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The Archivist: Oklahoma state bird flap documented in Capitol in 1940s and 1950s

Mary Phillips: Oklahoma House plays joke on Senate in 1949 with proposal naming the ‘mileormore’ the state bird
BY MARY PHILLIPS, For The Oklahoman Published: May 19, 2014
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We, the citizens of this great state, should appreciate that not every bill the Legislature suggests becomes official.

Ray Parr, Capitol writer, offered this example in The Oklahoman, on March 25, 1949.

“Oklahoma’s $15-a-day legislators in the house of representatives spent more than an hour Thursday before reaching the statesmanlike conclusion that Oklahoma’s official bird should be the ‘mileormore.’

“It was considered a good joke on the senate which had passed a resolution naming the scissor-tailed flycatcher the official bird.

“There was some doubt about whether there is such a bird as the ‘mileormore.’

“None of the members could vouch for having seen it but several had heard of it.

“Some members believed a ‘mileormore’ was a bird that flies backwards and thus can see for a mile or more.

“Others were equally convinced that it is a bird that sticks its head in the sand and whistles with such volume it can be heard a mile or more.

“The amendment selecting the new bird was offered by Charles Ozmun, Lawton.”

There was more discussion, but Ozmun went on to defend his amendment.

“I want to name a bird most appropriate for the gentlemen of the senate,” he said.

“We have no time to be fooling around trying to name a bird,” he said.

He didn’t explain just how his “mileormore” amendment had saved much time.

“He added that he thought the most popular bird in the state was the crow because you could see it everywhere.

“‘Pardon me, but do you mean Old Crow?’ asked Joe Smalley, floor leader.

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