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Life at Boomer Lake with Deb, Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Updated on November 27, 2013
Snowy Owl
Snowy Owl | Source

Field Notes

Snowy Owl News

Major things are happening with Snowy Owls this year. It is irruptive, yes, but mainly because of a lack of rodents. And why is that? As of nearly one month ago these birds have been seen as far south as Missouri and Kansas, which is VERY rare. Here’s the full story:

Source

Federal Enforcement Comes For Birds and Wind Power

Federal enforcement is now occurring for wind turbine companies killing birds. This is a major milestone for those of us that have been fighting for the lives of birds for decades. Read more at:

Source

The Owl Whisperer

How can owls hunt and capture their prey in near silence? Learn exactly how this fascinating phenomenon means so much to the well being of our avian friends.

Ferruginous Duck
Ferruginous Duck | Source

European Bird Migration Delayed

Migration is being delayed in Europe, which has a lot to do with the warm weather. Less birds are moving, so birds that are normally seen in one part of Europe during this time of year don’t have the need to move, as their bodies are telling them that they don’t need to go. Will this become worldwide? Only time will tell. Learn more at

Macaws at Sundown
Macaws at Sundown | Source

Parrot Smuggling in Mexico

Parrot smuggling in Mexico fell to a 17-year low. There were also more animals involved, which helps eradicate disease, damage habitat, loss of species, mortality, and the dangers of having the animal in society. Learn more through knowledge:

Great Blue Heron "Fall Scene"
Great Blue Heron "Fall Scene" | Source

The Week's Notable News

This was a rather fruitful and wonderful week. Even though it was colder than normal here, it was the same everywhere. Birds are coming from the northern climes to make this one of the most irruptive years in a long time, due to all the snow and lack of food. Raptors have even removed themselves from their normal areas, especially the Snowy Owl, who has come as far south as Chicago and northern Missouri, but that is old information. If you have never seen this owl, a good place to find them is at airports. They seem to enjoy the comforts of the orange cones found there. Do go out and explore, as many, many birds are on the move, and chances are very good that you’ll see a number of winged wonders that you don’t normally see if you’re studious. Now, without further adieu, I bring you the enriching life and magnificence of Boomer Lake.

Eared Grebe
Eared Grebe | Source
Red-breasted Mergansers
Red-breasted Mergansers | Source

Ducks Arriving Early Bears Watching

This week, the ducks are early, and as I predicted over the summer, with al the rainfall that has come our way, it has been for naught. Several ducks and grebes are here, on the early side of the season. Yesterday, I spied the lovely Red-breasted Merganser. This is not a rarity to the region, but the Eared Grebe is a bit more uncommon. Three of them stopped off for a couple of days, and even though I managed to get several shots, none of them are very good. Both days were very cloudy and the dark water didn’t help, but as you can note from the photo, they are still easily recognizable. They were obviously ravenous, as they fished steadily for the entire two days that they were here. They are headed for all points south, and I am pleased that they chose Boomer Lake for a stopover.

Ruddy Duck Pair
Ruddy Duck Pair | Source

Ruddy Ducks

The Ruddy Duck population is steadily increasing, and before you know it, the males will be sporting that striking breeding plumage. Breeding males have a bright blue bill, and are the only stiff tailed ducks that we have. They are small and chunky, and are completely helpless on land, so the tend to remain in the water for their own safety, in large groups.

Female Lesser Scaup
Female Lesser Scaup | Source

Lesser Scaups

The female Lesser Scaups are here in small numbers, but I have not noticed any males yet. That could well be due to the placement of the sun, but if they aren’t here, which I really doubt, they will be soon.

Female Belted Kingfisher
Female Belted Kingfisher | Source

Belted Kingfisher

A notable for today is the Belted Kingfisher. I spotted the female earlier this morning, and shockingly, she was silent, which tells me that we haven’t yet reached breeding season, but it is not far away. Generally, this kingfisher tends to prefer the more quiet areas of the Northern Reaches, and they are rather vocal. This was the first opportunity that I had to capture this beautiful bird with my 500mm lens, and that certainly made a big difference over last year’s shots with the 300mm.

Bald Eagle Sighted!

