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Inside this WildSide e-Extra:
Cerulean WarblerHackberry Flat WMAHummingbirds and Butterflies

Volume 1 • Issue 1 • June 2007

Does the Cerulean Warbler Still Breed in Oklahoma?

The Cerulean warbler (Dendroica cerulea) is an uncommon songbird found in the canopies of mature deciduous forest stands in the eastern U.S. Its population has declined steadily over the past fifty years as a result of several factors including habitat loss due to the conversion of forests to other land uses, fragmentation of forests and nest parasitism by expanding populations of brown--headed cowbirds. The warbler eats insects and makes its cup-style nest high up in the tree on a horizontal limb far from the trunk. The song is a three part, musical, rising buzz tzeedl tzeedl tzeedl ti ti ti tzeee. They move very quickly while foraging from branch to branch high up in the tree.

The cerulean warbler has experienced recent population decline.
The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation awarded a grant, through the State Wildlife Grants program, to the Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit at OSU to determine the current distribution of the Cerulean warbler in Oklahoma. Vincent Cavalieri, a graduate student in the Department of Natural Resource Ecology and Management, was hired to search areas of suitable habitat within the historic range of the Cerulean warbler in order to locate breeding populations and document the other songbird species found at these sites.

Surveys were conducted at 75 sites in both northeastern and southeastern portions of Oklahoma using a recording of a singing male. If a Cerulean warbler responded to the call, an attempt was made to confirm breeding and to take habitat measurements. Six adult males and three adult females were found at four sites on north--facing slopes in the Ouachita Mountains, near ridge tops approximately 2,300 feet in elevation. One pair was observed carrying food and was later seen with fledglings confirming breeding for this area. The plant community where Cerulean warblers were present can be characterized as having large trees and a high percentage of shrub and ground cover. Dominant tree species on these sites include black walnut, white oak, mockernut hickory, and red maple.

The State Wildlife Grants Program provides federal money to every state and territory for cost-effective conservation aimed at preventing wildlife from becoming endangered. This program is administered by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation and continues the long history of cooperation between the federal government and the states for managing and conserving wildlife species.  For more information, visit www.teaming.com.

Hackberry Flat WMA

The jewel of southwest Oklahoma hosts thousands of bird species

A snowy plover is just one of the species you can view at Hackberry Flat.
If you enjoy watching shorebirds and grassland songbirds consider a visit to Hackberry Flat Wildlife Management Area this month. This destination is part of Loop 13 of the Great Plains Trail of Oklahoma.

More information can be found at this link:

Early morning and late evening are the best times for birder to visit Hackberry Flat in southwest Oklahoma which is known as a birder’s paradise! Located just outside Frederick, Hackberry Flat is a restored wetland and operated by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. The best way to view birds here is by driving the gravel roads that run along the dikes. Two observation towers provide great viewing on this flat terrain. The black-necked stilt, American avocet, and snowy plover nest in the wetland as well as such grassland songbirds as the dickcissel, grasshopper sparrow and both the eastern and western meadowlarks. With its close access and more than 190 species of bird identified, this area is known as a birders paradise! More information regarding the Bird Route in Loop 13 and the Great Plains Trail of Oklahoma can be found at this link: www.greatplainstrail.com

For information or wetland conditions contact Kelvin Schoonover, the area biologist, at (580)335-5262.  

Written by Brett Cooper, Graduate Student, Oklahoma State University.

Save the Date: 2007 Wildlife Expo, September 28--30, Lazy E Arena

Oklahoma's Smallest Birds

This month is a great time to hang hummingbird feeders. Participate in the Oklahoma Wildlife Diversity Program’s Hummingbird Survey by recording the first and last observations of hummingbirds in your yard. To enter your data online, click here.

Time to Plant for Butterflies

This is also a great month to start nectar plants to attract butterflies. Planting a planned butterfly garden should include both the host food plants for the caterpillars and nectar plants for adults. The best way to attract adult butterflies is to plant masses of nectar producing flowers together. A few native annual nectar plants include impatiens, Indian blanket and lantana. Some perennial nectar plants are columbine, sunflower, and zinnia. Common caterpillar host plant include peas, clover, hollyhock, willow, and cherry. These and other host plants can be found in the book "Landscaping for Wildlife." To learn more or order your own copy, click here.

Our Mission:

The WILDLIFE DIVERSITY PROGRAM monitors and manages the state's wildlife and fish species that are not hunted or fished.