LIFE AT BOOMER LAKE: Think about where birds hang out | Lifestyles


We all know that some of the best areas for birding are well-known Important Bird Areas, big migrant traps like the Rio Grande Valley and Great Salt Lake, and China’s Yellow Sea. Those are wonderful places to dream about and perhaps visit one day IF fortunate, but what if we just paid the rent, there’s only two or three gallons of gas in the car, and all those places take two days or more to get there, let alone an airline ticket?

We REALLY want to go birding because we worked all week, burnout is evident, and we just want to get away from everyone. It’s time to get out like we did in the early days of COVID-19 when few were out and about. They were all home, afraid to venture out and get the worst condition in the world. But we birds were different.

It’s nearly summer, and beautiful and sometimes rare migrants are breeding in the Boreal Forest. Our own breeding birds are local, but we have seen them already and we know where several nests are. Don’t let boredom get you, just get creative and think about where all the birds go when they want peace and quiet like you.

Some of the best birding can easily be very local to everyone and there are still sleepers out there that we have not found. There are plenty of birds on that eBird list that have not been seen, so we need to increase our chances of finding them.

Going to a cemetery can be a somber time depending upon the circumstances. It doesn’t have to be that way, as some of the best birding can be found in the realm of the dearly departed. Birds have been aware from the early days when this country was being settled that quiet and beautiful landscapes don’t have to come at a premium by being stared at all day. As a matter of fact, many people discuss the virtues of how few humans are found in cemeteries unless they have to be there for an interment. Consider it, as well as that Eastern Wood-Pewee or Yellow-billed Cuckoo set up by the pond just sitting quietly out in full view that you have yet to see.

What about the local treatment plant that some have always thought sounded so smelly and nasty? It’s not that way at all. It’s a great stopover for those birds that need a rest from procuring food for the young all day and there are sometimes amenities for them like bearing fruit trees. Ducks, peeps, and waterbirds are primarily found there, and if you’re fortunate, Burrowing Owls are set up at one that comes to mind where writer once visited.

The smelly place is the dump where there are countless gulls, and if you look hard, you could find that California Gull getting a snack before it heads to the local lake to sit on a sign all day.

Think about it.

Deb Hirt is a wild bird rehabilitator and photographer living in Stillwater.

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