Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Birds in Central Oklahoma

Welcome to the world of birds! This site will show you twenty birds that you can find in the central part of Oklahoma. You will learn about birds and get to go bird watching without ever having to leave your computer!

The Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) is a large "fish hawk." They have a brown back and white belly. They are fairly common in coastal areas, marshes, ponds, lakes, and wetlands. They fly 30-100 feet above the surface of the water, then will suddenly plunge down into the water to grab their food. They range from Alaska to Arizona and across to Florida. They are in Oklahoma during the winter months.

The Killdeer--Charadius vociferus--has a brown upper and white lower color, with two black bands across its breast. The bird has a long tail. They live in grassy fields, meadows, farm fields, and are usually seen flying alone. They range from Alaska and Canada and stays the winter months in the southern parts of the United States.

The Eastern Screech Owl, Otus asio, is a smaller owl that has clearly defined ear tufts when they are raised. They have large yellow eyes and are grey in color. They live in forests and woodlands. The owl is nocturnal and is fairly common, but not usually seen. They range from southern Canada south to the Gulf of Mexico and Florida. They are present in Oklahoma year round. The owl can lay 3-8 eggs in their nests.

The Royal Tern (Sterna maxima) is a larg tern with a long orange beak. They are pale gray with a black head and tail. They live around saltwater areas, and are rare inland. They will dive below the water to get their food. They are not native to Oklahoma, but are seen when they are passing through for summer/winter migration. They range from Maryland to Texas.

Parus carolinensis, a.k.a. the Carolina Chickadee, is a small bird that could fit in your hand. they are blue, white, and have a black head. The live in deciduous and coniferous forest, woodland edges, swampy areas, clearings, fields, and thickets. They range from southeastern Kansas down to Texas and up to New Jersey. This Chickadee bird is common in Oklahoma and more abundant in the winter months.

The American Robin (Turdus migratorinus) is a small bird that is grey on their backs, bright red on their chest, and have a yellow beak. They live in moist woodlands, swamps, gardens, hedges, forest edges, and often nest close to human structures. They are in Alaska and to the east and southern parts of the United States. They can be seen in Oklahoma throughout the year.

The Brown Thrasher, known in scientifically as the Toxostoma
rufum, is 11 and a half inches long. They are brown on their backs with a white underbelly that has brown streaks. The birds have a long tail and yellow eyes. They rang from Canada to the Gulf Coast. In Oklahoma, they are mostly seen in the summer and rarely seen in the winter. They live in woodland edges, brushy areas, and are usually seen on or near the ground.

Cyanocitta cristat, are the birds named Blue Jays after their blue top. They are blue, white, and black, and are known for their intelligence and complex social systems. These birds are very close to their family. They range from the Great Plains in the United States all they way east to the Atlantic States. They live near forest edges and are often seen in towns.

The White-breasted Nuthatch, or Sittas carolinensis, is 5-6" with a blue back and a white breast. They live in the forest, suburbs, towns, and other regions with oak or pine trees. they nest anywhere they can fit through, such as in a bird house. They will lay 5-6 eggs at a time. The birds are present in Oklahoma, but is rarely seen in the panhandle. They range from Canada to almost all of the United States except the Great Plains.

The Western Kingbird, Tyrannus verticalis, is about 8-9" in length. They are olive-brown on top and yellowish below with a gray head. They can lay 4 eggs and they nest in a tree or brush. They usually live in dry open areas with few trees. They are statewide in Oklahoma during the summer, but are more prevelant in the western part of the United States. They range from Canada to Mexico.

The Spotted Towhee (Pipilo maculatus) ranges from central Canada and Maine, all the way to California up to British Columbia, and south to Oklahoma. They live in woodland areas, fields, thickets, and overgrown areas. They are 7-8.5" and the male is black in his upper body, white underneath, and has bright patches on the flanks. The female is similar, but brown where the male is black. They lay 3-6 eggs and are primarily in the eastern part of Oklahoma.

The Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, Tyrannus forficatus, is a beautiful bird that looks like it has a pair of scissors like feathers on its tail (must be how they came up with the name). This bird is white and black with a bright salmon-pink side and belly. The birds can lay 5 eggs in a stick nest that is in an isolated tree away from danger. The Scissor-tailed Flycatcher eats flys, and can be seen statewide in Oklahoma during the summer. They live in open and semi-open areas and can be seen on utility lines along highways. They breed from easter Colorado and Nebraska to the southern parts of Texas and Louisiana.

The Melanerpes carolinus (commonly known as the Red-bellied Woodpecker) is a fascinating bird that can be seen year round in all parts of Oklhoma. They can be seen from South Dakota to New England, south to the Gulf Coast, and to Florida. They live in deciduous forests, wet woodlands, pine forests, oak woods, parks, shade trees, wooded bottomlands, and swamps. They are approximately 10" barred black and white, and usually lay 4-5 eggs in a tree that is usually near the edge of woodland.

The House Finch, or Carpodacus mexicanus, is a sparrow sized bird measuring about 5 to 6 inches and is one of the most abundant birds found in the Midwest. The males are a streaked brown color with a bright red breast. The females are the same streaked brown but they lack the red colored breast. These birds originate from Nebraska, but also range further east across the eastern half of the continent. Their main habit includes urban areas, suburbs, parks, farms, ranches, roadsides, bird feeders, and also deserts. These birds can be seen statewide in Oklahoma during the summer months, but during the winter they usually remain in the south and central part of the state.

The Carolina Wren, or Thryothorus ludovicianus, is a small bird measuring about 5 ½ inches. It has a rich brown color with long white eyebrows that run the length of its head. It is resident of the southeastern United States but can also be found north to Wisconsin, Michigan, New York, and southern New England. The Carolina Wren’s habitat includes brushy areas, moist woodlands and swamps, suburbs, gardens, tangles, and brush piles. They are very active birds but they do not migrate, and severe winters have sometimes decimated their population.

This is the Field Sparrow, known more specifically as the Spizella pusilla. It is a small bird that can be found in brushy pastures and old fields. It can be found year round from Texas all the way east
to the Atlantic ocean. In the summer they can fly up to the Midwest region of Nebraska, Iowa, and that area. Some of the unique features of the Field Sparrow is that it is a small bird, with a reddish cap, gray face, and has a pinkish bill.

The Yellow-bellied Sapsucker is an intersting bird. Its scientific name is Sphyrapicus varius. It is in Oklahoma only during migration, but can be seen all across the state while they are migrating. They are yellow, black, and white and usually lay five to six eggs at a time. they nest in the tree and guard sap from other birds. They live in deciduous forest in almost any wooded habitat. The Yellow-bellied Sapsucker breeds from central Canada to Newfoundland and south across Missouri.

The Mallard, or as scientist say, the Anas platyrhynchos, is a much larger bird than the field sparrow and Yellow-bellied Sapsucker. In fact, if children saw them they would say that this was a duck. Mallards are typically 18-27" with a white neck ring, chestnut breast, grayish body, and an orangish bill. they lay 8-10 eggs hidden in the grass until the eggs hatch. The Mallard is more common in Oklahoma during the winter, but are seen here year round. these birds are very tolerant of humans. They are found near fresh water in marshes, swamps, wetlands, ponds, and lakes. The Mallard ranges from Alaska and Canada, southward to Texas.

Northern Cardinal, or Cardinalis cardinalis, is approximately 8-9" full grown. They live in woodlangs, fields, thickets, riparian areas, and other places in nature. they can be found in the eastern part of toe United States and south to the gulf coast. They lay 3-4 eggs in a nest made out of twigs, leaves, and plant fibers in a thicket. The cardinal is actually named after the red robes worn by the Roman Catholic Cardinals. The bird lives
in Oklahoma year round.

Progne subis, more commonly known as the Purple Martin, is the largest of the North American swallows. This bird is very popular with bird fans because they often perch in birdhouses that people make. In North America they live almost exclusively in birdhouses. They have a large head, thick chest, and broad pointed wings. In the summer they live in the United States from the great plains region east to the Atlantic.