Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 2014-009

Common name:

Rose-throated Becard

Scientific name: Pachyramphus aglaiae
Date: April 2000 (About 5 days after I had seen the female)
Time: About 7:45 A.M.
Length of time observed: About 8-10 minutes (my friend wanted to continue on our walk)
Number: 1
Age: Adult
Sex: Male
Location: About 7 feet high in a small cottonwood tree in a river grove of cottonwood trees and tamarisk on the north side of the Virgin River between the Convention Center and the new Post office of St. George, Utah
County: Washington
Elevation: 2700 feet
Distance to bird: About 17 feet.
Optical equipment: I didn't have my binoculars with me so it was just my eyes.
Weather: A sunny morning
Light Conditions: The bright sun was behind me, shining on the front of the bird, which was facing me.
Description:        Size of bird: 6 or 7 inches
(Description:)       Basic Shape: smaller than Robin and more slender.  Larger head, think-billed
(Description:)  Overall Pattern: Dark gray back, slightly lighter gray tail, with black head, bright pinkish rose throat extending onto the upper chest, with very light gray breast.
(Description:)            Bill Type: Black, similar length of Tobin's but thicker
Field Marks and
Identifying Characteristics:
What really grabbed my attention was the bright rose color of the neck and upper chest.  The second I saw it I knew it was a bird I had never seen before.  I said to the lady I was walking with, "Stop, look at that bird!"  She, not knowing much about birds, in an uncaring voice said, "It's a Robin."  I replied, "Oh no!  That is no Robin!"  then I explained the differences to her.  I did not have my bird book with me, but as I always do with a bird I am not acquainted with, I took good mental notes of its marking so I could look it up in my books as soon as I got home, which I did.  When I looked in the book, as soon as I turned to the page showing the Rose-throated Becard (male) it seemed to jump right off the page at me.  I knew that was the species.  It fit in every detail except -- they are not supposed to be in this area, but I still knew it was the one.  However, in the description of the habitat, they are in "river groves" and that is where I saw it.
Song or call & method of delivery: Unfortunately, it made no sound while we were there.
Behavior: It made no movement as it knew we were there and was trying to remain inconspicuous.
Habitat: The book says, "Wooded canyons, river groves, sycamores."  All that we have of that here, where I saw it was the river groves.  This was in the trees and tamarisk of the Virgin River.
Similar species and how
were they eliminated:
It definitely was no Robin -- the Becard was smaller, slimmer and has a larger head.  The Robin has white throat with dark stripes and a rusty-red breast where the Becard has the bright rose throat and very light gray breast.  The Rose-breasted Grosbeak has a bright rose spot on the upper breast but that is lower down with a black throat and has a clear black upper back and tail with white wing bars and rump, also a thick very short pale bill.
Previous experience with
this & similar species:
I never saw this species before.  I have only seen the Rose-breasted Grosbeak in bird books.  I have never seen any other species with that bright rose color on it.
References consulted: Peterson Field Guides WESTERN BIRDS Third Edition   Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston 1990  and National Geographic Field Guide to the BIRDS OF NORTH AMERICA
Description from: Notes taken at time of sighting -- Detailed mental notes
Notes made later -- My computer had crashed at the time so I didn't add to my Life Bid List at the time.  Later I got another computer and my Son-in-law got my files moved over.  I finally got it added on. 
From memory -- Seeing such rare birds made such an impression on me, I remember it like it was yesterday that I saw them (I saw the female Rose-throated Becard a few days before I saw the male [the account of which is detailed in the accompanying papers]).
Photo(s) taken at the time of sighting -- Unfortunately I did not have a camera with me at the time.
Observer: Elva Carol Musig Christian
Observer's address: 246 S. 500 E. St. George, UT  84770   Ph. 435 674-3560   cell 435 668-2274
Observer's e-mail address: I don not have it.
Other observers who independently identified this bird: I am not aware of any.
Date prepared: March 11, 2014
Additional material: I am sorry I do not have any.
Additional_Comments: I have been interested in birds and trying to identifying the ones I see ever since I was a child with a little book with only 55 pictures and names of them  When I was attending Dixie College in 1957 I took a class in Utah Birds from Mr. Lorraine Woodbury.  We used a FIELD GUIDE TO WESTERN BIRDS By Roger Tory Peterson, Copyright 1941.  All these years I have kept up my interest in identifying birds and have collected other books about them, including the birds of Hawaii and also Australia when I was there.  For qutie a number of years I helped on the annual Christmas BIRD CENSUS in the St. George area under the able leadership of Merrill Webb of Orem Utah.  In the 1980's I was a member of the AUDUBON SOCIETY which was led by Neal Middlebrook and the Steve Hedges of Cedar City, UT.
I have been Birding in Washington County for 48 years.

I am submitting this information to the Utah Bird Records Committee.  You may use my name, publish its findings, etc.