Past OOS Events
Sequoyah State Park offered a scenic and birdy background for our Spring 2021 Field Meeting taking place the weekend of April 24th. After more than a year’s gap in official gatherings, birders were eager to join Mark Howery, Zach Poland, and Bill Diffin on various field trips in the Cherokee County area. Notable sightings included an anhinga and sandhill crane. Saturday evening was filled with Jim Harmon’s soft voice regaling viewers with birding history of the region by way of a pre-recorded interview. This 96-year-old birder is well known to the area’s birders for his charm and wit in addition to the contributions he has made to bird education and bald eagle nest monitoring. OOS is pleased to have his keynote on YouTube so that those who were not able to attend the meeting can also enjoy some tales from Mr. Harmon.
Jim Harmon is what one might call a birding legend in Oklahoma. Known for his kindness, stories of the old days, and dedication to the observation of birds in Oklahoma, we could think of no better keynote for our 2021 spring meeting at Sequoyah State Park. After a many decades long career with USFWS, Jim retired back to his natal region of northeast Oklahoma where he has collected a long-term data set in his backyard. Watch his interview with president-elect Angelina Stancampiano where Jim keeps us laughing and continues to educate the next generations of birders.
BioBlitz Oklahoma is an annual biodiversity survey of an Oklahoma state park or natural area. We bring together expert biologists and citizen scientists to explore new areas and identify species!
This year will be a little different with 'BioBitz' all around the state. The Oklahoma Ornithological Society normally has a fall meeting, but in going virtual will be merging with BioBlitz! Follow the BioBlitz page to stay tuned and check out the Virtual Nature Center here https://biosurvey.ou.edu/bioblitz2020/
Unfortunately, we could not have our planned meeting at Black Mesa due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, our planned keynote speaker, Alli Pierce, did give her presentation, “Shorebirds without a shore: new insights into the ecology of Mountain Plovers”, on the OOS Facebook page. Allison Pierce is a PhD student at the University of Colorado Denver, and her broad research interests include animal population dynamics and behavioral ecology. Currently, her research focuses on migratory ecology and demography of an inland breeding shorebird of conservation interest, the Mountain Plover. As part of this research, one of her projects focuses on tracking individual plover migration movements using GPS data loggers in collaboration with the Migratory Connectivity Project and the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center.
To view the presentation, visit the OOS Facebook page or scan the QR code. The link is in the pinned announcements on the Facebook page, and a link is also pinned to the OOS homepage.
Many thanks to Alli for her willingness to present digitally! This was a very unconventional approach for an OOS event, and I’m hopeful this experience will be a first step towards expanding OOS’ digital presence.
-Jeff Tibbits, President-elect
The 2019 Fall OOS meeting was held October 25-27 at the University of Oklahoma in Norman, OK.
On Friday night, Dr. Jeremy Ross and OU Department of Biology students led a citizen-science workshop with exhibits showcasing the variety of tools available to amateurs and professionals, including bluebird boxes with real-time monitoring, various microphones for collecting audio, protocols for sharing audio data to eBird, etc.
Dr. David Pavlacky of the Bird Conservancy of the Rockies gave the Saturday morning keynote address, entitled “Putting data into action: integrated monitoring as a strong foundation for bird conservation.” A Colorado native, David received a Bachelor’s Degree in Wildlife Biology from Colorado State University (1995) and a Master’s Degree in Zoology and Physiology from the University of Wyoming (2000). He earned a doctorate in Zoology from the University of Queensland, Australia (2008), where he studied landscape genetics and ecology of rainforest birds. Dr. Pavlacky first worked for the Bird Conservancy as a field technician in 1995, and he rejoined the Bird Conservancy in April 2008 to work on the spatial ecology of playa wetlands in eastern Colorado and western Nebraska. His research interests include quantitative methods for the distribution and abundance of wildlife and landscape ecology of forest birds.
Dr. Kira Delmore of Texas A&M gave the Saturday night banquet keynote address , entitled “Studying speciation using hybrid zones; a case study with seasonal migration.” Dr. Delmore obtained her BSCH, MA and PhD at universities in Canada (Queen’s University, Universities of Calgary and British Columbia) before spending 3 years as a Postdoc at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology in northern Germany. Her research is motivated by understanding where diversity originated in the natural world and how it is maintained. She is inspired by the varied ways in which hybrid zones can be used to understand this topic.
