Wildlife Diversity Update for July

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July 26, 2018

Josh Johnston_Outdoor Oklahomma


Rare Oklahoma Fish Studied Near Tulsa

It’s uncommon for sensitive fish and wildlife to be found in heavily urbanized areas, but that’s exactly where Josh Johnston, fisheries biologist for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, found a rare fish armored with razor-sharp scales and a shovel-shaped snout. While motorists were crossing the Arkansas River on Tulsa’s busy I-44 Bridge, Johnston and two other biologists were nearby in dry suits, catching shovelnose sturgeon by hand.

Get the full story in this Outdoor Oklahoma excerpt 

Leopard Darter


Species Spotlight: Leopard Darter

A small fish found in southeastern Oklahoma’s large rivers, the leopard darter is one of Oklahoma’s four federally threatened fish species. This fish is named for the dark spots on the sides of its body, and feeds primarily on aquatic insects and small crustaceans.

Learn more in the Wildlife Department's online field guide

Interior Least Tern


Surveying Oklahoma's Rivers for Endangered Least Terns

Biologists are using an airboat to cruise two Oklahoma rivers this summer as they check in on nesting interior least terns. The small fish-eating birds return to Oklahoma’s sandy river systems in late spring and form nesting colonies on exposed sand bars. The flat-bottomed boat, with it's powerful engine and propeller, allows biologists to traverse long stretches of the shallow Arkansas and Red rivers as they make their counts of the endangered birds.  

Tag along as the Army Corp of Engineers surveys the Arkansas River

RCW Cavity Maintenance
Photo by Jim Johnston


Woodpeckers of the Wilderness Area - Summer Upkeep

The dog days of summer mean one thing for biologists at the McCurtain County Wilderness Area:  red-cockaded woodpecker cavity maintenance! Installing new nesting inserts, evicting squatting red wasps and southern flying squirrels from existing inserts, and monitoring active clusters are the top priorities this month. 

Calendar of Events


Saturday Morning Birding

August 4 from 8-9:45 a.m.
Oxley Nature Center, Tulsa

Wetland at Night Tour

August 11 from 7:30-11 p.m.
Hackberry Flat Center, near Frederick

Wildlife Expo

September 22 & 23
Lazy E Arena, Guthrie


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