Friday, January 21, 2005

I can eat solid food

Great news. BE 05-01 ate some salmon this afternoon. Cindy was persistent, putting it in his face to the point of ticking him off. Then he decided that he wanted to see what the fuss was about. He took the piece away from Cindy and chowed down. We gave him a little more and then he was cleaning up what we dropped on the mew floor. He remembered what he was missing and I don't think he liked tube feeding. At this rate he should do real well. Please continue to keep your fingers crossed.

Earlier in the day Lauren Maxwell from KTVA Channel 11 came by and did a news story. The Channel 11 crew gave a good pitch on why not to use lead shot. Thanks for the support folks!

Here's another link telling you why you should use steel shot and not lead shot or lead weights or sinkers.
Check it out.


Medical care of this beautiful eagle has run Bird TLC a little dry on funds. Fortunately we're able to keep him on his perch. If you can, please call the office with a donation. The number is 907-562-4852 or mail to

Bird Treatment and Learning Center
P.O. Box 230496
Anchorage, AK 99523

For: BE 05-01


There won't be any new post for a few weeks. I'm being dragged away but should be back online the second week of February. Thanks for your support!

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

BE 05-01 Day 3

He's still looking OK, but not as well as yesterday. He's drinking on his own but needs to be tube feed twice a day. He tried to get some of Cindy's thumb today. He is regurgitating some of the feeding though. He's still on his feet so that's a good sign.

When I went by the center yesterday without my camera (dah), he was facing the door looking real good. Today with camera in hand he would not turn around anymore than what's in the picture.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

BE 05-01 Day 2

He's looking a little better today. He's setting on a low perch, his wings aren't drooping as much and he watched every move I made. Keep your fingers crossed.

Monday, January 17, 2005

Get the lead out

Our first bald eagle of the new year, BE 05-01 came to us from Kenai, Alaska. He was given a physical exam while under sedation and it revealed that the first 2/3 of the birds tongue was necrotic. It was presumed that the bird had ingested some sort of chemical that was causing the illness.

The birds condition deteriated since he arrived despite IV fluids, vitamins and forced feeding.

Blood work performed indicated a high probability of heavy metal toxicity, ie lead or zinc. The blood glucose was incredibly high, perhaps causing the necrosis of the tongue.

X-rays were taken on 1/17 and showed bird shot in the lower stomach area. He wasn't shot but ate something that had been shot. Surgery was performed by both Dr Wilson & Dr Palmatier of Pet Stop. They removed 6 lead pellets.

The prognosis is poor, but he looks better than when I first saw him. He's reacting to anything compared to nothing. He requires IM injections of Calcium EDTA three times daily for 5 days. Due to surgery he will need to be tube feed for 5 days, twice daily.

Now, my 2 cents.

First, thanks to Dr Wilson & Dr Palmatier for the surgery. Time & expenses was donated by both. You guys are awesome.

Second, Thanks to Pet Emergency Clinic of Anchorage for donating 3 vials of Calcium EDTA. You got him the medication he needed right away.

Third, Hunting, recreational shooting, and fishing deposit thousands of tons of lead ammunition and tackle into the environment annually, exposing dozens of bird species and other wildlife to the toxic effects of lead poisoning. Many animals are directly exposed to lead when they mistake fragments for food or grit. Waterfowl, shorebirds, upland game birds, small mammals and songbirds often consume lead shot or fishing sinkers when they browse for small pebbles, seeds, or other food items. Raptors and other predatory animals are subject to secondary poisoning by preying on lead-laden birds and mammals, or by scavenging contaminated carcasses.

Lead absorbed into the blood stream causes severe health consequences including neurological disorders, seizures, infertility, anemia, soft tissue damage, birth defects and death. Animals that do not die directly from lead poisoning may face sub-lethal effects of lead toxicity, such as neurological and organ damage, that ultimately contribute to their inability to survive in the wild.

Explore non-lead alternatives for ammunition and fishing tackle. Voluntary change to non-toxic substitutes will help keep the environment free of poisons and give outdoor enthusiasts the gratifying opportunity to preserve the nature that they dearly treasure.

Here's a link to HawkWatch Internationals, Life Without Lead.


Bird TLC can use some assistance paying for the medication for this bird. Pet Emergency Clinic donated what they had. 3 more vials of Calcium EDTA is needed. The pharmacy bill is $146.34. If you can help out, contact the Bird TLC Office immediately @ 907-562-4852. Thanks!


