"A Good Story, but Definitely Not High-Uintah Parrots"

Pine Grosbeaks

        When you hear a good story worth telling, you better tell it. This is a story that happened to my honey before I met him.

        Almost 45 years ago Keith Davis saw Parrots in the High-Uintah wilderness. It was during the bow-hunt for deer. He was miles from anywhere; there were no roads, no houses, no people, and no noise. Other than his hunting partner, he had not seen another person for almost a week. Keith was bow hunting in full camouflage, sneaking quietly up a grassy draw surrounded by trees, when suddenly there were ten or twelve Parrots just a few feet in front of him. The bright, colorful birds were feeding in apine grosbeaks patch of tall grass. They had large bills, bright varying colors, and he knew they had to be Parrots. My Honey stood spellbound watching the beautiful, large birds feeding, and then suddenly they winged off into the pine-covered mountain and disappeared.

        Keith was an avid duck hunter, spending many hours watching waterfowl and other birds, but he knew almost nothing about the wildlife in the High-Uintah Mountain Range. For the next 20 years or so Keith kept asking people about the Parrots, and everyone told him ‘there are no Parrots in Utah’. He just knew he had seen Parrots. Then last winter, while he and I were visiting a friend in New Harmony, he saw them again; a flock of what looked like those High Uintah Parrots. The birds were at a feeder, hanging in a cedar tree, next to our friend’s house, and could be clearly seen for identification. I had to explain to my honey that they were not Parrots, but Pine Grosbeaks, and compared them with pictures in my bird book. Well, they definitely were not Parrots he agreed, and he’d have to change his story, but still it was just as big a thrill for him to see them this day up close, in full color, as it was 45 years ago.

        Maybe you have a similar story like Keith’s. Birds are easily mistaken and that’s why it’s important to have a good bird book with you. For the novice, try the National Geographic Birds of North America.

        The Pine Grosbeak is Robin-sized ( eight to ten inches), and found in coniferous woods across Alaska, Canada, and the western mountains of the US. This summer look for them on Cedar Mountain or in the area of Kolob Reservoir. The Pine Grosbeak forages in trees and bushes. It mainly eats seeds, buds, berries and insects. Only after the nesting season will you find them in flocks.

        If you have questions about birds, or want to talk about birds, call 435 673-0996. The Pine Grosbeaks were drawn by Marilyn Davis.

Home - Red Cliffs Audubon