As winter winds down, the early bird summer nesters arrive as late winter migrants and quite a few people took part in the Great Backyard Bird Count. Tis time to clean out the Bluebird and Purple Martin houses for they will be arriving and nesting shortly. Eastern Phoebes have arrived and can be heard singing in the woods. The large flocks of geese are smaller and pairs can be seen wandering together. Ah, yes, spring is just around the corner. Even so there is still time to include birds and butterflies in this year’s garden planting plans.
On the 1st Kelly Raines noticed Le Conte’s Sparrow in the Timber Ridge Neighborhood in Oklahoma City. On the 2nd Megan Haughey and Samantha Cady reported a Lark Sparrow at Sanborn Lake in Payne County. On the 3rd Laura Madden saw a Purple Finch and Hairy Woodpecker at Spring Haven in McClain County; and Steve Davis, Mary and his brother spotted a Horned Lark at Lake El Reno. Meanwhile, Jim Jorgensen was looking for Greater Roadrunners but instead discovered a Prairie-chicken along I-240 just north of Draper Lake. On the 5th Christie Stoops detected a Brown Creeper at Cottonwood Creek in Logan County. On the 6th Zach Poland birded Dover Marsh in Kingfisher County and recognized Canvasback, Redhead, Ross’s Goose, Horned Lark, and American Tree Sparrow. Joe Grzybowski checked the east side of Lake Hefner and among the gulls he identified were Lesser Black-backed, Thayer’s and a Glaucous Gull. At Lake Carl Blackwell Tim O’Connell came across Winter Wren, LeConte’s Sparrow and a Western Grebe.
On the 7th Eric Duell birded the Red Barn Land in Kingfisher County and located a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Chipping Sparrow, Field Sparrow, Fox Sparrow, Rusty Blackbird, and Brewer’s Blackbird. In Lincoln County, Joe Buck had a Ring-necked Duck at Buck Lake. Scott Loss identified Snowy and Ross’s Goose at Whittenberg Park in Stillwater. On the 8th Scott had his bike commute delayed by a group of at least a dozen Rusty Blackbirds at the north Boomer Creek parking lot in Stillwater. On the 11th Dala Grissom detected a Redhead Duck at Tecumseh Lake, and Roy Cruz counted Red-breasted Merganser at Boomer Lake Park in Stillwater.
On the 12th the Great Backyard Bird Count began and was greatly supported in central Oklahoma. On the 13th in Pottawatomie County Tim O’Connell spotted a Barn Owl at Shawnee Reservoir, Brandon Vicknair had a Red-headed Woodpecker, and Donald Winslow found a Carolina Wren at Catalpa Cottage. In Logan County Melinda West noticed a White-throated Sparrow, Pine Siskin and Spotted Towhee. In McClain County, Phil Floyd counted Pied-billed Grebe in Purcell. In Grady County Renee Kendall saw a Red-shouldered Hawk in Bridge Creek. In Payne County Scott Loss encountered a Lesser Black-backed Gull at Boomer Lake Park, and Ashley Love noticed an Orange-crowned Warbler in Stillwater.
On the 14th Jeaneen Canfield identified a Greater Roadrunner, Cooper’s Hawk and Brown Creeper in Seminole County. In Pottawatomie County Hope McGaha spotted White-breasted Nuthatch, Harris’s Sparrow and Pine Siskin. In Wynnewood in Garvin County John Zempel discovered a Carolina Wren and Golden-crowned Kinglet. In McClain County east of Byars an American Woodcock, Barred Owl, Hermit Thrush and Pileated Woodpecker were reported. In Canadian County Chad Ellis saw a Ross’s Goose at Lake El Reno; and Brandon Mace noticed a Red-breasted Nuthatch at Lake Carl Blackwell. Tim O’Connell saw a Barn Owl in eastern Oklahoma City. On the 15th Delores Seymour tallied Wild Turkey and Purple Finch at her home in southwest Oklahoma City.
On the 20th Calvin Rees saw a Sharp-shinned Hawk near Carney in Lincoln County. On the 21st Zach Poland came across a Golden-crowned Kinglet and a Hermit Thrush in Logan County. Joe Grzybowski discovered Western Meadowlark at the Goldby Sod Farm. Caitlin Laughlin found American Woodcock at West Richmond Road in Payne County. Elizabeth Pratt noticed a flock of Sandhill Cranes near Calumet. On the 21st Calvin Rees spotted a Prairie Falcon at Rose Lake. On the 24th Chris Williams discovered a flock of Short-eared Owls near the Stillwater Regional Airport.
On the 26th at Lake Konawa in Seminole County, Monte Orr reported American Coot; and Scott Loss documented Lapland Longspur in Payne County near the Stillwater Regional Airport.
On the 27th Jimmy Woodard birded Meeker Lake in Lincoln County and encountered Ruddy Duck, Hairy Woodpecker, and White-throated Sparrow. Tom Johnson saw an American Wigeon on the Norman Spur Turnpike. Zach Poland discovered a Ladder-backed Woodpecker near Guthrie. Joe Buck spotted a Great Egret at the OKC Zoo Lake. On the 28th Linda Adams identified a Black Vulture and Eastern Phoebe at Taylor Lake in Grady County; and Deanne McKinney reported a flock of Greater Yellowlegs at the North Mustang Road Playa.
In February 2016, in the Central Oklahoma area 137 bird species were reported with 9 new species bringing the year’s total to 151. I appreciate those who help provide the history of central Oklahoma birds and can be contacted by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org . Esther M. Key, Editor.