.


        See you out there!


     Top 10 Reasons to Be a Bird Watcher




    European Turtle Dove  (Streptopelia Turtur)

              By Jeremy Telford

As our family and many Christians from many denominations around the world prepare to celebrate Easter, and as the Jewish community celebrates Passover, it got me thinking about the birds of the Bible, specifically the only bird, besides the pigeon, that was allowed for temple sacrifices. It was a bird chosen to symbolize the presence of the Holy Ghost. This is the dove, or more specifically the European Turtle Dove (Streptopelia Turtur).
      There are actually three species of dove in the Genus Turtur (wood or turtle doves) found in Israel, the European Turtle Dove, the Collard Turtle, and the Palm Turtle. Each are fairly similar in appearance. We know the Bible talks specifically about the European Turtle Dove from a scripture in Jeremiah (8:7):
      “7 Yea, the stork in the heaven knoweth her appointed times; and the turtle and the crane and the
      swallow observe the time of their coming; but my people know not the judgment of the Lord.”
And from the Song of Solomon (2:11-12):
      “11 For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone;
      12 The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the
       turtle is heard in our land;”
The Collard Turtle and Palm Turtle are nonmigratory. The European Turtle Dove is the only migrant of the three and breeds in central Israel, as well as all over Europe and Asia, in the spring and summer.
      Doves were not only used for religious sacrifices, or appreciated for their calls. Dove’s dung was also used as a substitute for salt in particularly hard times such as when a population was being besieged or during famine.
      “And there was a great famine in Samaria: and, behold, they besieged it, until an ass’s head was
      sold for fourscore pieces of silver, and the fourth part of a cab of dove’s dung for five pieces of silver.”
       (2 Kings 6:25)
The turtle dove is the smallest dove in Europe with a slim body and the dove’s characteristically small head. It

Streptopelia Doves

The very similar Oriental Turtle Dove
by John Crowley

Spotted Dove
by Kendall Brown

Our common  Eurasian Collared-Dove
by Steve Carr

 is described as being the size of a blackbird. It is a pinkish gray bird with a blush to peach colored patch on the wings with a multistriped collar on the back of the neck. It also has a small beak and a pink eyering. The tail feathers are tipped in white. They have short legs and tend to bob their heads as they walk.
      The turtle dove’s name comes from the tur tur sound it makes.
      The European Turtle Dove is one of the longest migrating doves sometimes traveling more than 6,800 miles. They migrate mostly at night and can cover over 400 miles in one night flying up to 37 miles an hour.
      While the breeding grounds for the European Turtle Dove extends all through North Africa, Europe and much of Asia, the wintering grounds are a much smaller band that extends across central Africa.
      This bird was once a common sight in Israel and through much of Europe. Tristram, in his book The Natural History of the Bible described the scene in Southern Levant (Israel, Palestine and Jordan areas) as thus in 1898.
      “Search the glades and valleys even by sultry Jordan, at the end of March, and not a Turtledove is to be seen. Return in the second week in April, and clouds of doves are feeding on the clovers of the plain. They stock every tree and thicket. At every step they flutter up from the herbage in front—they perch on every tree and bush—they overspread the whole face of the land. So universal, so simultaneous, so conspicuous their migration, that the prophet might well place the Turtledove at the head of those birds which ‘observe the time of their coming.’ While other songsters are heard chiefly in the morning, or only at intervals, the Turtle immediately on its arrival pours forth, from every garden, grove, and wooded hill, its melancholy yet soothing ditty, unceasingly from early dawn till sunset.” (Tristram 1898:219)
      This once abundant species, the European Turtle Dove, is the only turtle dove species now considered vulnerable. A lot of this is considered due to habitat loss and lack of hunting restrictions. An estimated two to four million are trapped or hunted as they migrate through Europe.
      European Turtle Doves prefer wooded habitat for nesting, yet these trees need to be on the edge of fields so the birds may feed on the seeds that make up most of their diet. These days the fields are often cultivated farmland. In areas with fewer forests, like Morocco, olive and orange groves provide ideal nesting areas.
      While the turtle dove’s diet consists mainly of seeds it will eat small animals such as worms, mollusks, and insects.
      Turtle Doves are monogamous and mate for life. The pair builds a nest and incubates the eggs together. The turtle doves build fragile nests and often lose eggs. They can brood multiple times a season to ensure at least some chicks survive. This, matched with a short incubation period of a few weeks, means they may brood as many as six times a year.
      Like other doves and pigeons European Turtle Doves produce crop milk for their chicks when they hatch. This ‘milk’ is secreted by special cells found in the crop wall in both male and female doves and is the only nourishment that a chick receives during the first few days of its life. The milk is similar in composition to what developing embryos receive inside the egg. It is richer in protein and fats than cow milk and is produced by only a few species of birds outside the dove and pigeon family, namely Emperor Penguins and Greater Flamingos.
      Whether Christian, Buddhist, Muslim, Jewish, Agnostic or Atheist may we all find peace as we go out to engage with nature and enjoy the gentle call of the dove on a fresh spring morning.




