“Dragon” or “Big Bird” in Sandy and Draper, Utah

By the modern-pterosaur expert Jonathan David Whitcomb

I interviewed three eyewitnesses in Draper, Utah, two days ago. The sightings were about four miles west of the mountains that are the eastern border of the Salt Lake Valley, near the southern area of the valley. They seem to have witnessed an American Hammerhead Ropen, what my associates and I believe is at least one species of Rhamphorhynchoid pterosaur. People sometimes call it a “dragon” or “pterodactyl” or “dinosaur bird.”

One of the three eyewitnesses emphasized the glow of the flying creature, telling me that it was too high for him to make out details that were seen by the other two persons in this neighborhood in Draper. This correlates with other reports of apparent bioluminescence in these flying creatures.

Ropen Sighting on June 21, 2017, in Draper, Utah

After a hot afternoon in the Salt Lake Valley, on the first day of summer, a lady and her 12-year-old son decided to sleep in their backyard in western Draper and look at the stars, at least for the first part of the night. They had no idea that anyone had seen a huge dragon-like creature fly over the neighborhood earlier in the year.

As they identified a star constellation and apparent planet, they saw something else, very different. The boy excitedly asked his mother, “What is that?” She turned and the two of them watched a big featherless creature fly over their backyard, heading south. They could see the tail and the head, for it was only about fifty feet high and almost directly over them.

The boy later compared the head and head crest to the shape of part of a common hammer. The mother described the creature as without feathers and without hair. Later, the phrase “big bird” came to her mind, although it was featherless. It was flapping its wings, ruling out the idea that it was a drone aircraft.

Earlier Ropen Sighting in Western Draper

I interviewed the two eyewitnesses five days later, as I visited them at their home in Draper. Another eyewitness I also interviewed that evening, in that same neighborhood, for he had seen the same kind of flying creature earlier in 2017.

In that sighting, also at night, the man saw the strange flying creature three times within a few minutes, or else he saw more than one of them. I came to understand, during the interviews, that it (or they) were flying higher in the earlier sightings, but the man noticed a glowing outline of the animal, suggesting to me that it was bioluminescent.

The directions of flight were towards the south, east, and south-by-southeast, in that order. The man thought that the flying creature probably lives on cliffs in the mountains just a few miles to the east, and I agreed with that possibility.


Ropen was seen a few miles away, flying towards this area in Utah

Reservoir near Point of the Mountain, southern Salt Lake Valley

Pterosaur Sighting in Sandy (city) area of Utah

Only about two miles to the east, another eyewitness encountered what may have been the same species of flying creature, if not the same ropen. She is a friend of the family of the man who had the three sightings in Draper. Her sighting was near the Dimple Dell Regional Park in Sandy. As of June 28, 2017, however, I have not been able to interview her.


copyright 2017 Jonathan David Whitcomb


Big Bird in Draper, Utah

On June 26, 2017, my wife and I met with several eyewitnesses in a neighborhood of Draper, Utah, (in the southern part of the Salt Lake Valley) a few miles west of the Wasatch Mountains. Each of the four persons we talked with lived within about 300 yards of each other . . . in northwestern Draper.


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