Monday, May 30, 2005

Have a Safe & Happy Memorial Day

I like Memorial Day. It has a lot of different meanings to everyone including me. I know it's a day set a side for the remembrance of veterans and citizens who gave it all so we can live in freedom. It's the first long weekend of summer. It's picnics and bar-b-que. It's camping and fishing.

I bet my family sounds a lot like yours. Let's see. My grandfather died while he was a fireman. My father was the oldest in the family, so he had to quit school so he could get a job to help support his family. During World War II he was in the Army Engineers. He was at the invasion of Normandy and got to travel all over Europe with big name people like Patton and Bradley. His desert training came in handy. When the war ended he went home and became a fireman like his dad. My dad was able to retire and lived until he was 72, a fireman and my hero until the end.

My brothers joined the Navy when they graduated high school. They spent their time and did their duty for 4. My only sisters husband Mike spent some time in South East Asia in the Army and was one of the lucky ones to come home. They're all now highly constructive citizens back east helping to make the US a better place.

I spent 20 years in the Air Force. They flew me all over the world from Alaska, to Europe, to the Middle East, to the Far East, to Africa and South America and many states. I spent time with many a brave men and women. Now I'm a salesman, peddling auto parts all around Anchorage.

Every Memorial Day, 4th of July, and Veterans Day we all fly the flag, have parades and show off our images of bald eagles. The American Flag and the bald eagle are our nations symbols. Their recognized around the world as the symbol of the strongest and greatest nation on earth. We all might not agree with everything our government does, but I like it more than any I've ever seen.

Our government even says you can burn it's flag. I wouldn't advise it, but it's legal. However, it's not legal to harm a bald eagle. For shooting a bald eagle you can get 5 years in prison and up to a $100,000 fine. But people do it. We've had 4 shot eagles come into Bird TLC this year. One was so badly injured it made me sick. I would love to meet the misguided citizen responsible for this sick act. I don't think I'll be that lucky

You can help though. This Memorial Day teach your children how to be a responsible sportsman. I like to hunt and fish. I don't take what I don't eat and I don't harm nothing that's not harming me. Wild birds don't harm us. They help keep the environment clean. They're also amazing to watch. Teach your kids how to hunt and fish. Also teach them to respect nature.

Though it's a little expensive, use non-lead ammo if possible. Also, try using non-lead fishing equipment. Pick up your old fishing line, don't leave it on the bank. At Bird TLC we've lost one eagle and a seagull to fishing line this year. We've also lost an eagle to lead poisoning.

Below is a picture of BE 05-19 aka "Beauty". She was shot in the upper beak. So for at least the next year we have to hand feed this beautiful and proud bird because some misguided citizen thought it would be fun to test their skills at shooting this bird. It now has no way of picking up food on its own. Chances are her beak will grow back, but never strong enough where Beauty will be able to be released back to the wild. Freedom lost forever.

What a waste. Teach your kids to respect wild animals and birds. Discuss this with your friends and family. Shooting an animal just for the sake of shooting it is a waste.

Have a Safe and Happy Memorial Day!

Friday, May 27, 2005

Chickadee rescue

A guy was clearing some land and cut down some trees. He came back the next day and heard some chickadee's chirping from a downed tree. He couldn't get them out, but knew they were in there. So he brought the tree to Bird TLC.

After listening closely they were found and carefully removed. The chicks are now with one of our baby bird mom's being feed every 20 minutes.

See more pictures in the album to your right.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

International Migratory Bird Day @ the Alaska Zoo

Wow, what a great day at the Alaska Zoo. Today we celebrated International Migratory Bird Day with an emphasis on collision injury prevention. Our volunteer education presenters were out in full force. We had a golden eagle, 2 great gray owls, a barred owl, 2 great horned owls, 2 northern sawhet owls, a nw crow, a magpie, an American robin, 2 thrushes and I think that's it. A good time was had by all. The weather was a little over cast and it also drizzled for a short time, but the weather held out.

The Alaska Zoo had reduce entry fees for the whole day. They also gave out bird silhouettes to hang in windows to help prevent window hits. US Fish & Wildlife handed out IMBD posters and answered all kinds of questions.

At 5:30 the clouds parted and the sun came out. We went to the Anchorage Golf Course where 2 lucky young girls helped release a bald eagle back to the wild. This bird was at Bird TLC for about 6 weeks recovering from rotten crop, but she was ready to be loose today. She headed for a group of trees to get her bering for a few hours and then she was gone.

What a great day thanks to Alaska Zoo, USF&W, Anchorage Golf Course and all the volunteers at Bird TLC. More pictures in the photo album at your right. We also made the news on Channel 2.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

I'm outa here

Chris Maack sent me this picture and story of last Saturdays golden eagle releases near Eureka Lodge. Chris does our newsletter "Flight Feather", she's a board member, volunteers at the clinic and she did the small bird id class. It just dawned on me when I typed this up, she does a lot.

