January Wild Side Update

Having trouble viewing this email? View it as a Web pageBookmark and Share

Wild Side Header December 2019


In Wild History:  Duck and Fletcher


Follow the Wildlife Diversity Program for Wild History

Oklahoma has long been a contributing partner in the field of wildlife conservation and we’ve scoured old surveys, journals and reports for our new “WILD HISTORY” Facebook series! We’ll be sharing state milestones, incredible Oklahoma wildlife sightings and interesting facts each month on the ODWC – Wildlife Diversity Program Facebook page.

We launched the series earlier this month with the Wildlife Department’s own “Duck and Fletcher” map:

IN WILD HISTORY:  Our understanding of Oklahoma’s unique biological diversity took shape after four years of careful study of our landscape in the form of the landmark “A Game Type Map of Oklahoma.” The map, created by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation’s own Lester Duck and Jack Fletcher, was distributed in their 144-page survey report and has been used as a baseline for Oklahoma diversity since it was published in 1943. Check out this Outdoor Oklahoma article and television episode to learn more about Duck and Fletcher’s work.

WILD HISTORY drops every month on Facebook

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker


Species Spotlight:  Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

Nearly all of Oklahoma’s 11 woodpeckers are year-round residents, with the exception of one – the yellow-bellied sapsucker. Instead, these black-and-white visitors migrate to Canada and the northeastern United States for their breeding season. Sapsuckers drill a series of holes into tree branches to harvest sap. 

Facts, photos, maps and calls are waiting at allaboutbirds.org

Say's Phoebe


Surprises on the Christmas Bird Count

Each year, hundreds of Oklahomans take to the woods, water and fields to tally birds for the Christmas Bird Count, our nation’s longest-running community science bird project. And while counts often yield exciting bird sightings, Wildlife Department biologist Mark Howery had three Christmas Bird Count surprises while surveying in and around the Ft. Gibson Wildlife Management Area's Waterfowl Refuge in northeastern Oklahoma on December 20, 2019. The Ft. Gibson Christmas Bird Count began in the 1953 - 1954 count year and has continued for 66 years.  

Three Surprising Sightings



New Wildscapes Certified

Information about landscaping for wildlife, and how to certify your property as a Wildscape can be found at wildlifedepartment.com.

  • The May Family, Cherokee County:  Certified Habitat Wildscape #483:  This Wildscape focuses on compromise as the property and an old fishing cabin built in 1938 had been abandoned for a long time. Required clean-up included removing some occupied habitat, like snakes from the chimney. But the May family has left snags and rotting stumps that provide both habitat and entertainment for the new owners.

"As I contemplated and budgeted the work to be done, it was hard to ignore that so many other lives would be affected. If I cleaned up and beautified everything, an entire world of living things would be losing their home so that I could have mine. Instead, I leave the leaves on the ground through the winter. I let the grasses, clover and wildflowers grow tall in the spring for bees. I allow the milkweed to remain on the fence for monarchs. And the trees provide food and shelter in their many stages from seeds and nuts, to snags, and even rotting stumps." 

  • The Land Family, Canadian County:  Certified Habitat Wildscape # 482:  This Wildscape focuses on butterflies and other pollinators. The family agreed that some areas will not be mowed just so they can observe what would happen over time.

Calendar of Events


Eagle Watches

Details for multiple watches at TravelOK.com

Great Backyard Bird Count Tour

Feb. 15, 2020 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Oklahoma City Zoo

Oklahoma Herpetological Society Conference

Feb. 22, 2020
Arcadia Conservation Education Area


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 funded in part by sales of Wildlife Department license plates, publication sales, and tax checkoff dollars.