Life at Boomer Lake with Deb, Monday February 17, 2014
Maine Birding Festivals Featuring Puffins
If you want to see Atlantic Puffins, best get on board in the state of Maine. Some of these are the oldest birding festivals, and yes, they are a big deal to birders. For more information, see
- It’s birding festival season, and you’d better hurry if you want to sign up — Ou
Yikes! It’s festival season already. Registration is now open for two birding festivals, and the schedule is nearly finalized for a third. Some of the more popular events fill so quickly that perhaps you should put down this column and go sign up imm
Emperor Penguins and Climate Change
Emperor Penguins in the Antarctic are adapting to climate change in order to breed, which is very exciting news. For more on this challenging event:
- BBC News - Emperor penguins beat ice cliffs to breed
Emperor penguins display some unexpected breeding behaviour in the Antarctic that could mean they are much more resilient to environmental change than previously recognised.
Common Loons Have Toxic Hydrocarbons in Their Blood
There is a lot more to the Common Loon than meets the eye. Since the Deepwater Horizon Spill three years ago, scientists are finding high levels of toxic hydrocarbons in their blood. What can this possibly mean in the future of this remarkable bird?
- Secret Lives of Loons - National Wildlife Federation
The aftermath of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill has spawned one of the first in-depth studies of the common loon in its winter habitat
We have had a reprieve on the lake for several days now, for we are experiencing fully open water once again. Spring appears to be on its way, not only for warmer weather, but for the spring birds of the lake, as well. Come join me this week, and we shall explore what has been happening over the past several days, which could well mean that the groundhog was quite mistaken in his prediction for a late spring. After all, what could a groundhog possibly know that the birds don’t?
The Red-winged Blackbirds are right on schedule this week, for I have seen both males and females setting up residence. I actually observed a female before the males arrived, which should be the other way around, but does it really matter at this juncture? I should say not, and to top things off, I saw this wonderful little male choosing this nest for a potential site for eggs-to-be. Here’s a rare shot of the bird trying on the nest for size.
The American Robin has virtually flooded Boomer Lake this week, and are they ever hungry. Yesterday I witnessed no few than thirty robins in a small test area that I chose for the week. Things are looking up for pairings this week!
These familiar little snowbirds, most notably the Slate-colored Junco, have been noticed a lot more in the northern climates, especially in Maine and Massachusetts, where there has been a lot of rough weather as of late. Please, northern dwellers, do all that you can to make birds’ lives easier on them, especially during this bitter, snowy winter. Provide water and black oil sunflower seeds whenever possible.
Great Blue Heron
A Great Blue Heron that has spent the winter in Boomer Lake’s Southern Cove has been getting ample fish this week. The cove has been completely open over the past several days, and this bird has been putting on a little weight through extra fishing. I noticed several other herons on the main part of the lake, who have been coming out of the Northern Reaches where most of them have overwintered.
I saw this little beauty this morning all by is lonesome. I'm not sure if it was trying to hide or was just resting. It was in an interesting posture, so here is the little non-breeding American Goldfinch.
Where Do Birds Go During Storms?
I have been asked to talk a little about where all the birds go over some of the bad storms that have plagued the country. They do the same thing that many of us do in bad weather. They stay in sheltered areas, like under the boughs of conifers, inside nest cavities, and some also will weather out storms in birdhouses, nest boxes, and even under your roof eaves. Where there is a will, there is a way. It takes a lot of energy for them to keep warm, too, so extra food always helps.
Canada Geese and Goose Island
There hasn’t been a lot of activity on Goose Island this winter, but there have been Canada Geese on the ice when we had it, as well as on the present open water. Since it has been so cold, the migrants have been a little later in their arrivals, but before you know it, Goose Island will soon be alive and well with pairings, as well as nest preparation. For me, that truly signifies the presence of spring, which I am anxiously awaiting. Our first babies that we really notice are always the little yellow Canada goslings, the beautiful babies of Boomer Lake.
Keep your eyes on the ground, and your head in the clouds. Some of you have already been noticing an influx of spring migrants, and soon enough, there will be more. Have you cameras at the ready, plenty of pens, notebooks, and your binoculars with you when you go on outings. Some of the best birds are seen when least expected, so my advice is to always be ready. Even though it isn’t hot yet, always have water with you so that you can remain hydrated on those outings, and have fun. Let me know what you are seeing out there.
© 2014 Deb Hirt