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Life at Boomer Lake with Deb, Wednesday April 30, 2014
Plastic is a Death Sentence for the Albatross
Midway Island, 2000 miles from any continent is a death sentence for the albatross. See what happens when you think you have tossed a “harmless” piece of plastic on the ground or in the water? Please educate everyone that you know to keep these beautiful birds from extinction.
Many Birds Are Now City Dwellers
An amazing twenty percent of birds live in cities, and it’s not just the Rock Pigeons and European Starlings. Many others, like the Peregrine Falcon and Red-tailed Hawk, thrive very well due to adaptation. Look at all the other birds that are commonly found in the city.
Detailed Descriptions for National Parks and Wildlife Refuges Now Available
Get the most out of your area or your next vacation to national parks and refuges. This is an excellent way to see everything that nature has to offer in the easiest of ways.
- eNature: ParkGuides
Detailed national park and national wildlife refuge descriptions, including park species lists, photos, park maps, general information, and reviews from park visitors.
Weather and Body Clocks
It has been on the chilly side and very windy over the past several days, but none of that has been a deterrent of any of our inbound birds. As a matter of fact, they seem to be weathering the cooler temperatures very well. Their body clocks are right on time, even though the weather is just a little behind. It really shouldn’t make a lot of difference at this point, as the birds are actively pairing up. There is already some life on Boomer Lake, and the rest is yet to be.
I met a man on the lake a couple of days ago, who saw my debut birding column in the Stillwater News Press. He asked me if I saw any of the pelicans that came to the lake last year. I told him that I have been monitoring the pelicans for two years now, and he was so pleased, as nobody believed him in his circle when he mentioned them. Boomer Lake is a very important part of the Central Flyway and every year that improvements are made to the area for birds, the more important that it will become. The city has increased the Purple Martin houses by at least twofold.
Why Is Oklahoma Better for Birds?
This is another drought year, where many bodies of water have dried up in Oklahoma, but many other states are also feeling the effect of this lack of water, especially Texas. What makes this lake so important is the fact that it HAS water. Birds that normally have not raised young here before will be doing so now, since water is so important to the well-being of all animals.
This will be another year of the introduction of many new species of birds to this area. Last year, for example, the Polar Skua came inland, much to the displeasure of the Cattle Egret. I saw three Cattle Egrets in breeding plumage this week, and my first thought was that they were driven here for safety. However, I have heard nothing of the sort this year.
Once the word gets around to the northbound birds, there will be many more in this area. Already I have seen the signs of larger than normal populations of many birds—the Northern Cardinal, the Song Sparrow, the Clay-colored Sparrow, and the Blue-winged Teal, just to name a handful. I expect many more, and plan to compile a list of these birds to be used in a study comparison for future years.
The Double-crested Cormorants are right on schedule for coming through this area. There appears to be just as many adults as juveniles that will be northbound once things heat up for an extended period of time. They don’t appear to be underweight as they were slightly last year.
Several Blue-winged Teal couples appear to be making their home on the lake this season, and I am hoping to see a few ducklings this year. Since there is enough water at the present, chances are looking very good for this event. I’ll be watching my select pairs and will advise as soon as I learn something more.
There are six families with goslings that I know about, a definite increase from last year. Goose Island is more populous this year than last, and I expect to see many more families emerge from there as a result of perfect conditions. Some of my target birds from last year have settled here again this year and are breeding for the first time.
Great Blue Herons
The Great Blue Heron Rookery is doing well, with several additional youngsters over last year. The Northern Reaches isn’t hosting a lot this year, since we have our own resident pair of eagles, so the overflow is in Boomer Lake proper. The eagles prefer fish over birds, and will not take them unless they are forced to do it, but so far, so good for the birds.
The Eastern Kingbirds have arrived, along with a straggling group of Yellow Warblers, at least one pair of American Goldfinches in breeding plumage, and naturally, the Scissor-tailed Flycatchers. Both males and females are here and hey are courting ferociously. The Common Grackles are in the vicinity of the Southern Cove with what few kingbirds are in residence. The Barn Swallows are prolific all around the lake.
The Eastern Cottontails have also emerged and will be earing up a stronghold within the next couple of weeks. After this cold winter, they appear very strong and healthy, looking a good deal better than they did last spring.
The American Robin is plentiful, as is the Northern Cardinal. The Blue Jay will still only come to the outskirts of the lake, preferring feeders, nuts, and suet, which is just not available fare here. Nonetheless, I am looking forward to many more birds arriving within the next couple of weeks, and I expect that many of them will stay. If we should receive sufficient rain, the circumstances might change for the rest of the state, but we’ll just have to see what nature has in store for us.
During this strong migratory season, do make sure to treat your birds well. Provide plenty of food and water, especially during baby bird season, so that we will have strong young ones, and the parents will be able to keep their own weight up.
For now, I will sign off, and wish you all happy birding in your respective areas. Keep your eyes to the ground and your head in the clouds.
What Kinds of Birds Do You Like?
What Are Your Favorite Birds?
© 2014 Deb Hirt