In the Panhandle of Oklahoma, the High Plains give way to the canyon country and foothills of the Rocky Mountains. This unique area supports birds associated with the prairies as well as birds associated with the western mountains and canyons. The Sutton Avian Research Center has monitored nesting raptors in Cimarron County, the western most county of the Panhandle, for several years.
Some of the species found there include: Prairie Falcons, American Kestrels, Mississippi Kites, Swainson’s Hawks, Ferruginous Hawks, Red-tailed Hawks, Cooper’s Hawks, and Golden Eagles. For some of these species, this is the only part of Oklahoma where they can be found nesting. Since raptors are at the top of the food chain, long-term monitoring may help to identify environmental problems long before such problems become a crisis.