Utah County Birders Newsletter


        May 2021  

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


Thursday May 20th at 7pm via zoom.

We will have a presentation on the Utah Rosy Finch Project by Keeli Marvel and Sam Phillips. Black Rosy Finches are a species for which little is known. There is currently a multi-agency, multi-volunteer effort in Utah to learn more about them in order to fill data gaps and conserve them as a species.


Utah County Hotspots Scouting

May 8th from 7 am to 2 or 3 pm.

You can follow Suzi Holt on a "Big Day" in preparation for The Salt Lake Bird Festival -- "Utah County "Big Day" field trip"  which she will be leading for the festival. ( We will meet at the Payson Walmart parking lot on the west side of Quick Quack Carwash)...OR if you'd like to do the field trip route on your own and see how many birds you get, you can win one of 3 prizes for the most species. 

Here's the Hotspots Route:

 - Warm Springs WMA road
 - East Goshen Pond  (along the main road - US 6)
 - Goshen Canyon
 - Elberta Slant Rd

 - Eureka go west past the gas station. There is a road off to the left. Bird the road along the stream
       to the road up the hill to the first road on the right.
 - Eureka Dividend Road ( if you are headed East maybe a half mile to mile past the gas station
       on the East end of town there is a road off to the right. Take that road and stop at various places.
 - End stop is at Goshen Reservoir  (west of Goshen along the main road - US 6)


President's Message - May 2021

            by Machelle Johnson


I recently came across this flyer taped to a utility unit in downtown Provo, "Birds Aren't Real". Huh, I heard of this 'movement' a couple years ago and thought nothing of it really. Surely people don't actually believe that birds are government spy drones...but, funny story, the other night I had 2 different friends text me at the same time. First friend was outside her house in Provo when a Great Horned Owl landed on the peak of the roof of her house and stared down at her. Another friend in Spanish Fork sent me a long text about taking her dog out at 4am that morning and having a feeling of being watched. She had recently seen bird droppings on her patio and her neighbors roof eves. She said she looked around and saw a large bird looking at her from under the eves. We've all seen birds reacting to their reflection in a window, but now I'm wondering, was that hummingbird at my office window last summer actually checking up on me?


How about this incriminating video found on instagram: twitter memes & threads on Instagram: “LOOL what is going on here (tweet credit: feelgoodpage11)”

Regardless of your conspiracy theory level, birds are intriguing, interesting and amazing, (and real), and I think we watch them more than they watch us! Some birds are pretty skittish, but others don't seem to mind too much if you're lurking nearby. Could they be the drones?

     See you out there!





    Osprey  (Pandion haliaetus)

              By Kristin Telford

When I was younger, I remember going on a road trip with my family. We were driving along a river and I saw this bird sitting on a nest on a telephone or power pole. It was decent sized with white on its head and dark brown on its body. I mentioned to my parents I thought I just saw a bald eagle. Based on where we were, they told me it was most likely an osprey. My first osprey.
At that age I could get confused between a bald eagle and an osprey as I didn’t know what an osprey was. They can be similar in looks but there are definitely differences. An osprey is smaller than a bald eagle. Where an adult bald eagle has a very defined white head, black/dark brown body, and white tail, an osprey has some dark brown on its head. It has a streak of dark coloring that goes through the eye and to its neck. It has a white front and darker tail than the bald eagle. Where an adult bald eagle has a very yellow beak and feet, an osprey’s beak is darker and feet are white.

My first Osprey in Utah flying
by Kristin Telford

Osprey with fish
by Jeremy Telford

I remember the first time I really noticed an osprey in Utah when I had just gotten into birding as an adult. By that point, I could tell the difference between an osprey and a bald eagle. I was out for a walk by the lake on a nice April morning and I saw a bird flying toward me. I wrote down my thought process at the time. I’m sure it is similar to a lot of you who are new birders and like me, not photographers. “Oh, look. There’s a bird flying. I wonder what it is. O.K. See it in the camera. Focus. Focus. Follow it. And… click. Let’s look at the picture. And… that’s an osprey. And it’s in focus. Squeal”
In our area of Utah, ospreys migrate in during the Spring and out during the Fall so don’t expect to see them in the Winter but enjoy seeing them throughout the Summer. That’s why April was a good time for my first osprey in Utah.
Ospreys do nest here. They will often build nests on telephone or power poles. Bald eagles need bigger nests and will not. Osprey nests are made with sticks and are built near water. Humans build osprey platforms to encourage ospreys to nest there and not on the poles. Some ospreys even use the platforms. On one trip I took with my husband and children, we drove along a river with a series of ponds and small lakes. There were so many osprey platforms and it seemed like each of them was being used. Ospreys will often come back to the same nest and add more sticks to it each year. So even though humans have built platforms for ospreys to use, some still prefer the poles they were using before the nearby platforms were built.
Ospreys will nest near rivers and lakes which give them easy access to their food of choice- fish. When hunting, they will hover above the shallow part of a body of water then dive down to catch the fish, feet first. The bottoms of their feet have spikey ridges on them that make them better able to hold onto the fish along with one talon that can rotate so they can have two talons going one direction and the other two going the other direction. Ospreys will often become almost completely submerged when they go into the water but will be able to go back to flight without a problem… but with a fish. However they catch the fish in the water, as they fly they are able to turn the fish so it is facing forward. This makes the fish more aerodynamic which will slow the osprey down less as it carries it back to its nest or to a nearby spot to eat the fish itself.
So the next time you’re near Utah Lake and see a dark brown and white bird flying along holding a fish in its talons, enjoy watching the osprey. And when you see a similar bird on a nest atop a telephone or power pole, don’t immediately assume it’s a bald eagle.
Birds of Prey by Alan Richards
Wildlife Notebook Series No. 7 from Utah Division of Wildlife Resources



