Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 2006-39

Common name:

Northern Parula

Scientific name: Parula americana
Date: 8/20/06
Time: 8:30 a.m. (relocated at 9:45 a.m.)
Length of time observed: 5 minutes @ 8:30 (and 20 minutes @ 9:45)
Number: 1
Age: Adult
Sex: Female
Location: River Lane
County: Utah
Distance to bird: Varied between 15 and 30 yards
Optical equipment: Pentax 8x42 DCF WP and Pentax 10x42 DCF WP binoculars
Weather: Clear and sunny
Light Conditions: Bright
Description:        Size of bird: 4 to 5 inches in length
(Description:)       Basic Shape: Small songbird
(Description:)  Overall Pattern:  
(Description:)            Bill Type: Thin and pointed (typical of a warbler)
Field Marks and
Identifying Characteristics:
The upperparts (head, back, wings, and tail) were overall bluish-gray with a yellowish-green area on the upper back. There were obvious white broken eye-ring arcs on the gray face surrounding the dark eyes. Each wing had two short white wing bars. The throat and upper breast were bright yellow with a very slight orangish-yellow tinge separating the throat from the breast.
The underparts were white from the lower breast back to the tail.
Song or call & method of delivery: Not heard.
Behavior: The bird was seen moving through the branches and leaves of several Russian Olive trees and later in a small Cottonwood tree. It was extremely active--moving from tree to tree earlier in the morning, but later it spent many minutes in the same small Cottonwood tree working all the individual branches.
Habitat: Riparian area with Russian Olives, Willows, Cottonwoods, etc.
Similar species and how
were they eliminated:
Tropical Parula does not have an eye-ring and has more extensive yellow on underparts.
Nashville Warbler does not have wing bars or a broken eye-ring. McGillivray's Warbler lacks the brilliant yellowish-green area on the upper back and has a gray hooded appearance in all plumages.
Previous experience with
this & similar species:
We've seen many Northern Parulas in Ontario, Florida and Texas. We've seen many Nashville Warblers as they migrate through Utah as well as in California. We are also very familiar with
MacGillivray's Warblers and have seen many in Utah and surrounding states.
References consulted: Sibley
Description from: Notes taken at time of sighting
Observer: Kathy and Joel Beyer
Observer's address: 1719 Hillcrest Avenue, Salt Lake City, UT 84106
Observer's e-mail address:
Other observers who independently identified this bird: Steve and Cindy Summerfield, Jack Binch, Bob Huntington, and many others.
Date prepared: 9/16/06
Additional material:  
Additional comments: We were able to relocate this bird several times on 8/27/06, and observed it for atleast another 30 minutes total.