OOS honored the best student presentations with cash awards. Meelyn Pandit placed first, Paula Cimprich placed second, and Elizabeth Besozzi and John Muller tied for third. Torie Thompson placed first for best poster. A special thanks to all of our presenters for sharing their research and observations.
Nathan Kuhnert led the Sunday morning birding trip to local grasslands in the Norman area.
Additionally, a very big thank you to Dr. Jeremy Ross and the OU Department of Biology students for helping plan a great meeting.
The 2019 Oklahoma Ornithological Society’s Annual Spring Meeting was held at Lake Wister State Park in Wister, Oklahoma, on May 3-5. Field trips were taken to Wister Wildlife Management Area (WMA) and Lake Wister State Park. The meeting list totaled 102 bird species.
On Friday night, Steve Patterson gave a great presentation covering the natural history of Lake Wister and the Poteau River Valley. The group learned about the Poteau River Valley’s hydrology, historical Native American cultures, and more.
Saturday morning field trips consisted of trips to Wister WMA and Lake Wister State Park. The Wister WMA group, led by Mia Revels, birded through bottomland forest along the Fourche Maline searching for warblers and other migrants. Many birds were observed, including a pair of Prothonotary Warblers gathering moss to build a nest. There was also interest in other flora (many wetland plants), fauna (gar migrating upstream to spawn), and even fungi (Dead Man’s Fingers fungus). Jimmy Woodard led a group to the state park on the north shore, and they observed Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, a variety of vireos, and a Solitary Sandpiper. Both groups later met at the WMA and closed out the morning with a Yellow-breasted Chat.
In the afternoon, Jona Tucker led a group to observe native prairie and mima mounds east of Poteau. In the evening, we reconvened back at the state park for the banquet and an excellent talk from our guest speaker, Jona Tucker, entitled: “Thomas Nuttall’s Travels Between the Arkansas and the Red: Birds, Bison, and Beaver”. The group learned about Thomas Nuttall, what southeast Oklahoma was like in 1819, and land management practices in the area in the last two centuries. On Sunday morning, folks birded in the state park.
Many thanks to our speakers and field trip leaders for volunteering to share their knowledge with the group!
The Fall 2017 Meeting was held October 13-15 at the University of Oklahoma Biological Station on Lake Texoma. The meeting was held jointly with the Friends of the University of Oklahoma Biological Station. Total attendance was 67 with 50 registered through OOS. It was a fast-paced weekend with a full schedule of activities. For the Friday evening meet and greet event, Dr. Doug Wood and four of his students, Kalli Schaaf, Morgan Blake, Justin Ailshire and Chris Chambliss, used bird specimens from the station's museum collection to set up an ID quiz. They laid out 25 specimens on long tables, enough to use up the space in a whole room, and had a form prepared for the test takers to use in recording answers. It was a challenging quiz for all participants, the average score being 75%. No one got all the ID's correct, although there were several who scored 24 out of 25. So the quiz was well-constructed, statistically speaking, since it produced a broad distribution of scores, and no one scored 100%. The quizmasters deserve congratulations for doing an excellent job. What many of us learned was that although a well-preserved specimen retains all the field marks used to recognize the species, it can look different enough from the same species in the field to frustrate recognition. A completely different dimension of the quiz was that some of the specimens had been prepared by Dr. George Sutton. It was an inspiration to look at or hold a specimen and imagine that Dr. Sutton had once done the same thing in the same place.
Our meal at the station Friday night had a choice for the main course of fried catfish or chicken. It was well-prepared by the cook staff in the station's cafeteria. By 7:00 AMSaturday morning, most attendees had gathered back in the cafeteria to pick up one of the sack breakfasts packed by the cooks for the Hagerman NWR field trip. Boiled eggs, yogurt, granola bars, juice and an apple made a hearty start to the day. We met the trip leader, Dr. Wayne Meyer of Austin College, at the Visitor's Center on the south side of Lake Texoma at 7:45 AM. Dr. Meyer led us along the Auto Tour Route which skirts the south end of the Big Mineral Arm. There is a link to a map of the route at the bottom of the following web page,
https://www.fws.gov/nwrs/threecolumn.aspx?id=2147605342. Names for locations along the route are given on the following map, https://mapcarta.com/25043680. The Auto Tour ends at the Big Mineral Public Use Area where we parked our vehicles and hiked to Deaver Pond. Then we drove back to the Visitor's Center with a few stops along the way to pick up birds we hadn't seen on the way out. Most noteworthy was a Harris's Hawk perched in a tree skeleton. Other good birds for the day were a Merlin, Black Vultures, Neotropic Cormorants, Red-headed Woodpecker and several first of season fall migrants including Northern Harrier, American Wigeon, Green-winged Teal and Northern Pintail.
