Stillwater News Press

Local Columnists

June 14, 2014

Life at Boomer Lake 06-15-14

Fourth Brown Thrasher family nesting

Even though it has been quite rainy over the past week, the lake is once again at very healthy levels. Consequently, avian life in our neck of the woods is thriving.

Without water, there is no life, so we have the best of both worlds, many birds and a beautiful lake for all to enjoy. However, since there has been so much moisture, we are now home to numerous mosquitoes, but I suspect that the Purple Martins and Barn Swallows will be working diligently to handle that little matter. Temperatures will be increasing from the comfortable 80 degrees ranges and climbing back into the 90s this week.

I previously thought that we only had three Brown Thrasher families with babies on the east side of the lake, but I have located a fourth. The young must still be in the nest, as I have not located any fledglings yet. These birds have their nests deep in the trees, making it more difficult for the egg hungry American Crows to satiate their hunger.

Today, the Red-winged Blackbirds, who also have full nests, made it a point to disturb a Great Blue Heron who was flying past on his way to the Southern Cove. The poor heron never made it that far to look for fish, and was impolitely escorted away from his usual turf. Since these herons only weigh about three pounds, they do need regular meals in order to keep up their strength. Hope to see you tomorrow, Great Blue Heron!

There is an additional Mallard duckling in the company of his parents. This young one appears to be about a week old, the only one in his clutch. The original group is nearly full grown, keeping in the general vicinity of Goose Island.

Later this week, I hope to make an extensive trip to the Northern Reaches, mainly in hopes of surveying the area where our local rookery is located. I’d like to see if the Great Egrets and the herons are nesting together, which is a common occurrence in most heronries. It has been seen where spoonbills and all the herons nest together, as safety is in numbers. If I am able to get some evidence of multiple birds nesting together, I can also try to determine what the draw is for all these birds in the food chain. Other localities have been experiencing much less breeding, especially in the northern states, so if we can determine our secret weapon of sorts, perhaps we can help other colonies stay in their home bases.

A few Eastern Kingbird nests are located on the eastern outskirts of the lake.

It also appears that the Western Kingbird is living southeast of the lake proper, too. Their former nests have been taken over by the House Sparrows, but these birds are very adaptable on manmade entities, so even though they have changed their nesting locations, they are not far away.

Keep your eyes on the ground and your head in the clouds. Happy birding!

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.

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