Sunday, January 16, 2005

Another blog

I've moved all news and comments about the ship wreck disaster of the Selendang Ayu over to a new blog. That blog is in no way affiliated with the Bird Treatment and Learning Center (Bird TLC). It's strictly my thoughts and comments on the situation off Unalaska. Come visit and let me know what you think.

I went with MSN Spaces for a host. I liked the layouts, options and the ease of posting.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Sign up to the online petition

I found this link on Creature News. It definitely worth signing, I did.

Bird organizations throughout Europe are urging everyone keen to see wildlife given a future to sign this innovative 'cyberpetition' - in the form of a postcard. And from today (13 January) there are just 60 days left before we must send all the signatures to the new agriculture commissioner, Mariann Fisher Boel.

It is vital she becomes a driving force behind agriculture reform and works to ensure that the way we farm takes wildlife into account.

Signing the petition involves just three clicks on your computer. Click the petition link on this page, then click on the postcard to add your name to the thousands of others who have called for a better future for Europe's wildlife.

Please pass this onto your friends and colleagues and within 60 days we could have thousands, if not millions, of people urging the EU to held save our wildlife.

Source: Dr Mark Avery, RSPB Director of Conservation

Petition Link

Friday, January 14, 2005

Officials investigate reports of oil patties near Dutch Harbor

Thursday, January 13, 2005 - by Dan Fiorucci

Anchorage, Alaska - There are new reasons to be worried tonight at the site of a wrecked freighter in the Aleutian Islands.

The Unified Command is reporting that tar patties have been spotted in Captain's Bay, located about a mile southwest of Dutch Harbor. Dutch Harbor is nearly 50 miles from the wreck of the Selendang Ayu.

If the tar is from the wreck, then it would mean oil has spread much farther than anyone suspected. There are fears that up to 300,000 gallons of intermediate fuel may have leaked from the Selendang Ayu, making it the worst oil spill in Alaska since the Exxon Valdez.

The Unified Command expects to know later tonight whether the tar patties are indeed from the wrecked freighter.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

More raven stuff

Sometime things can be kind of funny. Since I made the post on One of my favorites the Common Raven and Irresponsible People, plus a well noticed letter to the editor, I've become a little more popular around town. This is something I'm not use to. I am a salesman and yes I am a talker, but I'm not use to a lot of attention.

For Irresponsible People I've received all kinds of good comments from my friends, customers, my dentist's receptionist, the espresso girl, etc. I thank them all. The folks at Bird TLC thought I was a little borderline on getting a little too political, but they agreed with me. So it put me in a happier New Year mood.

Today it warmed up to +5F with a wind chill of -7F. There are ravens everywhere. While visiting one of my accounts we saw a raven outside having a dispute with a mound of snow. I don't know what that mound did to him, but it ticked him off. He was cawing at it and jumping on it and then off. We got a good giggle out of it. It went on for at least a half hour. We told stories of our raven experiences and so on. I finally had to leave. As I looked in the rear view mirror as I drove away, there's that raven on top of that mound like king of the mountain.

Ravens have gotten a bad rap over the years. I think if more people would spend sometime just observing these guys for a little while, they would appreciate them a little more. I remember growing up and there were cartoons of ravens on TV. Those guys must of watched them before making the cartoon. Ravens to me are the raccoons of the bird world. As Matt said over at Creature News, Don't mess with Odin's bird!

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Bad Bird Catcher

This year I've been called on my cell phone four times from the Bird TLC office asking if I had time to go catch an injured bird and bring it in. They know I'll take the time, but so far this year it's been a little depressing.

Bird TLC got a call from a little old lady in Mt View, an older subdivision in Anchorage. She had a raven that fell down her basement window well and is just sitting there. Cindy called me and I said sure I'll go. She knows I'm a sucker for ravens anyways. First I had to run to the clinic and get a kennel and then to Mt View. Sure enough, there he was.

Now as I've said before, I quit smoking almost 5 years ago. The adverse effect was gaining 30 lbs. This window well was about 4 feet deep and a little narrow. Getting into it was no problem and I caught the bird with little resistance. I set him outside the well on the ground wrapped in a blanket. Now it was my turn. Good thing that little old lady was there to offer me a hand getting out.

I took Mr Raven back to the clinic where we were able to exam him right away. Unfortunately his wing was broken in several places badly where it joins to the body and had been broken for a little while. I went home bummed out.

Next call was that there was a raven that won't fly on the corner of Old Seward Hwy and Dimond Blvd near the old bank. OK. Big intersection. Probably the 4th busiest in Alaska for traffic. Go to parking lot of the old bank and look around. No bird. Talk to a few people and they haven't seen him.