For those who preferred to stay near the station for the morning, Jimmy Woodard led a bird walk along the station's entrance road. His group saw some good birds including White-breasted Nuthatch, Swainson's Thrush, Black-and-White Warbler and Nashville Warbler.
Some of the Friends of the UOBS stayed at the station for the morning to set up the Friends' merchandise sale. Julia Yoshida is the leader of these money-raising efforts for the Friends. The items being sold included an array of interesting books, art and clothing items. There were hanger racks full of colorful print shirts from Julia's original home state of Hawaii, used books describing regional bird fauna from places all over the world and unused books and monographs published by the Nuttall Society. Some premium items to be sold at an evening auction were put on display for preview. In between the afternoon's scheduled events, attendees browsed the racks and tables, bought merchandise to take home and assessed the value of the items to be auctioned later.
An abbreviated 30-mintute board meeting was held after lunch. Most of the reports had been distributed and discussed by email in the days prior to the meeting to save time. Following the board meeting was a short general business meeting. Then it was time for the annual technical session which was held in the library. Seven speakers each gave a 12-minute presentation followed by a 3-minute Q&A session. The presentation titles and speakers are listed below. The first person listed for each presentation was the speaker.
Northern Saw-whet Owl (Aegolius acadicus) fall migratory movements in Oklahoma.
Abbey Ramirez and Mia Revels, Northeastern State University, Tahleqhuah
Do citizen science methods identify regions of high avian biodiversity?
Christopher J. Butler and Chad King, University of Central Oklahoma, and Dan L. Reinking, Sutton Avian Research Center
Advancing severe weather ecology through citizen science.
Jeremy D. Ross, The University of Oklahoma, Oklahoma Biological Survey
Dynamic western range limits for forest birds in central Oklahoma.
Timothy O'Connell, Emily Sinnott and Monica Papes, Oklahoma State University
Songbird responses to drought conditions at differing temporal scales.
Samantha Cady and Timothy O'Connell (Advisor)
Monitoring Whooping Crane migration through Oklahoma.
Mark Howery, Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation
A survey of Black-capped Vireos at Salt Creek Canyon, Blaine County, Oklahoma.
Elizabeth Besozzi, Jeremy Ross and Joe Grzybowski, The University of Oklahoma
Abstracts for the presentations are available by going to the OOS homepage, www.okbirds.org, and clicking the link in the first paragraph on the fall meeting, or by going directly to, http://www.okbirds.org/OOSFall2017OOSAbstractCompilation.pdf. Major themes for the session as a whole were citizen science data gathering in Oklahoma, the effect of changing climate and weather on birds in Oklahoma, the migration of important species of interest through Oklahoma and the recovery of two species from the brink of extinction. The session was an impressive display of the capability of our researchers and wildlife professionals and the attention they are giving to the future of birds in our state.
As is traditional, a panel of three judges scored the student presenters, and monetary awards were given for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place. Our volunteer judges were Todd Humphrey, Mary Lane and Steve Davis. All three student presentations were very good, so the judging was close. Liz Besozzi of OU won the $100 prize for 1st place. Abbey Ramirez and Samantha Cady, tied for 2nd place, so they were each awarded $40 equal to half the combined 2nd and 3rd place prizes.
After the technical session the Friends of the UOBS held a live auction of the most desirable items in their sales inventory including autographed books by Dr. George Sutton, nature art from highly regarded Oklahoma painters and reports from some of the first naturalists and explorers in Oklahoma.
