April 2020

Shorebirds, warblers, and many other species were moving into, through and out of Oklahoma during April.  It is a special month to be birding whether around the area or from the backyard.  Where are these birds coming from?  A special report is included showing how far one flew to arrive here.  Another special report tells how one bird’s migration ended here. While we may not be able to travel far distances, we can provide a safe resting place for the birds that do.

On March 31st John Hurd counted American Bittern at the north Lake Overholser wetland. On April 2nd Joe Grzybowski was going through the shorebirds at Rose Lake and discovered Western Sandpiper. On the 4th Dan Boyd found Chimney Swift at home in Cleveland County; Jason Shaw detected Black-chinned Hummingbird in Chickasha; and someone spotted Broad-winged Hawk along East Rock Creek Road in Norman. On the 5th Chris Butler viewed Ruby-crowned Kinglet and Harris’s Sparrow at Bull Foot Park in Hennessey in Kingfisher County.  On the 6th Lindell Dillon identified Yellow-throated Vireo at Lake Thunderbird along Alameda Drive.  On the 7th at Rose Lake Jimmy Woodard recognized Black-bellied Plover and Brian Marra reported White-faced Ibis.  

0n the 8th Deb Hirt located Warbling Vireo at Heron Cove at Boomer Lake Park in Payne County; Jacob Crissup observed Green Heron at Lake Hefner; Chris Butler documented Lewis’s Woodpecker at Lake Thunderbird; Braden Farris confirmed Sora Rail, Semipalmated Plover and Cinnamon Teal at Rose Lake; plus someone saw Marbled Godwit at Lake Thunderbird – East Sentinel. On the 9th Jacob Crissup recorded Prothonotary Warbler, Wilson’s Phalarope and Eastern KIngbird at Lake Thunderbird; and on the 10th he counted Ruddy Duck, Eared Grebe and Yellow-throated Warbler at Lake Konawa in Seminole County. 

Kyle Abbott provided this report concerning the Yellow-billed Loon. “We subsequently received phone calls to our center WildCare Foundation in Noble, OK regarding this loon. I went to rescue this bird as it had been on the shore for hours. I was able to bring the bird to our center where it passed away during stabilization. The bird had fishing line wrapped around its bill and a fishing hook in its gut, with resulting severe emaciation.”

On the 11th John Tharp and Rachel Wrenn verified the return of the Black-chinned Hummingbird in Norman; Steve Davis photographed Willet and the Bald Eagle nest at the Mustang Road ‘playas’ in Canadian County; and Branden Farris added Broad-winged Hawk and Warbling Vireo at Mineral Wells Park in Logan County.  On the 12th Paula Cimprich came across Summer Tanager along South Jenkins in Norman.  On the 13th Scott Loss documented Bank Swallow at Boomer Lake Park; Cody Delano photographed Swainson’s Thrush at Lake Thunderbird – Dave Blue Creek; and at Rose Lake Bill Diffin encountered Hudsonian Godwit and Tree Swallow; while Jerry Vanbebber photographed Stilt Sandpiper and Marbled Godwit.

On the 14th Mark A Brogie found Loggerhead Shrike and Blue-gray Gnatcatcher near Maysville in Garvin County.  On the 15th Western Kingbirds were reported by Landon Neumann at Couch Park in Stillwater and Braden Farris at south Lake Hefner; while Jennifer Kidney watched a Gray Catbird fly onto her jelly feeder.  On the 16th Landon Neuman discovered Nashville Warbler at Couch Park in Stillwater; Nathan Ukens recorded Chuck-will’s-widow in Edmond; and James Hubbell located White-eyed Vireo, Grasshopper Sparrow and Bank Swallow at Meeker Lake in Lincoln County.

Tim O’Connell reports: “I know we all get that migratory birds travel great distances, but it’s still pretty amazing when we get a chance to confirm that for an individual. Case in point, we had a little shorebird fallout here in Stillwater Thursday night 4/16/20 with a few interesting birds sticking around through Friday. Leslie Miller managed this photograph of a Hudsonian Godwit first reported by Landon Neumann on Friday morning. The bird was double-banded with a red tag reading “KNA” on the left leg.  Today I made contact with the bander: Dr. Juan Navedo who directs an ornithological research lab at a university in Chile. He offered that this bird, a male, was one of 45 Hudsonian Godwits his team banded on October 7, 2019. The location was in the town of Castro (pop. 39,000) on the island of Chiloe: about 9000 km due south.” (5,600 miles; close to the south end of South America)

On the 17th Semipalmated Sandpipers were reported by Deb Hirt at Boomer Lake Park and Chris Butler at Arcadia Lake – Edmond Park; and Chris also photographed Piping Plovers.  Meanwhile, Timothy Cloninger detected Great Crested Flycatcher at Arcadia Conservation Education Area; Braden Farris noticed Baltimore Oriole at south Lake Hefner; William Radke recognized Buff-breasted Sandpiper at Morgan Road Playas; and Zachary Hemans counted Osprey and Bank Swallow at Liberty Lake in Logan County.  On the 18th Mike Yough spotted Red-eyed Vireo at Cushing Water Treatment Plant in Payne County; Jimmy Woodard located Bell’s Vireo along South Jenkins; and Joe Grzybowski scoped through the shorebirds four times at Rose Lake to locate Dunlin.   

