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Arkansas

N Mocker
Northern Mockingbird Mimus polyglottos ©Robert Royse Website

Arkansas is ideally situated for birds and birdwatchers alike. Its mild southern climate consists of long, warm summers and short, cool winters. Geographically, the Great Plains approach Arkansas' western border in Texas and Oklahoma while the Mississippi River forms the eastern border along Tennessee and Mississippi. Many distinct habitats are contained with these borders, including patches of remnant prairie, upland and bottomland forests, lowland marshes, and many open lakes and rivers. This diversity, along with Arkansas' prime position along the Mississippi flyway and its proximity to typically western and gulf coast birds, yields an impressive state list of 388 species.

Many of the Natural State's prime birding spots are accessible in the form of State or National Parks, Wildlife Refuges, Forests, and the Buffalo National River. And although the birding community in Arkansas is fairly active, there are still exciting discoveries to be made. For example, breeding populations of Chestnut-sided and Black-throated Green Warblers were discovered hundreds of miles from their previously known breeding grounds as recently as 1993.

Drawing a line from the northeast to the southwest corner of the state creates the easiest physio-graphic division of Arkansas: above the line are the highlands; below the line are the lowlands. The highlands can be further divided into the Ozark Plateau and the Ouachita (pronounced WASH-ih-taw) Mountains, which consist of mostly oak-hickory or oak-hickory-pine forest. The lowlands are made up of the Gulf Coastal Plain, which runs along the southern border with Louisiana, and the Mississippi Alluvial Plain in the east. The Gulf Coastal Plain is characterized by rolling hills and predominantly pine forest while the Mississippi Alluvial Plain is primarily farming country that has lost most of its trees.

The birds are as varied as the habitats that attract them. As Mel White writes in the Introduction to his A Birder's Guide to Arkansas (1995, American Birding Association, Inc.); Everyplace in Arkansas is great the first week of May. Seeing 100 species in a day is almost easy during the full swing of migration. In addition, breeding Red-cockaded Woodpecker, Bachman's Sparrow, and Brown-headed Nuthatch are found in the Ouachitas and southern pine forests. Swainson's Hawk is an annual migrant in the west. Western Kingbirds have been found breeding in the southwest, Harris's Sparrow and Western Meadowlark winter in the northwest. Central Arkansas yields wintering flocks of Horned Lark and Lapland Longspur with Smith's Longspur present in a few locations. In some winters Sprague's Pipit is found with these species. The low wetland areas provide habitat for millions of wintering waterfowl, and Tricolored Heron, White Ibis, Wood Stork, Roseate Spoonbill, Anhinga, have all been found along the Gulf Coastal and the Mississippi Plains. Add these possibilities to the expected eastern birds and you have an incredible species assemblage!

The Audubon Society of Central Arkansas' web site houses a checklist of Arkansas birds and maintains a Rare Bird Alert that can also be reached by phone at (501) 753-5853. An annotated checklist that includes notes on distribution and dates of occurrence can be obtained by writing to Max Parker, Curator, Arkansas Audubon Society, 2426 S. Main, Malvern, AR 72104 (copies are 15 cents apiece plus a self-addressed stamped envelope). Birders wishing to document unusual sightings should write to Max Parker at the same address.

Top Sites

**Latest Sightings

Sightings

Click 'Get Birds Seen' to see a map with map pins on locations of the latest recorded sightings of rare or unusual birds.

*See places other birders go Birding...

WebBirder Hot Spots

Bald Knob NWR

Webpage

Satellite View

Bald Knob NWR encompasses approximately 15,000 acres of forested wetlands and croplands. Lying along the Little Red River and adjacent to the Henry Gray/ Hurricane Lake State Wildlife Management Area this refuge is an important link in protecting wildlife and its habitat…

Charlie Craig State Fish Hatchery

Webpage

Satellite View

Charlie Craig State Fish Hatchery, outside Centerton, AR, consists of a series of shallow fish ponds surrounded by pasture and suburban development. It is relatively treeless, and except for a low hill to the west, the terrain is flat. It is owned by Arkansas Game & Fish Commission…

Craighead Forest Park

Webpage

Satellite View

Craighead Forest Park is located at 4910 South Culberhouse Road in Jonesboro Arkansas. The park offers a variety of outdoor activities including: basketball, softball, horseshoes, volleyball, disc golf, camping, fishing, bike/running trails, bird watching and playgrounds, so there is some disturbance…

