Wildlife Diversity Update for February

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February 22, 2018

Iron Gate


Iron Gate Cave Gets a New Gate

Deep in the hills of Delaware County, a small cave waits for spring's return of migrating gray bats. Biologists took steps this winter to make the cave safer for the endangered bats by installing a gate at the mouth of the cave. (Though named "Iron Gate," the cave hasn't been protected by a gate in recent history.) 

Get an update from the Iron Gate Work Day

Harris's Sparrow


Species Spotlight:  Harris's Sparrow

Frequent visitors of woodland edges, weedy fields and rural bird feeders, the Harris's Sparrow is easily recognized by the bold, black face mask that extends to the chest. Some biologists estimate that 20 percent of the entire Harris's Sparrow population winters in Oklahoma. 

Learn more in the Wildlife Department's Field Guide

Nest Box


Three Nest Box Must Haves

Adding a nest box to your backyard is a great way to introduce your family to nature and help birds. But does your nest box have what it takes to be successful?

Find three nest box must haves and learn more about the Oklahoma Nest Box Trails Program

Cimarron Hills


Surveying the Open Spaces of the Mixed-grass Prairie

Wintering sparrows and raptors love the large tracts of native grass intermixed with plum thickets and sand sagebrush found at the Cimarron Hills and Cimarron Bluff Wildlife Management Areas, and that’s where the Wildlife Department completed its most recent wildlife inventory.

To survey the sprawling prairie, the Wildlife Diversity Program and volunteers from the Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Gardens walked along frozen creeks, across hills thick with grass, and drove along sandy WMA roads, documenting the variety of birds and mammals that winter on the two areas.

Thirty-two species of birds, including eight types of sparrows and five different species of raptors were documented during the three-day survey. American tree sparrows were one of the most frequently encountered species of the survey, often seen perching on fence lines and in plum thickets. Also spotted were three porcupines, 22 northern harriers and a roosting barn owl.

Additional surveys of the two areas, with a special focus on species of greatest conservation need, will continue throughout the year.

Calendar of Events

Eagle Watch

March 3, 2018
Lake Thunderbird State Park, Norman

Prairie and Wetland Tour

March 10, 2018
Hackberry Flat Center, Frederick

Red Slough Birding Convention

May 5-8, 2018
HQ:  Southeastern Oklahoma State University, McCurtain County Campus



The Wild Side e-newsletter is a project of the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation's Wildlife Diversity Program. The Wildlife Diversity Program monitors, manages and promotes rare, declining, and endangered wildlife, as well as common wildlife not fished or hunted. It is primarily funded by the sales of Wildlife Department license plates, publication sales and private donors. 

Get involved with the Wildlife Diversity Program and learn more about Oklahoma's nongame wildlife at: wildlifedepartment.com

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