July Wild Side Update

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Summer Wild Side Header 2020


Diamond-backed Rattlesnake_Jeremiah Zurenda_RPS 2020

Western diamond-backed rattlesnake (Jeremiah Zurenda/RPS 2020)

Stunning Nature Photos Featured in Outdoor Oklahoma

Oklahoma's natural world has long been the focus of our state's talented photographers and is at the heart of the Wildlife Department's Outdoor Oklahoma magazine's Readers' Photography Showcase, released earlier this month. One hundred photographs of our state's diverse wildlife, landscapes and outdoor activities were chosen for the 2020 Showcase, giving a hint at what could await you in Outdoor Oklahoma.  

In addition to the annual Readers' Photography Showcase, Outdoor Oklahoma shares stories of hunting and fishing adventures, ongoing research, and updates from Oklahoma State Game Wardens in six issues per year. 

Photo submissions for the 2021 Readers' Photography Showcase will be accepted from Jan. 1 - April 15, 2021. 

Subscribe to Outdoor Oklahoma for only $10

Painted Bunting_Fred Dissinger RPS 2020

(Fred Dissinger/RPS 2020)

Species Spotlight:  Painted Bunting 

A bold mixture of blue, green and red feathers brand the painted bunting as one of our state’s most colorful songbirds. But even with their bright colors, painted buntings may be difficult to spot as they tend to stay in dense cover. Female and immature birds are harder still to detect as their base color, yellow-green, further blends with the surrounding vegetation. These birds are most often found on the edge of woodlands but will venture into nearby fields to search for food. 

Painted buntings have a thick bill that is used for cracking seeds, though the birds will also feed on insects during the breeding season. Males defend their territory by singing a musical song of short, high-pitched phrases. They may also attack other males intruding on their territory. In Oklahoma, the painted bunting is considered a species of greatest conservation need.

Learn more about the Painted Bunting

Spicebush Swallowtail_Jerry Ehlers_RPS 2019

Spicebush Swallowtail (Jerry Ehlers/RPS 2019)

The Striking Beauty of Oklahoma's Butterflies

The Xerces Society's Ray Moranz has visited or lived in 27 states but has found Oklahoma to be blessed with a great diversity and a particularly high abundance of butterflies. Because of this, he considers our state one of the best he's visited for butterfly watching. 

Moranz delves into our 170+ butterfly species in an article first appearing in Xerces' biannual publication Wings. He catalogs Oklahoma's representatives of all six major butterfly families and shares his passion for these pollinators. 

More about Oklahoma's butterflies

Bat Acoustic Survey_Blake Podhajsky


Bat Acoustic Surveys on Wildlife Management Areas

Technological advances are helping the Wildlife Department better understand our bat community. By recording echolocation calls with smart devices and using software to narrow the species of bat making the call, biologists can learn more about the bats using Wildlife Management Areas and the habitats they prefer. 

Learn more by tuning in to Outdoor Oklahoma

Outdoor Calendar


A Wetland at Night

August 15, 7 p.m.
Hackberry Flat Center - Near Frederick

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.