Holla Bend NWR

Webpage

Satellite View

The refuge is situated on a bend of the Arkansas River which was cut off when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers straightened the river in 1954 for flood control. Refuge lands include over 7,000 acres of agricultural fields, bottomland forest, and open water…

Stuttgart Airport

Information

Satellite View

The 2680 acre Stuttgart Airport has 254 acres of unfarmed old fields and 1250 acres in cultivation, primarily rice and soybeans. The City of Stuttgart uses the revenue generated from the farming activities to fund the airport operations. The Stuttgart Airport is very popular with birdwatchers who flock to the airport to look for Smith’s longspurs and Sprague’s pipits in the three-awn grass near the airport runways. The City and its Airport welcome the birdwatchers and promote birding at the Airport.

Contributor

Dan Scheiman

Bird Conservation Director - Arkansas Audubon

birddan@comcast.net

Number of Species

Number of bird species: 418

As of 1st January 2016

Checklist

Checklist

WebBirder Checklist

Fatbirder's very own checklists are now available through WebBirder

Useful Reading

A Birder's Guide to Arkansas

By Mel White ABA Birdfinding Guide Series 260pages Spiral Bound 1995

ISBN: 1878788094

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Arkansas Birds

James Kavanagh Waterford Press 1999

ISBN: 1583550100

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Arkansas Birds : Their Distribution and Abundance

Douglas A. James, Joseph C. Neal Hardcover (October 1986) Univ of Arkansas Pr

ISBN: 0938626388

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Birds of Arkansas Field Guide

by Stan Tekiela Adventure Publications 2011

ISBN: 9781591932611

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Useful Information

State Bird

Northern Mockingbird Mimus polyglottos

Guides & Tour Operators

Click on WAND for tours, guides, lodges and more…

Birding Pal

Information

Local birders willing to show visiting birders around their area…

Trip Reports

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CloudBirders

Trip Report Repository

CloudBirders was created by a group of Belgian world birding enthusiasts and went live on 21st of March 2013. They provide a large and growing database of birding trip reports, complemented with extensive search, voting and statistical features.

2012 [05 May] - Brad Weinert

Report

Lynn and I took a trip to Southwest Arkansas May 11-13th to attend a college graduation. We stayed in a town about an hour outside of Little Rock during our visit and I was able to get out for a few hours early in the morning on Saturday and Sunday to explore an area called De Gray Lake State Park. Here are the highlights of our brief encounters with Arkansas wildlife…

2012 [05 May] - Steve Hilty

Report PDF

This past winter and spring seasons were unusually dry and warm. Prairie areas of western Missouri received considerable rainfall in late April, although the Ozarks highlands remained dry. The unusually warm weather, in particular, resulted in an early spring migration and an early spring flowering bloom…

2013 [05 May] - Steve Hilty

Report PDF

…This trip is much about birds in the early mornings, but there is plenty of botanizing and time devoted to other natural history aspects as well. Visits to two tallgrass prairie sites, a spectacular cave trip, a canoe float trip, some time devoted to visiting several types of large springs (these are world- class springs), an evening of old-time folk music, and an afternoon of crafts complete our immersion in this interesting region…

2014 [05 May] - Steve Hilty - Missouri & Arkansas

PDF Report

This trip is a complete immersion into the Ozarks and adjacent tallgrass prairie regions, including birds, botany, geology, hydrology, human history, and just about all other living things large and small...

2016 [05 May] - Bruce Wedderburn - Southeast USA

Report

This was a two-month trip to southeast USA for Yvonne and myself, from late March through to late May, with a focus on the Spring migration, in particular the highly varied and colourful warblers. The trip commenced in Dallas in early Spring and involved touring through Texas along the Mexican border, following the Gulf of Mexico around to Florida as far south as Key West, then heading north up the east coast of the USA, then inland to the Appalachian Ranges in North Carolina, before heading west for our return trip to Dallas...

Places to Stay

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Hummingbird Inn

Accommodation

Set apart on 20 acres of the Ozark Mountains, The Hummingbird Inn of Branson Missouri, and each its beautiful rooms possess an air of elegance almost forgotten in today's fast paced world. Enjoy watching animals such as turkeys, deer, squirrels and an abundant variety of birds feed in their natural habitat, our back yard! The country roads around the Inn also offer a relaxing way to enjoy the local wildlife and scenery.