Then I see a raven jumping around. I watch him for a bit and decided that must be him. Most birds would have taken off when I approached. Not this one. He decided to walk away. So I'm following him, holding out a large purple blanket to cover him once I get close enough. In the back of my mind I see this headline in the Anchorage Daily News "Local man goes nuts and goes after ravens with purple blanket". He seemed to like the chase because his pace picked up. As I almost had him cornered he turned and took off flying. Wrong bird. I never found whatever one the phone call was about.

Next call was that there was a raven on the ground not flying and one wing was dragging low on New Seward and Dimond. OK. Big intersection with an over pass, cloverleaf and right during rush hour and it's dark. It's probably the 2nd worst intersection for traffic in Alaska. I go by the clinic and pick up a kennel and off I go. It was all I could do to look for the bird without being ran into or running into someone. I searched for about an hour in the truck and on foot before I gave up.

Later that night my wife and I went out to dinner. When we left where we ate at, we went up and down Old Seward Highway a few times. I figured with a lookout in the passenger seat could help, but no bird.

The next day while at work I drove past the area a few times. No bird. I'm 1 for 3 and the 1 was not that good.

Yesterday I get a call from the office. There's a small bird outside the main entrance of an office building on Minnesota & Benson and it wont move. Can you go fetch? I still have a kennel for a raven in back of my truck (a little over kill), so off I go. I drive right to the place and look down and there's a Bohemian Waxwing all balled up next to the curb trying to stay warm (it was about +18F). He was an obvious window hit. I picked him up and put him in the huge kennel while he bites the heck out of my hand. Off we go to the clinic. Take the kennel out and carry it to the exam room while I take comments on a little too large of a kennel. Cindy opens the door and the waxwing had already passed on. I went home bummed out.

So I'm 2 for 4 but the 2 are not that good. I wish we could have done more, but sometimes that's the way it's meant to be.

Saturday, January 08, 2005

Friday, January 07, 2005

Clean up continues

442,000 GALLONS: The majority of onboard fuel is now presumed lost.

Bolstered by relatively calm seas, a salvage team continued fuel removal efforts Thursday from the wrecked Selendang Ayu off the coast of Unalaska Island in the Aleutians.

The freighter grounded and broke up off the coast of Unalaska a month ago tomorrow. Mother nature and other complications have not been cooperating until recent. Check out this story from Anchorage Daily News.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

My Favorite Weblogs / sites

We all have them. The ones I like I check out about every other day, more if I don't have to go to work. Less if it's summer time. They have no borders. For me that's good. Alaska is bordered by Canada on one side and oceans on all the others. It's closer to Russia then the next state.

I like blogs / sites with a variety of information. Sure, mine are all about birds and bird rehabilitation and avian education. But I like all wildlife, all animals.

On Bird Forum I posted pictures of a young moose in my back yard and another in a wading pool. They got a good giggle out of those. There's lots of info, pictures and lots of people to ask for info. There are experts and newbies from all over. There's lots of stuff! This forum is huge. It's ranked #1 with the Bird Top 100.

On Creature News he post on all animals alive and extinct (Extinct Giant Eagle Was Really Big (shock). His stories link to other blogs or websites that relate, or the story is on the page that's linked. There are also links to some interesting blogs / sites. It's laid out great and is easy to read (even in English, hehe). The colors are easy on the eyes. He has a very good listing of non-profits you can give some cash to or the Tsunami Disaster. I really like that it has a photo album on the front page. There's also some short reviews on books that are available through

10,000 Birds - Mike and the Core Team are at bird count #298 and do an awesome job of relating their adventures to us. They visited our fine state about 2 years ago. It's ranked #26 with the Bird Top 100. I (or have trouble breaking into under 100. He has some great links also and you can shop on or get a bumper sticker. It can get a little political. It's a territory I can't go because of our non-profit status. We don't want to tic anyone off. Sometimes I'm jealous. I like when he post pictures of birds and you have to e-mail him to see if you identified them correctly. He posted a picture that I sent him of a Northern Goshawk. Later that summer, my wife Ruth and I released it back to the wild outside Hope, AK on a trip back to Anchorage. It was KEWL!

Birding Babylon - As a retired US Air Force aircraft mechanic, I'm a little jealous of John. He has access to modern technology in a war zone that I couldn't get in peace time. Of course I've been retired longer than he's probably been in. He has a gift of words for birding and when he runs out of birds he covers bugs, plants and whatever else that is neat that is around him. He informs us on a place that can be beautiful in it's own if it weren't for the ugliness in man.

