Utah Birds, Utah Birding, and Utah Birders. Promoting the sharing of information, and the conservation of habitat for birds in Utah and elsewhere. We are a group of people who want to share what we know, and create a positive birding experience in Utah.


a blog by and for Utah Birders

Utah Birding Rocks!

posted by Utah Birders Guest Blogger at
on Wednesday, January 25, 2012 

My family moved to Bountiful from Boise just a day or two before the year 2011 began. Moving to a new location brings with it a lot of excitement for a birder like myself.  It generally means new life birds, new every-day species and new rare birds. It also means new regular birding patches for me to explore as well as new birders to meet and interact with. Utah birding has not disappointed.

In Utah, in 2011, I added seventeen life birds, and some of them were doozies! Check this out: Pygmy Owl, Glossy Ibis, Palm Warbler, Band-tailed Pigeon, Virginia's Warbler, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Black Swift, Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, Common Poorwill, Dickcissel, Purple Martin, Williamson's Sapsucker, Pine Grosbeak, Harlequin Duck, Surf Scoter, Black Scoter, and White-winged Scoter. Each sighting was very memorable. I especially appreciate those spectacular chases like the Palm Warbler and Scissor-tailed Flycatcher that I got to enjoy along side several fellow Utah bird enthusiasts.


My own Bountiful yard has been very exciting for me as an avid backyard birder too. Utah birders should not take for granted the comical antics of Western Scrub-jays and the abundance of Black-capped Chickadees. Oh, and having both American and Lesser Goldfinch at your nyger feeder at the same time...how cool is that?! My yard list is still at a humble 55 species, so I've got a lot of watching to do in order to catch up with the112 yards birds in my previous Boise foothills yard. My Utah backyard has certainly been much more conducive to photographing the birds.

 Western Scrub-Jay

  Dark-eyed Junco

Western Tanager

The Utah birding community has been most welcoming to me, for which I am grateful. I've met in person and online some fantastic and talented people. Utah birding has also opened up opportunities to expand my birding hobby. I met Bill Thompson III at the Great Salt Lake Bird Festival last year which led to invitation to be an official blogger at the Midwest Birding Symposium. There I got to meet in person several birding legends, many of whom I now interact with on a regular basis. Though I end up birding solo most of the time, I really do enjoy birding with others. By the way, let's throw off the shackles of shyness and introduce ourselves with first and last names when we see each other in the field.

It's been fun and interesting to observe the dynamics of birders through the lens of the listservs. We have the contagious enthusiastics and the curmudgeons; the protagonists and the antagonists; the experts and the inepts; those that find the birds and those that parasite off those sightings (including me!) all thrown together with the common passion and interest in birds. Sometimes watching birders is as entertaining as watching the birds.

My eBird records show that I have reported bird sightings from 60 different locations in Utah, but I feel like I've only just started to scratch the surface. I now know well Farmington Bay, Antelope Island, and the Jordan River. I look forward to a new year of exploration and discovery at Utah birding hotspots and meeting more of you out on the birding trail.

Happy Birding!

Robert Mortensen


Do you have an idea for a guest blog post? Submit your idea for a blog post by clicking the button below:


Anonymous Mia McPherson said...

Excellent post Robert!

January 25, 2012 at 8:04 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Thanks Mia! You are certainly among those super talented Utah birder/bird photographers that I am so glad to have met (although still only electronically).

January 25, 2012 at 8:41 AM  
Blogger eileeninmd said...

Great post and I love the birds and photos. I would love to see the Western Tanager. It is a beautiful bird. Good luck with your yard list. Happy Birding!

January 25, 2012 at 11:44 AM  
Blogger Oliver Hansen said...

Fun post, hope to see you in the field again soon!

January 25, 2012 at 5:26 PM  
Blogger Mark said...

I know virtually nothing about American species, but really enjoy reading about the fantastic variety you guys have. My experience is limited to the Natural History museums of NYC and Washington, and the glimpses from train journeys up the east coast, enough to make me want to do some birding over there one day !

January 26, 2012 at 8:16 AM  
Blogger Shyloh Monster said...

Awesome post Robert!

Utah is certainly a great place for birds. I especially love the unique habitat of the Great Salt Lake. I also enjoy birding in Bountiful and regularly hitting up the county hotspots. Our birding community is a great group. Although the majority of my birding is a solo act, lately I've met a lot amazing local birders. Everyone is so helpful, gracious, and has a story to tell. I fear I fall into category of the inept, but make up for it with that contagious enthusiasm. There's always something to learn and every day is different. I appreciate the help of our local talent and you're one of them! I didn't realize you'd been here such a short time.

Utah Birding Rocks indeed!

January 26, 2012 at 11:12 AM  
Anonymous Jerry Liguori said...

Robert and Shyloh:

You are both amazing and inspire me to get out more!!!

January 26, 2012 at 11:40 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

@Eileen - Thanks for the well-wishes with my yard list. Yes indeed, the Western Tanager is one of the most spectacular.

@Oliver - I guess we met just that one time on the Mill Creek Canyon owling expedition with Bryant Olsen, but I don't think I realized it was your until later.

@BirderWolf - You've got to come to Utah then!

@Shyloh - Most assuredly you rank up there as a top birder with contagious enthusiasm. Between you and Norm, and Stephanie and a few others, you make it extra exciting!

@Jerry - We're just lucky to have such an international birding celebrity like you in Utah!

January 26, 2012 at 4:46 PM  
Anonymous Jerry Liguori said...

Whoa Robert "birding celebrity".....I'm going to crawl under a rock and never come out.

Thank you for the compliment, but I'm not worthy of that. And that is the truth.

January 26, 2012 at 5:39 PM  
Blogger Kathie Brown said...

Hey Robert! Great post! I hope I get to meet you in person one day. Idaho, AZ, and Utah are some of my favorite places on earth. In fact, I am having a hard time trying to decide which of the 3 I like best! You have lived in and birded them all! OH, so have I! And I hope I get to come back real soon!

January 26, 2012 at 9:20 PM  
Blogger Stephanie Greenwood said...

Great article, Robert! We're glad you're part of our community!

QUESTION: If you could choose one bird that you miss seeing that you regularly saw in Boise, what would it be?

January 28, 2012 at 8:16 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

@Kathie - kindred birding spirits you and I!

@Stephanie - Hmmm...tough question. Let me think out load here. Hooded Mergs and Wood Ducks seemed to be more common in Boise than they are here. I had Long-eared Owls nesting in my foothills neighborhood there, which was pretty cool. The Salt Lake area certainly has its advantages with the great shoreline birds and the canyon birds so close.

January 30, 2012 at 7:49 AM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Back to Previous