On the 19th Scott Loss identified Painted Bunting at Boomer Lake Park; and someone reported Blue Grosbeak along South Jenkins and at Lake Thunderbird Lazuli Bunting.  On the 20th Indigo Buntings were recorded near Lake Stanley Draper by Nancy Reed and at Mitch Park on a shared checklist by Cassidy Massey, Bailey Kephart and Carlie Jennings. At Rose Lake Bill Diffin confirmed Long-billed Curlew, Marbled Godwit, Dunlin and Buff-breasted Sandpiper. On the 21st Scott Loss saw Dickcissel in Stillwater; John Tharp and Rachel Wrenn observed Yellow Warbler in Norman; and Jerry Vanbebber heard Rose-breasted Grosbeak at Lake Thunderbird State Park.  At Rose Lake Brian Marra photographed White-rumped Sandpiper then a Whimbrel showed up, roamed the field for 30 minutes and left.  On the 21st Joe Grzybowski documented an adult Little Gull at Lake Overholser.

On the 22nd Jason Shaw added Green Heron at Shannon Springs Park in Chickasaw.  On the 23rd Mike Yough encountered Blue-headed Vireo at Couch Park; Deb Hirt discovered Hooded Warbler at Boomer Lake Park; and Joe Grzybowski found Mississippi Kite at Lake Thunderbird.  In McClain County Larry Mays identified Yellow-throated Warbler at Blanchard and Broad-winged Hawk at Washington.  John Tharp detected Northern Waterthrush and Palm Warbler along South Jenkins and later learned that the Palm Warbler hasn’t been reported there in eBird since 1979.  On the 24th Jimmy Woodard noticed Least Flycatcher at Soldier Creek Industrial Park Recreational Trail in Midwest City; William Radke recognized Magnolia Warbler at Arcadia Lake; and Dala Grissom spotted Lazuli Bunting and Painted Bunting at Bethel Acres in Pottawatomie County.

On the 25th Scott Loss observed Blackpoll Warbler at Boomer Lake Park; Jason Shaw confirmed Chimney Swift flying above his yard in Chickasaw; and Aaron Mechem recorded Yellow-headed Blackbird at Rose Lake.  On the 26th Corban Hemphill saw Tennessee Warbler at Carl Blackwell Lake; Zach DuFran had Common Nighthawk in Norman; Jimmy Woodward had Snowy Plover at Rose Lake; Landon Neumann documented Rufous Hummingbird in Stillwater; John Sterling located Nashville Warbler east of Paul’s Valley Lake in Garvin County; and Rusty Derringer located Swainson’s Thrush in Guthrie.  On the 27th Landon Neumann came across Eastern Wood-Pewee at Couch Park; John Tharp heard Yellow-billed Cuckoo in Norman; and Scott Loss counted Yellow-breasted Chat and Kentucky Warbler in the wetlands south of Carl Blackwell Lake between OK-51 and OK-31.

On the 28th Landon Neumann encountered Chestnut-sided Warbler at Couch Park; Larry Mays heard Chuck-will’s-widow in McClain County; and someone photographed a Glossy Ibis with White-faced Ibis along 10-mile Flat in Cleveland County.  Meanwhile, Chris Butler spotted eleven new migrants including Swainson’s Thrush, Prothonotary Warbler, Summer Tanager, and Indigo Bunting at the Maud Wetland in Seminole County, and at Little River Wetland in Pottawatomie County he had Great Crested Flycatcher and Baltimore Oriole.  Nesting season is in full swing; what will we observe?   Global Big Day is May 9th; what surprise bird species will be discovered then? 


In the Central Oklahoma area during April 2020, 225 species were reported with 62 new species bringing the total for 2020 to 257. I appreciate those who help provide the history of central Oklahoma birds. Information is accessed at:  ebird. 2020 eBird: An online database of bird distribution and abundance [web application]. eBird Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Available: http://www.ebird.org/subnational1/US-OK/region. (Accessed: April 30, 2020). And occasionally from Facebook and the OKBIRDS List. I can be contacted by e-mail at emkok@earthlink.net.  Esther M. Key, Editor.


                                                                April       March   Feb        Jan                                        

Kingfisher                            062         056         021         010

Garvin                                   067         053         037         003

                Lincoln                                  070         054         047         030

Pottawatomie                   078         058         035         027        

                Seminole                             091         060         008         008

Grady                                    111         073         068         048

                Logan                                    118         088         079         059        

McClain                                130         094         073         038

                Canadian                             187         133         104         089

                Cleveland                            206         149         114         093        

                Oklahoma                           214         154         133         125

                Payne                                   216         154         122         111


Number of bird species reported in 2019 according to eBird. Current year, region.            www.ebird.org