We also had the Bald Eagle here this morning, most likely due to the large influx of ducks. This is most likely one of the Sooner Lake pair, who graced us a number of times for both breakfast and dinner last year. Our eagles in this area prefer to feast on fish, but they will not turn up their noses to duck. By the time I was able to home in on the eagle, it was really too far for me to obtain a good shot. However, I will hope for the best, and be diligent in my quest to obtain a proper photo for my readers.

Dark-eyed Juncos on the Scene

The Dark-eyed Juncos, our little winter birds, are coming in, and many of them have made it here safe and sound. As soon as the weather cools down, they arrive here to enjoy the prolific weed seeds and rapidly dart about as rapidly as they can, making it quite a chore for me to record their presence for you. I promise, I will do my best.

At this time, these are the highlights of the happenings at the lake. Keep your eyes to the ground, and your head in the clouds. Most likely next week, we will discuss the arrival of more ducks, and perhaps even have a few new finds for you. Remember to keep your feeders filled, especially if you are in the frozen tundra of the northern areas. Birds rely on you food their food supplies in trying weather. They also need water, too, so please keep that in mind, too.

Have You Noticed Birds That You Have Never Seen Before in Your Area?

See results

Remember that all pictures(images owned by Deb Hirt) sold are used to benefit wildlife. Half of the $25 cost for an 8x10 is donated to the Audubon Society to further their continuing support to save birds.

Male Ruddy Duck
Male Ruddy Duck | Source
Great Blue Heron Stretches
Great Blue Heron Stretches | Source
Female Ruddy Duck
Female Ruddy Duck | Source

© 2013 Deb Hirt

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

      Hey, Jatinder! All is well, madly photographing nature, even at horrendous wind chills.

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

      Hey, Mary! I did not know that the Snowy Owls were becoming pests, thanks for pointing that out. I knew that something was going on at Port Authority, but didn't have time to look into it, so thanks for giving me the news. Thanks, Mary for always being there, in more ways than one.

    • Jatinder Joshi profile image

      Jatinder Joshi 3 years ago from Whitby, Ontario, Canada

      All going super. Was just too busy these last few weeks. How are you doing?

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 3 years ago from New York

      Number me among your loyal fans and followers. Though I may show up late I always try to get here. I can just sit and look at those lovely pictures and it doesn't surprise me half of your picture sales goes to the birds :)

      Snow owls at airports has become a very big problem around here. As you know a flock of birds can cause a plane to crash and the owl population is evidently reaching flock proportions. Hopefully they will begin a catch and release program rather than shoot those beautiful owls!

      Our winter birds are starting to arrive too.

      Voted up, useful, awesome, and interesting.

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

      Hey, Jatinder! Thanks for coming by to see the birds. Hope that everything is going well.

    • Jatinder Joshi profile image

      Jatinder Joshi 3 years ago from Whitby, Ontario, Canada

      A lot of useful information in this hub. Enjoyed reading about it. Thank you for sharing.

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

      People need to see OK a a birder's mecca, for it really is. The Central Flyway s pretty remarkable around here. Thanks, Suhail.

    • Suhail and my dog profile image

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

      Your Boomer Lake coverage has put Oklahoma back on many a a tourists' radar, I must say Deb.

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

      Suhail, I will cover other laces here and there from time to time, but it will never be like my old standby, Boomer Lake.

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

      Thanks, Nell. It is always good to have you visit.

    • Suhail and my dog profile image

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

      I really wish that you also cover birds in Central Park West in NYC and in Ontario's Point Pelee National Park someday.

      Great pictures and reports from all over.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 3 years ago from England

      Hi Deb, sorry I'm late! lol! seriously, I love the photos once again, and fascinating to read about the snowy owls and airports, the migration is strange isn't it? it must definitely be warming up if the birds are not flying to warmer climes. great read as always, and fantastic info, voted up and shared! nell

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

      Hey, Alicia! Glad that you're having fun with the series, and with any luck, I'll be able to keep bringing you the best news.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thanks for continuing to update us about important bird news and about life at Boomer Lake, Deb. I always enjoy reading your hubs! They are interesting and informative. I love looking at the photos, too.

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

      Happens to the best of us, Kevin!

    • The Examiner-1 profile image

      The Examiner-1 3 years ago

      Sorry Deb, relax , you did not make typo. I read it wrong. I cannot beleive that I did that!

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

      Oh, no, what a typo! I meant to say a pelican!

