Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 201

Common name:

Black-throated Blue Warbler

Scientific name: Dendroica caerulescens [Setophaga c.]
Date: 5/19/11
Time: 6:30 PM
Length of time observed: About 10 seconds
Number: 1
Age: Adult
Sex: Male
Location: River Front Park along the Jordan River, just north of 11400 South and east of River Front Parkway [South Jordan]
County: Salt Lake
Distance to bird: 20 feet when I first observed it flying from a tree. I watched it fly toward me, above and beside me and then away from me and over some russian olive trees until it was out of sight
Optical equipment: Naked eye observation due to distance from the bird. I followed it with Cabela's XT binoculars as it flew out of sight.
Weather: Warm and clear skies
Light Conditions: Excellent
Description:        Size of bird: 5-6 inches
(Description:)       Basic Shape: Similar to other warblers. Broad wings
(Description:)  Overall Pattern: Dark blue above, black chin and throat, bright white belly and underside of tail, mostly white underwings.
(Description:)            Bill Type: Very short and dark. Essentially blended right into the black throat.
Field Marks and
Identifying Characteristics:
It flew from a willow tree where I was watching other warblers so I could see it was similar in size and shape to other warblers. The contrast between the white belly and black throat and chin was powerful. The contrast also between the dark blue upper and white undersides was stark. As the bird flew I observed the wings going back and forth between dark blue upperside to mostly white underside. It was very vivid and matched the field guide completely when I looked it up. As stated by Sibley, a male is unmistakable, especially in good daylight. The black on the chin and throat went from the bill to the neck and from one eye to the other. The belly and undertail were a bright white. Underside of wings also very white. The white underwing contrasted strongly with the upper wing and its wings flapped up and down.
Song or call & method of delivery:  
Behavior: Had a straight (directionally, not irratic) but bouncing flight as it flew from a willow, toward and over russian olive trees
Habitat: Riparian surrounded by a park to the south and fields to the west and north. River on the east side.
Similar species and how
were they eliminated:
I have never seen another warbler with that stark color pattern. I called Eric Huish immediately after seeing this bird. I described the field marks and asked what bird has those field marks. He responded with, "Black-throated Blue Warbler." I have never seen one before. I could describe it only by what I saw and it was a perfect match for Black-throated Blue Warbler.
Previous experience with
this & similar species:
It was a life bird.
References consulted: Sibley Guide to Birds of Western North America and Eric Huish
Description from: Notes taken at time of sighting
Observer: Jeff Cooper
Observer's address: 3499 N 1270 W, Pleasant Grove, Utah 84062
Observer's e-mail address:
Other observers who independently identified this bird:  
Date prepared: 4/7/12
Additional material:  
Additional_Comments: I can draw a picture if needed. I was not aware of the process for submitting records or that this was a review bird at the time of the sighting. I actually called Eric Huish on the phone after seeing it, described it to him and asked what bird it could be. He said, "Black-throated Blue Warbler" based on my verbal description over the phone. I am submitting now to make it a public record.