May Wild Side Update

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Summer Wild Side Header 2020


Bat Watch 2020


Registration Open for Summer Selman Bat Watches

The Wildlife Department will open its Selman Bat Cave Wildlife Management Area to 400 preregistered visitors this summer as part of the annual Selman Bat Watches. The events feature a colony of Mexican free-tailed bats, our state flying mammal, as it leaves a nearby cave to hunt for flying insects. 

Admission to the Selman Bat Watch is $14 for adults and $8 for children. Children must be 8 or older to attend. 

Register by mail on or before June 2, 2020

Broad-headed Skink


Species Spotlight:  Broad-headed Skink

Broad-headed skinks are relatively large lizards that can be found along the eastern and southeastern edges of our state. Juveniles are striped and are one of Oklahoma’s six species of lizards that hatch with blue tails. As the lizards mature they fade to brown or tan; females retain the stripes as they mature, but adult males do not. As the name implies, broad-headed skinks have large heads. The jaws of adult males turn orange-red during the breeding season. These lizards are active during the day and are usually associated with hardwood forests.

Learn more in the Wildlife Department's Online Guide

Barn Swallow_Kelly Adams


26,776 Observations Made in Spring Virtual BioBlitz!

More than 1,000 nature explorers accepted the Oklahoma Biological Survey's month-long challenge to virtually log the plants and wildlife they encountered across Oklahoma during April. From familiar jays to blooming roadside flowers and a host of unique insects, the Virtual BioBlitz! team made more than 26,000 observations, more than doubling the number of observations made during the 2019 spring event. 

Among the top five most observed species are four animals and one plant that can be found in both rural and urban settings – sliders, paintbrushes, cricket frogs, robins and Canada geese.

Scroll through the observations, see where species were found, or create an account to share your own sightings year-round

Howery and Smith


ICYMI: Newly Discovered Subspecies Named for Wildlife Department Biologist

Wildlife Department biologist Mark Howery was recently honored by Oklahoma Biological Survey staff with their announcement of a newly recognized dragonfly subspecies, the Howery's clubtail. This isolated population of the Ozark clubtail was discovered in 2011 by Victor W. Fazio III along Salt Creek, a tributary of the Arkansas River, in western Osage County. It was later investigated by the Oklahoma Biological Survey's conservation biologists Michael A. Patten and Brenda D. Smith. 

"This is a tremendous honor for a biologist and I was shocked to be recognized this way," Howery said. "The Wildlife Department values the full breadth of the wildlife in our state and I am honored to be connected to a species that is unique to our region and that embodies the kind of proactive, collaborative conservation that we strive to achieve through the State Wildlife Grants program." 

More details about Howery's clubtail

Outdoor Calendar


Some events may be subject to cancellation due to COVID-19 restrictions. 


Breeding Bird Tour

June 6, 6 - 10 a.m.
Hackberry Flat WMA, near Frederick

Summer Fire Field Day

July 11
Ames, Oklahoma


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 refund donations