This is from "Some Winter Birds of Oklahoma" by Wells W. Cooke. Printed in The AUK in 1914.
Less has been published about the birds of Oklahoma than about those of any other state in the Union. It seems advisable therefore that a record should be made of the notes made during a seven months' residence there the winter of 1883-4. The center of observations was the town of Caddo, on the M. K. and T. Ry., twenty miles north of Denison, Texas. The country at that time — the Choctaw Nation — was devoted principally to the grazing of beef cattle. Right in the town of Caddo there were a few small cotton and corn fields, but a half mile in any direction brought one to the open range, never as yet overstocked, and scarcely changed from its condition before it was trod by the white man's foot. Much the same could be said about the timber. There were no forests anywhere and no evergreens. The country as a whole was well grassed prairie, but every little 'branch' was fringed with brush, and when enough of these had united to make a permanently flowing stream its banks were lined with a thin fringe of trees, which widened as the stream enlarged until it became a bottomland of tall fine hardwood timber. Such a bottomland existed six miles south of Caddo along the Blue River and many of the observations here recorded were made in this timbered area. It had never been lumbered and the few enormous black walnut logs that had been marketed — logs so large that twelve yoke of oxen were required to haul a single log — had made no impression on the tract as a whole. In fact the conditions, so far as land birds were concerned, were the same as though the country had never been settled — making it all the more desirable that bird notes made at that time should be published for comparison with conditions as they exist today.
The writer reached Caddo August 27, 1883 and left there April 8, 1884. Although bird observations were a side issue, yet close watch was kept of the ever shifting bird population, several hundred birds were collected for purposes of identification, while a bird diary extending over more than eighty foolscap pages serves as the basis for the following notes.
Migrating birds were present during the first week of September; Barn Swallows and Nighthawks passed each evening and September 10, Tree and Cliff Swallows with Cowbirds were common in migration. Other duties prevented a visit to the heavy timber of the bottomland during the whole of the fall and the notes to the end of November pertain to a strictly prairie country, but it seems probable that September 14-21 was the height of the fall migration of warblers. September 15, first rain, ending a dry spell that had lasted since the middle of June; September 21, first ducks of the season — a flock of Mallards. Scissor-tailed Flycatchers, Swallows, and Nighthawks continued to drift by the last ten days of September and disappeared early in October. Meanwhile Cowbirds and Mourning Doves had gradually increased until by October 10, the former were in flocks of 100-150 birds, and the latter were at least five times their September numbers. On this last date the first flock of Canada Geese appeared and flocks of Flickers began to pass in migration. October 15, first large flock of Meadowlarks, about 150, drifting southeast; October 20, first flock of Horned Larks; November 3, first flock of Robins.
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