Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 2017-37

Common name:

Northern Parula

Scientific name: Setophaga americana
Date: May 27, 2017
Time: 11:15 am
Length of time observed: 20 minutes
Number: 1
Age: Unknown
Sex: Male
Location: Bryce Canyon NP -- Mossy Cave, Garfield County, Utah, US
County: Garfield
Latilong: Unknown
Elevation: Unknown
Distance to bird:  20'
Optical equipment: Swarovski EL 8.5X42
Weather: Clear
Light Conditions: Sunny
Description:        Size of bird: Warbler
(Description:)       Basic Shape: Warbler
(Description:)  Overall Pattern: Warbler
(Description:)            Bill Type:  Lower mandible same color as bib - yellow
Field Marks and
Identifying Characteristics:
This was what I posted as comments in my eBird posting: Saw and heard on both sides of stream before and after 1st bridge on trail enroute to Mossy cave about 11:15. I recognize this species as rare for this area but am very familiar with it in my home state of Illinois. Yellow bib with lower mandible same color, with dark lower border of bib before white belly, gray head, eye arcs visible. Green patch on back. Voice upward rising but buzzier than what I am used to in Illinois. Was foraging low and got great looks until other hikers scared it. Then it went high. No photos but may have audio.
(listen to audio)
Song or call & method of delivery: Singing
Behavior: Foraging low. Was spooked by hikers to other side of river. Went high, but came back low.
Habitat: Brushy, low, riparian
Similar species and how
were they eliminated:
There was no other species that it could have been. I had a distinctive look and saw all the visual characteristics to identify it and it was also singing. My camera battery had failed so I could not get a photo. However, knowing it was rare for the area, I recorded it with my iPhone. It sounded more raspy than the eastern NOPA's I hear but definitely congruent with this species.
Previous experience with
this & similar species:
Extensive. I have 105 eBird sighting entries for this species dating back to September 1983.
References consulted: Sibley's Western Birds
Description from: Notes taken at the time of the sighting
Observer: Pete Fenner
Observer's address: 1283 N Crabtree Court, East Peoria, IL 61611
Observer's e-mail address: **
Other observers who independently identified this bird: Keith St. Clair (he is a non-birder)
Date prepared: 5/31/2017
Additional material: Tape - Sent to:
Additional comments: I saw this bird very well. I have very little doubt about the sighting. I am a cautious and conservative birder, and if I doubted it, I wouldn't have posted it to eBird.