Some birds visit northwestern Oklahoma for only a short time in spring and fall and some raise their young here but fly south for the winter.
Ospreys visit lakes and rivers in Oklahoma as they travel from their winter homes in south Texas, Central and South America to their summer homes farther north where they nest.
An osprey flies over Ft. Supply Lake looking for fish on April 29th, 2013.
After spotting a fish, they dive into the water, talons first, and grab the fish.
The osprey’s feet are equipped with sharp projections which provide a secure grip on the fish which they always carry with the head facing forward.
The “fish hawk” as they are also called are always found near water, except when moving from place to place, because fish comprise their entire diet.
A female Wilson’s phalarope, a member of the sandpiper family, stops to feed at Ft. Supply Lake as it migrates northward to its breeding grounds.
Wilson’s phalarope photos made May 6th, 2013.
The American avocet is a much larger shorebird than the Wilson’s phalarope.
American avocets are summer residents of and nest in western Oklahoma, but as far as I know, don’t nest at Ft. Supply Lake where these photos were made.
They are easily identified by their long, upturned bill, striking black and white markings, and rust-colored neck and head. In winter, the adult bird’s rust colored areas turn gray.
They are very graceful birds and this one seems to be performing a ballet.
The beautiful little blue heron is a migrant or summer resident in much of Oklahoma. This one was photographed on May 13th, 2013 at Salt Plains National Wildlife Refuge.
The little blue heron is much smaller than the more common great blue heron and is more blue.
The black-necked stilt is not often seen at Salt Plains National Wildlife Refuge where this one was photographed on May 13th, 2013.
The black-necked stilt is obviously named for its very long legs. Only the flamingo has longer legs in proportion to its body.
The following photographs were made in Salt Plains National Wildlife Refuge on May 10, 2012.
The snowy egret is a small member of the heron family. It stands 20-27″ tall and has a wingspan of 38″.
They wade in shallow marshes and ponds seeking food.
Snowy egrets can be identified by their slender black bills, black legs with yellow feet and small size relative to other white egrets.
In the 19th and early 20th centuries the snowy egrets were almost hunted to extinction for their fine plumes used to decorate hats.
This photo includes the white-faced ibis to the left of the snowy egret and in the background along with the little blue heron on the right.
The great egret is one of the larger members of the heron family and stands 35-41″ tall and has a wingspan of about 55″.
Like the snowy egret, the great egret was also hunted for its plumes, but has now recovered.
This group includes great egrets, snowy egrets and white-faced ibises.
This photo clearly shows the size difference in the great and snowy egrets.
The great egret wades in shallow water on long legs and uses it’s long neck to quickly strike and capture its prey.
The great egret’s diet consists mainly of fish, frogs, snakes and crayfish, as shown here.
The white-faced ibis is 18-22″ in length and has a wingspan of 37″
The ibis uses it’s long down-turned bill to probe for insects or crayfish as it is doing here.