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Life at Boomer Lake with Deb, Thursday June 12, 2014

Updated on June 12, 2014
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Field Notes

Walking the Bird

All I know is that this bird is walking with this man, and evidently creating a good deal of interest. There’s a good chance that this bird may just have a good idea on who butters its bread.

American Crow
American Crow | Source

Crows and Short Term Memory

A study in Germany shows that crows have an excellent short term memory, which went a step further. They were able to choose photographs of objects that they had just seen. Even though their minds are not the same as ours, corvids do have remarkable mental processes that have been proved in the past.

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Flightless Birds Don't Belong There

Here’s something to ponder: How did flightless birds end up on the other side of the world? There appears to be a very easy answer, but it has to do with evolution. Don’t believe in evolution? What is your theory on how birds’ movement occurred?

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Weather and Global Warming News

There was close to a week of rain in Oklahoma, so my chances for getting out to observe events on the lake was almost nil. As a matter of fact, I was even rained on twice, so those chances didn’t stop my attempts. However, it was all worthwhile for some of the interesting photos that I managed to get. Had it not rained so much, there are just some things that I never would have encountered. As far as the animal kingdom is concerned, never say that it won’t happen, because they will manage to prove you wrong.

The lake is at very healthy levels. About a month ago, I was in Tulsa, and observed that the Arkansas River was nearly dry. A river is nearly without water! Drought is a serious problem when it comes to global warming or climate change, and it causes a number of strange events. Birds end up in places where they have never been before for food. Other birds have stopped breeding in places where they did for hundreds of years. Other birds are dying from the lack of fish that no longer live where they are. These problems are very real, and are caused by greenhouse gases, but hope is upon the horizon. Our government is working toward combating global warming with the passage of new laws. Yes!

Red Eared Slider
Red Eared Slider | Source

Red Eared Slider on…Land?

This morning, I had to look twice when I saw a red eared slider walking past me, as this turtle loves the water. There is so much water on the ground that it made no difference to this turtle, who was on his way to the main part of the lake. That’s how I managed to capture this wonderful photo. See the red on the side of his face? That’s the easy way to see what kind of turtle this is. Don’t pick him up, though, as some of them will bite.

Great Blue Heron Takes a Defensive Posture
Great Blue Heron Takes a Defensive Posture | Source

Red-winged Blackbird vs. Great Blue Heron

Our vigilant Red-winged Blackbirds are guarding their territory and making life safer for you and me. Wrong! They have even been after the Great Blue Heron in the Southern Cove, who doesn’t bother anybody. I saw that poor heron driven from his favorite watering hole, but he managed to get back there today. He was very hungry, too.

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Have You Ever Wondered If Birds Use the Same Nests That They Had Last Year?

Someone asked me that on the lake yesterday, and from prior knowledge, I was able to answer that question. For the past two years, I have been keeping abreast of this and have learned a few things. American Robins will sometimes use nests of another robin. Great Horned Owls don’t build nests, but will use the nest of a hawk from the previous year. The Bald Eagle will repair and add to its old nest, and European Starlings take over the nests of other birds. However, the Scissor-tailed Flycatcher will sometimes use a former nest. I also have an abandoned Baltimore Oriole’s nest.

Brown Thrasher
Brown Thrasher | Source

Brown Thrasher Population Rises

This is the nesting year for Brown Thrashers on Boomer Lake. I have at least five nesting pairs on the east side of the lake, which is a big jump from last year. Chances are very good that some of them are first year adults from last year’s clutches. There are plenty of bugs for them due to the abundance of water this season, so Boomer Lake has some prime real estate going for it.

Mallard First Family
Mallard First Family | Source

Northern Reaches in Pristine Condition

I made it to the Northern Reaches, which is still full of life. Several Great Blue Herons were fishing, mother Mallards and their young were enjoying the solitude, and numerous woodpeckers reside there, especially the Red-bellied and Downy Woodpeckers. Numerous songbirds are hiding in the leafy branches, and the entire area is filled with song. There are plenty of fish, including some of the larger catfish, and there are cascades of trumpet vines on the trees. This is such a beautiful area and is well populated with life this year. I’m hoping to be able to hit it just right this fall, before migration occurs and see if I can get some good shots of the Ruby-crowned Kinglet, the Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, and all those other wonderful shy birds that won’t come to the lake proper, like the little White-breasted Nuthatch.

