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Life at Boomer Lake with Deb, Wednesday February 12, 2014

Updated on February 12, 2014
American Crow
American Crow | Source

Field Notes

Crows are Highly Intelligent Birds

The mind of a corvid is remarkable, but I have never seen one of them solve an eight-step puzzle, especially in such a short period of time. Seeing is believing.

Laysan Albatross
Laysan Albatross | Source

Elderly Laysan Albatross Has a Chick!

63-year-old Laysan Albatross has another chick this year. As the old adage proves, age really is a state of mind. Watch out lades, it COULD happen to you, too!

Thamesmead Bird Terror!

Thamesmead Bird in the UK caused general panic and mayhem inside a Morrison’s Store. It wanted its cake AND eat it, too. How about that?

Bewick's Wren
Bewick's Wren | Source

How Can You Tell the Wren Family Apart?

How can you distinguish some of those little brown birds, the wrens? For more on how to identify these difficult birds, read this, and your knowledge base will increase.

Snowy Sheaf of Grass
Snowy Sheaf of Grass | Source

The Week in Review

This has been a very wintry week in Oklahoma, as well as many other parts of the country, but at least there will be a warming trend. Some days it has been so cold, I couldn’t handle the freezing wind chills for more than a half hour at a time. There were a couple of days where I was unable to go out for longer, so I had to cram everything in and hope for the best. Today, I was not disappointed, and I believe that I made up for the rest of the week today. All I can say is that I hope that you can stay warm, even though I was out between 19 and 21 degrees. There was very little wind, so it was much more bearable, if one can call those digits that.

Trumpeter Swan
Trumpeter Swan | Source

Trumpeter Swan

Boomer Lake is almost completely ice covered, so there is very little open water for our ducks, geese and swans. Did I say SWAN? Yes! Today, I was able to get fairly decent shots of a single Trumpeter Swan, who has been in the area of Buffleheads and Canvasbacks. This is a very large bird, so it wasn’t hard to have my attention drawn to it. It rested on the ice and snow for a while and swam for me, as well, so I got a number of nice shots. I hope that you like them.

Eastern Bluebird
Eastern Bluebird | Source

Eastern Bluebird

Surprisingly, a male Eastern Bluebird was out foraging in the cold, which seems odd to me. I consider these birds to look for more shelter in this weather, but there he was, in the same general area as the swan. Trumpeter Swan is to winter, as bluebird is to spring.

Great Blue Heron(front), Green-winged Teal(rear), Mallard pair and American Coot(center)
Great Blue Heron(front), Green-winged Teal(rear), Mallard pair and American Coot(center) | Source

Green-winged Teal

While getting a few winter shots the day before yesterday, I discovered that there was a male Green-winged teal in one of the photos with a Great Blue Heron, Mallards, and an American Coot. I have been looking for these beauties all winter, and got this duck purely by accident. A lot of great shots are usually obtained by accident, but I wish that I had noticed so that I might have tried to get closer. I looked for him today, but was unable to spy him. Tomorrow is another day.

Bald Eagle
Bald Eagle | Source

Oklahoma is a Top Ten State for Viewing Bald Eagles in Winter!

Just in the event that you were curious, Oklahoma happens to be one of the top ten states for viewing winter Bald Eagle sightings. There are between 700 and 1,500 eagles available on our numerous lakes. More than 120 eagles live here year-round, yet many eagles will head south in order to find open fishing areas. Oddly, there were no known eagles in the state in 1990, so something appears to be going right with eagle recovery methods.

Whooping Crane
Whooping Crane | Source

Whooping Cranes Confirmed in OK Last Fall

Whooping Cranes were also confirmed in Oklahoma City last fall for the first time since written records were kept.

Today, there are over 300 cranes in the wild, with the low point being in 1941 with only 15-20 birds. Conservation efforts are extremely successful, with many great hopes for the future of these beautiful birds. These birds generally come through Oklahoma from Canada on their way to Texas between mid-October and mid-November. They travel during daylight hours in small groups of two to eight, often seen around rivers, wetlands and shallow lakes. They are sometimes seen with Sandhill Cranes in grain fields.

Lesser Prairie Chicken
Lesser Prairie Chicken | Source

Lesser Prairie Chickens Get Help

I have also heard that a number of gas and oil companies are voluntarily enrolling nearly 1.5 million acres of land to conserve Lesser Prairie Chicken ranges. This was developed by the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife, as well as on the state level with Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Kansas, and Colorado. US Fish and Wildlife endorsed this program in October, and verified that companies who enroll would get legal assurances that they could continue business if the bird is listed under the Federal Endangered Species Act. Let’s hope that this bird will continue to thrive once again.

Where is Boomer Lake?

Keep your eyes to the ground and your head in the clouds. Happy birding until next time.

Female Red-winged Blackbird
Female Red-winged Blackbird | Source
Trumpeter Swan
Trumpeter Swan | Source
Small patch of open water on Boomer Lake
Small patch of open water on Boomer Lake | Source
Mourning Dove
Mourning Dove | Source

© 2014 Deb Hirt


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    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      3 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Thanks, Yonca!

