Birding Hot Spots

Birding Hot Spots
Use the main menu list for a guide to birding locations in Central Oklahoma.

Date Guide to the Occurrences of Birds in Oklahoma

Birding Checklists

Central Oklahoma
Bird Checklist

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Helpful Online Resources

Baird’s Sandpiper

by John Shackford

Many birds grace our state only during migration; one of these is the Baird’s Sandpiper (Calidris bairdii).  The species is named “for Spenser Fullerton Baird (1823-1887), secretary of the Smithsonian Institute and author of Catalogue of North American Mammals (1857) and Catalogue of North American Birds (1868)” (Holloway J. E. 2003. Dictionary of Birds of the

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Rufous Hummingbird

Rufous Hummingbird. © Terri Underhill

by John Shackford

From what I have read the male Rufous Hummingbird (Selasphorus rufus) is a beautiful little gem of a bird.  To the best of my recollection (not too trustworthy these days) I have never seen this hummer.  Selasphorus means “to bear a flame…the males of this genus have iridescent gorgets that

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Ferruginous Hawk

by John Shackford

Recently Bill Diffin relayed to me some interesting information about the Ferruginous Hawk (Buteo regalis).  The Ferruginous Hawk has small feet for its size.  One of the references was from the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum website (, which stated that small feet “aids them hunting burrowing mammals.  They make a ‘fist’ and punch it into the dirt

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Brown Thrasher

by John Shackford

The Brown Thrasher (Texostoma rufum) is about 11.5 inches long, is reddish brown on the upper (dorsal) surface, and white on the lower (ventral) surface with strong brown streaking on the breast.  Two wing bars, a long bill and a yellow eye further help to identify it. No other thrasher is normally found in central Oklahoma.

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Franklin’s Gull

by John Shackford

The Franklin’s Gull (Larus pipixcan) is with us, almost exclusively, during migration.  It is on the small side for gulls—about 15 inches—and is one of the black headed gulls.  During spring migration its full head is black, but during fall migration only the back half of the head is black.  Of the other black headed gulls

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Blue-gray Gnatcatcher

by John Shackford

The Blue-gray Gnatcatcher (Polioptila caerulea) is a breeding bird in most of Oklahoma, although it is decidedly rare in the Panhandle, especially in the 2 easternmost counties, Beaver and Texas counties.  At 4½ inches it is one of our smallest birds, excluding hummingbirds, even though much of this length is the result of a long tail,

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Northern Bobwhite

by John Shackford

The Northern Bobwhite (Colinus virginianus) is a permanent resident of the southern states and well beyond.  In Oklahoma it is found over the entire state, perhaps with the exception of the Black Mesa area of northwest Cimarron County.  This butterball of a bird is known by most birders.  The male has a white eye stripe and throat,

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Bell’s Vireo

by John Shackford

According to USGS Breeding Bird Survey data from 1966-2012, and personal observations, the Bell’s Vireo (Vireo bellii) has shown a drastic decline since the 1960s:  the primary problem seems to be Brown-headed Cowbird brood parasitism. 

When I moved from North Carolina to Oklahoma City in 1958 I was eager to find species that were new to

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Domestic Chicken

by John Shackford

Thanksgiving is coming and one of the things we have to be thankful for is abundant food. Turkey is the Thanksgiving tradition but the Domestic Chicken (Gallus gallus domesticus) is a less daunting choice. The Domestic Chicken is the most abundant bird species on earth. The number, worldwide, was estimated to be over 24 billion in

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Cooper’s Hawk

by John Shackford

I always have a moment of pleasant surprise when I see a Cooper’s Hawk (Accipiter cooperii) fly over.  Their flap-flap-flap—sail behavioral pattern is always a bit of a thrill, partly because most of the time I know I have just a few moments to observe the bird before it disappears.  And if it is a fairly

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