First Year Double-crested Cormorant
First Year Double-crested Cormorant | Source
Eastern Kingbird
Eastern Kingbird | Source

And More!

A couple of Double-crested Cormorants were on the main part of the lake, as were several nesting Eastern Kingbirds. We also have plenty of Purple Martins as we have several additional houses, Northern Cardinals, Brewer’s Blackbird, the Great-tailed and Common Grackles, the Orchard and Baltimore Orioles, American Goldfinches, House Finches and Sparrows, and the Brown Headed Cowbird. There will soon be other surprises, but I shall not make mention, as I am waiting to see if you might see these birds before I do.

Have You Ever Found a Bird's Nest?

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All good things must come to an end, so I’ll talk to you next week. Keep your eyes to the ground and your head in the clouds. Happy birding!

Great Blue Heron Cruising Over Turtles
Great Blue Heron Cruising Over Turtles | Source
Mallard Drake on Log
Mallard Drake on Log | Source
Stealth Rabbit
Stealth Rabbit | Source

© 2014 Deb Hirt

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

      Lots of people are getting nesting birds this year, teaches. This is a fabulous year for raising young ones.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 2 years ago

      Another awesome hub, Deb. We just discovered a bird's nest in our hibiscus bush out back. We think it was home to the turtle doves around our yard.

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

      Cris, they will be out of the exhaust once they fledge, and it will be rather costly to do it now, if you get an animal removal service in there. For the future, though, definitely have a plastic or metal cage installed over the front of the exhaust, so the birds, mice or other animals cannot squeeze through. Good luck, it can be a pain in the tush to have to deal with that. I got a kick out of Stealth Rabbit, too.

    • CrisSp profile image

      CrisSp 2 years ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

      Such interesting talk about our winged friends in this hub specially about their nesting habits. I didn't know until after reading it here and by the way, speaking of which, I just found out there are robins nesting in my kitchen exhaust. I do not want to disturb them or wreck their nest but I have to do something before they cause further damage. Also, much as I love them, their movements (and noise) inside the exhaust is quite annoying.

      I have to google for solutions. Any tips on that Deb? :)

      P.S. The stealth rabbit is a scene stealer in this hub, eh? Cuteness!

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

      Thanks, torrilynn! There's so much going on at this lake, and there is so much proof of evolution, especially with those birds ad animals that are no doubt from millions of years ago.

    • torrilynn profile image

      torrilynn 2 years ago

      This was a nice hub. Evolution is indeed real and memory and adaption are always improving in some shape or form. Also, I love the photos. Voted up and Awesome!

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

      Oh-oh…I'd be concerned about the roadrunner, too. The mockers here all like in the same areas that they always have, so I always look forward to them.

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 2 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      Hi Deb, That photo of the two turtles and the Heron is awesome. We used to have 5 Red Eared Sliders in a 100 gal aquarium until they got too big. They started off the size of quarters.

      I'm not sure if birds use the same nest or not, but my Mockingbirds build their nest in the same tree year after year. It is directly in the view from my kitchen window. We've been out here for 25 years and they continue to come back. I haven't seen my Roadrunner yet this year and I'm a bit concerned.

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

      Dave, it's always good to have information on all birds available. I think it will help us care for them better when on our turf.

    • D.A.L. profile image

      Dave 2 years ago from Lancashire north west England

      Hi Deb, another wonderful birding experience and as usual magnificent photography. I am not sure what to think about a man walking the bird,this is not natural and goes against the grain. May be I am being a purist. Thank you for sharing your invaluable information on the birds on your side of the Water.

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

      Truthfornow--there is a lot of beauty. It is just up to us to be able to take the time out to find it. Cheers!

    • truthfornow profile image

      truthfornow 2 years ago from New Orleans, LA

      The bird on a leash doesn't surprise me. I saw a man riding his bike on a major highway with a parrot on his shoulder. I felt scared for them both. But, the bird was chilling as if there weren't cars going everywhere at relatively high speeds. I didn't know however that crows were so smart. I love that picture of the two turtles looking up at the heron - priceless. There is a lot of beauty in the world.

