You probably missed it. I know I did.
Saturday, May 1, was State Bird Day. So designated by House Joint Resolution 21, adopted on May 26, 1951.
This was the legislation that made the scissor-tailed flycatcher Oklahoma’s state bird.
According to A. Marguerite Baumgartner, The Oklahoman’s long-time bird columnist, a popular vote selected the quail as the state’s official bird, but that choice was never officially proclaimed.
In the late 1940′s, garden clubs across the state and the Tulsa Audubon Society began the push for the scissortail as official bird, and their efforts were successful in 1951.
An explanation of why we missed State Bird Day may be found at the end of the resolution after all the “whereas” listings of the attributes of the scissortail.
“SECTION 2. “Bird Day” — May 1st. May 1st of each year is hereby established as “Bird Day” in Oklahoma, to be commemorated in such manner as the Societies for the Preservation of Wildlife may prescribe, from time to time.”
A search of The Oklahoman’s Archives found 21 mentions of State Bird Day from April 1951 to May 1972. Most of these are articles retelling how the scissortail became the state bird and that May 1 was to be State Bird Day. A few organizations sponsored displays, but not much happened with Bird Day.
The scissor-tailed flycatcher is arriving for the summer, so even if we missed Bird Day, we can enjoy our beautiful state bird and celebrate the 60th anniversary of it’s officialdom on May 26.