The selection of entrees for the Saturday banquet dinner was barbequed brisket, chicken breasts or smoked sausage. After dinner the keynote speaker, Dr. Michael Horn of the University of California, Fullerton, gave a presentation titled, Seabirds signal ocean changes: Elegant Terns (Thalasseus elegans) respond to prey, predators and heat in the eastern Pacific. The talk summarized findings from 20+ years of observation and research. Changes in Elegant Tern population and habits over time have been correlated with ecological changes monitored by other means, indicating that the terns have value as sentinels of ecosystem health. For example year to year changes in the species composition of fish that adults drop for chicks at nest sites in California correlates closely with changes in the composition of fish larvae counted in samples from the ocean. The conclusion is that prey captured by the terns reflects the relative abundance of fish species in the upper layer of the ocean. During strong El Niño ocean warming events forage fish populations fall drastically around the primary breeding site at Isla Rasa in the Gulf of California west of the Baja Peninsula, and as a consequence the terns often fail to breed there. Rats and mice were accidentally introduced to Isla Rasa by guano miners in the late 19th century and became significant predators of eggs and small chicks. After guano mining ceased in the early 20th century, there began an era of fisherman gathering eggs for sale as food which did not end until the early 1980's. The introduced rats and mice were eradicated by 1995, and from then the tern population rebounded sharply. Since the late 1950's, the breeding range has expanded north to three sites in California's two southernmost coastal counties, San Diego County and Orange County. For more detail on the work of Dr. Horn and his colleagues, see the articles here,
On Sunday morning Dr. Doug Wood led a field trip to the Tishomingo NWR. Stops in the refuge were the boat ramp area, Goose Pen Pond, the east field observation platform, the Sandy Creek Trail and the Craven Nature Trail. Notable birds seen were Greater White-fronted Geese, American Pipits, Black Vultures, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker and Swamp Sparrow. Doug is a great teacher on the birding trail and was careful to explain field identification marks to the students. He also spoke about new research findings from an article on the preparation of sap trees by Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers. It appears that sapsuckers start drilling sap wells in trees a year in advance of actually using them as food sources. The preparatory drilling stimulates increased sap production for exploitation the following year.
This joint meeting was something of a reunion for the members of OOS and FUOBS who had spent time at the station during their youth. Whether they had actually met each other at that time or not, they had common experiences to remember and reminisce about.
The total number of species recorded on field trips during the weekend was 101. Dr. Doug Wood and Jimmy Woodard tallied the species for us on the OOS Field Checklist. The checklist form is available to anyone who would want to use it and can be accessed at the link here, http://www.okbirds.org/checklist.htm. There is also a link to the checklist in the left column on the home page.
In addition to the collaborators listed above, our thanks go to Dr. Gary Wellborn, the current director of the UOBS, and Dr. Ken Gage, the president of the FUOBS who worked with us to set up the meeting.
The 2017 Spring Meeting was held Friday-Sunday, May 5-7, at Hackberry Flat WMA, an ODWC property located near the Red River south of Frederick. Hackberry Flat is a managed wetland with bermed units, water control structures and a pipeline that delivers water from Tom Steed Reservoir during droughts. ODWC provided Hackberry Flat Center's big meeting room for our evening events on Friday and Saturday. An on site registration and check-in social took place as usual on Friday night. The special event of the evening was a presentation by Nathan Kuhnert on bird fatalities due to collisions with architectural glass in downtown Oklahoma City. Nathan's photos of the many and diverse birds killed, estimated at one thousand per year, made an impression on the audience. Nathan used his photos of glass building facades to show that birds collide with glass either because they perceive reflections of the surrounding sky and landscape as real, or because they are attracted to spaces and vegetation that they see through the glass. A meta-study of building strike fatality research authored by Scott Loss, et. al. used 23 data sources to estimate that 365-988 million birds are killed per year in the United States. Nathan explained that the best prevention technique is to make the glass appear as a solid object by adding closely spaced, semi-opaque strips either as a fritted pattern or as an interior film. There are at least two readily available film products designed for this purpose. Nathan is planning a communications campaign to promote awareness of window kills and mitigation technology among OKC decision makers. President Woodard invited Nathan to apply for funding from the Special Projects Committee to support this campaign. Just after sunrise Saturday morning Nathan spotted an adult White Ibis which was photographed five days later by the Truexes.
Saturday morning was sunny and windless with temperatures in the 60's. It warmed up during the day but was still sunny and calm, conditions as good for birding as we could have hoped for. The 40 attendees had a choice of three field trip options: a Hackberry Flat tour led by ODWC's Melynda Hickman and Kelvin Schoonover, another Hackberry Flat tour led by Mary and Lou Truex, or a trip to the far southwest corner of Oklahoma led by Kurt Meisenzahl and Jimmy Woodard. Participation was about evenly distributed among the options. The southwest Oklahoma trip found 63 species including most of the birds unique to the region including Golden-fronted Woodpeckers, Ladder-backed Woodpeckers, Ash-throated Flycatchers, Cassin's Sparrows and Bullock's Orioles. The biggest surprise was the colony of 40-50 Cave Swallows found nesting in a culvert near the intersection of E1750 and N1950.
