Monday, November 29, 2004

No Road Kill Today!

This is an xray of a bald eagle with a broken left leg. He (or she) was found just outside of Seward on the side of the road. He was recovered by the Alaska Sealife Center and transferred to Bird TLC on Thanksgiving Day. It appears he was injured for a little while. The break was clean but there is the start of calcium build up on the break. He was unable to fly, probably because he couldn't hop well enough to get started. His tail feathers are a little beaten up and he lost some weight. When ASC went to recover him they said he could hop a little and would call at them when they approached it.
When he got to Bird TLC he was examined and put in a clean mew with food and water. Not much could be done because of the holiday. He was taken into The Pet Stop for xrays this morning and they show what was expected. Tomorrow he's scheduled for surgery at The Pet Stop. Dr. Todd Palmatier is going to put a pin in the leg to hold the bones together. Fellings right now is the outcome should be good and he may be released in the future.
Bird TLC Rehab Director, Cindy Palmatier says he's in good spirits and health considering the break. He's been eating like a teenage boy. He didn't feel up to turning around for his picture. Notice how the tail feathers are a little roughed up from being on the ground for a while. He was placed on a low perch to help keep them off the ground. A high perch would be too hard for him to get up and down from. The astro turf helps prevent bumble foot.
We'll keep you updated on everything so stay tuned.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Welcome Cindy

We have a new Rehab Director. Welcome Cindy Palmatier to Bird TLC. Cindy started out on Monday of last week. Barbara Doak, long time Bird TLC Rehab Director decided it was time she cut back on her duties and do some traveling. A well deserved break for a lady that's done so much for Bird TLC & the many injured, sick and orphaned wild birds that visit us every year. I'm not saying goodbye to Barbara, she'll still be with us. But because of her plans, there became a need for a replacement for her position. And the hunt went on and on. It stopped not too far from our door. Cindy has been a volunteer with us before. She also assisted her husband, Dr. Todd Palmatier at Pet Stop with birds from Bird TLC. She also did some time at UAA at a department I can't pronounce yet even spell. She's also a message therapist. I already see some good changes at the clinic.
So welcome Cindy. I look forward to working with you.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

A Tag Team?

Sebastian & Zephyr, both Northern Hawk Owls, are practicing with their caretakers. Zephyr on the right has been with Ellen for some time now. Sebastian just moved in with Ruth but has been in Bird TLC's Education Program for some time. Ellen is Ruth's mentor on Northern Hawk Owls. Ruth is Ellen's mentor with Jasper, a Rough Legged Hawk. She's there today but not in the picture. Temperature's were lingering around +26f degrees in downtown Anchorage.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Bye Jay Jay

Sad news at Bird TLC. Jay Jay, shown above with Lisa, passed away on Monday. He was the first injured bird rescued by Bird TLC in 1985. When it was determined that he could no longer function in a natural environment after his injuries healed (he was permanently visually impared), Bird TLC's Education Program was born. Jay Jay became the first bird used in educational presentations that help to explain how the 405 species of Alaska's resident and migratory birds are valuable barometers of the state of our environment.

Jay Jay lived to a ripe old age of 19. For a Stellar's Jay, that's over twice the age he would have lived in the wild. He stayed active with education programs up to the end. I have no idea how many times he was shown at presentations, but I know there were a great many. There are a lot of Alaskan school kids, teachers and parents that got to see him. He had a personality all his own. He was the first bird that I got to hold at Bird TLC. He will be dearly missed.

Alaska WNV update

Now that winter is here and all the migratory birds are flying south, I figured I'd update everyone on the latest of West Nile Virus in Alaska. I copied this from the Alaska Dept of Fish and Game website.
West Nile Virus
Surveillance of Wild Birds in Alaska

The Alaska Department of Fish & Game is working in partnership with the Division of Public Heath, Section of Epidemiology, the Alaska State Virology Laboratory, other State, local as well as federal agencies (US Fish and Wildlife Service and US Geological Survey) to conduct surveillance for the occurrence of West Nile Virus in wild birds in Alaska.

Background:West Nile Virus (WNV) was first detected in the Western Hemisphere in New York in 1999. This mosquito-borne virus can cause disease in both human and animals but particular species of birds as well as horses are the most likely to become severely ill or die from the virus. The vast majority of people infected from mosquito bites develop only mild symptoms and never even realize they have been infected with WNV. Even with almost 4000 human cases in the US documented, only about 200 deaths occurred. However, the disease is much more serious for birds and horses than people. In 2002, the disease continued to spread across North America with increasing morbidity and mortality among bird and horse populations. Fortunately, to date, Alaska has yet to record a human or animal case of locally-acquired WNV.