The text is a little out of align from the e-mail transfer. I tried to straighten it up and it turned into a chore so I stopped. It's a good story so bear with it, ok.

Rachel Morse and I met to carpool up to Eureka, at which time I learned
that Kristin Guinn had gotten sick and would not be able to take the
eagles up there. The only person she could get hold of was Rachel, who
therefore had to see to catching and kennelling the eagles and hitting
the road. We met Gary Tidwell at the Ft. Rich gate; he was the first
person we could ask whether there were any kennels available to put the
birds in! Fortunately, there were two.

He and I and Rachel ran the goldens down (easier than balds, actually)
and got them ready to roll by 10:20 a.m. We got to Eureka right before
1:00 and met Kathleen Young, Ted Kramer of Forest Oil, Cheryl Gardner, Michele (a
Monday vol), and several friends whose names I've forgotten. We were
joined by Bob Dittrick and his wife who happened to be driving by. He's
the guy who started the spring raptor tailgate party at mile 118 of the

We decided the Eureka Lodge itself was a poor release site because of
numerous buildings, phone lines and dumpsters, so we drove back the way
we'd come about 8 miles to the big pullout where the hawk migration
watchers park. This gave us a clear shot over the valley. Although both
eagles went out first over the valley, testing spruce tips as perches,
they both eventually turned and went back over the highway and up to
the ridgeline on the other side. Soon, they got the feel of the wind
(nice breeze) and started soaring. They were last seen together,
becoming tiny specks in the sky.


Thursday, May 19, 2005

Take me back to Cordova

BE 05-17 was sent back to Cordova on Monday for release after rehabilitation. Terri sent him to us from there a couple months back. The bird was comatose when he got here. He had eated something extremely foul and developed what we call rotten crop. After having his crop flushed for about a week, tube feed and vitamin shots daily until he was eating on his own again, he was ready to go home.

Thanks to Terri in Cordova for sending him to us and then releasing him back again. She now has a feathered friend in the tree tops.

Pictures by Brianne Webber

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Back to Black

My raven of many colors has had his wing wrap removed and has been placed in the outside raven mew. Here he'll be able to get his strength back and enjoy the company of other ravens. Here's hoping he can be released this summer.

Did you know that it's believed that if less than 6 ravens lived in London Tower, the British Monarchy would fall? We got two.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Environment Awareness Day in Moose Pass

Bird TLC was invited to the 17th Annual Environment Awareness Day in Moose Pass, AK. Put on by the USF&W for the students of Moose Pass School. Ruth went representing Bird TLC with a rough legged hawk.

There were 5 groups of kids for 5 different 45 minute clinics on environment awareness. The rough legged hawk was part of one of the clinics on being aware what's in your environment. The first word out of the kids mouths when the hawk was brought out to be presented was "awesome".

Thanks to Katy of USF&W for inviting us and thanks to the students, teachers, mom's & USF&W Forestry Service members for their hospitality. We hope to see you at the 18th annual Environment Awareness Day next year.

More pictures of the event are in the photo album to your right. Look in the Moose Pass album.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Trail Lake Lodge in Moose Pass

The sign said it all "Welcome Birders", but the Birders also made us welcome. Ruthie and I had the privilege of doing a presentation at the Trail Lake Lodge in Moose Pass, Alaska. Paul the owner invited us down to do one for a group of Birders staying at his lodge. What a nice group of people. They were from all over but most were from California. They treated us great and we enjoyed doing a presentation on the rough legged hawk. Thanks to everyone for making our presentation enjoyable for us to give. We really enjoyed the conversations afterwards.

Thanks to Paul, the proprietor of Trail Lake Lodge. It's not just another Alaskan roadside lodge. He bought the place about 3 1/2 years ago and has really done a heck of a job of cleaning it up and doing some great remodeling and upgrading. The pavilion is where we had dinner and breakfast and it's gorgous. It over looks Trail Lake and is surrounded by snow capped mountains. Ruthie and I have decided that it's a place we must stop at on our trips to Seward.

Trail Lake Lodge, great food and a great Alaskan Lodge.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

More on Mew Renew

We had some help with the mew repairs this past week. Char brought over some guys from UAA (maybe at gun point?). The mews need the tlc also, so their help is really appreciated. We've been having some great weather so the birds like the outside mews.

A big THANKS goes out to Robert Gillespie, Mike Lane and Dave Robinson of Sigma Phi Epsilon and Char for bringing them to us.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Bye Bye George & Tobias

Stewart, Mary Bethe and Cindy load up George and Tobias to go to Zoo To You. Zoo To You offers a wide variety of wildlife educational programs. Their assembled presentations have been designed to fit into the California framework.