Organisations

Arkansas Audubon Society

Website

One of the objectives of the Arkansas Audubon Society has been to contribute to the knowledge of birds in Arkansas through the permanent maintenance of bird records for the state…

Arkansas Bird Records Committee

Website

One of the objectives of the Arkansas Audubon Society has been to contribute to the knowledge of birds in Arkansas through the permanent maintenance of bird records for the state. The Arkansas Bird Records Committee, a committee of five members chaired by the AAS Curator, is responsible for determining the validity of reports of birds in Arkansas that are rare in the state, difficult to identify, or seen out of season. Noteworthy records that have been accepted by the ABRC appear in the Curator`s report, published each quarter in the AAS newsletter, Arkansas Birds. The ABRC also maintains and periodically publishes the official Arkansas State Bird List.

Arkansas River Valley Audubon Society

Website

In 1967 when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers held their first public hearing in Pueblo on their proposal to channelize the Arkansas River from Salida to the Kansas border they were surprised, to say the least, to find almost universal opposition to their plans. They did not know that the day after their initial visit Pueblo's municipal officers, an article in the local newspaper by Outdoor Column writer Bob Overton gave a clear picture of the ecological and economic disaster that would occur, in the name of flood control, to one of the last free-flowing rivers in the U.S. by converting the Arkansas River into a concrete drainage ditch. After reading his article nine concerned citizens of Pueblo, including university professors, housewives and ranchers and hunters, met with the Corps representatives to state their opposition to the project. This did not make the Corps happy, and it was evident that they had no intention of giving up their project without a prolonged battle. The result was the formation of a citizen coalition under the name of the Arkansas Valley Conservation Council, an umbrella organization that could more efficiently focus the opposition that was now coming in from all sides.

Audubon Society of Central Arkansas

Website

We meet at the Arkansas Game & Fish Commission Building, #2 Natural Resource Drive, Little Rock. Take West Markham Street west until just before it crosses I-430 and turn right onto Natural Resource Drive and follow the AG&F signs. We`ll be looking forward to meeting you, and bring a friend. You don`t have to be Audubon members to attend.

Audubon Arkansas

Website

Audubon Arkansas will inspire and lead environmental education, resource management, habitat restoration, bird conservation and enlightened advocacy…

Audubon Society of North Central Arkansas

Facebook Page

The mission of our Society is to promote environmental awareness by educating youth and others in the community about preserving our natural habitat.

Garland County Audubon Society

Website

Secretary - secretary@gcas.org

Hot Springs Village Audubon Society

Website

P.O. Box 8282, Hot Springs Village, AR 71910 - Carolyn Minson, President - Our meetings are held on the 2nd Friday of each month (except August) at 10:00AM in the auditorium of the Coronado Center in Hot Springs Village, AR. In July, we have a potluck picnic/brunch in place of our monthly meeting to which we invite our ecology camp scholarship winners and their families as our guests…

Little Red River Audubon Society

Website

Little Red River Audubon Society is the local chapter of National Audubon Society for the Greers Ferry Lake area. Our mission is to actively seek to increase everyone's understanding of nature.

Nature Conservancy in Arkansas

Website

Yet another NC site that has greatly improved… Welcome to the Arkansas Chapter home page! Here you'll find information on the many ways we're working with the people of the state and the nation to help preserve the diversity of living things by protecting the habitats -- land, water, and air - in which they live.

North West Arkansas Audubon Society

Website

The eagles are usually here between mid-November and mid-March. They fish in the reservoir and loaf in these trees. Their daytime foraging often takes them over 100 miles from the night-time roosting sites.

Tex-Ark Audubon

Our designated area of service covers approximately a 40-mile radius of Texarkana. We are a nonprofit volunteer organization that loves nature and provides education to help protect our environment and the things that live around us. We are also a service organization for our communities, state and country. We have been in existence since 1962. We were originally called the Texarkana Nature Club, then in 1998, we chose the present name… P.O. Box 6985 Texarkana, TX 75505 Tel. 870-774-9985

Three Rivers Audubon Society

Information

1601 W 36th St, Pine Bluff, AR 71603, 870-534-1507 - Jane Townsend, President

Reserves

Arkansas Acres for Wildlife Program

Webpage

Unlike other woodpeckers, the red-cockaded roosts in cavities in live pines. It needs 80 to 120-year-old pines for its cavities, and extensive pine and pine-hardwood forests to meet its foraging requirements. Much of the Southeast has been cleared for agriculture. Many remaining pine forests are unsuitable for the red-cockaded woodpecker. Each year, more areas become unsuitable. Because of the drastic loss and continued decline of habitat, the bird is endangered.