Although we expect to eventually detect the infection in birds migrating to Alaska within the next few years, WNV is unlikely to become permanently established in Alaska's birds for several reasons. Birds that serve as WNV reservoirs must be viremic (have lots of virus in the blood stream) at the time they are bitten by a particular type of mosquito that will also bite mammals. The time the virus is in the bird's blood is brief and transient (believed to be about 2 to 4 days); therefore, many birds migrating to Alaska from an area where the disease is established are likely to have cleared the virus before arrival in Alaska. As well, the mosquito species that are the most efficient vectors (transmitters) of WNV in the Lower 48 are not present in Alaska. Finally, it appears that mosquitoes require sustained warm temperatures, that rarely occur in Alaska, to have the virus grow in numbers to make them infective to their next bite victim. Locally acquired WNV could occur only if viremic migratory birds arrive in Alaska when the appropriate species of mosquitoes are active and when temperatures would permit adequate amplification of virus. With all those factors in place, virus could potentially spill over into non-migratory birds, humans, horses, or other Alaskan animals.

Surveillance for WNV in birds:In most states affected by WNV in 2002, results from WNV testing of dead birds were a sensitive indicator of the likelihood of human disease. Therefore, Alaska WNV surveillance efforts will be aimed not only at detecting disease among humans, but also at detecting WNV among species of birds that appear to be most susceptible to the virus. The bird species in Alaska that are most likely to become recognizably ill or die from WNV include the following: Raven, Crow, Magpie, Steller's jay, Gray Jay,, Blue Jay, Eagles, Falcons, Hawks, and Owls.

To report a dead bird:NOTE: Birds suspected to have been electrocuted, shot, poisoned, or otherwise killed under suspicious circumstances should be reported immediately to the USFWS Law Enforcement Division at 800-858-7621; or, if in Anchorage, at 907-271-2828.
If you find a dead bird of the above species and or a group of dead birds of any species, DO NOT PICK UP THE BIRD.

Instead, contact either of the following:
1) A local wildlife authority:
In Anchorage: Alaska Department of Fish and Game (907) 267-2347
US Fish & WIldlife Service (907) 350-1677
In Fairbanks: Alaska Department of Fish and Game (907) 459-7206
In Juneau: Alaska Department of Fish and Game (907) 465-4148

2) Alaska Department of Health and Social Services Section of Epidemiology at 907-269-8000.
We will determine whether the carcass is of suitable condition and should be tested and arrange with you the most efficient method for collecting the carcass or advise you on how to dispose of it.

Method of carcass disposal:If instructed by a wildlife or public health authority to dispose of a dead bird, use gloves or put your hand inside of a plastic bag to pick up the bird. Double bag the carcass and dispose of it in the garbage.

Surveillance in other wildlife:Investigation of sick or dead wildlife will be handled as always on a case-by-case basis. Please contact the ADF&G Wildlife Veterinarian in Fairbanks at 907-459-7257 or email

For More Information Specific to Alaska
Human Health Information on the Section of Epidemiology website
E-mail West Nile Virus Questions to:

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Getting highly educated

Well today I took a big step. Being the webmaster, grunt and begger for Bird TLC wasn't enough. I went to the "Training Session for New Education Volunteers" at Bird TLC and enjoyed the program very much. I liked it so much I walked away as the new secretary of the Education Committee and a presenter in training with a great gray owl.

There was a full class of about 8 people. All had a chance to get familiar with the birds in the program, learn about basic bird health and basic bird management. They are at the very beginning of training to become a presenter and or caretaker for the birds that can't be released after rehabilitation. If they want to continue, they must pick what type of bird they would like to train with. A mentor will be assigned and then it's up to them. A checklist for the training is provided to follow. The training goes more in dept than what I put on here. A person can be trained by their mentor as fast as they both can handle or at what pace that is best for both. Evaluations come later when they feel they are ready to present. Formal certification is granted only when the Education Committee is confident that the new presenter is ready.

So today I did 4 of 5 of my jobs. I posted here (webmaster), took my first level of training for presenting, cut down some bushes the snow plow guy said was scratching his truck (grunt) and came home and typed up some letters for the committee (administrative asst). Wait a minute. Make it 5, send some money please!