From the 1986 edition of A Guide to Birding in
Oklahoma published by the Tulsa Audubon Society, supplemented in
2007 with material from the OKC Audubon Society
This is basically a
driving trip with some options of walking along side trails. To reach
the lake drive east from I 35 on SH 9 to E. 108 St. (12.1 miles). Turn
north past the Denver Cemetery and follow the section-line roads back to
This is perhaps the best
natural birding area left around Norman and the last known sighting of
the Black-capped Vireo in this area, not to be expected now. Birding is
good any time of the year and early morning is the best time to visit.
The following, by Larry
Mays, is excerpted
OKC Audubon Society
Lake Thunderbird Page. Please visit their page their page for a
Birding the lake is best during migration and in winter when the crowds
have gone. Lake Thunderbird is one of the most used lakes in Oklahoma,
but most of the visitors have gone when the waters become too cool for
skiing and swimming. The state park lands, however, can be birded all
year with interesting results. Just be aware that ticks and chiggers
abound, and be alert for pigmy rattlesnakes and copperheads when birding
off the trails.
The easiest access to the lake and park is from State Highway (SH) 9.
From Interstate 35 on the south side or Norman take the Tecumseh (SH9)
exit. There are approaches from both north and south and SH9 goes only
east from this point. From the exit travel east approximately 11 miles.
Look for the intersection with East 84th Street. This is the easiest way
to access the north side of the lake. State Park lands are adjacent to
the road at several places. Two and a half miles north on 84th Street
brings you to Alameda Street. Turn right and follow Alameda to Robinson
Street. Robinson Street runs east until it dead ends at the lake. There
are many places to bird in this area. You can find several spots to
glass the lake as well.
If you return to SH9 and continue east 2 miles, you can then turn north
on 108th Street. Go north one mile, then back west on Lindsay one mile
to where it turns north onto 94th street. Look for a pulloff spot just
west of this corner. Birding here is almost always good. This is a
regular spot for Prothonotary Warbler. Mourning Warbler has been seen
here during migration, and Kentucky Warblers have spent the summer here.
Back on SH 9 continue east another 2.5 miles and watch for the state
park sign on the left. You can follow the roads down to several
campgrounds, boat ramps and such, and birding can be good anywhere.
Return again to SH9 and continue east another mile and turn left at the
marked road. This road leads to the dam, and a nice campground and
picnic area. There are also several hiking trails here which access good
birding areas. You can also glass the lake by walking out onto the dam a
Once more back to SH9, and follow the highway as it turns north. In
about a mile look for an access road to the left. Although the road is
now closed to cars, you can pull off (be sure not to block the roadway
when you park), and bird the woodland below the dam.
Another area worth exploring is the Little Axe park at Lake Thunderbird.
Turn north on 156th Street NE and follow signs to the park area.
Continue east and look for the intersection for Little Axe School. Turn
right on to 168th Street, and follow the road to the bottom of the hill.
About a half mile south on the left is an oilfield access road onto
which you can pull off and then bird from the road. This wooded creek
and surrounding areas can be an excellent birding spot during migration.
Frequently Barred Owls are heard here as well as Pileated Wodpeckers,
Red-shouldered Hawks and Parula Warblers.
Please see the excellent
OKC Audubon Society
Lake Thunderbird Page for complete details on
birding this area and the birds one may find.