Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 2013-35

Common name:

Painted Bunting

Scientific name: Passerina ciris
Date: 4-30-13
Time: 1:30pm
Length of time observed: 2hrs,30minutes
Number: 1
Age: Unknown
Sex: Unknown (not adult male)
Location: Garr Ranch,Antelope Island State Park
County: Davis
Elevation: 4220ft
Distance to bird: 3 yards
Optical equipment: 10X50 Binoculars. Canon Sx20 is Digital Camera
Weather: sunny,breezy,60F
Light Conditions: Good
Description:        Size of bird: medium sized passerine
(Description:)       Basic Shape: passerine
(Description:)  Overall Pattern: Lime green above,yellow below
(Description:)            Bill Type: stout,dark
Field Marks and
Identifying Characteristics:
I first saw the bird in flight, then it landed low in some shrubbery nearby, very close,3 yards off. It was green on the back and yellow on the throat and breast. At first I thought it must be an Orange-crowned Warbler, but the bill was stout and dark, and the posture was wrong for a warbler, also the green on the back was a very bright lime green, with a turquoise iridescence quality that OCWA lack. There are very few green birds in Utah, and none matched this bird. Then it dawned on me that it could be a female type Painted Bunting, which the bill shape and yellow eye ring matched. I continued to watch the bird for some time, taking many photos and video, then went and consulted my Sibley which was in the car. Seemed a perfect match. See photos.
Song or call & method of delivery: none heard
Behavior: Feeding on dandelion seed heads in a grassy field,and flying into low brush nearby periodically
Habitat: In a grassy field,surrounded by thickets of Russian Olive trees and Box Elders,near a spring
Similar species and how
were they eliminated:
Bill wrong for Orange-crowned Warbler. Tail to short for Green-tailed Towhee,no red crown. Too big for Ruby-crowned Kinglet. Wasn't acting like a Flycatcher(eating seeds on the ground). Too small for a female Tanager,also behavior wrong for a Tanager(eating seeds on the ground).
Previous experience with
this & similar species:
Yes,saw a male in Rose Park SLC,UT on May 2nd 2009
References consulted: Sibley guide to Western Birds
Description from: From photo(s) taken at the time of the sighting
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: Shyloh Robinson,Norm and Gail Jensen,Stephanie Greenwood,Paul Higgins on Tuesday that I know of,and many others since
Date prepared: 05-02-13
Additional material: Photos