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Beaver's Bend State Park

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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.

In a state blessed with a variety of beautiful state parks, Beaver's Bend is considered by many to be the crown jewel in Oklahoma's parks. Located on a cypress-lined bend of Mountain Fork River, just below the dam of Broken Bow Reservoir, and nestled among the pine-clad hills of the Ouachita Mountains, Beaver's Bend State Park has much to offer the birder throughout the year.

To reach the park, drive 6 miles north from Broken Bow on US 259, turn right (east) on 259A which winds for 3 miles up and over an oak-pine forested hill to the park entrance. At park headquarters an area map and bird checklists are available and a well-informed naturalist is on duty. As is true throughout the state, birding is best here during April and May when most of the resident and many of the migrant species are present. The Oklahoma Ornithological Society has held its annual Spring Meeting here on three occasions, and weekend totals of about 130 species have been listed. The area holds special appeal in that 24 to 30 species of warblers, including the very rare Swainson's, have been recorded here during this time of year.

Christmas Bird Counts have been conducted annually here since 1960 and about 60 species are usually recorded. This winter list regularly includes Black Vulture, Bald Eagle, Hermit Thrush, Brown Thrasher, Winter Wren, and Pine Warbler. Rarely included are the Red-cockaded Woodpecker, Brown-headed Nuthatch, Rock Wren, Red Crossbill, and Evening Grosbeak.

Using the park map as a guide, the following places are recommended. Starting at the cafe (#10), or the Nature Center (#9), go south on the main park road, birding along the way, especially in the woods on the right and up the adjacent hillside. Notice along here the native American Holly trees whose berries attract many Cedar Waxwings in the winter. At the south end of the road, near the low-water dam across the Mountain Fork, park and continue your search on foot down the trail along the river. In the spring the Worm-eating Warbler has often been seen on the slope to the right. Look for Parula and Yellow-throated warblers in the tall cypresses growing along the river banks. And be aware that these majestic trees are native in the state only here on the Mountain Fork and Little River.

The road back to the cafe is one-way and goes through one of the camping areas (#3). Stops along here should yield Pine and other warblers depending on the season, nuthatches, several woodpecker species, including Pileated, and others. Just uphill from the cafe, the road turns right (at the headquarters, #11) and goes by the cabin area on the left. Follow this road to #12, turn left, go beyond the first of two bridges over the Mountain Fork as it makes a loop that encloses the River Bend area. This area is nicely wooded and the thickets along the river offer some of the best birding possibilities found in the park. Redstarts and Hooded Warblers are among the nesting species here.

Following the main road across the second bridge will take you out of the river valley and up to the Broken Bow Dam. This road is 259A and goes west to US 259.

Click here for PDF version of this map with recreation information


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Last modified: September 21, 2009




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