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Life at Boomer Lake with Deb, Wednesday August 13, 2014

Updated on August 13, 2014
Female House Finch
Female House Finch | Source

Field Notes

DNA in Feathers Shows Where the Birds Are

It has been determined that certain groups of birds will migrate to specific areas. How has this been discovered? It is through the DNA in feathers! Not all birds go to the same areas, which is described in more detail here:

Osprey | Source

Osprey Project in CT

Watching ospreys all over the country is a wide-ranging volunteer citizen science job. It attracts people from all walks of life, and can give wildlife biologists a lot of information on why nests are vacated. See what is happening in CT.

Spotted Owl
Spotted Owl | Source

Barred Owl VS. Spotted Owl

Must we shoot the Barred Owl from the east to protect the Spotted Owl from the west, as the Barred Owls migrate west? This article gives us the low down on that is happening to the Spotted Owl after people also went west.

Three out of four Green Heron Fledglings
Three out of four Green Heron Fledglings | Source

Four Recently Fledged Green Herons

As some of you have already heard, we have four fledged Green Herons. Monitoring their lives over the past three days has been both exciting and a wonderful learning tool in the study of this shy heron. What have we learned? The parenting of this water bird is exemplary, and the youths are given the opportunity to learn at their own pace with a little direction from the experienced parents. To find out more, look at

Raccoon | Source

Raccoon(s) on Goose Island

There is at least one raccoon on Goose Island, if not more. Raccoons like eggs, and could have been keeping the Canada Goose population in check on the island. It was noticed that there weren’t as many geese on the island this year. Perhaps the raccoon(s) had something to do with it?

Great Blue Heron, the Silent Sentinel
Great Blue Heron, the Silent Sentinel | Source

Great Blue Herons and Great Egrets

There are a number of Great Blue Herons and Great Egrets on the water now. It is interesting to observe them, learn how they get their own food, as well as react to other birds. Now is the time to get wonderful shots of water birds, as they have young out of the nest and are going about other natural business. Dust off that birding guide or perhaps even get one, in order to experience the sport of bird watching.

Red-shouldered Hawk
Red-shouldered Hawk | Source

Hawk Migration Coming Up in September and October

Fall is a time of cooler temperatures, as well as a time of hawk migration. Since there is plenty of water at Boomer Lake, I am expecting a healthy migrant population of hawks. There is also plenty of fish to satiate a few visitors, so it is hoped that we might see something out of the ordinary this year.

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail | Source

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail

I have seen another butterfly this week that I have not had the opportunity to photograph before. This is the eastern tiger swallowtail, which is one of the largest swallowtails in the area. They should be around until October, but they could migrate even earlier, since some of the birds have done that. If you get the opportunity, you might want to look for them now.

Dickcissel | Source

Fall Migrants Are Underway

It is time for everyone to begin watching for other fall migrants. Many of our songbirds have left the area, which is something that they do at night. It is much easier to keep away from predators than to try to battle with them during the day. My understanding is that many of the warblers are as far south as NY now, perhaps even more southerly. They also won’t be as brightly colored as they were in the spring and will be a little worn looking. Be sure to consult your birding guides for the different between the spring and fall migrants in order to identify them.

Cockatiel | Source

Domestic Birds Have No Business in the Wild

My next door neighbor alerted me that a parrot was on her property. When I went to investigate, I discovered that it was a cockatiel. Sometimes they will get loose by flying out a door if a family member is not aware that they are out of the cage. Other times, they have bitten someone or are not wanted any longer for whatever reason and are simply put out of the house. If someone that you know is frustrated, or tired of a bird, letting them loose is not the answer. There are rescue organizations on line, or contact a local vet to refer you to someone that can take the bird. Since these birds are domestic, they cannot survive on their own, or get the proper nutrition. Please help save a bird today.

I believe that this catches us up for the week. Keep your eyes on the ground and your head in the clouds. Happy birding!

Where Is Boomer Lake Park in Stillwater, OK?

Green Heron Fledglings
Green Heron Fledglings | Source
Great Egret
Great Egret | Source
Green Heron Fledgling
Green Heron Fledgling | Source
Viceroy | Source

© 2014 Deb Hirt


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    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Hey, Bobbi! I have been close to animals since I was old enough to walk, literally. My mother ran after me when I jumped out of my little plastic pool at the age of three to see the "doggie" that came out of the woods. It was a bear cub. It was impossible to control me from the wild that day forward. I will be seeing you, yes.

    • PurvisBobbi44 profile image


      4 years ago from Florida


      I love the great outdoors and all that dwells in our world. I really enjoyed your great photos---what a great life you must have doing what you love.

      See you on Google+

      Bobbi Purvis

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      ChitrangadaSharan, there are a number of things that scientists have been discovering over the short term. There have even been studies on why birds are not always monogamous, which has to do with additional chances on perpetuation of the species.

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 

      4 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Wow! The DNA in feathers determines, where the birds will be. That's an interesting information. Nice pictures and wonderful information about birds.


    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      If you haven't already, Dave, read The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill. It is a story about wild Cherry and Blue Headed Conures in San Francisco. The Green Herons were the icing on the cake for me. They should be around for about another three weeks or so.

    • D.A.L. profile image


      4 years ago from Lancashire north west England

      Hi Deb,

      your update on Life at Boomer Lake is as usual fascinating and informative. Migration is under way on this side of the pond also. Interesting advise about the cockatiel. Here in the UK green parrots, escapees from captivity, have over the last two decades formed a viable population in the London area. You never can tell with our feathered fraternity. As always my favourite pics are the Green heron fledglings.

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Alicia, that is a pretty interesting twist, isn't it? There are so many amazing things to investigate, it nearly boggles the mind, eh?

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      The two butterfly photos are especially nice this week, Deb. Thank you for sharing the information about the DNA in the feathers of warblers. I'll investigate this with great interest!

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Thanks so much, Zsuzst Bee! I'm glad that you enjoy birds, too.

    • Zsuzsy Bee profile image

      Zsuzsy Bee 

      4 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      Your pictures are fabulous.

      Great hub marked up, interesting and beautiful

      regards Zsuzsy

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      I have been learning about them more than usual, Kaili. They are pretty interesting little birds.

    • Kaili Bisson profile image

      Kaili Bisson 

      4 years ago from Canada

      I have never heard of a green heron before. Great hub once again Deb.

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Yes, Faith Reaper, I wonder what will happen with the owls battling. I cannot imagine how killing one for another is going to work with the Federal bird protection law. It will be interesting to learn the developments on that. The parrot is gone. I think my neighbor's mother frightened it away with her loud calling and clapping. It definitely will not survive the cold, even if it manages to find food.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 

      4 years ago from southern USA

      Another fascinating read, dear Deb. That is really interesting about the DNA in feathers, but the shooting of one owl to save another is surprising and disturbing to me. Your photos are amazing as always.

      I do hope the bird your neighbor found will be safe and someone can care for it.

      Looking forward to reading all about what is going on at Boomer Lake next week.

      Up and more and away

    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Birds are Federally protected, except the non-indigenous ones, so I don't know how that will go over, as it violates laws. Thanks for the shares, as this is how we can get the word out.

    • The Examiner-1 profile image

      The Examiner-1 

      4 years ago

      That was interesting Deb. The one which I am still reading the other article about is the DNA in the feathers. I cannot believe the part about killing one owl to save the other; there must be a better way. I voted it up++, shared and G+ it.


    • aviannovice profile imageAUTHOR

      Deb Hirt 

      4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      You just never know, Billy. There are even poisonous birds...

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Fascinating stuff about the DNA in feathers...who would have thunk it?


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