Those who chose to tour Hackberry Flat had a difficult decision to make, either go on the trip being led by Melynda Hickman and Kelvin Schoonover, two professional wildlife specialists assigned to the WMA; or go on the trip being led by Mary and Lou Truex, two outstanding birders whose frequent counts at Hackberry Flat have produced valuable population and occurrence data over many years. I was able to choose the Hickman and Schoonover tour without regret because the Truexes had thoughtfully included me in their scouting trip on Friday. So having made our choices, we Hackberry Flat birders all climbed onto one or the other of two flatbed trailers, each with two lengthwise, back-to-back wooden benches. These flatbeds were constructed at Kelvin's direction to allow large groups like ours to enjoy motorized travel on the berms without producing the wear and tear on the earthworks that would result from long caravans of vehicles. Most happily for birders is that being seated on one of the flatbeds provides a much higher vantage point than being seated in a vehicle, and there is nothing to obstruct the view. The wetland's inhabitants mostly ignored the flatbeds, allowing observation of many birds along the roads in almost microscopic detail. Comments from the participants included, "like being on safari" and "a clinic on peeps". Early in the day we headed toward the abandoned buildings north of the reservoir that marked the location of the Pyrrhuloxia sighting during the Truexes' scouting trip. Even before we got to the area's entrance gate, we saw a dozen Bank Swallows lined up on a utility wire above the marsh next to the road. At the abandoned buildings the Pyrrhuloxia was eating mulberries from trees along the edge of the mowed area. It was a gray bird, large for a songbird, with a very tall, thin crest and yellow, parrot-like bill. Kelvin spotted a male Bullock's Oriole on top of a tree 100 yards away. It later moved in closer and repeatedly sang a mixture of whistles and burry notes. Other birds seen were a male Blue Grosbeak, Orchard Orioles, Yellow Warblers and a late-season Ruby-crowned Kinglet. One of the buildings contained a nesting Turkey Vulture. When the Truex tour visited this area later in the day they found some additional species, most notably Ash-throated Flycatcher and a collection of warblers: Tennessee, Nashville, Orange-crowned and American Redstart.
Our flatbed passed along the eastern edge of the reservoir from north to south. The northern end of the reservoir had a large population of Wilson's Phalaropes, a theme that was repeated everywhere there was shallow water. We saw Ruddy Ducks, the males with blue bills, striking black and white heads and bright rufous bodies. Eared Grebes, black and rufous with prominent gold whiskers behind the eyes, were scattered all over the eastern side of the reservoir. Black Terns were flying over the southern portion, their black bodies and contrasting gray wings dramatic even at a distance. An unusually large Graham's Crayfish Snake was draped on a dead branch that projected over the water right below us.
The tour of the wetland was an almost continuous series of rare experiences. There was a long mud island covered with Pluvialis plovers, somewhat back lit by the sun and too distant to be identified confidently to species. On the east end of the refuge we observed Snowy Plovers on a mud flat, then moved a little south and watched Wilson's Phalaropes and Baird's, White-rumped, Semipalmated and Least Sandpipers foraging a few yards away. This kind of closeup observation of small shorebirds was repeated several times because they were almost continuously present in the bar ditches along the roads. We saw 11 American Bitterns during the day, mostly in pairs or threes, some in flight, some walking through the wetland and some in the camouflage position with neck, head and bill extended upward like a spear. Only problem was the camouflage pose doesn't work very well when the bird is standing in the open, 10 yards away. The tour was punctuated by Soras making whinny calls from areas of dense vegetation, and one was seen walking between patches of cover. When we rolled up to one of the wetland units, it was uncharacteristically empty of birds, not a mystery to Kelvin who pointed out a young Peregrine just before it made a low pass over our heads. There were flocks of White-faced Ibis in many locations, and in a few places large flocks of American Avocets. Over a hundred Black-necked Stilts, elegant with their black and white plumage and long pink legs, were distributed evenly over the whole wetland as singles and pairs. A flock of Yellow-headed Blackbirds called and sang from an area of marsh, the combination of toneless and musical sounds both harsh and appealing. A Common Gallinule made a decelerating series of clucks from cover on the southwest corner of the Weir Unit. Long-billed Dowitchers in breeding plumage were clustered at several points in the ditches along the road. We had closeup looks at Black-bellied Plover, American Golden Plover and Solitary Sandpiper. There was a surprising variety of ducks given the lateness of the season, Blue-winged Teal, Northern Shoveler, Gadwall, Wigeon, Pintail, Redhead and one flying Lesser Scaup that paralleled our moving flatbed for 50 yards. (Note: no Fulvous Whistling Ducks were seen during the weekend, but the first of several reports came about a week later).
