Before the area was urbanized, mammals such as bighorn sheep, mule deer, coyote, wolves, beaver, muskrat and jack rabbits would have been seen along the river. A "varmint hunt" was organized by John D. Lee around 1848, after the arrival of Mormon settlers. The final count of the hunt included "two bears, two wolverines, two wildcats, 783 wolves, 409 foxes, 31 minks, nine eagles, 530 magpies, hawks and owls, and 1,026 ravens." None of the original large mammals is found along the Jordan River today; they have, for the most part, been replaced by raccoons, red foxes and domestic pets. Animals from the Jordan River area found on the Utah Sensitive Species List include the smooth green snake, the western toad, kit fox, spotted bat, and Townsend's big-eared bat.
Combined with Utah Lake and the Great Salt Lake, the Jordan River offers one of the region's richest bird resources. Over 200 bird species use the river for breeding habitat or as a stop-over on their migratory route. Once-common native species such as the willow flycatcher, gray catbird, warbling vireo, American redstart, black tern, and yellow-billed cuckoo are no longer found along the river. The common yellowthroat and yellow-breasted chat are still found in small isolated populations. The most common species now found are the black-billed magpie, mourning dove, Western Meadowlark, barn swallow, and the non-native ring-necked pheasant and starlings.
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