Field Trip Reports


         March 2020

St. Patrick's Day Challenge
      By Suzi Holt


Well we had some fun today with our St. Patty's Day challenge.
We started at Salem Pond with

#4 Find a 3 leaf clover of any 3 species with green in their plumage.
Mallard, Common Goldeneye, Bufflehead and AmericanWigeon



Birding Leprechaun  ---->   

American Wigeon                                                     Bufflehead                                                                    Mallard              

then we headed to 4000 W in Lake Shore...we tried for

#1 Pick your favorite field of clover (aka favorite spot) find 4 species in one bird family.
We found a White-crowned Sparrow and a Song Sparrow but couldn't find much of anything else there. The fields are not flooded yet either, we were hoping to find something rare!

From there we went to Benjamin Slough thanks to a lot of waterfowl again we did #2#2 Count as many species as you can in 17 minutes...we read it wrong and found 17 species in 17 minutes.
We then finished at 5600 S in West Mountain at a pond with #1

#1 Pick your favorite field of clover (aka Favorite spot) find 4 species in one bird family.
We found Northern Pintail, Redhead, American Wigeon, Northern Shoveler and Mallards.
It was a pretty lucky day with the waterfowl family!

Happy Birding and Happy St. Patty's Day!

Saint Patrick’s Day Birding
      By Alona Huffaker and Kathleen Blanchard

This is Alona Huffaker. Kathleen Blanchard and I went birding today. We completed #1, #4 and got 11 birds in 17 minutes for #2!

Fun challenge! Thanks for suggesting it!

Saint Patrick’s Day Birding
      By Kayla Echole

I got tasks 1 and 4 done today! :D

Saint Patrick’s Day Birding
Yvonne Carter

It was a beautiful day yesterday St. Patty's day. Yes, I found 4 species with green on them. A total of 42 species and the Wasatch St. Park I had 18 species in 17minutes and then at Deer Creek Reservoir there was a total of over 30 species with 15 or 16 in 17 minutes. It is going crazy up there. and there is a Bald Eagle is there. I had 3 rare birds--Can you believe Ebird is listing Osprey as a rare bird?!

So great to get out and bird,  Beautiful day

I birded Wasatch St. Park   and had 18 species in 16 minutes.
I birded Deer Creek Reservoir and had 17 species in 17 minutes although total for Deer Creek was 29
I had 4 that had green:  Mallard, Great Wing Teal,  Amer. Wigeon, No. Shoveler
Rare:   Trumpeter Swan, Eurasian Wigeon, Red Breasted Merganser.    Ebird is listing Osprey as rare.  Why so?   They are just coming in--not rare to us.
I had 18 for same family.
Yvonne Carter

Saint Patrick’s Day Birding

      By Bryan Shirley

On March 17 I was down Blanding so I did my St. Patrick’s Day birding at the Blanding sewage ponds. The first couple of ponds had almost no birds, so I was a bit worried about if I could get everything done. But then the rear pond was loaded full of ducks. Made it really easy to do all four categories in about 20 minutes.

The first category was “Field of Clover” - find four species in the same family. All the ducks made this one easy.

The second category was count as many species as you can in 17 minutes. I kind of lost track of time but ended up with 20 species in a bit over twenty minutes.

The third category was the “lucky” bird - mine best bird was a peregrine falcon sitting on a telephone pole watching the same ducks as me.

The fourth category was find a Three Leaf Clover - 3 species with green. I had a Mallard, Green-winged Teal, and Northern Shoveler.

Thanks to Suzi and everybody for all your work planning and doing stuff to make our club so awesome!!


    Three Lucky Winners!


     If you have had any interesting field trips on your own this month,
feel free to write a report for the newsletter!

(Send it to: ucbirders@utahbirds.org)