Saturday, June 13, 2015

061415 SNP Edition, Life at Boomer Lake

LIFE AT BOOMER LAKE: Babies, youngsters join life at Boomer

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Posted: Sunday, June 14, 2015 1:30 am

Everywhere one looks, there are babies and youngsters making their way in the world.
As a matter of fact, I saw a very young Red-winged Blackbird that likely fell from a nest in a nearby tree. The parent was in the vicinity, as they generally are. Now, some of us err on the part of thinking that the young one will die, since we might not see the parent in what we think is a sufficient amount of time. Many, many times, that is rarely the case.

A prime example was a Great Horned Owl that was found on the Oklahoma State University campus a few weeks ago, and it was flightless.
Due to the inability to locate the nest, the bird was raised by the veterinary school. The biggest challenge is to keep the bird from imprinting on a human, which is possible, as well as feeding it the correct food.
If you know for a fact that a baby bird has been abandoned or requires medical attention, only then should you intervene. In that event, contact the OSU Veterinary School if the bird is indigenous (no starlings or Eurasian Collared Doves), at 405-744-7000. Don’t just bring the bird there.
Our Bald Eagle is still visiting with us upon occasion, usually accompanied by the aggressive Red-winged Blackbird hot in pursuit. It appears relatively safe to say that we have resident royalty, which is a spectacular thing. Birds like these are very choosy about where they call home, and it must meet all their requirements for food, habitat and safety.
I was recently asked if birds use the same nests that they have used the previous season. That is an important question. It does occasionally happen. I have seen Baltimore Orioles do this after a couple of years have passed, in some instances. No bird can weave like an oriole, and those nests can outlast some of the most severe storms. Also, the Scissor-tailed Flycatcher has done this, with a bit of repair work. Also birds of prey and cavity nesters will nest in the same place. Some birds will even recycle the nesting material from an old nest to fashion a new one.
Earlier this week, I counted three Mallard families, there are still Canada goslings, trees are alive with at least eight Bell’s Vireos, and there are a couple of families of Eastern Bluebirds that are about ready to see the world. Since we had a rainy spring, there is ample fruit for the orioles by way of raspberries and mulberries, and there is plenty of available nectar for the hummingbirds. So far, I haven’t seen any hummers at the trumpet flowers on the lake, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t there.
Another good birding area is Whittenberg Park (north of Richmond Road on U.S. Highway 177). There are plenty of birds there, too, like the Lark Sparrow, Northern Bobwhite and Hairy Woodpecker, along with the usual suspects.
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. She can be reached by email at