Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 2011-48

Common name:

Northern Parula

Scientific name: (Parula americana)  [Setophaga americana]
Date: 06-18-2011
Time: 08:30 am
Length of time observed: 30 minutes
Number: 1
Age: ?
Sex: male?,based on the fact it was singing
Location: City Creek Canyon,picnic site #13
County: Salt Lake
Latilong: ?
Elevation: 5,200 Feet
Distance to bird: 15 feet
Optical equipment: 10X50 Bushnell binoculars, Cannon SX20 Digital Camera
Weather: Sunny, calm, 60 degrees
Light Conditions: in the canopy of a tree,so lighting was in dapled shade
Description:        Size of bird: 6 inches long
(Description:)       Basic Shape: warbler like
(Description:)  Overall Pattern: pale blue with yellow markings and white wing bars
(Description:)            Bill Type: long and thin(warbler like)
Field Marks and
Identifying Characteristics:
I first heard the bird while doing a breeding bird survey,but miss identified the song as a Junco's. Later,while leaving the canyon,I spotted some Cedar Waxwings,and stopped to check them out,when I heard the song again,and realised it didn't quite sound right for a Junco. I listened to it for some time,trying to locate the bird making it,and trying to place the song to a familiar species,but it just didn't fit. After awhile I finally located the bird making the sound in the top of a tree, and immediately noticed the lite blue head,yellow throat and bill,partial white eye ring and white wing bars,and thought, that can only be a NORTHERN PARULA.
(see photos)
Song or call & method of delivery: The bird made a high pitched ascending trill, repeated every 30 seconds or so for over 30 minutes.  (listen to  audio 1 and audio 2)
Behavior: The bird was in the top of a small tree above the creek singing most of the time,until a McGillivray's Warbler chased it away.
Habitat: Mixed deciduous/coniferous forest in a riparian area above a creek
Similar species and how
were they eliminated:
The only other Similar Warbler here would be an Audubon Yellow-rumped Warbler,which sings a very different song I am familiar with, and lacks the blueish color,and the yellow bill.
Previous experience with
this & similar species:
none,this was a lifer
References consulted: Sibley Guide to Birds, D.A. Sibley, (an internet database of bird songs and sounds)
Description from: From memory
Observer: Bryant Olsen
Observer's address: 688 East 700 South SLC,UT 84102
Observer's e-mail address:
Other observers who independently identified this bird: none
Date prepared: 10-03-11
Additional material: Photos, 2 videos, with audio of the song [  audio 1 and audio 2]