Life at Boomer Lake with Deb, Saturday August 30, 2014
Mexico and Endangered Birds
Mexico is doing extensive work, sometimes investing twenty years, to see that endangered birds don’t become extinct.
- Mexico Bird Park Re-establishes Endangered Species - YouTube
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Mercury Has Been Altering Bird Behavior
Not only will mercury kill birds, but it will alter their songs, behavior, and kill their chicks. This chemical has quadrupled before industrialization, and organic matter is at seriously high levels. We most stop it before it kills animals and us.
- Wild Birds' Songs, Feather Colors Changed by Mercury Contamination
Mercury in the environment affects birds' brains and alters the songs that they sing.
Hoopoe Eggs Change Color Due to Preen Glad Secretions
Preen gland secretions cause Hoopoe eggs to change color. This can signify the health of the mother and how well the young can fight disease, in order to live longer and better.
- Hoopoes' eggs show their true colors -- ScienceDaily
Preen gland secretion causes hoopoes’ eggs to change color, possibly giving signals about the robustness of the mother bird, researchers have found. Hoopoe females use cosmetics on their eggs - and the eggs gradually change color when they are incuba
Birds of Mexico and Central America
Green Heron Youngsters and Parents Have Moved On
Our Green Heron family in the Southern Cove has moved on. It was only a matter of time, and as the old saying goes, nothing lasts forever. It has made me a little sad, though, as the youngsters were really very entertaining in how they reacted with each other. They also met their parents for instruction on a daily basis, then went about their business in looking for food. I wish them all the luck in their survival, but it is a fact that only half of them will make it to their first birthday.
Differences Between Mallard Females and Mottled Ducks
I took pictures of both the Mottled Duck and a female Mallard, so that we can do a comparison. They both look very similar, and I will outline the differences for you, so you’ll know what you are looking at when you see it. A female Mallard has a dark bill on the top with orange patches and orange feet, if you can see them. Mallards also have a white tip on the tail. The Mottled Duck has an unmarked yellow bill with a dark spot at the base, where the lips would be.
Mississippi Kites Make an Appearance
The Mississippi Kite was on the lake this week, and several are in The Northern Reaches. This bird likes to soar, and are graceful birds of the Southern persuasion. They are very common, and enjoy reptiles, rodents, and large insects. Most kites are shaped like falcons but are not power fliers. If you see them overhead, the adult has a black fan-shaped tail with black wingtips and inner edges of the wings. The body is dark gray, as is the rest of the wing. The juvenile will fool you. It has a streaked brown body and sections of the wing closest to the head to mid-body. The tail is banded and square-tipped.
Raptors of the Eastern US
Yellow Warblers on Scene
There are numerous Yellow Warblers hanging in the Southern Cove. The males show a bit of streaking, but for the most part, they are a duller yellow, like the female. They usually retire to Baja California and the western coast of Mexico for the winter.
Savannah Sparrow Returns Home
Also seen in the same area is the Savannah Sparrow. They are fairly common birds and this area is part of their winter range, so you should be seeing a lot more of them.
The Northern Reaches
Here’s a picture of the quiet Northern Reaches. Today it was filled with all varieties of woodpeckers, the Belted Kingfisher, Tree Swallows, the Turkey Vulture, the Mississippi Kite, the Eastern Kingbird, numerous Mallards, and a few Canada Geese. I didn’t stay long, as the area had a few kayaks and fisherfolk, but I was there long enough to determine some of the birds that were in the area. No doubt there were more. Leaves have been dropping to some degree, so it will be getting lighter in these deeper woods, much easier to see a few other birds that prefer to be hidden.
Last, But Not Least
There are still Great Blue Herons, the childless young Green Heron couple, and several Great Egrets. Goose Island has been picking up some migrants that will be heading south for the winter. Never fear, as migration should still be going on. I’m still expecting to see a few more warblers at rest, like the Black and White, the Common Yellowthroat, and the Blackpoll Warbler and American Redstart, if we’re lucky. The Buntings and the Eastern Bluebird should still be around. Also, keep your eyes open, as there will most likely be a few surprises, too.
This concludes birding for the week. Keep your eyes to the ground and your head in the clouds. Happy birding until next time.
Where is Boomer Lake Park in Stillwater, Oklahoma?
© 2014 Deb Hirt