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Birding enthusiasts flock to Edmond's J.L. Mitch Park

Birding enthusiasts gather J.L. Mitch Park in Edmond.
BY HENRY DOLIVE Modified: December 12, 2012 at 4:17 pm •  Published: December 12, 2012

/articleid/3736773/1/pictures/1905773">Photo - Bird watcher Susy Hall looks through her field identification book she created of birds in Mitch Park, Tuesday, December 4, 2012.  Photo By David McDaniel/The Oklahoman
Bird watcher Susy Hall looks through her field identification book she created of birds in Mitch Park, Tuesday, December 4, 2012. Photo By David McDaniel/The Oklahoman

She has led several walks through Mitch Park to help others spot birds, and in 2009 put together a field guide of birds that can be seen in the park.

The guide is available at the Edmond Library and includes a checklist of common to extremely rare birds that can be encountered in Mitch Park.

Jeff Hall said his wife has identified more than 200 birds in the park.

“There are 26 winter species in Mitch Park and 27 that are pretty much here year-round,” Susy Hall said. “Then it goes up to 31 in summer.”

Outside exercise

Birding, Susy Hall said, is the best hobby she can imagine.

“It gets you outside, gets you exercise. Every day is different, every walk is different. Sometimes you get a treat — a bird or behavior you haven't seen before,” she said.

The Halls offer advice to anyone thinking about getting a start in bird-watching: Start at home. Set up a bird feeder and possibly a birdbath in your backyard.

“The best place to start is a place where you can constantly see birds — your backyard,” she said.

“They are there day after day, year after year.”

The Halls consider themselves birders, as opposed to bird-watchers who perhaps are more casual about the endeavor.

“There are zillions of bird-watchers,” Suzy Hall said, “but fewer birders.”

Did you know?

Metro-area birds

Joe LaFleur, producer of the DVD “Better Bird-watching in the Southwest,” lists these birds as common to the Oklahoma City metro area:

Winter: Dark-eyed junco and white-crowned sparrow, often seen at yard feeders; cedar waxwings, often seen at birdbaths; green-winged teal, hawks and eagles, found at lakes and rivers.

Year-round: Yard feeder birds such as northern cardinal, white-breasted nuthatch, American goldfinch, mourning dove, red-winged blackbird, northern mockingbird, great blue heron, red-tailed hawk, great horned owl.

Spring and fall migrants: Wilson's warbler, and shorebirds such as greater yellowlegs.

Summer: Indigo bunting, often seen at feeders.

State birds

Wild Birds Unlimited lists these birds as common to Oklahoma: Northern cardinal, black-capped chickadee, red-tailed hawk, osprey, peregrine falcon, American robin, black phoebe, blue jay, mourning dove, northern mockingbird, Baltimore oriole, western scrub-jay, cedar waxwing, American goldfinch, Eastern bluebird, American crow.

Note: Oklahoma's official state bird, the scissor-tailed flycatcher, is seen in the summer, and migrates to Mexico and Central America in winter.


Cornell Lab of Ornithology Bird Guide


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