    • The Examiner-1 profile image

      The Examiner-1 3 years ago

      Deb, 'catch' was the word which came to mind but maybe I should have said 'notice'. You had answered tirelesstraveler saying that you, "saw a penguin flying". :-)

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

      Kevin, please refresh my memory…what penguin do you mean?

    • The Examiner-1 profile image

      The Examiner-1 3 years ago

      Did you catch what type of penguin it was Deb? With the wings that I have seen on them in photos, I have only seen pictures of them on land and in the water!

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

      Hey teaches! Any sea what the new ones were that you saw?

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

      tirelesstraveler, it sounds like you had a spectacular day. I haven't seen many turkeys fly, either, least of all higher than my height! Pelicans are odd to see flying, too, but I saw one this summer, every bit as high as an eagle would fly.

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

      Hey, torrilynn! Thank YOU. Hope you had a nice holiday…I have missed you, my friend. Hoping that all is well.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 3 years ago

      Living in Florida we are priviledged to see the migration of birds. We saw a few new ones this year. I enjoyed your post.

    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 3 years ago from California

      I thought of you yesterday as I was kayaking up at the lake. The birds flying overhead in formation were breath-taking. There were pelicans, turkeys, cormorants, sea gulls. It was crazy to see wild turkeys flying. They look like B-52 bombers and don't look like they should be able to stay in the sky. We also saw two bald eagles.

    • torrilynn profile image

      torrilynn 3 years ago

      such beautiful photos and a great article that you have here. thanks for the read.

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

      Hey, Cris! Glad that you enjoyed this installment at the lake, and there will be more next week. Hope you're having a great Thanksgiving, too.

    • CrisSp profile image

      CrisSp 3 years ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

      Lovely as always! I fly in and out of Mexico and wish I could pack a parrot with me. :) Last week, I was in Orlando and since the kid in me refused to grow, I went to Disney and enjoyed it there tremendously specially the bird show at the Tiki Bar.

      Well, thanks again for the good read and happy Thanksgiving Day to you and yours. Don't gobble too much! :)

      Love from the sky.~

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

      Actually, Leslie, this northern owl has been as far as Ocean City, MD, so it is conceivable that it could make it here, even though it would be a rare occurrence. Thanks for all the née things that you've said, and the shares are always good to inform everyone about the importance of wildlife.

    • ImKarn23 profile image

      Karen Silverman 3 years ago

      Here's the truth of the matter - if i could - i'd smuggle a parrot out of mexico..lol

      ABSOLUTELY!! (call the parrot-cops!)

      I'm guessing the owl i sent you doesn't visit Boomer Lake, huh?

      I adore your work, Deb - i know it's a lot harder than the gorgeous finished product we are honored to see here!

      Happy USTG, dear friend!

      sharing, of course..

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

      Thanks so much, Eddy! Even as cold as it was yesterday, it was a darn good ting that I braved it, for such wonderful things.

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 3 years ago from Wales

      Another wonderful visit to Boomer Lake Deb. Keep them coming they have become a daily routine now and not one I want to break either. Voted up for sure and wishing you a great day.

      Eddy.

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

      tirelesstraveler, there are resident geese in all areas that won't love. However, some do migrate. I am partial to Canada Geese, as I worked with 161 at one time during g the Athos I oil spill when I was in DE.

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

      Good work, Jeannie. The eagles usually go fishing at the lake. I have one bad picture from last year of an eagle holding a fish as it flew off.

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

      Kevin, jets are usually much higher fliers than the average bird, and what happens with the engines is that smaller birds get sucked into them upon their ascent. Eagles tend to fly where the turbine blades are. The law is Federal, so I would imagine that it is nationwide.

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

      Hey, Jackie! You will have fun with your birds. Window feeders are always interesting, too, so you could see the little ones up close and personal. Do let me know what kinds of birds that you see. Take pics, too.

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

      Billy, I am reminded of the cage around a fan…would it not serve the same purpose and be copacetic for all?

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

      Thanks, Mel! I love ducks, well, waterbirds of any kind. I grew up along coastal Maine, so they were there, as well as the Common Loon. Now THOSE are extraordinary birds.

    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 3 years ago from California

      Geese in our area aren't migrating because the weather is too good and there are a couple of lakes the state keeps stocked. With food a plenty they don't want to leave. Some beautiful Canadian Geese in the local pond.

