December 2020

While Central Oklahoma has many of the same species of birds in each county there is also quite a bit of bird species diversity. Of the 306 species reported during 2020 in the Central Oklahoma Counties 63 species were reported in all twelve counties, 27 in only one county, 84 in four counties, etc.  One doesn’t have to travel far to find interesting and new birds.  Often keeping track of bird species in one location can show a surprising wide variety during the year.

On Nov 28th Caleb McKinney saw Chestnut-collared Longspur in Grady County.  On the 1st south of Guthrie along Simmons Road Larry Mays located American Tree Sparrow and Mountain Bluebird, Braden Farris got Wilson’s Snipe, and Steve Davis photographed Say’s Phoebe; at Lake Overholser – Coffer Dam Brian Marra identified Virginia Rail and Marsh Wren; and at Arcadia Lake – Spring Creek Park Rod Lusey reported Forster’s Tern. On the 2nd Rhett Raibley tallied American Kestrel in Kingfisher County; Larry Mays spotted Purple Finch, Pine Siskin and Red-breasted Nuthatch at home in Newcastle; Bill Diffin detected Surf Scoter and Eared Grebe at Lake Hefner; and Scott Loss had Western Grebe at Lake Carl Blackwell.

On the 3rd Joe Grzybowski added Merlin at Wagner Road in Yukon and White-winged Scoter at Lake Hefner; Bill Diffin confirmed Lesser Black-backed Gull at Lake Hefner; and Braden Farris came across Wood Duck at Lake Hefner – Stars and Stripes Park.  On the 5th Randolph King discovered Western Meadowlark near Alex in Grady County; John Tharp encountered Mountain Bluebird and Smith’s Longspur in Norman; Chad Ellis had Lapland Longspur along the north Oklahoma and Canadian County line road; and Patti Muzny counted 8 or more Purple Finches at Byars in McClain County.  On the 6th Joe Grzybowski recorded Loggerhead Shrike in Kingfisher County; at Lake Hefner Bill Carrell was unable to locate the Black Scoter, but did find five Surf Scoters, a White-Winged Scoter, an adult California Gull and in the afternoon from Prairie Dog Point a Pacific Loon.

On the 7th Angel Carter noticed White-winged Dove in Blanchard in McClain County and Scott Loss counted Chestnut-collared Longspur along West Richmond Road in Payne County.  On the 8th Dawn Miller spotted Brown Thrasher in Chickasha in Grady County; Scott Loss recognized Common Yellowthroat at Whittenburg Park in Stillwater; Brian Marra viewed Clay-colored Sparrow at Bluff Creek Trails in Oklahoma City; and Randy observed a Long-tail Duck at Lake Hefner – Stars and Stripes Park.  A smidgen outside of the central Oklahoma area Terry McGraw was driving down a county road in NW Blaine County and discovered a Snowy Owl perched on the edge of a big round bale of hay right beside the road.

On the 10th Samuel Cox detected Bald Eagle at Lake R.C. Longmire in Garvin County; Chris Butler had Red-headed Woodpecker, Savannah Sparrow, and Redhead at Purcell Lake in McClain County.  On the 11th Ryan O’Donnell spotted Northern Flicker and White-breasted Nuthatch in Seminole County; Brian Marra located Red-necked Grebe at Lake Hefner – Prairie Dog Point and Spotted Sandpiper at Arcadia Lake Park Office and Dam. On the 12th Randolph King tallied Canvasback and White-crowned Sparrow at Meeker Lake in Lincoln County and Chipping Sparrow and Wilson’s Snipe at Wes Watkins Lake in Pottawatomie County; Braden Farris identified Short-eared Owl and Snow Goose in Kingfisher County; and Logan Carter reported American Woodcock at Lake Thunderbird. 

On the 13th Brent Barnes saw an out of season Gray Catbird at Mitch Park in Edmond; and Steve Davis encountered Lesser Goldfinch at home in Oklahoma City.  On the 14th Cody Delano came across Brewer’s Blackbird in Grady County; and Scott Loss added Lapland Longspur at OSU-Magruder Plots.  On the 17th at Lake Hefner Brian Marra confirmed Iceland Gull, California Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull; Bill Diffin found White-winged Scoter and Pacific Loon at Prairie Dog Point. On the 18th Christine Sparks observed Prairie Falcon in Yukon.  On the 19th Grace Huffman with Braden Farris and Brian Marra had Winter Wren, Brown Creeper and Golden-crowned Kinglet at Stinchcomb WR NE in Canadian County; Caleb McKinney noticed American Pipit and Pine Warbler at Lake Carl Blackwell; Larry Mays discovered Black Scoter at Lake Hefner – Children’s Park; and Kathleen Tucker recognized Snowy Egret at Silver Lake.   

On the 21st at his family’s farm in Norman Mark Howary heard five Sandhill Cranes flying over.  On the 20th Michael Kane recorded Loggerhead Shrike at Stratford in Garvin County; and Chad Ellis viewed Northern Pintail and American Wigeon at Crescent in Logan County.  On the 22nd Caleb McKinney watched Mountain Bluebirds near Tuttle in Grady County; and Jason Shaw located Barred Owl at USAO Habitat Area in Grady County.  On the 24th Jacob Crissup identified Ross’s Goose east of Hennessey in Kingfisher County; and Matt Jung spotted Black-crowned Night-Herons at Lake Hefner.  On the 25th Lorna Clevenger reported Bald Eagle in Shawnee in Pottawatomie County.  On the 27th Shane Clark had Pileated Woodpecker at Chandler in Lincoln County.  On the 28th Kenneth Bader verified Mountain Bluebird south of Purcell in McClain County; and D&D Norris tallied Hermit Thrush at Kairworks Garden in Logan County. 

What is your 2021 birding challenge:  Keeping a regular yard list in eBird; working a block or two in the Breeding Bird Atlas; doing a Breeding Bird Survey or other citizen science project; planting bird, bee and butterfly friendly plants; or county birding in new county(s)? 


In the Central Oklahoma area during December, 151 species were reported with no new species bringing the total for 2020 to 306. 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: (Accessed: December 30 & 31, 2020). And occasionally from Facebook, and the OKBIRDS List.  I can be contacted by e-mail at  Esther M. Key, Editor.


                                                                Dec        Nov        Oct         Sept       Aug        May       April       March   Feb        Jan         31 BBA                       

                Seminole                             118         118         116         116         116         099         091         060         008         008         0

Kingfisher                            127         116         116         111         111         087         062         056         021         010         2

Lincoln                                  127         125         124         123         123         123         117         070         054         047         030               

Garvin                                   131         131         129         129         129         128         093         067         053         037         003               

Pottawatomie                   139         138         121         121         116         099         078         058         035         027         5               

Grady                                    159         156         144         143         142         137         111         073         068         048         0

                Logan                                    168         165         155         154         151         145         118         088         079         059         0

McClain                                169         167         162         159         159         155         130         094         073         038         0

                Canadian                             240         237         229         225         223         221         187         133         104         089         5

                Cleveland                            262         260         252         243         239         235         206         149         114         093         2

                Oklahoma                           267         265         253         251         247         243         214         154         133         125         8

                Payne                                   268         267         254         250         248         244         216         154         122         111         4


Number of bird species reported in 2020 according to eBird.


63 species were had in all 12 counties;

27 in 11

22 in 10

19 in 9

19 in 8

17 in 7

19 in 6

16 in 5

84 in 4

18 in 3

24 in 2

27 in 1