The City Birder - Rob's Red-tailed Hawks and other wildlife observations from around Brooklyn and NYC. He does an excellent job of relating his experiences. He states that birds and nature are his passion and you can tell in his stories and his pictures.

So, these are the places I go when I go birding around cyber space. Some are top ranked and some aren't ranked at all. But everyone of them is tops with me.

I have yet to find another weblog on wild bird rehabilitation. I know tons of websites for them and most are great, but I have yet to find a weblog open for discussion on wild bird rehab. If you know of one, please forward the url. Thanks!

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Still trying

X-rays were taken on 12/30/04 for our eagle. The news is not looking too good. While there is a small amount of calcification (1), it's not nearly what it should be after 4 weeks.

It also appears the the bone itself is degenerating at differant spots along the length of the bone (2&3). This could indicate a deep seated infection in the bone itself.

The Plan:
After Cindy discussed things with Dr. Wilson & Dr. Palmatier, it was decided to rest the bird for two more weeks with the apparatus in place. At that time we will be at the limits of the usefulness of the appliance and it will need to be removed. At that time, if the bone has not healed sufficiently to support the bird, we will have to let him move on.

Keep your fingers crossed.

One of my favorites

The Common Raven is one of my favorite birds. It's a beautiful bird with all black feathers. A scavenging omnivore and it's found in nearly every habitat throughout Alaska. They are large, intelligent birds usually found together with others of their kind. They often congregate near human settlements during non-breeding times. They can be minor nuisances by scattering unattended garbage and stealing food set out for dogs. They will come to baited traps, which is unfortunate for trapper and bird alike. They're related to the crow and magpie.

The one pictured above had a wing injury. Don't know how he got it, he was found hoping around. He probably got it trying to do something he shouldn't have, obviously.

They are sneaky birds and excellent escape artist. A lot of people don't care for them because they're scavengers. Somebody has to clean up. They do eat live prey also. Mostly small animals or rodents. There have been stories of them taking a reindeer or elk.

The raven has often played important roles in cultures, mythologies, and writings. Ravens disobeyed Noah during the great flood by failing to return to the ark after being sent to search for land.

The raven was used as an emblem by raiding Viking warriors in Europe, and has been written-up in countless disparaging ways in western literature.

In Norse mythology, the god Odin used two ravens named Thought and Memory, to fly the world each day in order to inform him of what was happening.

The spiritual importance of the raven to Alaska's Native people is still recognized. The Tlingit, Haida, Tsimshian, BellaBella, and Kwakiutl all viewed the raven as the creator of the world and bringer of daylight. The raven is also important in the creation of myths by the Eskimo. The myths of the raven remain a significant social and religious component of Alaska culture.

The good news. The Migratory Bird Treaty between the United States, Canada and Mexico was amended in 1972 to include the Corvids, thus giving federal protection to these species. Leave them alone if you like them or not. Do as I do. I watch them and get a good giggle.

The other good news is that the fellow pictured above was released back to live with mother nature. Here's hoping he learned his lesson and stays away from what brought him to us in the first place.

Sunday, January 02, 2005

New Years Resolution

Everybody makes them and everybody breaks them. We make them in the hopes of bettering ourselves. Hopefully we end up keeping more than we break.

I quit smoking almost 5 years ago. It was on my New Years Resolution list. Actually it was on that list every year for many a year. That wasn't the reason that finally made me quit, but after 26 years of smoking I did. I feel for those who try, but don't succeed. I praise those who have quit and stay smoke free.

But this blog is not about me, it's about Bird TLC and whatever effects them and their (our)birds. So, the resolutions I commit to are for them. Ok, they're for me too. But the ones for me that I list here are Bird TLC related.

So here we go;

  1. I've been posting almost everyday about the Selendang Ayu ship wreck off of the coast of Unalaska. This is most important to me and should also be to everyone in my opinion. I don't want this to slip back in the news pages and be as popular as the opening of a new Pizza Hut. But am I doing this at the expense of loosing readers that were interested in the bird stories I have posted? Maybe. So I'm going to post at least one new Bird TLC related story a week.
  2. I've been volunteering for over 2 years at Bird TLC now. I've done fund raising, public relations, I'm on the Education Committee, I do the website and blog, any errands they need done, injured bird pick up and delivery, and I put sand on the icy parking lot during winter. All of these things are necessary and I also enjoy doing them. But it's not what Bird TLC is about. The Bird Treatment and Learning Center is a non-profit organization dedicated to rehabilitating sick, injured or orphaned wild birds and providing avian education programs to the public. Even though all that I already volunteer to do helps with the rehab part, not enough is done for the avian education part. So I'm going to start training to present a great gray owl. I got with Kelly Benedict to be my mentor and she accepted. She's very knowledgeable about great grays and caretakes one. She was also on the Bird TLC Board, was also the board treasurer, helped big time on the new facility project and lots of other stuff. She's a valuable asset to Bird TLC and I think I can learn from her.

