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Bird Checklists of the United States

Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge

Brigham City, Utah


The Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge is located 15 miles west of Brigham City, Utah and covers nearly 74,000 acres comprised of marshes, uplands, and open water. Established in 1928 on a delta of the Bear River in the Great Salt Lake, the refuge attracts thousands of migrating ducks, swans, geese and shorebirds. In the early 1980's after several extremely wet winters and cooler than normal summers, the Great Salt Lake began to rise above its traditional shoreline at an elevation of 4,205 feet above sea level. By 1986 the lake reached its historical high level of 4,212 feet above sea level, destroying everything below that level including the dikes, new visitors center, machine shops, and housing facilities on the refuge. All the trees and vegetation that once grew around the refuge headquarters also perished. Most of the once common passerines associated with the trees are now seen only rarely or uncommonly in migration. In 1989 the lake had receded enough to allow volunteers to begin the long process of reconstruction. Slowly, the refuge is recovering. The wetland vegetation is growing, and the waterfowl and shorebird populations are returning to their pre-flood numbers. Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge is once again the major birding hot spot in northern Utah.


The following list contains 221 species that have been recorded on the refuge. A list of accidental species (one or two records in a ten year period) follows the main list. Seasonal abundance is coded as follows:

* - species known to nest on the refuge

C - common: likely to be seen in suitable habitat
U - uncommon: present, but not always seen
O - occasional: seen only a few times per season
R - rare: few records over several years

P - permanent: year round resident
S - summer: present during nesting season
W - winter: November through March
T - transient: seen as a migrant, spring or fall


