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South Peoria Avenue Route

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From the 1986 edition of A Guide to Birding in Oklahoma published by the Tulsa Audubon Society. This account was partially reviewed and updated in 2007.

Begin this trip at the town of Jenks, south of Tulsa. The intersection of West Main St. and South Elm is the actual starting point, at the Jenks Municipal Park with its railroad car at the corner. Drive south on Elm past a sod farm on the left where shorebirds are found after late spring rains. Watch the woods on the right for woodpeckers, orioles, chickadees, and titmice. The residential area gives way to open fields just beyond the woods. Dickcissels, Scissor-tailed Flycatchers, Horned Larks, and hawks are prevalent. The oil tank farm on the right (3.0) is often a good place to find Lark Sparrows in summer. Eastern Kingbirds and Scissor-tailed Flycatchers will be on the lines then too.

Peoria Ave. starts at 131 St. S. and Elm St. ends. Within a mile the terrain changes from open fields to rolling hills. Nut trees, oaks, and some cottonwood trees dominate the area. Small streams cross the road. Stop at the bridges and search the trees and stream beds for birds. Warblers are found here in spring and fall. Eastern Phoebes nest in summer, and in winter nuthatches, kinglets, woodpeckers, and chickadees are abundant. Between 141 St. and 151 St. on the right side of the road are brush piles where trees and shrubs have been thinned. Bewick's and Carolina wrens, Mockingbirds, Brown Thrashers, and sparrows frequent the brush piles and the Gray Catbirds return for summer.

The open-field habitat is entered again at 151 St. There are numerous farm ponds throughout the area where egrets and herons are common in summer. Purple Martins, Barn Swallows, and Chimney Swifts are present all summer. Winter birds to watch for are Western and Eastern meadowlarks, Great-tailed Grackles, Horned Larks, Loggerhead Shrikes, Mourning Doves, and blackbirds. In April Upland Sandpipers and Golden­Plovers are found in the fields in large flocks.

The area to the east at about 171 St. is interesting. A Burrowing Owl was seen here in 1983. The habitat is ideal for a prairie dog town which attracts the owls, but since the land is privately owned with no access from the road, no evidence of such a town exists at present.

At 181 St. turn right to examine a pond for Common Snipe, Killdeer, or, perhaps, for ducks and egrets, according to season. Just past the pond turn back south to Peoria Ave. Bluebirds are almost always near the next house on the left. This stretch of road is lined with multiflora roses with small fruiting shrubs and trees growing among them. In some places this tangle runs back from the road for several yards. Stop here; pish or squeak to call out wrens, catbirds, mockingbirds, thrashers, and woodpeckers. In winter you will find White-crowned, White-throated, Fox, Song and Field sparrows. Remain in the car and the birds will come very close.

South of the hedgerow is a horse ranch where there are usually flocks of blackbirds. The Great-tailed Grackles have moved into this area and in early spring Brewer's Blackbirds may be expected. An old house, heavily overgrown with trees and shrubs, is next on the route. The large cedars provide food and shelter for many birds in winter. The house is occupied but the people seem to accept birdwatchers stopping to view the area from the road.

At 201 St. S the route has covered 12 miles. This section with small scattered residences holds large numbers of pecan trees which attract an abundance of woodpeckers and Blue Jays. There are two bridges in this one-mile area, a newer one of concrete and a narrow, older bridge. Birds may be found at both; spend a few minutes looking for Eastern Phoebes, Carolina Wrens, Indigo Buntings, and the usual woodland birds. Warblers and kinglets are here in the spring.

A pond on the right with a good growth of cattails is frequented by Blue-winged Teal and Mallards in spring and fall. Herons are here in summer. There is a good brush pile near the pond worth investigating.

The route ends on 221 St. S (Okmulgee County) at a triangle with stop signs on either side. Turn right (west) to reach US 75 to Tulsa or Okmulgee or turn left (east) to reach Memorial Drive to return to Bixby or to Tulsa.





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Copyright © 2013 Tulsa Audubon Society
Last modified: October 15, 2018




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