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Red Rock Canyon 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.

Red Rock Canyon State Park is located 3 miles south of the intersection of I 40-US 281, just south of Hinton. The well-marked entrance is on the east side of US 281. The park occupies about a mile and one-quarter of the north end of one of Caddo County's famous canyons. Much of the original woods has been removed to accommodate campers and recreational vehicles. Because of the noisy campers, it is best to visit during early morning hours on week days.

A small, usually all-year, stream runs the length of the canyon. Elm, box elder, sugar maple, willows, and oak trees along the steep red sandstone walls present an attractive background and furnish shelter and nesting sites for some local birds. The fairly dry east and west rims of the canyon are partially covered by juniper, post, and blackjack oaks. Cliff swallows usually build their gourdlike mud apartments on the west wall over the small pond, and Rough-winged Swallows nest in natural cavities on the east wall.

The woodpeckers, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Eastern Phoebe, Eastern Wood Pewee, Great Crested Flycatcher, Blue Jay, Carolina Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, Eastern Bluebird, Warbling Vireo, Summer Tanager, Cardinal, Blue Grosbeak, Indigo Bunting, Chipping Sparrow, and Northern Oriole are found in the canyon woods. Bewick's Wren, Painted Bunting, Lark and Field sparrows use the drier areas of the canyon rims.

In previous years the rare Black-capped Vireo, Lesser Goldfinch, and Rufous-crowned Sparrow were nesting species. Back in the moist, largely undisturbed north end of the canyon, Green-backed Herons; Horned and Barred owls, and Eastern Screech-Owls; Chuck-will's-widows; Carolina Wrens; and Louisiana Waterthrushes are found.

During migration several warblers are found here, Nashville, Orange-crowned, Yellow-rumped, and Wilson's being the usual species. Late fall and winter bring in the kinglets, Cedar Waxwings, wrens, towhees, juncos, Lincoln's, Song, Harris's, and White-throated sparrows, and possibly even Mountain Bluebirds and Townsend's Solitaires. October weather turns the remaining sugar maples to a beautiful display of reds, oranges, and yellow, well worth a special trip to this unique area.

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Last modified: September 21, 2009




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