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No sense talking Arkansas birds without first mentioning the Northern Mockingbird, the official state bird.
When the Mockingbird talk ends, it’s a good bet that the state’s Mockingbird population will pick up the conversation. Arkansas residents who host Mockingbirds in their yard are well aware of their propensity to talk and sing all day long.
Less well known might be the fact that the songbird Arkansas residents hear while they are relaxing in the house might not even be a songbird. It might be the resident mockingbird. As the most common of the mimic birds, they have the ability to mimic the vocalizations of dozens of bird species.
They are also territorial birds that can be seen in conflict with other bird species that enter their territory.
The Arkansas birds list extends well beyond the Mocking bird. A quick check on a variety of sources shows up to approximately four hundred additional species that permanently or temporarily call the state home. Twenty of them vie for attention in many back yards throughout the state and go by the common name sparrow.
The Chipping Sparrow in the picture is one such bird. It’s not very common in much of the winter, so seeing one can be a pleasure.
Northwest Arkansas, commonly referred to as the Ozarks, offers multiple birding opportunities, from the Ozark National Forest for woodland birding, to Fayetteville for some urban birding.
Arkansas Birds: The Ozarks
The Ozark National Forest continues to be an important birding area that lays the foundation for a healthy bird population throughout the entire Ozark Region.
Habitat usually determines the types of birds that thrive in different parts of the areas. Oak forests dominate the Ozark National Forest. Pine forests, smaller rolling hill areas, rivers and valleys host a variety of species.
According to the National Park Service, half of the state’s birds, approximately 200 species, can be found at the Ozark National Scenic Riverways. Spring and fall migration represent the peak of the season, especially for favorites such as warblers, tanagers and vireos.
For tourists interested in urban birding Lake Fayetteville is a short car ride north of the city. The lake hosts over two hundred species and provides multiple birding trails. The picture shows a White-eyes Vireo, one of seven different Vireo species that make an appearance throughout the Ozarks during migration.
The following gallery provides a nice representative sample of the common migratory birds and spring visitors to the state.
American Redstart (female)
Blue Gray Gnatcatcher
The green “birds” button above leads to information suited to answering basic bird identification questions.