Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 2014-017


Common name:

Baltimore Oriole

Scientific name: Icterus galbula
Date: June 1, 2014
Time: 10:00 a.m.
Length of time observed: 10-15 seconds
Number: 1
Age: adult
Sex: male
Location: Centennial or Weber River Trail, Ogden
County: Weber
Latilong: "N4113'43.2" W11159'39.8
Elevation: 4684
Distance to bird: 35-40 feet
Optical equipment: 8 x 42 binos
Weather: Clear, sunny and warm
Light Conditions: Bright, looking WSW
Description:        Size of bird: Robin-sized
(Description:)       Basic Shape: Like a robin, but slim
(Description:)  Overall Pattern: Orange, black and white
(Description:)            Bill Type: Thin, insect-eating
(Description:)                              
Field Marks and
Identifying Characteristics:
Bare parts: Dark bill and eyes. Bill about as long as a thrush bill. Didn't notice feet.
Head: Entirely black. Plumage projected downward into upper breast in a point.
Underparts: Breast, belly, underside of tail bright orange; belly and under tail with a slight yellow tint to orange.
Wings: Black, two wing-bars. Upper wing-bar was solid orange and matched the breast color. Lower wing-bar was white.
Didn't see upperparts due to steep angle of view.
Tail was about as long in proportion to bird's body as a robin's tail is in proportion to robin's body, but oriole was lacking the robin's girth and it made the tail appear longer. My angle of view might also have made the tail look longer than in a profile view.
Song or call & method of delivery: Deer-der, deer-der, deer der, der, der and variations of the deer-der notes. Musical and clear, but without as much energy as a Bullock's Oriole song. No burry notes and virtually no scolding. Heard an isolated scold note periodically, but I'm not sure it came from this bird. Deer-der song never began with the chicka-chicka type scolding notes of the Bullock's. Distinctly oriole-ish, and delivered from the canopy of cottonwoods along a river.
Behavior: Bird remained hidden and sang for most of the 10-15 minutes from the canopy of cottonwoods along the river. Moved within the canopy of several trees in the same vicinity on both sides of the river as I tried to get a view of it. Finally came out into the open on dead branches when I was below it 30-40 feet away. Gave me a 1/4 view so I could see not only the underside, but also the side of head and wing. Then, it returned to a hidden place in the canopy.
Habitat: Narrow riparian corridor thickly lined with cottonwoods; bordered on both sides by industrial area and railroad.
Similar species and how
were they eliminated:
Bright orange color eliminates Scott's, Audubon's and Orchard Orioles. Full black head ending at lower margin in a point into the upper breast eliminates other bright orange orioles and Black-headed Grosbeak. Upper orange wing-bar and solid black head eliminates Bullock's-Baltimore hybrids.
Previous experience with
this & similar species:
Lots of Baltimores in my youth. Extensive experience with Bullock's and Black-headed Grosbeak.
References consulted: Cornell's All About Birds, Sibley, Dunn and Alderfer 6th ed.
Description from: From memory
Observer: Kristin Purdy
Observer's address: Ogden, Utah
Observer's e-mail address: **
Other observers who independently identified this bird: None
Date prepared: June 2, 2014
Additional material:  
Additional_Comments: I struggled to see this bird for 10-15 minutes because while it was oriole-ish, it was different than other nearby singers and that's what caught my attention. Once it finally appeared above me, I waited to see it sing in my presence to make sure that the bird that had been singing the "different" song was the black-headed oriole in view. It sang a phrase or two and flew out of view again in 10-15 seconds.