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Life at Boomer Lake with Deb, Wednesday April 30, 2014

Updated on April 30, 2014
Laysan Albatross and Chick
Laysan Albatross and Chick | Source

Field Notes

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.

Thrush Sets Up Housekeeping in the City
Thrush Sets Up Housekeeping in the City | Source

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.

Park Guides on line example
Park Guides on line example | Source

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.

Common Grackle in Flight
Common Grackle in Flight | Source

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.

Cattle Egret
Cattle Egret | Source

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.

Deb Hirt
Deb Hirt | Source

And Then?

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.

Double-crested Cormorants
Double-crested Cormorants | Source

Double-crested Cormorants

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.

Blue-winged Teal Pair
Blue-winged Teal Pair | Source

Blue-winged Teals

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.

Canada Goose and Gosling
Canada Goose and Gosling | Source

Canada Geese

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 Heron in Flight
Great Blue Heron in Flight | Source

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.

Yellow Warbler
Yellow Warbler | Source

Songbird Arrivals

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.

Eastern Cottontail
Eastern Cottontail | Source

Eastern Cottontails

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.

American Robin
American Robin | Source

Residents/Non-Residents

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.

FYI

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?

See results
Great Blue Heron Grins
Great Blue Heron Grins | Source
Canada Gosling
Canada Gosling | Source
Eastern Kingbird
Eastern Kingbird | Source
Clay-colored Sparrow
Clay-colored Sparrow | Source

© 2014 Deb Hirt

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

      Luckily, not everyone is cut from the same mold, Denisse.

    • profile image

      Denisse 2 years ago

      Oh, I am by no means a morning proesn either. I like to stay up late and wake up late. Always liked working 2nd or 3rd shift. I am a huge procrastinator, that is the reason for this post. It drives most people nuts.

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

      Glad to hear it, Glimmer Twin Fan. I'm glad that you're enjoying the nest. I have a nest that I am monitoring at the lake. None of the eggs have hatched yet.

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

      Glimmer Twin Fan 3 years ago

      Oh we will hold off aviannovice. We could never hurt an animal. What's really neat is that the nest is on the rafter and we can look at it between the slats on the deck. The eggs are about 10 inches below. It's beautiful to watch.

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

      Glimmer Twin, from egg to fledging, you're looking at about 30 days. Please hold on until the little ones leave the nest.

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

      Glimmer Twin Fan 3 years ago

      A lovely visit today. We have a robin under our deck. The problem is we need to refinish the deck, but no one in our family has the heart or ever would, get rid of a nest with eggs. Hopefully they will leave soon and we can get on with our work. Love you picture of the Canadian Goose, it looks like her babies are on her head.

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

      teaches, I have been alerted that there are birds in Maine that NEVER go there, so yes, they are definitely on the move due to the water situation.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 3 years ago

      The rain in south Florida is scarce and the birds here may have to migrate if the summer does not bring much needed water to our area. Thank you for highlighting important issues regarding wildlife.

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

      Dave, in many ways, I think plastic articles were more of a mistake than a benefit. All we can do is try to help our animals as best we can.

    • D.A.L. profile image

      Dave 3 years ago from Lancashire north west England

      hi Deb, we have the same problem with plastic as you do. The plastic rings that hold cans of beer together are just thrown away. I have had to help mallards that have them in their bills while the other part was over its back. The sadness of it is {unless you have been very fortunate} you have to wait until they are to weak to fly in order to help them. The rest of your informative article is excellent as always. The great blue heron is very similar,in appearance to our Grey {Gray} heron.

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

      Thanks, Faith Reaper. The birds and animals will defintely benefit from your support. Thanks for being so faithful.

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

      Thanks, Alicia! Things are definitely looking up.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 3 years ago from southern USA

      Hi Deb,

      So sorry for the late comment. My Internet has been down. That is so sad about the plastic killing the albatross.

      On another note, I am glad Boomer Lake is not in drought conditions and still has water to sustain life! What a blessing for sure. Thank you for the reminder for us to keep the water and birds happy and well fed during migration.

      Up and more and away

      Blessings always

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thanks for another interesting and enjoyable hub, Deb. Thank you very much for the reminder about the dangers of plastic, too. Congratulations on the newspaper column!

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

      She could have been a migratory, Jackie. Their feathers are really worn by the time they come in.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 3 years ago from The Beautiful South

      Mystery solved then; thanks, and that was my bet. I tell you that is one ugly female cardinal, too and I don't think I ever really saw an ugly bird before but she is and when she gets wet she is even worse! Glad he loves her; whatever his reason! lol

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

      Thanks, Nell. With a little education, I think most people will be able to learn what is necessary to help wildlife in the best way that they can.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 3 years ago from England

      Hi Deb, yes its so sad when people just throw away their plastic goods, whether its bags or bottles, they are so darn dangerous. Of course fishing is another thing too, I have seen a swan with a hook and line stuck in its wing, we actually phoned the rspca to come out and help it, we waited for them to come and kept an eye on the swan till they did, luckily they sorted it out, but it was so sad, great hub as always, nell

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

      Glad to hear that, Eddy. A couple of states here have outlawed them, so maybe others will follow suit some day. I hate seeing them attached to tree branches.

