Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 2011-23

Common name:

Northern Parula

Scientific name: (Parula americana)  [Setophaga americana]
Date: May 14, 2011
Time: 8:30 A.M.
Length of time observed: 20 minutes
Number: 1
Age: Adult
Sex: male
Location: West side Provo Airport Dike
County: Utah
Latilong: Salt Lake City-Provo
Elevation: 4,500 feet.
Distance to bird: 4 feet
Optical equipment: Celestron 8x42 binoculars
Weather: partly cloudy with mix of sun and overcast.
Light Conditions: good lighting conditions
Description:        Size of bird: Small, reminder of a ruby crown kinglet in size when flying.
(Description:)       Basic Shape: Slender warbler shaped type bird.
(Description:)  Overall Pattern: yellow and blue gray stuck out at first
(Description:)            Bill Type: sharp bill
Field Marks and
Identifying Characteristics:
When first saw species fly I thought of Yellow-rumped warbler, upon second glance the yellow-green patch on it's back clued Eric Huish and myself that we were looking at something different. Noticing the eye/arcs or incomplete eye rings were the next field mark I noticed.It had an over all blue/gray to it. It had a white outer tail feathers when flying. Bold white wing bars were noticed as well. It also had dark loral stripe. It had a yellow breast with some orange mixed in around the neck area. Also a lil smudge of black around neck. It had a white on belly and around base of tail. It had a sharp bill, but we did not pay attention to the bi-color of it.
(see photos)
Song or call & method of delivery: Bird sang several times. The song was a buzzing rising sound. Compared nicely to a bird recording we listened to after observing bird. He was perched when singing, did not hear him sing in flight.
Behavior: Bird was active mostly staying in the middle of the trees he would go between. He would sing while moving around.
Habitat: Lake side, small trees and shrubs, large corkscrew willow, marsh, russian olives.
Similar species and how
were they eliminated:
Tropical Parula, this was eleminated based on lack of the incomplete eye ring on this bird and also white belly on bird, instead of yellow. Virginia's Warbler was eliminated by the lack of yellow/green color patch on it's back, the black lorals are not found on Virginia's Warbler. Also a prominent yellow throat on the bird seen.Yellow-Warbler was eliminated again by the yellow/green back and lack of yellow on breast. And this did not have a yellow rump.
Previous experience with
this & similar species:
I have seen this species one other time, last year in the East Bay part of Provo, Utah.
References consulted: The Sibley Guide to Birds
Description from: Notes made later
Observer: KC Childs
Observer's address: 731 w. 580 s.  [Orem]
Observer's e-mail address:
Other observers who independently identified this bird: Eric Huish
Date prepared: May 14, 2011
Additional material: Photos