Missing Antelope Island’s Chukars

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Chukar in falling snowChukar in falling snow

Except for one fleeting glance of a Chukar at the end of November I have not seen Chukars on Antelope Island for several months. Typically I see them all year long and they really stand out after a snow like the Chukar in the image above photographed in January of 2013.

The Chukars might be on the west side of the island which isn’t accessible by vehicle. Chukars aren’t migratory birds but they do wander around the island.

I also hope that the Chukars haven’t gotten the West Nile Virus that killed so many Bald Eagles last winter here in Utah.

Their absence is puzzling and I find myself missing the Antelope Island’s Chukars.

Addendum: There have been Chukars by the visitor center and higher up on hillsides.

Mia

5 Comments

  1. Lori January 5, 2015 at 10:26 am

    I NEVER knew that there were Chukars on the Island let alone anywhere close to here. In my travels I have only seen them in Glacier Park and up from there into Canada. So you can imagine my surprise when one began hanging out in my yard near the bird feeder! She was fun to watch – very territorial. Chasing off the ravens, magpies, etc. I followed her pattern and suspect she was nesting in my neighbors across the road. One day she was taking too long to cross the road and being concerned that an oncoming car would get her, I told my husband to chase her to the other side. A loud screech, followed by a hawk swooped down and the hunt was on. We were shocked! My son said we were interfering with nature! This was late February and we did not see her for months! But she showed up late April, none the worse for wear. Thanks to you, Mia, for the info! And for your beautiful work!

  2. Neil January 5, 2015 at 7:38 am

    Mia: I saw two different groups of ~20 Chukars on January 2nd while hiking the Frary Peak Trail. I also heard several other distant groups to the west of the ridge. Both groups I saw were at higher elevations towards the ridge top. Watched a Golden Eagle make an unsuccessful attempt at one group. I suspect the non-native Chukar is doing just fine on Antelope Island, just using a slightly different part of the island this winter. I’m sure you’ll see them again soon!

    • Mia McPherson January 5, 2015 at 7:43 am

      Thanks Neil. After I posted this morning I checked on eBird and saw that you had reported ~20 of them on the 2nd while hiking Frary Peak Trail.

      I wondered if Golden’s went after Chukar but had never seen it myself, thanks for confirming that they do go after them.

      • Neil January 5, 2015 at 7:51 am

        I’m speculating here, but I suspect Golden’s go after Chukars fairly regularly on the island. In other parts of their range they take Sage Grouse pretty consistently.

        • Mia McPherson January 5, 2015 at 8:17 am

          Thanks for your thoughts Neil. I hope one day to photograph a Golden taking prey! Dream shots!

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