Stillwater News Press

Local Columnists

May 3, 2014

DEB HIRT: Life at Boomer Lake (5-4-2014)

Even though a cold snap and high winds have struck the area, it hasn’t stopped our spring influx of birds. It may have put the butterfly population on a short break, but everything will be back to normal.

The bird population is normal and very prolific, which includes the Double-crested Cormorants. These birds have been shot in the past, as they have been accused of eating too many fish. Like all cormorants, its feathers are not waterproof, and it spends a good deal of time with its feathers spread out, in order to dry them.

The Eastern Kingbird is a tyrant bird, related to the Scissor-tailed Flycatcher. These birds are called tyrants, due to the fact that they fiercely protect their nests and territory. I have even seen them keep the crow at bay.

The Baltimore and Orchard Orioles have also returned to the area, and are actually blackbirds. The adult male Orchard Oriole is black and a deep chestnut color and for those of you that are familiar with the Baltimore Oriole, the adult male bird is orange-yellow and black. Both of these birds create a tightly woven pouch nest, which can withstand some of the fiercest of storms.

For those of you that like a little bling in your sightings, I just spotted the Yellow Warbler and the American Goldfinch, both in breeding plumage. Both of these bright yellow birds are very easy to spot due to their coloration. The adult male goldfinch is black-winged with a yellow body, and the adult male Yellow Warbler in breeding plumage has rusty streaks on his breast. No other warbler is as yellow as this one, so it is very easy to identify.

Also, hiding within the leaves of the trees is the little Clay-colored Sparrow, who will also forage for weed seeds on the ground. Their call is easy to identify, as it sounds nothing like a bird. It tends to buzz, like a little saw. It is very similar to both chipping and Brewer’s Sparrows.

The Blue-gray Gnatcatcher forages in shrubs and openly wooded areas, mainly for spiders, insects, and insect eggs. The gnatcatchers are about as speedy as the warblers and very hard to photograph. The adult male birds have blue-gray upperparts, a faint eye ring, and white underparts. They hold their tail erect while feeding and they have a “zpee” call, very common residents at the lake.

The Eastern cottontail rabbits have been showing themselves for the past couple of weeks now. It is breeding season for them, as well.

Enjoy the life at Boomer Lake this spring, and please help out the animals by disposing of fishing line and other plastic articles. Fishing line, plastic bags, and hard plastic bottle rings can seriously hurt and kill both birds and animals by wrapping around those little throats and legs. Thanks for everything that you do to keep our animals safe.

Keep your eyes to the ground and your head in the clouds. Happy birding until next week!

Deb Hirt is a wild bird rehabilitator and professional photographer living in Stillwater. Half of her wildlife photo sales are returned to the birds via the Payne County Audubon Society. She can be found wandering around Boomer Lake on almost a daily basis monitoring the wild bird population.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local Columnists
  • Concerning Kids 07-26-14

    Just last week, I was at a family gathering and one of my cousins found out that I’m a teen librarian.  
    “My son is 11 but he reads at an 11th grade level,” my cousin said. “He loves to read but it’s so hard to find books that are challenging for him and have age appropriate content. What do I do?”

    July 25, 2014

  • Farmers Market

    The Stillwater Farmers Market is open every Monday at Stillwater Medical Center from 2-5:30 p.m. and every Wednesday and Saturday in Strickland Park at the corner of Hall of Fame Avenue and Main Street from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
    What’s at market this week?

    July 23, 2014

  • The Library Shelf 07-22-14

    Payne County gardeners soon will be reaping the benefits of the hard work put into their vegetable gardens all summer long.  
    To help community members maximize their summer harvest, Stillwater Public Library is presenting “Yes We Can,” an introductory class on preserving food at 6:30 p.m. Aug. 7.

    July 22, 2014

  • 1 - PCLC Class 4 Renovation.jpg AND, STILL THE WATERS RUN: The walls come tumbling down

    July 21, 2014 7 Photos

  • LARRY JONES: Remembering a front door in Japan

    July 20, 2014

  • Life at Boomer Lake 07-20-14

    A couple of unusual items made it on the list of notoriety this week, but we’ll hold off on that for the time being.
    Baby birds are still infiltrating the area and are growing quickly.

    July 19, 2014

  • Live Well 07-20-14

    It is way too easy to hit snooze on my alarm clock.
    Exercising in the morning always seems like a good idea until the alarm starts yelling at an ungodly hour.

    July 19, 2014

  • Grow! 07-20-14

    Roses are a beautiful addition to any garden and landscape. They come in a variety of colors that enhance your yard. However, like other plants, roses are susceptible to disease. One that seems to hit roses the hardest is rose rosette disease caused by the rose rosette virus.

    July 19, 2014

  • Seed to Table 07-20-14

    Weed control is an important part of food production. So, I recently undertook an effort to rid my pastures of a particularly noxious weed.

    July 19, 2014

  • Down Home 07-20-14

    No wonder everyone is so smitten with just her voice. She’s smart and precise and I’ve also recently discovered I can’t live without her. Her name is Siri.

    July 19, 2014

Buy & Share Photos
NewsPress e-Edition
NewsPress Specials
AP Video
Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kerry: No Deal Yet on 7-Day Gaza Truce Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Gaza Residents Mourn Dead Amid Airstrikes Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Ohio State Marching Band Chief Fired After Probe Raw: Big Rig Stuck in Illinois Swamp Cumberbatch Brings 'Penguins' to Comic-Con Raw: Air Algerie Crash Site in Mali Power to Be Restored After Wash. Wildfire Crashed Air Algerie Plane Found in Mali Israel Mulls Ceasefire Amid Gaza Offensive In Case of Fire, Oxygen Masks for Pets Mobile App Gives Tour of Battle of Atlanta Sites
Stocks
NDN Video
Big Weekend For Atlanta Braves In Cooperstown - @TheBuzzeronFox Chapter Two: Becoming a first-time director What's Got Jack Black Freaking Out at Comic-Con? Doctors Remove 232 Teeth From Teen's Mouth Bradley Cooper Explains His Voice in 'Guardians of the Galaxy' Deja vu: Another NYPD officer choke-holding a suspect 'Fifty Shades of Grey': Watch the Super Sexy First Trailer Now! Reports: Ravens RB Ray Rice Suspended For 1st 2 Games Of The Season Air Algerie plane with 119 on board missing over Mali Diamond Stone, Malik Newman, Josh Jackson and others showcase talent Free Arturo - The World's Saddest Polar Bear A Look Back at Batman On Film Through The Years LeBron James -- Dropped $2k On Cupcake Apology ... Proceeds To Benefit Charity Snoop Dogg Says He Smoked Weed at the White House Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament Chris Pratt Interrupts Interview To French Braid Intern's Hair Shirtless Super Mario Balotelli Dances While Ironing - @TheBuzzeronFOX Whoa! Watch "Housewives" Star Do the Unthinkable LeBron apologizes to neighbors with cupcakes Justin Bieber In Calvin Klein Underwear Shoot
Must Read