29 September 2020

State Bird

Monday, August 3rd, 2020
Black-capped Chickadee (with insect), East Millcreek, Salt Lake City, Utah, 03 August 2020.
Black-capped Chickadee (with insect).

Utah’s state bird is, rather peculiarly, the California Gull. These gulls are literally legendary, credited with saving the crops of settlers from the East (in what is now the Salt Lake City area) back in the 1840s. I’ve seen a few California Gulls in town, but during my hikes with the captain, I see a lot more of the state bird of Maine, the place I left to move to SLC—where I arrived exactly a year ago today.

I’m talking about the Black-capped Chickadee.

Black-caps have a subtly different accent out here, especially in their “gargling” call (far more declarative and far-carrying out here), but their behavior is just the same. Problem is, I don’t have chickadees flitting around tall trees of the sort dog and I hiked through in Maine; rather, this part of the high desert has wide, open spaces populated by low-slung scrub oak and occasional junipers.

But in the cool shade of Coyote Canyon, lined by bigtooth maples, I can occasionally grab a decent photo of a bird that doesn’t seem as skittish as most (in either state).

Grandeur Peak Area List
Beginning at 8 a.m., I hiked a few hundred feet up a mountain.

1. Black-capped Chickadee
2. Rock Pigeon*
3. Mourning Dove*
4. Woodhouse’s Scrub-jay**
5. American Robin*
6. House Finch*
7. Black-chinned Hummingbird
8. Lazuli Bunting
9. Spotted Towhee
10. Pine Siskin
11. Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
12. Broad-tailed Hummingbird
13. Lesser Goldfinch
14. Cooper’s Hawk (v)


15. Eurasian Collared Dove
16. California Quail


Mountain Cottontail

(v) Voice only
*Also elsewhere

**Voice only elsewhere

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Bird Report is a (sometimes intermittent) record of the birds I encounter while hiking, see while driving, or spy outside my window. —Brian Willson

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