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Life at Boomer Lake with Deb, Sunday September 14, 2014
Are Birds Really Declining?
Here is a very important piece of work, which indicates which bird species are in decline and why. It is very important that we begin to take action now, and wait no longer, or we will be losing some very valuable birds. Please keep these wonderful birds in mind, and care for all birds as best you can:
Rice Farmers Flooding Fields for Birds During Migration
The Nature Conservancy is doing its part in funding “pop-up habitats” for birds on their southern migration in California. Rice farmers are being paid to set aside areas for shorebirds and waterfowl, as most of the state is in drought conditions. Areas are being flooded to keep avian botulism at bay, and provide a much-needed respite for tired birds on their trek south. Is this a winner? You bet it is!
- California Rice Farmers Rent Crucial 'Pop-Up' Wetlands For Migrating Birds | ThinkProgress
Millions of birds migrating south for the winter will benefit from this program to bring wetlands to drought-ridden California.
Payne County Audubon Society, Stillwater, OK, Needs Your Support
Our local Payne Country Audubon Society does a number of good things in the area for birds, as well as provide scholarships for deserving students. The members have fundraisers, host a number of field trips in order to learn more about our avian friends, and the local society would even like to establish a much-needed nature center in the city of Stillwater. A center will help further the study of birds and teach people how to provide a top-notch habitat to keep them healthy and proliferating. To become a member of the Audubon Society and enjoy the wonderful benefits, see the web page and join. You’ll be glad that you did.
A Perfect Day For Birding!
This is my only day off this week, so I promised myself this morning that it was going to live up to its potential and be perfect. Without even trying, it certainly had all of that, and then some. It was cool and cloudy, a perfect day for obtaining photos, and so many birds were enjoying the cooler weather and all the amenities that our wonderful lake had to offer in way of food and recreation.
Herons and Egrets
There were dozens of herons and egrets fishing and cajoling on the calm waters today. Everywhere that one looked, there was one or the other, which means that a healthy body of water is a busy thoroughfare. There has been recent rain, and the fish are jumping, meaning plenty of early morning low-flying insects. Nature provides for its own, and the birds were taking full advantage of everything today.
Scissor-tailed Flycatchers on the Scene
There are still plenty of young Scissor-tailed Flycatchers for your entertainment pleasure, as they have all been roosting on the west side of the lake before they head south. These pleasant mornings have been drawing out both the young and older birds, especially since we are in the height of the cicada season, one of their favorite foods. One cicada provides a full meal for these birds, and a well-fed flycatcher is a happy bird. I saw countless flycatchers enjoying themselves both sitting in the sun and socializing with each other.
There were also numerous Blue Jays, Brown Thrashers, Red-winged Blackbirds, American Goldfinches, Yellow Warblers, Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, numerous woodpeckers, Carolina Chickadees, Tufted Titmouse, Turkey Vultures, Eastern Kingbirds, Mourning Doves, vireos, sparrows, and a host of other birds. This wide assortment of birds tells us that a successful migration is well underway and our lake is providing both rest and sustenance for the thousands of birds that are and will be coming and going this month. If you want to see songbirds, now is the time to do it, as they are very plentiful.
Cooper's Hawk on Hawk Watch!
A gorgeous Cooper’s Hawk greeted me as I was passing the Southern Cove rather early. This beauty was looking for something to eat, and I thwarted its attempts, at least long enough to get a nice shot atop a martin house. These birds are not noted for a slow approach or a kind demeanor when it comes to unsuspecting smaller birds. If you have ever seen these hawks in action, they are very rapid and can strike quickly, rarely missing what they have their sights on. This is why many people provide shrubs, brush and rock piles for small birds to hide within when predators are in the vicinity.
Monarchs and Milkweed
The relatively calm day was also good for the observation of butterflies, who were taking their time in perusing the area. The occasional monarch has ben coming through, which reminds me to remind you that it is in your best interest to plant as much milkweed as you can for next spring. Monarchs lay their eggs on these plants, and the young survive on milkweed, eating nothing else. Some birds will also use the inside of the milkweed plants to line their nests, too, so it has more than one use.
Cattle Egret Gathering
A large group of Cattle Egrets visited the lake on a chilly blustery afternoon a couple of days ago. The wind was buffeting the birds around, and it was almost like we were heading into winter instead of fall. Eight Cattle Egrets were nestled together on the main snag between the first and second jetties, and a Great Egret sat with them during this difficult time. This is very unusual, as these birds prefer to be in field with cows eating the insects that they stir up.
Let me leave you with a reminder to properly dispose of your litter when you’re out picnicking and barbecuing during this wonderful, cool weather. Plastic is not biodegradable and can cause the death of birds and other animals. Soft plastic soda caddies can squeeze the life out of turtles and birds. Please cut them in half before you throw them away to prevent a possible mishap. Mylar and rubber balloons can also be eaten by birds and animals and keep them from getting any healthy nourishment past them in those tiny stomachs. Fishing line can also sever feet legs, and necks, so please dispose of that in a trash receptacle. Thanks for everything that you do.
If you’d like to feed the birds, don’t use bread, which has no nutritional value. Seeds, duck pellets, nuts, and fruit are at the top of the list. Your birds will thank you for good quality food by coming back again next year.
Keep your eyes on the ground and your head in the clouds. Happy birding!
Where Is Boomer Lake Park in Stillwater, Oklahoma?
© 2014 Deb Hirt