    • profile image

      jeannie dibble 3 years ago

      As usual enjoyed your post and pics...Saw the eagle on Monday on the far North side. As I was crossing the bridge on Washington he dove into the lake for something. I pulled into the old recycle area and drove to the boat ramp to take a look and didn't have any luck sighting him...Joy to see what I saw though..

    • The Examiner-1 profile image

      The Examiner-1 3 years ago

      That does help Deb, thanks, but do jets not move faster than that? You hear about them killing flocks of birds and surely this is more than what was in the article on the wind companies. Besides, were they talking about all states or only about one state?

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 3 years ago from The Beautiful South

      We have lots of birds around and since I have no cat now and won't get one until summer I decided to put out feed. Am new at this so probably gonna have to do several feeders. With so many coming around with no food I can just imagine what a view we will have soon. We get some very colorful ones. I recognize most but not all but we do have a book so will have to dig in there. More power to you going out in this cold for pictures, brrr. Thanks for another great show! ^

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Is there a solution for wind turbines other than to just not have them? I'm just curious if someone has come up with a way to prevent the deaths of birds, and still keep the turbines?

      Well, thanks for the visit. Beautiful as always. Have a very Happy Thanksgiving.

    • Mel Carriere profile image

      Mel Carriere 3 years ago from San Diego California

      Informative as always. I'm really hoping to get some bird watching in soon, probably when my son comes home for winter break. Sounds like the ducks are starting to trickle in. Great hub!

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

      Kevin, the outer tips of the blades are actually moving at the velocity of 179 mph, more than enough to shear off the wing of an eagle, as well as suck it into its vortex. It also kills bats the same way. Bats eat mosquitos, for example, that carry West Nile Virus, and other nasty diseases. Ever see one up close? They are huge. The are at least 80 feet high in order to catch the winds that help generate power. In order to make wind, one needs a substantial amount of wind to start with., Just a basic explanation, and I hope it helps explain this.

    • The Examiner-1 profile image

      The Examiner-1 3 years ago

      Hi Deb,

      I scanned the article about the wind industry killing the birds, but I did not see an explanation why. How can they kill birds when they move so slowly? What about the planes which kill birds, will they sue them next?

      I hope that the European warm weather does become worldwide, we could use some right now down here.

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

      Hey, truthfornow! I'll bet if you leave them something to eat, they will be grateful, and hang around your area more, if you don't mind that. However, you will have bird messes to contend with. You might enjoy reading or watching "The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill." Have a Happy Holiday!

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      Deb Hirt 3 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Thanks so much, Faith Reaper, for everything. I appreciate all your, votes, your readership, and your continued support. Happy Thanksgiving to you, too.

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      Deb Hirt 3 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Hey, whonu! Thank YOU, and have a nice holiday.

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

      Thanks for the bird population report, the votes, and Happy Thanksgiving to you, too.

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      truthfornow 3 years ago from New Orleans, LA

      That snowy owl looks like a plane soaring! In New Orleans, we have a lot of parrots flying around now because people let their pets go during Katrina. I wonder how they get along not being in their native environment. They seem to all hang around together. But, I feel sad for them.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 3 years ago from southern USA

      Wonderful hub full of interesting news and gorgeous photos as always. I especially love that Belted Kingfisher! That is amazing you sighted a Bald Eagle too!

      I really love reading you hubs and look forward to them each week.

      Up and more and sharing

      Happy Thanksgiving up on Boomer Lake,

      Faith Reaper

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      whonunuwho 3 years ago from United States

      Beautiful owls are some of my favorites. Thank you for sharing these nice photos. whonu

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      Connie Smith 3 years ago from Southern Tier New York State

      Deb, these shots are amazing as always, but the one I like the very best is the Great Blue Heron stretching. That bird is so beautiful against the brown vegetation.

      My dark-eyed juncos stay with me all year, and they are out there right now searching the snow for the sunflower seeds I tossed to them this morning! I have had a huge flock of goldfinches that came in the spring and are still here! We have had some ups and downs in temperatures, but on the whole they have been on the warm side. I suspect they will gradually decline over the next 2 months, but I sure am enjoying the abundance of birds this year.

      Happy Thanksgiving ;) Connie

      Voted this awesome hub Up++++