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

      Thank you for sharing, Kevin. That is the best thing that you can do for me, as it helps me to get the word out about keeping our precious birds and animals safe.

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

      Hey, Pamela! Good to hear from you, and I received your note. I will look into that info that you gave me, thanks so much. Thanks for sharing, as educating people about birds is what I am all about.

    • The Examiner-1 profile image

      The Examiner-1 2 years ago

      Great Hub Deb. It had beautiful photos with interesting facts that were a little different this time. When I read your story about the man walking the bird I had to watch that video. They said he used a leash, plus walked with a folded chair, I did not see a leash and that looked to me like a simple three-legged walker. I voted your Hub up and shared it.

      Kevin

    • Pamela Kinnaird W profile image

      Pamela Kinnaird W 2 years ago from Maui and Arizona

      Ooh, poor Great Heron who got chased away by the red-winged blackbirds. I'm glad he got back to fishing in time to be okay (assuming he caught something.)

      The red-winged blackbirds are plentiful here in the east valley of Phoenix, Arizona for a few months. The common grackles and great-tailed grackles are, too. I've rescued a few of their babies in years past but only when I was sure the mom was not coming back with food (by the second afternoon). There are a lot of rehabbers here, as they're called, who specialize in different types of birds to nurture them back to health.

      I like all your photos, Deb, and especially the Great Blue Heron cruising.

      Voting way up and sharing and pinning.

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

      Thanks, Alicia! Not only did I see a Downy Woodpecker this morning, but there were two. Might be able to salvage one of the pics with the two of them in it.

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

      Suhail, we used to say that, too, regarding cold and heat. I think that is a worldwide threat!

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

      Glad you lived the man with the bird, I thought it was endearing. I'm sure that you'll find more nests. There are so many at the lake it amazes me, and there will be even more!

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      It's great that there is such a wide variety of birds to see at Boomer Lake, Deb. It's wonderful that you photograph so many of them, too! I always look forward to a new edition of your Boomer Lake reports.

    • Suhail and my dog profile image

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

      Btw, Deb, we cousins and our families got together the other day and we decided that if any one of us complained about heat or a hot day this summer, the rest of us will gang up on him/her and beat him/her up only because of the terrible winters we had this time lol.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 2 years ago from England

      Hi Deb, great article as always, loved the old guy with the bird on the lead! lol! Amazing about the crows, and yes I did find a birds nest last year, not sure which one it was as it was empty, but in the hedge behind my house. I think it must have been a blackbirds, have a great weekend, nell

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

      ChitrangadaSharan, it is my calling, I believe, that I am to care for the animals of the world. At least I have a good start, but I am looking for more ways to do it. Only the future holds more!

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 2 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Wonderful hub with awesome pictures and again very educative!

      The tiny nest looks cute. How much skilled effort goes into making those nests. These birds are the real weavers.

      Loved those black beauties! Well done and thanks!

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

      Actually, Suhail, I have been experiencing weather that is MUCH cooler--in the 80s as of late. 90s will be later in the week, but it is sure better than 100+.

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

      Thanks, Faith! I have been working pretty hard on trying to make people more knowledgeable about the life of birds and how to understand them better.

    • Suhail and my dog profile image

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

      Links to some great sites in this hub!

      There is a Robin's nest from last year on my bedroom window, which is covered by a vine on the wall. The Robins haven't used it yet. It is so well hidden that others bird may not be able to locate it for reuse.

      Btw, it is quite warm here and I think you may be experiencing some warm weather down there too.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 2 years ago from southern USA

      Oh, how interesting about the man walking the bird and the intelligence of the crow. Well, your entire hub is a beautiful learning experience from all of the interesting facts you provide and your amazing photos. I have always wondered about that about nests too. Fascinating as always, Deb.

      Have another lovely week on Boomer Lake!

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

      Thanks, Rolly. I really appreciate your support.

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

      Thanks, Billy. The black birds, in general, have the most intelligence, yet are despised and feared the most.

    • Rolly A Chabot profile image

      Rolly A Chabot 2 years ago from Alberta Canada

      Always a pleasure to read your writing and observe your art in pictures...

      Hugs from Canada

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I have no scientific study to back this opinion, but for my money, the smartest bird on this planet is the crow. I have spent some time observing them, and after all these years they still amaze me. Wonderful addition, Deb.

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