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Life at Boomer Lake with Deb, Sunday September 14, 2014

Updated on September 14, 2014
Red Eared Slider
Red Eared Slider | Source

Field Notes

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:

Great Egret in Flight
Great Egret in Flight | Source

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!

Northern Cardinal
Northern Cardinal | Source

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.

European Starling
European Starling | Source

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.

Great Egret
Great Egret | Source

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.

Juvenile Scissor-tailed Flycatcher
Juvenile Scissor-tailed Flycatcher | Source

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.

Carolina Chickadee
Carolina Chickadee | Source

Songbirds Galore!

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
Cooper's Hawk | Source

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.

Monarch Butterfly on Sunflower
Monarch Butterfly on Sunflower | Source

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 Egrets "Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch"
Cattle Egrets "Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch" | Source

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.

A Reminder

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?

Tufted Titmouse
Tufted Titmouse | Source
Great Egret with Crawdad
Great Egret with Crawdad | Source
Blue Jay
Blue Jay | Source

© 2014 Deb Hirt

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    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 2 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Things like that happen to me going and coming from work, but I can't have the camera with me at those times. Hope you see the goshawks at a more opportune time.

    • Suhail and my dog profile image

      Suhail Zubaid aka Clark Kent 2 years ago from Mississauga, ON

      Yes, Deb, you are correct. We saw a goshawk making short work of pigeon this evening. Too bad I didn't have my camera.

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 2 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Kevin, they do grow sushi rice in CA, but they are not doing so right now.

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 2 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Suhail, see if you can get some good hawk shots now, as they are in the midst of migration. You'll be apt to see some fortuitous things.

    • The Examiner-1 profile image

      The Examiner-1 2 years ago

      You mean that they are not growing rice in CA? I did not know that.

      Kevin

    • Suhail and my dog profile image

      Suhail Zubaid aka Clark Kent 2 years ago from Mississauga, ON

      Great hub haha, but I am late on it as usual for I am looking for job nowadays! Advice on feeding bread to birds and information on declines in bird population were good takes for me.

      I am glad to see you are still enjoying the company of your feathery friends. K2 and my hikes here are becoming lonelier and lonelier. All the noisy blackbirds and grackles are gone. Except for anger filled raspy chica-dee-dee calls of chicadees and irritating buzz of cicadas we don't hear anything, but vultures and goshawks are still up in the air.

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 2 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Hey, Kevin! CA has a water shortage, so it is a big deal that they are flooding those fields, especially without rice during migration. Thanks for sharing, as it is so important to let others know what is happening with our beloved animals.

    • The Examiner-1 profile image

      The Examiner-1 2 years ago

      It is really a shame that the birds are declining like that Deb. I have always checked the ratings of where they are on my bird Hubs.

      I thought that flooding fields was something that rice growers have been known for, for years now.

      Nice info and photos on the rest of the Hub. I voted this up and shared it.

      Kevin

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 3 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Hey, Peg! California was the first state to outlaw plastic bags, so things are moving!

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 3 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      Beautiful captures of these gorgeous creatures, Deb. I love red eared sliders. The Blue Jay picture was my favorite photo this week among many contenders. Ever since seeing the movie, Happy Feet, I've cut the plastic holders in many pieces. It is an easy thing to do that makes such a difference. I do hope that plastic bags are soon removed from the stores.

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 3 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Yes, Dianna! There are so many good things that can be done during migration--keep the birds baths clean and full as well as several feeders. During the year keep snags(dead trees) for the cavity users to nest in or create roosting holes, like owls. It is also good to have rock piles for smaller creatures like voles and chipmunks, and if you lie conifer branches crisscrossed with smaller ones with grass and weeds, birds will nest, take up residence or hide there to cool off on hotter days. That's just a few things for you to do!

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 3 years ago

      I love all the good news on helping to save the birds, especially the rice field farmers. How wonderful!

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 3 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Thanks, Kim! I try to speak for the birds and animals as much as I can, since they cannot do it themselves.

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 3 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Hey, Dave! Yes, birds are declining everywhere, which I attribute strongly to global warming/climate change. As the oceans warm, the fish seek either a cooler or warmer climate, so naturally, the fish eaters follow. For those that don't, they will perish, if they are unable to eat another kind of fish and refuse to leave the area.

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 3 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Thanks, midget. They are all fun birds, and I was sure in the right place at the right time.

