Established in 1930 as a breeding ground and feeding area for migratory birds, the Salt Plains National Wildlife Refuge near Jet lists more than 300 species that have been observed there since it opened.
In the cold months bald eagles and sandhill cranes are two of the most sought after species for watching. Birders are also treated to the large numbers of ducks, geese and wild turkey at the refuge. You can enjoy a tour from the warmth of your car on the 2.5 mile-long Harold F. Miller Auto Tour that runs along ponds and fields where other wildlife is common. The refuge is adjacent to the Great Salt Plains State Park, where relaxing in a comfortable cabin is a great way to end a busy day at the refuge.
Winter wildlife watching doesn't always mean you have to seek a particular species. Nature trails at most state parks provide the average watcher with a variety of furry and feathered friends to discover. During the early evening hours, whitetail deer can be seen foraging for food in the forest and brush. Songbirds, raccoon, opossum, wild turkey and armadillos are among the other species that make the state parks their home.
For information and dates for the eagle watches visit the Oklahoma State Park page and event listings on TravelOK.com.
Keli Clark is marketing coordinator for Oklahoma State Parks.