Posted Thursday, 23 June 2011 10:43
DWR identifies sources to help you find and identify birds
Spring and early summer are magical times for birdwatchers.
Cassin's finches are among the song birds that put on a "magic" show this time of the year.
Photo by Ron Stewart
Ron Stewart, a conservation outreach manager with the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, says watching birds this time of year is like watching a magic show. "It has all the ingredients," he says, "bright colors, flashy costumes, exaggerated movements and a multitude of sounds to distract your attention away from the real action that's taking place before you."
The real action that's taking place are females blending into the background while the males—decked out in their brightest colors—distract you from seeing the females.
"Now you see it, now you don't," Stewart says.
Another part of the show is the reappearing act. Stewart says late May and June is the time when smaller birds migrate. "In the late spring and early summer," he says, "most of the song birds and many other migratory birds just seem to appear as they migrate into Utah from warmer southern climates. Or, if they've spent the winter in Utah, as they migrate to higher elevations in the state.
"Then, after spending a few days, they disappear again."
Stewart says many of these birds are called song birds "because of the musical boasting they do as they stake out their nesting territories."
Stewart says their songs are actually a combination of messages. Some are sent by males to let the females know how big, strong and important the singer is. Other songs are warnings—usually directed by a male to other males of the same species—to stay away from the male's territory.
Stewart says you can watch the birds' "magic" show in your backyard or up in the hills:
To identify birds and find the best places in Utah to see them, Stewart recommends the following:
Once you know where to go, make sure you take a good pair of binoculars or a spotting scope with you. These viewing aids will help you discover Utah's wildlife.
Beavers in Utah
Building guzzlers in Utah's Newfoundland Mountains
Gila monsters — Creatures of legends and misconceptions