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Christmas Bird Counts will get underway beginning Friday

Pelicans and ring-billed gulls are commonly seen during Christmas Bird Counts in Oklahoma. [PHOTO BY STEVE GOOCH, THE OKLAHOMAN]

Pelicans and ring-billed gulls are commonly seen during Christmas Bird Counts in Oklahoma. [PHOTO BY STEVE GOOCH, THE OKLAHOMAN]

The 117th consecutive Christmas Bird Count gets underway Friday around the globe.

The National Audubon Society's Christmas Bird Count is the longest-running citizen science survey in the world and provides critical data on population trends of birds.

Groups of birders armed with binoculars, spotting scopes, field guides and checklists comb 140 square miles in their assigned “circles” to identify and count birds. Other bird lovers will spend the day watching bird feeders and recording data.

The counts begin Friday and run through Jan. 5. Many of the bird counts in Oklahoma are held the weekend before Christmas, including in Oklahoma City.

On Saturday, members of the Oklahoma City Audubon Society and other birders will be conducting their Christmas Bird Count. Last year, birders identified 116 species in the Oklahoma City count.

The center point for the Oklahoma City circle is NW 63 and Portland. From there, birders will search in every direction in the circle for 7 1/2 miles to find and count bird species. To volunteer, contact John Shackford at

The annual count in Norman will be on Jan. 1. For more information, email Mark Howery at

Nineteen bird counts are scheduled in Oklahoma. The Stillwater Christmas Bird Count also will be Saturday. For more information, email Tim O'Connell at

The Stephens County Christmas Bird Count will be Dec. 29. For more information, email Kurt Meisenzahl at

Fly Fishing School scheduled on Illinois River

Enrollment is now being accepted for the Illinois River Fly Fishing School, scheduled Feb. 24-25 at Tenkiller State Park.

The course includes sessions on tackle and gear, knots, flies, fly selection and casting techniques. Participants also receive on-stream instruction.

Fly rods will be available for loan and a state fishing license is not required for students.

This will be the 29th year that Patton Fly Fishing has offered this course. The fee is $175, with a $50 deposit due at the time of enrollment.

For more information, see or call (405) 613-6520.

Lodging is available separately through Tenkiller State Park. Students may book lodging by calling (918) 489-5643.

Ed Godfrey

Ed Godfrey was born in Muskogee and raised in Stigler. He has worked at The Oklahoman for 25 years. During that time, he has worked a myriad of beats for The Oklahoman including both the federal and county courthouse in Oklahoma City for more... Read more ›