    • profile image


      3 years ago

      Hi New Guy,This website is great! Thanks for srahing it with me.Here are my times from this year:5k (Iowa State Indoor) – 14:528k (Dyersville Gaelic Gallop) – 25:45 (1st)Half Marathon (Drake On the Roads) – 1:10.33Marathon (TCM) – 2:27Spice:Triathlons –1. Bluff Creek Triathlon Olympic Distance (8th place)2. Oregon Pacific Crest Triathlon Half – Iron (4th Place)3. Lake Geode Triathlon Olympic Distance (2nd Place)4. Pigman Triathlon Half – Iron (3rd Place)XC Race –1. Governor’s XC Race – 3rd PlaceSub 5:51min mile at mile 25 of marathon1. Twin Cities Marathon – Last mile = 5:32 minHeadwaters Relay where ever it fitsLet me know if you need any links to race results for confirmation that I am not making these up.

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Thanks, Nell! You will win your crows over if you give them nuts in the shell(they will let car tires crack them). They also like tin foil balls, baubles, old shiny jewelry. They might even bring you things, too.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 

      4 years ago from England

      Hi Deb, I went to see the crow video, I usually watch the Chris Packam program but missed this one, how amazing was that? unbelievable! I know they keep trying to steal my bird feeder! lol! they come along, grab the wire at the top, pick up the whole thing then drop it on the ground! beautiful photos and info too, wonderful as always! voted up and shared, nell

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Thanks, Connie. Things are right on schedule here, which you will soon see.

    • grandmapearl profile image

      Connie Smith 

      4 years ago from Southern Tier New York State

      Hi Deb, loved the Eastern Bluebird and the Trumpeter Swan. How fortunate for you that it chose Boomer Lake to rest for a while. We have no open water here at all now. In fact, they have been ice fishing at the reservoir I have told you about before. I miss seeing any birds out on the water, but spring is not far off, I HOPE!

      It was a balmy 30 degrees today--a heat wave compared to the temperatures we have been enduring this long winter, but the birds were singing so sweetly and happily. They never cease to amaze me with their stamina and endurance, and adaptability. Lovely images as always my friend ;) Connie

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Hey, teaches! Looks like things are proceeding according to schedule, at least in this part of the country….what birds have YOU seen?

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      4 years ago

      Your post has renewed my love of winter. The swan photos are beautiful. I love the bluebird photo, perhaps it is a sign of the return of spring. Thank you for the inspiring post.

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Suhail, I have that Sigma lens, so you can see firsthand what it does for me.

      Crows are characters, as well as tricksters, as you well know. If you give them shiny baubles, they will perform for you, and if you're lucky, give you presents, too.

      Yellowstone will be a wonderful trip, and if you really don't want to invest in a new lens, you can always rent one, which is getting to be the thing to do now.

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      It's warming up, Mel, just not a lot in the mornings!

    • Suhail and my dog profile image

      Suhail Zubaid aka Clark Kent 

      4 years ago from Mississauga, ON

      Hi Deb,

      Red alert - long post!

      Like I had said, our lakes in southern Ontario, Michigan, and western NY are frozen, but it was heartening to see a great blue heron taking to air as K2 flushed him out. Coyotes are proliferating though. I normally see them run away (usually after dusk) as they see us approaching. I even encountered few in Chicago's neighbouring Skokie.

      That movie about crow pleasantly shocked me. I knew the intelligence of this bird, but this was one unbelievably smart bird. I remember while I was growing up in Pakistan common crows there used to feast on my pigeon babies no matter what control mechanism I put in place. They used to trick my dog into another corner of the house and solve entrance puzzles to the pigeon home to take the babies away. For a long time I thought it was a feral cat or a rat, but then 4 hours of vigilance from a hide revealed the culprits.

      I am about to register with a photography tour to Yellowstone and thinking of buying a bigger lens. Any ideas? Pentax forum members are recommending from Pentax 60-250 mm telezoom to 300 mm prime with a 1.4 x TC all the way to Sigma 150-500 mm.

      You already know I am not into wildlife photography, but on a photography tour I want to capture what I encounter and also look good to others in terms of impressive equipment lol.

    • Mel Carriere profile image

      Mel Carriere 

      4 years ago from San Diego California

      Decidedly frosty there at the Boomer, but don't worry about us SoCal folks keeping warm; it's been into the 80s here. Again a great bird report, but I hope you can keep yourself frostbite free.

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Hey, Dave! Another fun filled adventure will beget more. Here's lookin' at you!(raising coffee cup)

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Hey, Mary! Things are warming up on the lake, and the birds are spreading out, as they should be. Close proximity for birds is every bit as bad as it is for people's living conditions. Thanks for the votes!

    • D.A.L. profile image


      4 years ago from Lancashire north west England

      Enjoyable visit once again. It is remarkable and very interesting about the sixty three year old Laysan Albatros having its chick. I agree with you about the crow and that family in general being very intelligent birds. great read , thank you.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 

      4 years ago from New York

      I can't imagine standing out in the cold. My least favorite thing (cold) but as usual your pictures are top notch. I have to say the Eastern Bluebird picture is truly outstanding, I'm sure none better anywhere.