    • klidstone1970 profile image

      இڿڰۣ-- кιмвєяℓєу 3 years ago from Niagara Region, Canada

      Deb,

      A wonderful reminder for us to take care of the wildlife around us. As well, your message of disposing of one's litter will not fall on deaf ears. Lovely pictures, as usual.

      Kim

    • D.A.L. profile image

      Dave 3 years ago from Lancashire north west England

      Hi Deb,

      Birds on this side of the pond are suffering declines at the current time as you are probably well aware, it is the responsibility of all of us to do our bit to save our fellow creatures, after all it is man that causes most of the problems. Another great and enjoyable visit to your part of the world which is always pleasurable. Great photos as always love the Blue jay. Have a good week.

    • midget38 profile image

      Michelle Liew 3 years ago from Singapore

      Lovely pics as usual, Deb. I love the herons and songbirds!!!

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 3 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      There will always be so much more to come, Alicia...

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 3 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      You're welcome, Riz.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      This is another lovely report. It's very enjoyable to read about the latest bird activities at Boomer Lake.

    • profile image

      Rizwana Yasmin 3 years ago

      as always beautiful work thank you Deb

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 3 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Mary, eating about of wildlife is part of my calling. I also have a lot of learning to do, too.

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 3 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Thanks, ChitrangadaSharan! I enjoy educating people on the plight of our birds and animals, which will increase as time passes with global warming.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 3 years ago from New York

      Voted all but funny. Deb, you amaze week after week. How lucky our feathered friends are to have you on their side.

      Fall is definitely here as all of our flowers are dying out, however, leaving the dead coneflower heads has provided food for all the little goldfinches in our area.

      So much to see and learn, thanks Deb for teaching.

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 3 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Wonderful hub with very important message about the protection of birds and their rare species.

      It is so thoughtful on your part to add a reminder in the end, about the most common mistakes we humans do.

      Thanks for another useful and informative hub!

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 3 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Thanks, Riz. I learn more about the birds every day.

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 3 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      You can say that again, Sha! If my eyesight and hearing are lost one day, I don't know what I would do...

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 3 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Hey, Vellur! We must do all that we can to try to combat extinction of birds and other animals by being as proactive as possible.

    • profile image

      Rizwana Yasmin 3 years ago

      oh my dear lord , you are amazing again , thank you Deb so happy to know about birds, your philosophy about birds and your efforts...well done xx

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      Shauna L Bowling 3 years ago from Central Florida

      Birds aplenty. I love it! I sit out on my front porch every morning as I'm having my coffee. I love listening to the birds singing their songs and flitting about. It's a very peaceful way to wake up.

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 3 years ago from Dubai

      Enjoyed reading your hub, great photos. It will be really sad if species of birds become totally extinct. Great hub, voted up.

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 3 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Jackie, they certainly are a work of art, aren't they? Scientists are finally realizing how smart birds really are. Remember how 'birdbrained' was coined for someone not very bright? I think it is now no long applicable in that context.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 3 years ago from The Beautiful South

      Great photos as always. I watched the birds practicing for migration today. So beautiful.

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 3 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Yes, Billy, there IS a higher power, but it required payment...

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      That is so cool about the rice farmers flooding their fields. Warms my heart to read something like that.

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 3 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Hey, Mel! It was sure booming today. Couldn't have asked for a more beautiful day...

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 3 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Thanks, whonu! I always manage to find something out in the wild.

    • Mel Carriere profile image

      Mel Carriere 3 years ago from San Diego California

      I love the chickadee and the titmouse. Bird life seems to be booming at the Boomer. Great hub!

    • whonunuwho profile image

      whonunuwho 3 years ago from United States

      Enjoyed the pics and good info my friend. whonu

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 3 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      manatita, my friend, the more of us that jump on the bandwagon to help, the further along that we will get. Thanks for your continued support.

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 3 years ago from london

      Once again truly awesome shorts and loving advice. Good to hear of the work of the nature conservancy. I pray for their good hearts and external support. Love and Light, Deb.

    • aviannovice profile image
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      Deb Hirt 3 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      I have always enjoyed water and birding, Pawpaw. It always reminds me of home...

    • Pawpawwrites profile image

      Jim 3 years ago from Kansas

      Really enjoyed the photos. Reminds me of a place I frequent.