Arkansas State Parks

Website

Clickable map & links about events in Arkansas State Parks…

Big Lake NWR

Webpage

Satellite View

Over 227 species of birds have been observed by refuge personnel and visiting ornithologists since 1915. Copies of the refuge bird checklist are available at the headquarters and portions of the refuge are open to birding year-round…

Cache River NWR

Webpage

Satellite View

…famed for the recent very dubious 're-discovery' of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker…

Holla Bend NWR

Website

Satellite View

Holla Bend NWR, established in 1957, is located 8 miles down river from Dardanelle, Arkansas. The refuge is situated on a bend of the Arkansas River which was cut off when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers straightened the river in 1954 for flood control. Refuge lands include over 7,000 acres of agricultural fields, bottomland forest, and open water…

Lake Chicot State Park

Webpage

Satellite View

The park interpreter provides a variety of programs including guided walks, barge tours through cypress swamps, nature talks, films, demonstrations, and living history from the pioneer and Civil War periods…

Lake Frierson State Park

Webpage

Satellite View

On the eastern shores of the lake is 135-acre Lake Frierson State Park. Added to the Arkansas State Parks System in 1973, the park is fast becoming a popular recreation area where visitors can relax and enjoy the beauty of the forest-covered land…

Little Rock Audubon Center

Webpage

Satellite View

The Audubon Center is adjacent to a 400 acre park that will be used for recreation and field science studies…

Ouachita National Forest

Webpage

Satellite View

This is the land of True Grit, the novel by Charles Portis later made into a movie starring John Wayne. Wild outlaws and hard-working hill country people are a real part of the history and traditions of these mountains, as much as craggy forests and plentiful wildlife…

Rex Hancock-Black Swamp WMA

Information

Satellite View

...Areas such as Cache River Natural Area represent the last remaining fragments of these once extensive forested wetlands. This natural area lies within the Rex Hancock/Black Swamp Wildlife Management Area and is co-managed with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission (AGFC)...

White River NWR

Webpage

Satellite View

Possible Ivory-billed Woodpecker place…

Forums & Mailing Lists

ARBIRD-L

Mailing List

List contact: Contact: Kimberly Smith kgsmith@uark.edu

To subscribe to list: listserv@listserv.uark.edu

subscribe arbird-l your name

Arkansas Birding

Mailing List

A forum to discuss birds observed in Arkansas. Founder`s message: I am a novice birdwatcher and would like to get to know other birdwatchers in my area. Would love to know what birds you are seeing and what areas you enjoy birding.

Blogs

Arkansas Birding

Blog

Birding and Photography of Arkansas Birds

Other Links

Arkansas Birder

Website

Arkansas Birder has 100+ pages, 1800+ photos of all Arkansas birds, up to the minute RBA info and map, videos, audio recordings, live birdcam, species profiles, birding hotspots, and links to other Arkansas birding websites…

Arkansas Birding & Watchable Wildlife

Website

The Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism…

Arkansas Breeding Bird Atlas

Website

The Arkansas Audobon Society initiated the Arkansas Breeding Bird Atlas (ABBA) Project in 1994 for the purpose of developing a series of distributional maps for all species of birds that breed within the state. Initial funding of the project came from the Arkansas Game and fish commission, the University of Arkansas, and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation in Washington, D.C. Data collection began in 1994. Success of this project is dependant upon volunteers for data collection among the 875 total blocks within the state.

Birds of Arkansas

Website

Welcome to Birds of Arkansas, a site that provides basic information, photos, and songs for 100 common Arkansas bird species, as well as resources for learning even more. You may sort the list of birds in a variety of ways, including by size or habitat, to make it easier to find and identify a specific bird…

Checklist

Checklist

Wings Over Arkansas

Information

Wings Over Arkansas is an award-based program recognizing bird watchers’ contributions to Arkansas’ outdoors. Start a checklist of birds you've seen and receive a decorative pin and certificate identifying your level of birding experience…

Photographers & Artists

Photographer - Steve Creek

Gallery

Wildlife Photographer From Arkansas…