by Marilyn and Keith Davis

"A Life List"

Painted Redstart

        Ever heard of a "Life List"? Most serious birders keep a life list of all the birds they’ve seen. Today I read where a person added a Painted Redstart to his life list. Some birders keep the details of each new find on a list such as the day, time, weather, etc. so they can refresh their memories of what happened time and time again. A Painted Redstart is a great addition to a life list if you live in Utah.

        Speaking of life lists, I have a pretty good memory of each first sighting of a bird, but no written list. I decided not to keep a life list since an early birder hero of mine said he didn’t think it was important to keep such a list.
Painted Redstart

        My honey says he keeps a life list in his mind... like the first time he saw Elk in Utah, the time he had to throw all of his bow-hunting gear off the cliff because he needed both hands to climb down, or the time a rattler almost got him at the top of City Creek Canyon. Everyone has their own life list either in their mind or written down. Your life list may be terrifying moments, beautiful sunsets you’ve seen, or like me.... fond remembrances of the first time you spotted an elusive bird and said "wow"!  All my first bird encounters go on my mental life list, which I carry with me all the time.

        Painted Redstarts have been spotted in Zion Canyon by several birders, but not by me. I have never been fortunate enough to be in the right place, at the right time. This beautiful little bird, which is rare in southern Utah, is often found in southern Arizona and New Mexico during the summer months. In the winter months it can be found from Mexico to Nicaragua, living at altitudes from 5,000 to 8,000 feet in the Pine, and Oak canyons, or the Pinyon, and Juniper covered slopes. The Painted Redstart is not only beautiful, it is crafty. When looking for a meal, it flashes the white spots of the wings and the tail to startle intended prey into fatal flight or movement. The Painted Restart builds its nest on the ground, with materials used to camouflage, and then hides it in the rocks, roots, and grasses. The female Painted Redstart is different from other birds, for she sings as well as the male. Learning about birds can be fun and challenging. If you want a greater understanding of birds, please feel free to attend our monthly Red Cliffs Audubon Meetings and Field Trips. This will expand your knowledge and your enjoyment of the beautiful terrain we are so fortunate to live in. Audubon meetings begin again September 10th at 7:00 p.m. at the Tonaquint Nature Center. Field Trips are monthly. If you have any questions about the Audubon or about Birds, call Marilyn Davis at 673-0996.

        The artist this week is once again Brenda Rusnell, doing a spectacular job representing this rare traveler who now and then shows up in Zion Canyon, along with the other summer tourists. Thank you Brenda for sharing your talent with us.

        If you wish to view more Artists & Birds articles, you can find them here.

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