Utah County Birders Newsletter


        July 2021

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


 Black Swift field Trip
July 15, 2021 6 pm

South Fork/ Bridal Veil Falls.
Meet at the Vivian Park parking lot at 6 pm. We will bird South Fork first. Then end at Bridal Veil Falls overlook at around 7:30 pm to look for the Black Swifts.

(See the Bird of the Month article below for information about the Black Swift)


 Black Swift field Trip
           July 15, 2021 6 pm

South Fork/ Bridal Veil Falls.
Meet at the Vivian Park parking lot at 6 pm. We will bird South Fork first. Then end at Bridal Veil Falls overlook at around 7:30 pm to look for the Black Swifts.



President's Message - July 2021

            by Machelle Johnson



In June my husband and I celebrate our wedding anniversary. This year we marked 39 years of marriage. We typically celebrate by going camping, so this year we went to Strawberry Reservoir and got a nice spot at the edge of the lake. The campground wasn't too crowded but there were a lot of boats out on the water. My husband likes to fish and I like to bird, so our hobbies are quite compatible. I saw my FOY Brewer's Sparrow, Vesper Sparrow, and Bank Swallow, and watched Cliff Swallows making nests on the picnic table hutches. I saw 27 species from my camp chair.

It's always at least breezy at Strawberry, but the first day was downright windy and gusty! Mike had gone over to the Marina to talk to his friend, John Phillips, so I went inside the trailer to get out of the wind. I was looking around, deciding what to do while I was inside, and this sign on the wall caught my eye:  "A Fisherman lives here with the best catch of his life"

It's a nice sentiment, I've heard others before too:  A Bear lives here with his Honey; A Hunter lives here with his Dear;  A Cowboy (or Biker) lives here with the ride of his life.  Maybe you've heard of others.  I wondered what would apply to me personally, since I don't fish or hunt, or ride motorcycles, and I came up with:  "A Birder lives here with her Lifer", pretty good huh!  Coming soon to a wall hanging or throw pillow or sticker near you!   (...Or the one on the right, printed up for Machelle by her husband ).

Have a great summer, and I hope to see you out there!








    Black Swift  (Cypseloides niger)

              By Carel Brest van Kempen

Here's a little illustration of one of our most interesting and least-known native birds that should be back in the state by now. With an 18" wingspan, the Black Swift is North America's biggest swift species. It's also the most poorly understood one. Black Swifts were never common, but over the past half century, their overall population seems to have decreased by about 90 percent. They look very much like larger versions of the much more common White-throated Swifts, only their plumage is completely blackish. Some individuals have whitish tips to the feathers of their undersides, and for a long time this was presumed to be a characteristic of juvenile birds. A recent study found that it's actually a mark of female birds of all ages, although it's not a dependable way to distinguish the sexes, as some females lack the white tips and some males have them. The sexes can be reliably told apart by the shapes of their tails; those of males are distinctly forked, while the females' tails are not. The only place I know of in Utah where Black Swifts reside is Mount Timpanogos. When you hike that mountain in the summer, you can usually spot one flying about high in the sky, if you keep your eyes open. Like other swifts, they spend all day aloft, only landing to nest. A crevice in a rock face, usually behind a waterfall, is selected as a nest site. A single egg is laid, and both parents care for the young bird. They bear a throat pouch that they can fill up with insects caught on the wing. Once the young bird is flying well, in about mid-August, the birds disappear. For a long time, nobody knew where they migrated to, until a couple of years ago, when researchers in Colorado fitted four Black Swifts with geolocators and managed to retrieve three of them the following year. All three birds had followed roughly the same route to winter in western Brazil. What sort of habitat they exploit or how they live is still unknown, since Black Swifts still have not been documented in Brazil. We only know that they make it back up to our region around the middle of May.



Field Trip Reports


         17 June 2020,  Payson Utah

Hollow Park Field Trip & June Meeting

               By Suzi Holt


Yellow-breasted Chat

We had a good field trip tonight at the Hollow Park! Lots of Yellow-breasted Chats, a Cooper's HawkBlack-chinned Hummingbirds, Yellow Warbler, American Robin, American Kestrel, Swainson's Hawk, Warbling Vireo, Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, Black-headed GrosbeakBarn and Cliff Swallow and a few others. It was hot 91 F at 6 pm but we totaled 20 species!

Thanks for coming





Yellow Warbler

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher

Warbling Vireo

Black-headed Grosbeak

Singing Yellow-breasted Chat

Swainson's Hawk



     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)