Some biking enthusiasts have claimed the issue of bird watching in Olympus Hills Park is a “red herring” because the park is not on the Audubon Society’s list of preferred birding locations in Utah.

Apparently, in their view, this should not be a factor in the debate as to whether “skill trails” for bikers should be constructed in the nature preserve area of the park.

Here is a partial list of the more interesting species my wife and I have seen and identified since we became bird watchers: sharp-shinned and Cooper’s hawks; kestrel; nighthawk; Anna’s, black-chinned and Rufus hummingbirds; white-crown, red-crown and sage sparrows; towhee; black-headed grosbeak; cross-bill; red-wing blackbird; rock, mourning and ring-necked doves; brown creeper; western tanager; solitary vireo; cowbird; nuthatch and cedar waxwing (a flock of more than 50).

Have we seen all of these species in Olympus Hills Park? No. Have we seen all of these species, and many more, in our own backyard? Absolutely.

Our backyard is less than a half-block from the lower north entrance to the park. It is not on the Audubon Society’s list of preferred locations for bird watchers, either.

Red herring, my foot.

Kenneth H. Yockey, Holladay