Stillwater News Press

Local Columnists

May 10, 2014

Life at Boomer Lake 05-11-14

It’s a critical time for animals at Boomer Lake

Things heated up a bit this week, but this is getting to be a critical time, too.

Boomer Lake is losing water due to evaporation, so rain is very necessary at this juncture. Our avian friends, flora and fauna must remain healthy and water is more important than food to their well-being.

We have our first Mallard ducklings! I spotted the first family on Wednesday, both parents just beaming with their little group in tow. The Red-bellied and Red-headed Woodpeckers also let themselves be known, as I made my way into the Northern Reaches to see who might be lurking in the most quiet area of the lake.

Since it has been a bit windy, the Turkey Vultures have been soaring on thermals, as they survey their kingdoms from on high.

Great Egret has also migrated to the main part of the lake and was fishing right next to Great Blue Heron.

However, Great Blue Heron prefers to do his fishing alone, so he rushed off and left Great Egret to his own devices, allowing this magnificent male in breeding plumage to be the victor of the spoils.

There is a great deal of nest building and egg-laying going on as I relay this information, and before we know it, there will be some beautiful young songbirds gracing us with their presence soon. We are hosting the Brown Thrasher, the Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, Red-winged Blackbirds, the Cedar Waxwing, several sparrows, Bell’s Vireo, the Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher, American Goldfinch, and many others.

Not only is Boomer Lake home to numerous species of birds, we also have our share of wildlife. This week I have seen the white tailed deer, box turtles, red eared sliders, and several Eastern cottontails.

For those of you that enjoy shorebirds, the Killdeer and the Spotted Sandpiper are showing themselves more frequently. The Spotted Sandpiper is the most widespread, and teeters its rear body up and down constantly. The adult only has spots on its chest and abdomen during breeding times.

Many of you will notice the Northern Mockingbird standing on power lines making an assortment of calls, jumping in the air and doing somersaults quite frequently.

I agree that these birds are rather odd, but it is the male’s way of attempting to attract a mate. Let’s face it, with all that yelling and acrobatics, he is certainly apt to attract something.

The Red-winged Blackbirds have been keeping the American Crow population and the Red-shouldered Hawk at bay. I have been watching droves of the blackbirds escorting the crow and the hawk out of their territories. Soon enough, it will be time for the hawks to spend their share of time hunting and mating, so they will not be gone for good, I assure you.

Keep your eyes to the ground and your head in the clouds. Happy birding until next week, and please keep visiting with me as I report your local birding activities. I enjoy your stories and appreciate you keeping me informed about bird antics.

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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