Oklahoma is fortunate to have large tracts of tallgrass, mixed-grass, and shortgrass prairie. From east to west across Oklahoma, rainfall decreases, and the tallgrass prairie of eastern Oklahoma gives way to mixed-grass prairie, eventually transitioning to shortgrass prairie in the Panhandle. This diversity of grasslands allows for a diversity of grassland birds — from tiny, seed-eating sparrows to powerful, predatory hawks. Some bird species occupy all three grassland types, while others are adapted to just one or two of these prairie ecosystems.
Yet, grassland habitats and birds are declining more than any other group in North America. In Oklahoma and other prairie states, grassland habitat is lost due to development, changing land use and climate patterns, and encroachment of species such as eastern red cedar. Because of our extensive grasslands and significant bird populations, Oklahomans have an important responsibility to ourselves and to the nation to conserve and responsibly manage our grasslands and the birds that nest across our state.