Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 2014-014

Common name:

Orchard Oriole

Scientific name: Icterus spurius
Date: May 13, 2014
Time: 11:30 AM
Length of time observed: 15 min
Age: Adult
Sex: Male
Location: just south of Joseph, Utah close to HWY 89 junction (Sevier HWY) along Ross Lane accessed from Pheasant Run Rd
County: Sevier
Latilong: N 4273028 E 393488
Elevation: 5487
Distance to bird: 15 feet
Optical equipment: 8x42 Eagle Optics
Weather: Clear, sunny, 55 F
Light Conditions: Bright
Description:        Size of bird: similar size to AMRO
(Description:)       Basic Shape: plump, pointier bill than a sparrow, semi long
(Description:)  Overall Pattern: Dark/black head, very orange almost crimson
(Description:)            Bill Type: sharply pointed bill
Field Marks and
Identifying Characteristics:
Bird was perched on a signpost (viewed from vehicle) and showed very obvious dark black head and a more crimson red than orange breast.  Its tail was solid black and I noticed its pointy sharp bill.  It then flew over the greasewood shrubs away from the canal and perched on a fence post.  I followed it on foot and got sort of close and had another look, but didn't get very close to it as it kept flying from fence post to fence post further away, and never got close enough for a photo.  I did see faintly some wing bars at this point.  The bird was definitely the size of a bluebird or robin.
Song or call & method of delivery: none
Behavior: flying and perching from fence post to fence post.
Habitat: Mixed desert shrubs, along canal (riparian), tall cottonwoods nearby and agricultural fields.  Mostly greasewood in desert shrub where bird was sighted.
Similar species and how
were they eliminated:
Spotted Towhee: this bird difinitely did not have any white on its breast, it was a solid orange/crimson color.  It also did not have a sparrow like beak.
Scott's Oriole: this bird was not yellow, not even mistaken for any shade of yellow like a scott's or bullocks oriole.
Audubon's and hooded orioles: this bird had absolutely a solid black head all the way down the nape of its neck.
Previous experience with
this & similar species:
I am an avian biologist in this type of habitat and know orioles well with experience from working in the field conducting point counts.
References consulted: Sibley Guide for Western Birds
Audubon Bird app
Description from: Notes made later
Observer: Cherin Spencer-Bower
Observer's address: Cedar City, Utah
Observer's e-mail address: **
Other observers who independently identified this bird:  
Date prepared: May 15, 2014
Additional material: