Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 2006-06(R83)
(Transcribed by M. G. Moody)

Common name:

Hooded Warbler

Scientific name: Wilsonia citrina
Date: Nov. 5, '83
Time: 1:10-1:20 p.m.
Length of time observed: about 10 min.
Number: one
Age: Adult
Sex: Male in Breeding Plumage
Location: About 1 1/2 miles south of Pintura, Utah in Washington County
and about 1/2 mile east of the I-15 freeway in pinion juniper and live oak community.
County: Washington
Distance to bird: 10-20 yards
Optical equipment: 7x50 Tasco binoculars
Weather: Slightly overcast with periods of sun; temps. in 60's or low 70's.

Prior weather and number of days since change: Warm weather for two-three weeks; at least warm for this time of year, No rain or snow; low temps. in high [missing]

Light Conditions: scattered clouds; muted light
Description:        Size of bird: Small, warbler size; about 5-6 inches in length.
(Description:)       Basic Shape:  
(Description:)  Overall Pattern:  
(Description:)            Bill Type:  
Field Marks and
Identifying Characteristics:
Colors:  Abdomen and flanks brilliant yellow; face also.  Yellow was similar to a Wilson's Warbler color.
Head was all black: black continued underneath in a continuous band across the upper breast until it merged with the black on the opposite side of head forming a complete hood.
Back was olive-brown with very faint but noticeable brown lines or streaks.
When the bird was in flight whitish outer tail feathers were observed; not as striking as in juncos, but very noticeable in contrast to darker brownish central rectrices.
Eyes were dark.
Feet were light colored, but didn't see them well.

Field marks which were not seen.  Why not?:  Saw all that the field guides list as important for positive identification.
Variations from expected field marks: none

Song or call & method of delivery: The bird only gave short, sharp chip notes.  And not many at that.
Behavior: This bird was alone.  Did not see it in association with any other species.
The Bird flew into the shrub live oak, not on the outside or on top but into the interior of the bush which made observation difficult.  When it flew into the pinion or the juniper trees it was always low in the branches and in the interior of the branches.  It rarely sat still--always moving about in warbler fashion--and it never moved very high in the tree.  When it was between 5-10 feet high it would fly to another tree.  Its flight was low and direct.
Habitat: Habitat was pinion-juniper with scattered thick clumps of shrub live oak.  I-15 freeway was between 1/4-1/2 mile to the west and Ash Creek was about 1/2 mile to the east.  The substratum was lava rock (scattered) and reddish dirt with very little grass or forb.
Similar species and how
were they eliminated:
Wilson's Warbler is the only one in terms of yellow coloration that could be confused with this species being described.  The amount of black on the head and the back across the chest as well as the white tail spots eliminated Wilson's as a possibility.
Previous experience with
this & similar species:
No prior experience with this species; a lot of experience with western species of warblers (about 20 years worth).
References consulted:  
Description from: Notes made at time of sighting
Observer: Merrill Webb
Observer's address: 1063 East 400 North, Orem, Utah  84057
Observer's e-mail address: phone: 801-224-6113
Other observers who independently identified this bird:  
Date prepared: November 7, 1983
Additional material: Original Record
Additional comments: I should mention that I was hunting quail (I had observed a large covey of about 50-70 birds previously in the vicinity, so I was carrying a 20 gage shotgun as well as my binoculars.  The urge to collect the bird was tempered by the fact that had I shot it at the distance at which I was observing it (10-20 years) there would not have been much left to identify.  I am satisfied that the identification is correct, I just do not have a specimen to prove it.