Field Trip Reports


Easter Egg Hunt Birding Field 

         by Suzi Holt

First Day:

Salem Pond & Spring Lake

A little rainy for the first day of the Easter Egg Birding Hunt. Salem Pond #1 and Spring Lake #2! With Amanda Holt Tinoco

Broad-winged Hawk

Broad-winged Hawk

Spring Lake


2nd day

East Bay

Got all 10 Easter Eggs!! Found 2 yesterday and 8 today! With Amanda, Tatum and Jessica Can't wait to hear about everyone else's days!! We started bright and early at East Bay seeing Coots and Canada Geese.


Utah Lake North Shoreline Trail

Then headed to the Utah Lake North Shoreline Trail. Lots of Avocets, Black-necked Stilts, ducks and a flyby Marbled Godwit.





Powell Lake

We then headed to Powell Lake. We added a lot more ducks, but the best birds were a Spotted Sandpiper, Great Egret and a Lincoln's Sparrow.



Highland Glen  

After we stopped by Highland Glen. I will admit I have never birded here. Loved seeing 8 Red-breasted Mergansers!

 Provo River Trail Oxbow


Provo River Oxbow


    At River Lane                              At Swede Lane

From there we met Jessie in Provo and went to the Provo River Trail Oxbow. We saw mallards, coots, Black-capped Chickadee and heard a Downy Woodpecker, we also found a couple extra Easter Eggs with coca cola chapstick and a ring pop...haha.















Swede Lane & River Lane

We did drive by birding down Swede Lane and River Lane. Those two spots were pretty boring, although we did see a Golden Eagle and Savannah and Vesper Sparrows.



Warm Springs

We finished up with Warm Springs WMA. Lots of Cedar Waxwings and Sora's! A fun day..Tatum loved the Easter Eggs and was a real trooper.













Easter Egg Hunt Birding Field 

      By Yvonne Carter


I think I might have sent two extra pictures but anyway all ten eggs.
Spring Lake was 8 species, Warm Springs was13 species, Salem Pond 11 species, North Trail for Utah Lake I had over 30 on two visits, Powell Lake 27 species on 1 visit, East Bay was 13 species and I found our Black-Capped Night Heron!!, Provo River Oxbow only 4 species but found Wood Ducks!, Swede Lane I didn't count much, and River Lane11 species by getting some fly overs, and Highland Glen 7 species.

I hope you didn't mind the two emails and extra pictures.




Easter Egg Hunt Birding Field 

Kristin & Jeremy Telford

Saturday, April 17, Kristin and the kids went along the #8 Provo River Trail, Oxbow area, and found the egg there. We saw mallards, American Robins, American coots, pied billed grebe, white crowned sparrows, and house sparrows.

Pied-billed Grebe

Fuzzy yellow goslings

 Sunday, April 18, we all (including Jeremy) went out for a nice Sunday drive and did birding from the car.

#1 Salem Pond- the Easter egg was not in its place but we saw where it should have been. We saw mallards, pied billed grebes, some gulls flying around, and heard house sparrows.

#2 Spring Lake- we did see the Easter egg. We also saw mallards, red-winged blackbirds, coots, song sparrows, cormorants, Eurasian collared doves, yellow-rumped warblers, and ring billed gulls. We also saw the domestic geese with the cutest fuzzy yellow goslings.

#3 Warm Springs- we saw the Easter egg there, too. We saw magpies, robins, some swallows flying around. We heard soras, a pheasant, and a red-winged blackbird

#10 River Lane- the Easter egg was there. We were in a hurry so we didn't go very far but we saw red-tailed hawks, starlings, and robins

#9 Swede Lane- the egg was not there but we saw the place where it used to be. We saw magpies and coots and a kestrel. We were in a hurry so we didn't spend too much time looking.



     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)