      The Trumpeter Swans are lovely and the photo of the water is almost surreal.

      Voted all but funny.

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Alicia, we had a little open water today, so the ducks just might be able to come closer!

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      All three pieces of bird news are very interesting, Deb. I'm especially interested in crows. They are such clever birds. Your photos are lovely, as always. It's interesting to see Boomer Lake covered in ice.

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Hey, Peg! It sure is enlightening to see all the different things happening in the bird world. It can only get better.

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 

      4 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      Entertaining, educational and beautiful, Deb, you've done it again. That Albatross baby is amazing along with all the other great shots. I'm happy to read that the Eagle is again making its presence in OK.

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      mecheshier, thanks for reading, and I appreciate the fact that you enjoyed the column. Animals are priceless, and we must all do our part in caring for them.

    • mecheshier profile image


      4 years ago

      Wow..... So many fabulous pics!!!!! And yes, birds are a favorite. :-) You indeed live in a blessed area. Thank you for sharing! Voted up for awesome and interesting.

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Hey, Cris! Thanks so much for enjoying the natural world at large, and please teach others on how to save wildlife.

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Thanks, Eddy. I was put on this earth to educate and help wildlife in any way that I can. Through everyone's shares, I am able to educate more and more, and those people in turn, can educate others.

    • CrisSp profile image


      4 years ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

      Refreshing as always! The 63-year-old Laysan Albatross is amazing and that Trumpeter Swan is so attractive. Great shots! Love your adventures!


    • Eiddwen profile image


      4 years ago from Wales

      Yiu produce gem after gem Deb and I continue to learn. You have such a talent in more than one style and here's to so many more for along time to come. Thank you for giving so much pleasure and also producing lessons from which I am learning so much. Enjoy your day and lots of love from Wales.


    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Thanks, Leslie. The corvids in general are very bright and have a wonderful sense of accomplishment. They are NOT fools, and can make a person do their bidding.

    • ImKarn23 profile image

      Karen Silverman 

      4 years ago

      You did an awesome job - considering the elements! I know wind chill better than most (unfortunately) and i can tell you it's nothing to take lightly..

      The pictures are simply stunning this week, the eagle, bluebird, and dove but also - AWESOME pic of boomer lake!

      that crow is freakin' amazing!

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      In order to walk on the ice, a solid freeze for at lease a month is required. Just smart advice from a northerner.

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Thanks so much, DDE, but the real stars are the people that are learning to do what needs to be done to keep the birds and other animals in good health. I am making that education a high goal of mine. Please share the stories with as many people as you can to help the cause for nature.

    • profile image

      Jeannie Dibble 

      4 years ago

      Thanks so much for venturing out to capture the beautiful swan. Your snow photographing remind us how beautiful winter is in Oklahoma.

      I noticed on Tuesday a photographer ventured out on the ice to photograph the birds....not a good idea..

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      4 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Life at Boomer Lake with Deb, Wednesday February 12, 2014 has great photos and nature is a wonder to heart.

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Thanks for sharing, Faith Reaper. The show must go on, and the more people that are prepared to care for our wildlife, the better they(the animals) will live.

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Keep those birdies well fed, Jackie, and they will always visit you. Get some good shots for me.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 

      4 years ago from southern USA

      Awesome and interesting as always, dear Deb! I did not know that Crows are highly intelligent. That is hilarious about the Thamesmead Bird Terror, LOL.

      I always love your great photos of course and all that I learn from your hubs.

      Up and more and sharing.


      Faith Reaper

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 

      4 years ago from The Beautiful South

      Hey, stupid billy is good for your hits, cause I am searching everywhere for that bird that had a it to a man. I love you billy...

      I found her though.

      Been going through all your hubs looking for a little green bird, was sure I saw it in one of your hubs. Think we have the rest of them named now that visit us so far thanks to you! We are having a winter snow storm and they were diving and searching for food right up until dark!^+

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Hey, Billy! She laid an egg, which she hatched, but she is pretty up there in age! Glad you liked the material. Stay warm. I've certainly been trying.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      63 years old??? Wow! I had no idea that one, a bird lived that long and two, that they could give birth. Remarkable! Great information and the pictures, as always, are worth the wait each week.

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Hey, Thumbi! Animals are a way of life for me, especially birds. I still have a lot to learn, and to be honest, every time you think you know them, they'll toss you a curve.

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Glad you liked the column, Kevin. Let me look at the Prairie Chicken again.(grin)

    • thumbi7 profile image

      JR Krishna 

      4 years ago from India

      Beautiful birds

      I amazed at your knowledge about them and its presentation

    • The Examiner-1 profile image

      The Examiner-1 

      4 years ago

      This was interesting Deb. I watched the corvin do that puzzle, I enjoy watching birds, and other animals, figure things out. I also looked at that supermarket bird. I thought it was going to be a large bird. It was just a small bird, nothing to be afraid of.

      Lovely photos, I liked the Eastern Bluebird.


      P.S. - In the 'Prairie Chicken' paragraph, you mentioned Kansas twice. Was the second time supposed to be another state?


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