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

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Central Oklahoma
Bird Checklist

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Helpful Online Resources

Wilson’s Phalarope

Wilson’s Phalarope ©Patricia Velte

By John Shackford

The Wilson’s Phalarope (Phalaropus tricolor) is named after the early American ornithologist Alexander Wilson (1766-1813). There are three species of phalaropes: in additional to Wilson’s, are the Red-necked and the Red phalaropes. The Wilson’s Phalarope nests only in North America, while the other two species nest circumpolar. The Wilson’s Phalarope usually chooses

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Black-and-White Warbler

By John Shackford

Black-and-White Warbler. © Patricia Velte

One of the few warblers that nests in the Oklahoma City area is the Black-and-white Warbler (Mniotilta varia). J. E. Holloway (2003. Dictionary of Birds of the United States. Timber Press, Inc. Portland Oregon.) states that Mniotilta means “moss plucker” which “came from the belief that moss was consistently used in

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American Redstart

By John Shackford

Springtime is the time to see beautiful warblers and one of these beautiful species is the American Redstart (Setophaga ruticilla). The American Redstart is a spring and fall migrant throughout Oklahoma, and is a nesting species for about the southeastern one-third of the state. Sutton (1967, Oklahoma Birds) says: “height of spring migration from April 20 to

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Red-tailed Hawk

By John Shackford

When someone mentions hawk, the Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) is usually the first one to come to my mind. I suspect it is also the one that typifies for many other people the idea of a hawk. There are several reasons for this I believe. First it is the most populous hawk in the United States; in

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Barred Owl

By John Shackford

The Barred Owl (Strix varia) starts its own conversation: “Who cooks for you, who cooks for you ALL?” which is perhaps the best rendering of a bird call in the English language (maybe it does not beat out “Chick-a-dee-dee” or “Kill-deer”?). The owl’s call is fairly easy to imitate. Once, when there was a bird meeting—probably a

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Snowy Owl

By John Shackford

Snowy Owl. © Patricia Velte

When discussing the Snowy Owl (Bubo scandiacus), a good place to start is on its breeding grounds, in the high arctic; it is circumpolar, and after its breeding season, many move southward in both Eurasia and North America.

The owl lays from 3 to 13 eggs, but usually about 6

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Common Redpoll

By John Shackford

Common Redpoll. © Steve Davis and Mary Lane

This winter, with its arctic air masses coming frequently and deeply into the United States, has brought us several far north bird species we rarely find in the state; one of these is the Common Redpoll (Acanthis flammea). Acanthis is Latin for small song-bird, and flammea is Latin

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Ruddy Duck

By John Shackford

Ruddy Ducks (female and male). © Patricia Velte

The Ruddy Duck (Oxyura jamaicensis) is something of an odd duck (as the saying goes); it is a diving duck species. The genus name Oxyura means sharp tailed because they often hold their tails stiffly upright while on the water. Breeding males are easy to identify because they

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Blue-winged Teal

By John Shackford

Blue-winged Teal. © Patricia Velte

The Blue-winged Teal (Anas discors) is one of the dabbler ducks—ducks that feed by swimming on the surface of ponds with their bills open, the bottom part of their bill being underwater; occasionally they feed a little deeper by tipping downward, with their rumps in the air. But generally speaking they

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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 United

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