November: Lesser Prairie Chickens / Endangered Species Act
Allan Janus is Research and GIS Supervisor, Upland Game Coordinator at the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. He previously worked as a GIS Remote Sensing Analyst with Ducks Unlimited, Bismarck, ND, and a GIS Internet with the U.S. Geological Survey in Sioux Falls, SD. Allan earned degrees in Geographic Information Systems and Wildlife and Fisheries at South Dakota State University.
His work with Lesser Prairie Chickens has been featured in state publications as well as NPR. “In Oklahoma alone, officials estimate there are only 3,000 Lesser Prairie Chickens left. The birds used to inhabit 22 counties, but are now spotted in only nine. Habitat destruction is one reason for the decline,” Janus said in the NPR interview.
State wildlife officials have been working to protect the bird, which, in 1995, was first petitioned to be listed as a federally threatened species. In recent years, Oklahoma and other states have worked to prevent a federal listing.
In response to the rapid and severe decline of the lesser prairie-chicken, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced in March 2014 the final listing of the species as threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), as well as a final special rule under section 4(d) of the ESA that will limit regulatory impacts on landowners and businesses from this listing. Under the law, a “threatened” listing means the species is likely to become in danger of extinction within the foreseeable future; it is a step below “endangered” under the ESA and allows for more flexibility in how the Act’s protections are implemented.
Our meetings are held September through June on the third Monday of each month (with the exception of January). They begin at 7 p.m. at the Will Rogers Garden Center, I-44 and NW 36th Street. Visitors are always welcome.
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Adopt-A-Park at Prairie Dog Point
The members of the Oklahoma City Audubon Society have adopted Prairie Dog Point at Oklahoma City’s Lake Hefner by participating in Oklahoma City Beautiful’s Adopt-A-Park program. Our commitment to the program is for assistance in litter management. The Parks department has responded to our request to have additional trash cans placed around the area to help keep the area clean.
Prairie Dog Point is located at the southwest corner of Lake Hefner. It attracts diverse species of birds throughout the seasons and is especially popular with birders during the spring and fall shorebird migrations. In addition to contributing to the beautification of our community, our participation in the program allows us to promote the area as a location of interest to birders, perhaps helping to avoid further habitat loss. Everyone is invited to participate in our Adopt-A-Park project by picking up litter during birding trips to the Point.
2013 Christmas Bird Count numbers
During the Oklahoma City Christmas Bird Count for 2013, a total of 113 species were observed on count day. We also saw an additional 7 species during count week, for a total of 120 species. Click here to view the list.
The Oklahoma City Audubon Society is neither a chapter of, nor affiliated with, the National Audubon Society.