February was an interesting month with an extra day this year. As the cold winter winds blew through central Oklahoma, birders began to ask questions. Which new and/or interesting winter species be reported? How many counties would have reports during The Great Backyard Bird Count? Would any summer residents arrive?
On the 1st Brian Marra counted Franklin’s Gull at Stinchcomb Wildlife Refuge West in Canadian County; and Bill Diffin observed Red-breasted Merganser at Lake Overholser. On the 2nd Greg Wilbert recognized Purple Finch in Discovery Cove at Lake Thunderbird. On the 4th Daron Patterson discovered Horned Lark at Okeene in Kingfisher County. On the 6th Bill Diffin identified Iceland Gull along the Lighthouse area of Lake Hefner. On the 8th Braden Farris reported Ferruginous Hawk along Fort Reno Road near Calumet in Canadian County. On the 10th Aaron Mechem photographed a Loggerhead Shrike at Fort Reno Cemetery. On the 11th Brian Marra had Purple Finch along the Bluff Creek Trails in Oklahoma City. On the 13th in Logan County just north of Waterloo Road and west of I-35 Debbie Lang photographed Pine Grosbeak in her yard. What an excellent surprise !!
THE GREAT BACKYARD BIRD COUNT
On the 14th Tracie Verkler found House Finch at the Kingfisher Library. On the 15th Marion Homier photographed a Pine Warbler at her home in Oklahoma County; Hope McGaha noticed Greater Roadrunner and Pine Siskin in Macomb in Pottawatomie County; in Logan County near Guthrie Melinda West saw Purple Finch and near Crescent Martha Newman spotted Northern Bobwhite. On the 16th William Radke got Pied-billed Grebe and Pileated Woodpecker at Guthrie Lake; Patti Muzny encountered American Woodcock, Barred Owl, and Purple Finch at Byers in McClain County; Joe Grzybowski detected Barred Owl along South Jenkins in Norman; and Connie Barta located Purple Finch at the South Fairgrounds Road in Payne County. On the 17th Jerry Vanbebber recorded Northern Harrier and Brown Thrasher at Paul’s Valley Lake in Garvin County; Brian Marra added Blue-wing Teal and photographed Cinnamon Teal at Stinchcomb Wildlife Refuge West; Robert Karges came across Greater Yellowlegs, Brewer’s Blackbirds and Least Sandpiper at Triple Heart West Ranch in Cleveland County; and Jason Shaw confirmed Belted Kingfisher at the USAO Habitat Area in Grady County. Ten out of the twelve Central Oklahoma Counties participated in the Great Backyard Bird Count this year.
On the 18th Cody Delano photographed Spotted Sandpiper at Lake Thunderbird. On the 19th Larry Mays counted Blue-winged Teal in Tuttle in Grady County. On the 22nd Eduardo Bergen recognized Pine Warbler and Hairy Woodpecker in Prague in Lincoln County. On the 23rd Paulette Nicholas discovered White-crowned Sparrow northwest of Chickasaw; and Brandon Farris observed Surf Scoter and White-winged Scoter at Lake Hefner. On the 24th Corban Hemphill reported Barn Owl at home in Stillwater. 0n the 27th Jacob Crissup with Jerry Vanbebber, Jimmy Woodard and Larry Mays identified Wild Turkey in Tuttle; and Eva Matthews Lark had Rusty Blackbirds in Oklahoma City.
On the 28th Jason Shaw described Ring-necked Pheasant at the USAO Habitat Area; Braden Farris found Yellow-bellied Sapsucker and Fox Sparrow at Meeker Lake in Lincoln County; Esther Key heard Sandhill Crane in Moore; Bill Carrell photographed Red-necked Grebe and Yellow-billed Loon at Lake Hefner; and Braden Farris spotted Field Sparrow at Bell Cow Lake in Logan County. On the 29th in Stillwater Landon Neumann tallied Red Crossbill at Couch Park; and thanks to the extra day this month Scott Loss confirmed Purple Martin in his yard in February. Which means it’s time to ready the Purple Martin houses and the rest of us will have to wait until next month to report this iconic summer resident.
In the Central Oklahoma area during February 2020, 145 species were reported with 17 new species bringing the total for 2020 to 157. 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: February 29, 2020). And occasionally from Facebook and the OKBIRDS List. I can be contacted by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Esther M. Key, Editor.
Seminole 008 008
Garvin 037 003
Pottawatomie 035 027
Grady 068 048
McClain 073 038
Lincoln 047 030
Kingfisher 021 010
Logan 079 059
Canadian 104 089
Payne 122 111
Oklahoma 133 125
Cleveland 114 093
Number of bird species reported in 2019 according to eBird. Current year, region. www.ebird.org