BE 05-09, George was with us due to severe head trauma. He was blind and deaf. He now can hear at least from one ear and can partially see out of one eye. That might improve in time. George is a second year eagle.

BE 04-15,Tobias is also a second year eagle that came to us with a wing injury last year. The wing was partially amputated near the wrist.

Both eagles will make excellent education birds. Have fun in the warm California sun guys.

Monday, May 02, 2005

I got my Raven of many colors

Ravens have been associated by various cultures with different qualities. In popular western literature, they symbolize darkness, depression, and death (popularized in Edgar Allan Poe's poem, 'The Raven'). In medieval times they stood for virility. Among native cultures, Raven is the 'trickster' spirit, a popular totem, and the creator of man, who placed the Sun in the sky.

In previous post I've stated my fondness of Ravens. The USF&W use to have personnel who would chase after reported injured birds. With budget cuts it's not happening this year. I've been called numerous times to chase Ravens in my free time. My luck has not been all that good, until today.

Cindy recieved a call from a young lady who has been watching an injured Raven for the past few days. The young lady is in a wheel chair so she was never able to get close enough to see what the injury is. She had been putting out left over Subway and McDonalds and the bird loved it. She hoped it would get better on its own, but now knows that wasn't possible. I recieved Cindy's call about 4:30 asking if I had the time to check this out. I told her yes and called the woman to let her know I'd be there in about 30 minutes. I told her that I didn't have a kennel with me and I would need to borrow a blanket. She said OK.

I arrived and the young woman and her mother were outside waiting for me. They pointed to the Raven which was in a fenced in field with trees and over grown bushes. The field looked like it usually had tall grass, but it was still dead and laid over from the winters snow.

I know Ravens are very intelligent birds and this one is no different. He knew where the holes in the fence was. He knew where he could run in the under brush. After chasing him for about 15 minutes we were able to get him pinned in the corner and got the blanket over him. The long walk back to my truck was good because I needed the breather.

Now trying to transport a Raven wrapped in a blanket by myself is not on my list of the most intellegent things I have done. Even with the help of a seat belt, he was able to slip his way out with the help of the after winter pot holes. I stopped three times to recapture him on the floor of my truck, once in the middle turn lane. As I got closer to Bird TLC, I called Cindy to meet me outside and help get the bird out of my truck.

After a full exam, the bird doesn't seem to have any broken bones. An x-ray later tomorrow will determine if that's true or not. His elbow on both wings were swollen though. His left elbow had some small cuts. His left wing was wrapped and then wrapped to his body. He was placed in a clean Raven prof mew with fresh water. He didn't seem like he was very happy so Mary Bethe prepared a quale for him. He cheered up real quick.

The greatest danger ravens face in the wild is from humans. Ravens are sometimes shot, trapped, poisoned or hit by cars in urban areas. They are unfortunately viewed as pests, even though they prey on small mammals and scavenge from carrion.

Ravens are protected through the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, which was amended in 1972 to include corvids. This Act states that it is illegal to harm or kill certain migratory bird species. It is also illegal to possess any part of a migratory bird, egg or nest unless permitted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

I now feel like my luck with Ravens have changed for the better.

More sad news

We lost our Golden Eagle GE 05-20 today due to complications from osteomyelitis. It's not uncommon for a bone to become infected after a hard blunt force that causes an open or compound fracture where there is a complete disruption of the skin and or soft tissue with the bone protuding through. This developed very fast in this eagle. We tried, but unfortunately that was not enough. Pictures of the operation to place a pin in a few weeks ago are in the photo album under GE 05-20.

BE 05-30 was loged in yesterday. That's #30 eagle for the year. In 2004 we only had 32 eagles the whole year.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

New Baby Bird Mom's

The Baby Bird Seminar 2005 held at the SPCA on Saturday was a huge success. Over 50 people attended the seminar held at the MOA Animal Control on Saturday.

The first qualification was to become a member of Bird TLC. The reason for that is that it's illegal to have the baby birds in possesion unless under permit from USF&W and AK F&G. Being a member of Bird TLC they become a rider on our permits.

Second was to take this seminar. Now all attendees are qualified to become temporary mom's to any orphaned baby birds that are brought into Bird TLC.

In the wild, baby birds have a 50/50 chance for survival. Through Bird TLC's Baby Bird Program, they have a 85% chance of survival.

Thanks to all of the Bird TLC volunteers who helped put it on, Louise, Cheryl, Luc, Ruthie, Cassie and myself.

My apologies for being a little slow posting this week for I've been extremly busy. I've been doing mew repairs, seting up a new computer system in Glenda's office (Bird TLC Office Mgr), trying to train on presenting a great gray owl, working at my real job and trying to enjoy the gorgous spring we are having so far with my wife and kids.