The Saturday evening banquet was prepared and served by local caterer Tammi Schrick, assisted substantially by Melynda Hickman. The meal was delicious. Members had access to chicken pasta, pulled pork and veggie pasta in unlimited quantity. The keynote address by Jim Lish was based on his 30 years of research on Red-tailed Hawks in Oklahoma. Attendees could buy one of his books in either hard or soft cover form, and he signed them all. One interesting piece of information in the presentation had to do with the Redtail type which is most numerous in Oklahoma during the winter. This type, the abieticola subspecies, is a resident of the Canadian boreal forest during the summer (Abies is the genus name for firs). Commonly known as the Northern Red-tailed Hawk, it is distinguished by having an especially extensive set of dark markings on its underparts. An interesting personal discovery that Jim related is that Harlan's Hawks are frequent predators of Red-winged Blackbirds during the winter in Oklahoma. The other Redtail types, Northern, Eastern, Southwestern, Western and Krider's are mainly devoted to Cotton Rats as prey during the winter. By lowering the rat population, they perform a beneficial service to farmers. Jim emphasized that despite the beliefs of many quail hunters, there is no evidence that Redtails are frequent predators of Bobwhites or a cause of their mysterious population declines. He is concerned about the future of Redtails in Oklahoma due to the hostility of some hunters toward the birds and the danger posed by the continuing proliferation of wind turbines. His presentation closed with a beautiful slideshow of Redtail images accompanied by a haunting melody evocative of Native American culture. Who would disagree that it wouldn't be Oklahoma without the daily chance to "watch a hawk making lazy circles in the sky"? The final act of the day was the species tally, and John Sterling did a fine job of leading it. The great results got all of us die hards psyched for another day of birding on Sunday. For Sunday morning we had originally scheduled a trip to the Wichita Mtns NWR. However Jimmy Woodard stepped up to offer participants another chance at southwest Oklahoma specialties including the Cave Swallow colony discovered the previous day and Black-crested Titmouse which hadn't been seen yet. I led the trip to the Wichita Mtns -- sort of. What actually happened was that I followed the suggestions of Bill and Linda Adams on where to go since they live near the refuge and are frequent visitors. Thanks to their ideas we knocked out my target list of bird species in only about four hours. Starting at French Lake we had barely set foot on the trail to the fish ladder when Bill Adams spotted a Black-capped Vireo singing in some shrub branches hanging over the path. On the opposite side of the trail a Painted Bunting was singing from the top of a cedar. When we first arrived at the fish ladder, the nesting swallows were all in flight around the dam. Soon enough a pair of Cave Swallows returned to their square-sided mud nest and looked at us accusingly, just their heads and necks sticking out. The rufous foreheads and pale throats of the Cave Swallows contrasted very clearly with the white headlights and dark throats of the Cliff Swallows in the bottle nests nearby. Our next stop was the Elk Mountain Trail. We hiked up about half a mile, seeing several more singing Black-capped Vireos, endless male Painted Buntings, a Lark Sparrow sitting on a nest, and a Rufous-crowned Sparrow singing on top of a bare leader. These were very good results, but we weren't seeing or hearing any Canyon Wrens, so we decided to quit the mountain climb and head to Quanah Parker Lake. We were still on the first part of the QP dam when Bill Adams spotted a Canyon Wren on the canyon wall just below us. Soon it started singing its descending series of long tew notes, amplified by the canyon. Then another wren appeared. One wren took a picturesque pose, clinging to a vertical rock face covered with green lichens. Then both wrens flew off downstream. We discussed places to try for Rock Wrens, eventually choosing the Jed Johnson Dam. However we decided to take a break at the Visitor's Center first. While there we found Yong Brenneman with her falconry-trained Ferruginous Hawk on her arm talking casually with visitors. She answered questions about her bird and spoke affectionately about its unique habits and personality compared to other raptors. A little later at Jed Johnson we had just started down the stairway to the dam when Bill Adams spotted two Rock Wrens on the adajcent boulders, one calling repeatedly (just like all the call notes after the first two in the recording here, http://www.xeno-canto.org/362538). What incredible luck to be able to watch two Rock Wrens courting right in front of us. I had waited my entire birding career to see it. After that there was only one target species left to get, the Black-chinned Hummingbird. A quick stop at the Holy City hummingbird feeders, and we had it, a male flashing his purple gorget band. For photos of the Sunday birds at the Wichitas as well as many from Saturday at Hackberry Flat, see Bill Adams' fine album of the meeting at https://www.facebook.com/southernokphotography/.