That's it for now. I've learned over the years not to make too many resolutions. They seem to be forgotten if you do. I'll keep you up to date on the oil spill, do more Bird TLC related stories and I'll keep you up to date on my great gray owl training. Good luck on keeping your New Years Resolutions.

Weather stalks oil removal

SELENDANG AYU: Crews make ready to remove fuel from ship.
Anchorage Daily News

Crews have made progress over the last two days preparing to remove the remaining bunker oil from the wreckage of the Selendang Ayu off Unalaska Island in the Aleutians and also in cleaning some of the soiled beaches in the area, a spokesman for the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation said Saturday.
The weather forecast, however, called for weather today and Monday foul enough that actual removal of the fuel could be delayed once again, said Len Marcus.
Winter storms contributed to the grounding and subsequent breakup of the 738-foot cargo ship on Dec. 8, and they've been hampering salvage, cleanup and animal-rescue operations for much of the time since.
But parts of last week were relatively good-weather days, Marcus said. "Yesterday was a very productive day," he said late Saturday afternoon. "The helicopter to be used for lightering (pumping the oil into tanks that will be flown to Unalaska) made several runs to the wreck. "Workers on the copter brought supplies and equipment to the stern half of the ship, which split in two on the west side of the island outside Skan Bay, spilling oil and fouling beaches, when the vessel's crew couldn't restart its engines.
Three tanks in the stern section are thought to hold about 100,000 gallons of the heavy oil, the target of the planned lightering operation by Houston-based Smit America.
At least 40,000 gallons was spilled in the waters outside the bay when the soybean freighter broke up. Authorities have said it's possible even more oil leaked from two main fuel tanks, estimating that additional amount to be as much as 280,000 gallons.
The front half of the vessel has sunk, but the back half has remained above the ocean's surface.
The Smit America salvage crews visited the stern portion Tuesday and made some lightering preparations. Poor weather followed and delayed them until Friday when they flew from Unalaska to the ship.
They landed, secured their equipment and made other preparations before flying back to Unalaska, Marcus said. The same occurred on Saturday. "The actual fuel removal work itself will probably begin in a day or two of today, weather permitting," he said Saturday.
The National Weather Service forecast called for strong winds and high seas for today, Monday and into Tuesday, said Marcus.
The break in the weather early last week also gave field workers, whose ranks have swelled to about 100, their first good look at some of the environmental damage caused by the Selendang Ayu's oil.
They found the bunker fuel in some beaches had penetrated a foot deep, and they also found signs that foxes and eagles are eating oiled carcasses of birds.
Saturday, cleanup workers had planned to concentrate on a marshy area near the shore of Skan Bay where the storms had pushed the oil beyond the beach, according to Marcus. The marsh would not flush out normally as well as the regular beaches can, and the crews wanted to keep the gunk from getting pushed farther into the marsh. But seas were high enough to keep the workers' skiffs from getting there, Marcus said. "So they ended up in Portage Bay, another cleanup area," he said.
Besides the lightering of the oil and cleanup of the beaches, workers are also trying to assess the overall contamination of the shores, according to Marcus. And they're also trying to conduct a wildlife survey while collecting live and dead animals where they can.
On Monday, 45 seabird carcasses were found in a relatively small area of one beach, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The agency believes many more are dead.

Saturday, January 01, 2005

Still no change

ANCHORAGE (AP) - Bad weather in the Aleutians is delaying plans to off-load oil from the freighter Selendang Ayu.
A salvage team yesterday (Wednesday) was prevented from getting on board the wreck because of strong winds.A weather front was expected to move into the area today (Thursday) with the next break in the weather perhaps Friday.
The 738-foot freighter had an estimated 424-thousand gallons of intermediate fuel oil and 18-thousand gallons of diesel on board when it grounded December 8th off Unalaska Island.The Coast Guard says more than three-quarters of the fuel may already be lost.