LOONS ___ Pacific Loon -- RT ___ Common Loon -- UT
GREBES ___ Pied-billed Grebe* CS UW ___ Horned Grebe RT RW ___ Eared Grebe* US CT ___ Western Grebe* CS RW ___ Clark's Grebe* CS RW
PELICANS & CORMORANTS ___ American White Pelican -- CS ___ Double-crested Cormorant* -- CS
HERONS ___ American Bittern -- RS ___ Great Blue Heron -- CP ___ Great Egret -- RS ___ Snowy Egret* -- CS ___ Cattle Egret -- CS ___ Black-crowned Night-Heron* -- CS
IBIS ___ White-faced Ibis* -- CS
SWANS, GEESE, & DUCKS ___ Tundra Swan (Whistling Swan) CT RW ___ Trumpeter Swan -- RW ___ Snow Goose -- UT ___ Ross' Goose -- RT ___ Canada Goose* -- CP ___ Wood Duck -- RW ___ Green-winged Teal* CW US ___ Mallard* -- CP ___ Northern Pintail* CS UW ___ Blue-winged Teal -- US ___ Cinnamon Teal* CS RW ___ Northern Shoveler* CS UW ___ Gadwall* CS UW ___ Eurasian Wigeon -- RT ___ American Wigeon CT UW ___ Canvasback UT RW ___ Redhead* CS RW ___ Ring-necked Duck RT RW ___ Greater Scaup -- RT ___ Lesser Scaup CT UW ___ Oldsquaw -- RW ___ Surf Scoter -- RW ___ White-winged Scoter -- RW ___ Common Goldeneye CT UW ___ Barrow's Goldeneye -- RW ___ Bufflehead CT UW ___ Hooded Merganser RT RW ___ Red-breasted Merganser RW CT ___ Ruddy Duck* CS UW
VULTURES ___ Turkey Vulture -- CS
HAWKS, FALCONS, & EAGLES ___ Osprey -- RT ___ Bald Eagle -- CW ___ Northern Harrier (Marsh Hawk)* -- CP ___ Sharp-shinned Hawk UT UW ___ Cooper's Hawk UT UW ___ Northern Goshawk RT RW ___ Swainson's Hawk -- CS ___ Red-tailed Hawk -- CP ___ Ferruginous Hawk -- US ___ Rough-legged Hawk -- CW ___ Golden Eagle -- UP ___ American Kestrel -- CP ___ Merlin -- UW ___ Peregrine Falcon -- UP ___ Prairie Falcon -- UP
GROUSE & PHEASANT ___ Ring-necked Pheasant* -- UP
CRANES, RAILS, & COOT ___ Virginia Rail* -- CS ___ Sora* -- CS ___ Common Moorhen* -- RP ___ American Coot* -- CP ___ Sandhill Crane CT US
SHOREBIRDS ___ Black-bellied Plover -- UT ___ American Golden Plover (Lesser Gol-Pl.) -- RT ___ Snowy Plover* -- CS ___ Semipalmated Plover -- RT ___ Killdeer* RW CS ___ Black-necked Stilt* -- CS ___ American Avocet* -- CS ___ Greater Yellowlegs -- CT ___ Lesser Yellowlegs -- CT ___ Solitary Sandpiper -- UT ___ Willet* -- CS ___ Spotted Sandpiper -- UT ___ Whimbrel -- RT ___ Long-billed Curlew* -- CS ___ Marbled Godwit -- CT ___ Ruddy Turnstone -- RT ___ Red Knot -- RT ___ Sanderling RT UW ___ Semipalmated Sandpiper -- RT ___ Western Sandpiper -- CT ___ Least Sandpiper CT RW ___ Baird's Sandpiper -- UT ___ Pectoral Sandpiper -- RT ___ Dunlin -- RT ___ Stilt Sandpiper -- RT ___ Short-billed Dowitcher -- RT ___ Long-billed Dowitcher -- CT ___ Common Snipe* CS UW ___ Red-necked Phalarope -- CT ___ Wilson's Phalarope -- CS
GULLS & TERNS ___ Franklin's Gull -- CS ___ Bonaparte's Gull -- UT ___ Ring-billed Gull* US CW ___ California Gull* -- CP ___ Herring Gull -- UW ___ Thayer's Gull -- RW ___ Glaucous Gull -- RW ___ Caspian Tern* -- US ___ Common Tern -- RT ___ Forster's Tern* -- CS ___ Black Tern* CT US
PIGEONS & DOVES ___ Rock Dove* -- CP ___ Mourning Dove* -- CS
OWLS ___ Barn Owl -- UP ___ Great Horned Owl -- UP ___ Burrowing Owl* -- US ___ Short-eared Owl* -- UP
NIGHTHAWKS & POORWILLS ___ Common Nighthawk -- CS ___ Common Poorwill -- US
SWIFTS ___ White-throated Swift -- US
HUMMINGBIRDS ___ Black-chinned Hummingbird -- US ___ Broad-tailed Hummingbird -- US ___ Rufous Hummingbird -- UT
KINGFISHERS ___ Belted Kingfisher -- UP
WOODPECKERS ___ Northern Flicker (Common Flicker) -- UP ___ Downy Woodpecker -- UP
FLYCATCHERS ___ Western Wood-Pewee -- RT ___ Willow Flycatcher -- RT ___ Hammond's Flycatcher -- RT ___ Dusky Flycatcher -- RT ___ Gray Flycatcher -- RT ___ Cordilleran Flycatcher -- RT ___ Say's Phoebe -- UP ___ Ash-throated Flycatcher -- RT ___ Western Kingbird -- US ___ Eastern Kingbird -- RS
LARKS ___ Horned Lark* -- CP
SWALLOWS ___ Tree Swallow CT US ___ Violet-green Swallow CT US ___ Northern Rough-winged Swallow CT US ___ Bank Swallow CT US ___ Cliff Swallow* -- CS ___ Barn Swallow* -- CS
JAYS, CROWS, & MAGPIES ___ Black-billed Magpie* -- CP ___ American Crow -- RW ___ Common Raven* -- CP
CHICKADEES ___ Black-capped Chickadee -- UT ___ Mountain Chickadee -- RT
WRENS ___ Rock Wren -- UT ___ House Wren -- UT ___ Marsh Wren* CS UW
KINGLETS & GNATCATCHERS ___ Ruby-crowned Kinglet -- UT ___ Blue-gray Gnatcatcher -- RT
THRUSHES ___ Mountain Bluebird -- UT ___ Townsend's Solitaire -- RT ___ Hermit Thrush -- UT ___ Swainson's Thrush -- RT ___ American Robin -- UP
THRASHERS ___ Northern Mockingbird RT US ___ Sage Thrasher* CT US
PIPITS ___ American Pipit (Water Pipit) CT UW
WAXWINGS ___ Bohemian Waxwing -- RW ___ Cedar Waxwing -- RW
SHRIKES ___ Northern Shrike -- UW ___ Loggerhead Shrike -- UW
STARLINGS ___ European Starling* -- CP
VIREOS ___ Solitary Vireo -- RT ___ Warbling Vireo -- RT
WARBLERS ___ Orange-crowned Warbler -- UT ___ Nashville Warbler -- RT ___ Virginia's Warbler -- RT ___ Yellow Warbler -- UT ___ Yellow-rumped Warbler -- UT ___ MacGillivray's Warbler -- RT ___ Common Yellowthroat* CT CS ___ Wilson's Warbler -- UT
TANAGERS ___ Western Tanager -- UT
GROSBEAKS ___ Black-headed Grosbeak -- UT
SPARROWS & BUNTINGS ___ Lazuli Bunting -- UT ___ Green-tailed Towhee -- UT ___ Rufous-sided Towhee -- UT ___ American Tree Sparrow -- UW ___ Chipping Sparrow -- UT ___ Brewer's Sparrow* CS CT ___ Vesper Sparrow* CS CT ___ Lark Sparrow US UT ___ Lark Bunting -- RT ___ Savannah Sparrow* CS CT ___ Song Sparrow* -- CP ___ Lincoln's Sparrow -- UT ___ White-throated Sparrow -- RW ___ White-crowned Sparrow CT CW ___ Harris' Sparrow -- RW ___ Dark-eyed Junco CT CW ___ Lapland Longspur -- UW ___ Snow Bunting -- UW
BLACKBIRDS & ORIOLES ___ Bobolink -- RT ___ Red-winged Blackbird* -- CP ___ Yellow-headed Blackbird* -- CS ___ Western Meadowlark* -- CP ___ Brewer's Blackbird* -- CP ___ Brown-headed Cowbird* -- CS ___ Bullock's Oriole -- UT
FINCHES ___ House Finch* -- CP ___ Pine Siskin -- UT ___ American Goldfinch -- CP ___ Evening Grosbeak -- RT
WEAVER FINCHES ___ House Sparrow* -- CP
ACCIDENTAL SPECIES ___ Red-throated Loon ___ Greater White-fronted Goose ___ Brant ___ Harlequin Duck ___ Black Scoter ___ Pacific Golden Plover ___ Mountain Plover ___ Buff-breasted Sandpiper ___ Red Phalarope ___ Parasitic Jaegar ___ Long-tailed Jaegar ___ Mew Gull ___ Glaucous-winged Gull ___ Sabine's Gull ___ White-winged Dove

For additional information contact:

                 Refuge Manager
                 Bear River Refuge
                 Brigham City, Utah 84302            
                 Telephone: 801/723-5887

This resource is based on the following source:
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  1995.  Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge birds, 
     Brigham City, Utah.  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  Unpaginated.
This resource should be cited as:
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  1995.  Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge birds, 
     Brigham City, Utah.  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  Unpaginated.
     Jamestown, ND: Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center Online.
     http://www.npwrc.usgs.govbeariver.htm  
     (Version 22MAY98).

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