The participants in Jimmy's trip to Southwest Oklahoma on Sunday also quickly compiled an amazing list of birds. They observed the Cave Swallow colony and found Black-crested Titmouse as well as the other southwest OK specialties seen the previous day. They also found an Eastern Screech Owl. Most amazingly they spotted two Chihuahuan Ravens south of Altus, a location farther east than all previous eBird records for Chihuahuan Ravens in SW Oklahoma.
The bird list for this event totalled 150 species. This huge number was thanks to the expertise, preparation and execution of the trip leaders, the Truexes, Meisenzahl, Woodard, Hickman, Schoonover and the Adamses as well as the talent and knowlege of our many excellent birders. There was some luck involved too, the Pyrrhuloxia, the White Ibis, the Cave Swallow colony, the Rock Wrens and the Chihuahuan Ravens. It felt good to have fortune smile on us. Our group was treated with the utmost civility, warmth and care by the WMA personnel, Melynda Hickman and Kelvin Schoonover, and by Tammi Schrick, our caterer. Melynda's cheerful leadership throughout the weekend and Kelvin's dialogue on the tour combined to produce a picture of friendliness and competence on the part of ODWC that will make our state wildlife specialists top choices to partner with on future meetings.
Sixty-seven participants descended on Durant this past week to attend the fall meeting of the Oklahoma Ornithological Society (OOS). Ninety-four species of birds were found during the weekend which included field trips to Tishomingo NWR and Hagerman NWR (TX) on Saturday morning and a trip to the Denison Dam area on Lake Texoma this morning. Field trip leaders were Doug Wood, Gary Akin and Wayne Meyer. Interesting finds were Neotropic Cormorant, White-faced Ibis, Black-bellied Plover, Mourning Warbler, Palm Warbler at Hagerman; Anhinga, Bald Eagle, White-eyed Vireo, Gray Catbird at Denison Dam.
The weather was perfect this weekend for the meeting. The setting was even better as several people commented that this was one of the best they had attended in a long time. I think everyone had a good time visiting a part of the state most of us don't travel to very often. OOS would like to thank Doug Wood for all his hard work in setting up this venue. We would also like to thank Southeastern OSU for hosting us and the SE Wildlife Club for all their work in assisting with all the behind the scene details and for hosting the cookout.
We look forward to seeing everyone at the 2016 Spring Meeting which will be in Woodward on April 15-17. It will be held in conjunction with the Lesser Prairie Chicken Festival. Preliminary details on trips to see LPC's will be forthcoming very soon.
128 participants from Oklahoma and Arkansas attended the joint spring meeting in Fort Smith, Arkansas, from May 1-3. The meeting began with 3 Friday field trips and a dinner and program that night. Dr Kim Smith and honors student Mitchell Pruitt, both from the University of Arkansas, gave an interesting history of Saw whet Owls in Arkansas and a report on their banding efforts of Saw whets there this past fall. Saturday, we split into seven field trips including visits to Sequoyah NWR, Tenkiller Lake and Devil's Den amongst the destinations.A total of 166 species were found during the weekend of birding. On Saturday afternoon, there were several student presentations and the OOS and AAS boards held separate business meetings. Our own Doug Wood gave a fascinating presentation on Saturday night on Conservation and Birding in Cambodia from his recent trip there in March. I think there are now several of us who have added Cambodia to our lists of places we want to visit. All in all, everyone agreed the joint meeting was a success and said they hoped we might do it again in the future. Some of you may remember our last joint meeting with AAS in Mena, AR back in 1991. I hope that those who missed this meeting might consider joining us at a future OOS convention. Our next meeting will be in the fall. Doug Wood and Southeastern Oklahoma State University in Durant will be hosting us from October 9-11, 2015. Maybe we will see you there. - Jimmy Woodard OOS President
The OOS Fall Meeting was held at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater October 10-12 2014. Registration began Friday afternoon from 5-7 at Ag Hall on the OSU campus, followed by sharing of members’ bird photos of 2014 Saturday morning featured two birding field trips (one specifically for beginners). while Saturday afternoon featured our annual business meeting for OOS members followed by scientific presentations (talks and posters) on avian research.