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 3 years ago from Wales

      Brilliant as always Deb. Here in the UK we have to pay for plastic carrier bags in shops so many now reuse which means not so many find their way to endangering our precious wildlife.

      Eddy.

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

      Hey, Mr. A! Lots of environmental changes must be made both for us and our wildlife to benefit. We have ignored too much for too long.

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

      Johan, I would LOVE to come there. It is just a matter of time now.

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

      Hey, Suhail! Yes, we have been under drought conditions for at least a couple of years now, perhaps more. The weather is very strange. This area is just coming out of a cold snap, and I have had the heat on for a couple of mornings.

    • Mr Archer profile image

      Mr Archer 3 years ago from Missouri

      Excellent article Deb. I love the Springtime as the birds are arriving and their songs begin to permeate the air. The song of the Whippoorwill is one of my favorites along with the Canada Goose's honking. A Hummingbird flitted by our window this week, too fast for any identification, but it is nice knowing they are here.

      Keep up the good fight, neighbor. I totally agree with you regarding the waste which finds itself into our nearby lakes, streams and woods. It needs to stop.

      Take care and many blessings to you and yours

      Mike

    • Johan Smulders profile image

      Johan Smulders 3 years ago from East London, South Africa

      Another great hub. Glad you are writing for the local newspaper. Waiting for you to visit our neck of the woods. At present Audrey and I are doing field work for an impact study for wind power farms in our area. Love to take you to Addo and Kruger.

    • Suhail and my dog profile image

      Suhail Zubaid aka Clark Kent 3 years ago from Mississauga, ON

      Didn't hear anything about that drought at all. All I heard was tornadoes in Arkansas and cheap tickets to Disney World.

      I hope that wildlife is able to cope well with the drought conditions.

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

      They might be left. Many of them are banded, Jeannie. Yes, I would like to meet him and talk to him. Let me know.

    • profile image

      Jeannie Dibble 3 years ago

      Plastic makes me mad also, always pick it up when I see it around the lake. Great info Deb...you make the nature love side of my brain so much smarter that it was before I met you...I didn't even know how much I didn't know..I love how you know the birds so well in our area...Bob has a guy he wants you to meet in our neighborhood. Bob talked with him over an hour one evening about our Canada Geese. He's a professor who was involved in created a non-migratory Canada Goose that was breed just for Boomer Lake. I may have some of that story incorrect but that's the just of the story Bob shared...This was many years ago...not sure any are left.

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

      Hey, Suhail! We are surrounded by states experiencing droughts. It is wasn't for Boomer Lake, we wouldn't have many birds.

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

      Yes, Jackie, that is a courtship or mating ritual. It is one of the most endearing things that I have ever seen in the bird world.

    • Suhail and my dog profile image

      Suhail Zubaid aka Clark Kent 3 years ago from Mississauga, ON

      Those plastic bags and man-made trash - I just hate it. But a very informative hub once again. You are absolutely correct on those city dwelling birds. I see aerial combats of Ospreys and falcons in Toronto near my waterfront office every single day.

      But I guess OK is the best state right now to observe wildlife. We have too much of rains over here.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 3 years ago from The Beautiful South

      So glad these birds do know how to adapt instead of just dying out. I have a cardinal and his mate that come to my feeder several times a day although most I had this winter don't show up and I figure because there are bugs and worms available. Something though I wanted to ask you about that 3 of us here has witnessed. The male cardinal comes and goes and so does the female but several times they have come together and he gets him a few bites and then takes a bite in his beak and goes and places it in the females beak where she sits a few feet away on a branch waiting.

      Is that normal?

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

      That's OK, Lady G. I like them all, too, even the lowly and despised European Starling.

    • aviannovice profile image
      Author

      Deb Hirt 3 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      You know, Billy, this plastic crap has to stop. It has to. It is all over the world and if it could get to space, it would. I even put a blurb about picking up plastic at the lake in my newspaper column. Every little bit helps in education.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      The whole plastic scene just ticks me off. At least now, in our city, they have outlawed plastic bags in grocery stores. It's a small step in the right direction. Anyway, excellent as always.

    • Lady Guinevere profile image

      Debra Allen 3 years ago from West By God

      Thanks for all this wonderful information. I could not vote because I like all birds and have no specific favorites.

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