For the third year, OOS honored the best graduate and undergraduate presentations with cash awards. Cash awards were given for best graduate presentation, best undergraduate presentation, and best undergraduate and graduate poster presentation.
Our banquet speaker was Dr. Scott Loss, Assistant Professor in the department of Natural Resource Ecology and Management at OSU. Scott joined the OSU faculty in 2013 following a post-doctoral fellowship at the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center where he conducted groundbreaking work on sources of mortality affecting wild birds. His work has been cited more than 600 times in the peer-reviewed literature, and has been featured many hundreds of times in national and international news outlets. For our banquet presentation, Scott presented A Comparison of Different Sources of Accidental Human-Caused Bird Mortality in the US.
The OOS Spring Field meeting was held at Alva in northwestern Oklahoma. Field trips to the Great Salt Plains National Wildlife Refuge, Great Salt Plains State Park, the Cherokee Sewer Ponds resulted in a total of 141 species! The Friday evening registration and social were a success, and everyone particularly enjoyed the birding game, as well as the eBird tutorial. The Saturday evening dinner and presentation were held at The Northwestern Oklahoma State University campus. The featured presenter on Saturday was Dr. Jason Luscier who presented a talk entitled: Understanding Plummeting Population of Rusty Blackbirds: the Plight of North America's Fastest Declining Songbird.
The fall 2013 technical meeting of the OOS took place at the Broken Arrow campus of Northeastern State University on October 18- 20, 2013. Registration opened on Friday evening and Katrina Hucks shared bird photos from Malheur NWR in Oregon.
Saturday morning featured a birding trip to Oxley Nature Center. Truly impressive flocks of Brown-headed Cowbirds were seen along with numerous other bird species such as Le Conte's Sparrow and Pileated Woodpecker. Our annual business meeting was held Saturday afternoon. Afterwards, scientific presentations talks and posters on avian research by our members were presented. EVeryone enjoyed learning about the ongoing ornithological research in Oklahoma!
The banquet was held Saturday evening and awards were given for best graduate presentation, best undergraduate presentation, and best poster. Then certificates of merit were given to two people (Jona Tucker and Todd Humphrey) for their outstanding contributions to Oklahoma ornithology. Our banquet speaker, Dr. Charles Brown , from Tulsa University, gave an excellent presentation on changes in the morphology of road-killed cliff swallows over 30 years.
Sunday morning featured a trip to the beautiful Redbud Valley. Numerous woodland birds were observed, including Brown Creeper and Golden-crowned Kinglet, A total of 93 species were seen during the fall meeting.
We had a great time and hope that everyone can join us for our upcoming spring field meeting!
The 2013 OOS Spring Field meeting was held April 26-28 in Idabel and the warm, birdy climes of southeastern Oklahoma. Field trips to the Little River National Wildlife Refuge, McCurtain County Wilderness Area, and Red Slough resulted in a total of 157 bird species being tallied! The featured presenters on Saturday were Dr. Douglas James and Dr. Ragupathy Kannan who presented an informative and engaging talk entitled: the Ecology and Conservation of the Great Hornbill (Buceros bicornis) in the Western Ghats of southern India. We had a great time and hope everyone can join us again for our fall technical meeting!
You are invited to the fall 2009 technical meeting of the OOS at Northeastern State University in Tahlequah on October 23–24. Registration and socializing will begin Friday afternoon followed by an evening program by Chris Wilson of the Oklahoma Nature Conservancy Nickel Preserve. Saturday morning will feature a birding trip to the Nickel Preserve. Saturday afternoon will feature technical presentations on avian research. Our annual business meeting will be held Saturday afternoon and we encourage all OOS members to attend and participate. Our banquet speaker will be Charles Brown from the University of Tulsa. He will deliver a presentation on the role of the Buggy Creek virus and its impact on the social behavior of Cliff Swallows
Audubon's 121st Christmas Bird Count will be conducted between the dates of Monday, December 14, 2020 through Tuesday, January 5, 2021.
The CBC is an early-winter bird census, where volunteers follow specified routes through a designated 15-mile (24-km) diameter circle, counting every bird they see or hear all day. It’s not just a species tally—all birds are counted all day, giving an indication of the total number of birds in the circle that day. Each count is conducted in one calendar day.
There are about 16 CBCs held each year in Oklahoma. A comprehensive list of all statewide CBCs, along with other CBC resources and information, can be found on the Tulsa Audubon site at: