Sunday, July 31, 2005

Midnight Sun Intertribal Powwow

Every yesr the Midnight Sun Intertribal Powwow is held in Fairbanks, Alaska. It was held in conjunction with the World Eskimo and Indian Olympics. Bird TLC had the great honor of having an eagle released during this time at their event again this year.

Eagels are a symbol to all native people of North America as having great strength. Of all birds of prey, Native Americans give eagles the greatest honor. " Why weDance: to dance is to pray, to pray is to heal, to heal is to give, to give is to live, to live is to dance". This poem by Native American Marijo Moore sums up the meaning behind having and participating in the setting of a powwow for many people. The imporant thing being the prayer; and that is where they hold an eagle in the highest regards, for it is the eagle that carries their prayers to the creator.

BE 04-32 was the last eagle admitted to Bird TLC in 2004. He was found on the ground in Kenai not flying. He had lost a lot of weight and was not looking too well. After cleaning up, feeding him well, plenty of vitamins and looking after him everyday he was sent to the flight center to build up his strength. It's a good thing we got his strength built up be cause he had a very important job to do.

Thanks again to Cindy and Todd Palmatier for the pictures and taking our eagle to the Powwow in Fairbanks.

Friday, July 29, 2005

A truck load of eagles

Cindy asked me to take these two guys to the flight center after work yesterday. They need the exercise and we need the outdoor mews at the clinic.

Trust me, they were ready for the more open space of the flight center when we got there. It was raining pretty good and all of the other eagles there were on the perches out of the rain. When I let them out of the kennel they took right for the perches.

Most of the eagles there are waiting to be released. Some need more time to get their strength built up and others need to prove to us that they can survive on their own. In the mean time it's fresh salmon everyday.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Say Hello to #43

Say hello to #43. No, I don't mean Richard Petty, King of NASCAR. I mean BE 05-43, the 43rd eagle to visit Bird TLC so far this year. He comes from Kodiak Island. I don't think he'll be with us long. He's very feisty and talkative.

Barbara Doak has gone through our archives and found out that the most eagles Bird TLC has had visit in one year is 51. We are 8 short of tying that record with 5 months left in the 2005. Last year we got 32 eagles total. We don't actually want to break the record, that means more injured or sick eagles.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Alaska Scout leaders die near D.C.

Four Boy Scout leaders were killed in Virginia on Monday, the opening day of the organization's national Jamboree, when a metal tent pole they were holding hit a power line and apparently ignited the canvas tent above them, according to Scout officials and witnesses.

Officials late Monday confirmed the leaders who died are Ron Bitzer, Michael Lacroix and Michael Shibe of Anchorage and Scott Powell, who moved to Ohio last year.

Our thoughts go out to the families of these devoted Scout leaders who gave so much to their sons, their troops, and their communities. Fund 80487 has been set up at Denali Alaska Credit Union for the families of the Boy Scout leaders who died at the National Jamboree.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Our tern to go

I can remember as a kid being excited to go on a trip with my family. I don't ever remember saying are we there yet, not saying that I didn't though. I can here some of your thoughts out there, yes I can remember that far back and yes they had cars back then. The only time I wanted to go back home was when I was exhausted.

The baby Arctic Tern that spent a little while with Bird TLC was excited to go on his first ride. Cindy and Todd Palmatier decided to take him to Tern Lake for release (sounds appropriate). Cindy said he wouldn't shut up in the carrier so she took him out. Then he decided to ride to Tern Lake on the dash. I guess he got his first taste at going 65 mph, although without wind in his face. He was soon to get a chance though.

Cindy said when they got there and got out of the truck, he sat on her hand for a bit. Then a gust of wind came along and it got that look on it's face like let's try flying and then he was off. He flew for a bit and then landed in the lake. She said he then spent some quality time taking a bath.

Cindy and Todd watched for a while and then decided he was in good hands now. He's getting ready for a 21,750 mile trip with other arctic terns for the next 20 years.

Thanks for the pictures Cindy and Todd. Also, thanks for getting our little guy on his way.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Loon time

There's a nice article in the Anchorage Daily News today about our local loon population. Check it out at this link.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Great Horned @ Great RV Park

I meet Kent @ Anchorage RV Park yesterday after work. He was doing a presentation of a great horned owl he recently started presenting for the Bird TLC Education Program. Anchorage RV Park is sponsoring Bird TLC presentations every Friday at their pravilion.

There were about 22 RV'ers asking Kent every question imaginable about the great horned owl. They we trying to stump him since he let out he was new at presenting, however he did an excellent job answering their questions.

We meet some very nice people traveling to our state from all over. We had great weather and a very nice host, Dalia from Anchorage RV Park. There will be other presenters there through out the summer educating the travelers about the wild birds in our state.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Time to remove our spectacled

Next week, (date, time and place to be announced) our visiting spectacled eider will be released. His wing has mended just fine according to Rehab Director, Cindy Palmatier and Todd Palmatier, DVM (examining the eider in pic to left).

Caretaking and rehabilitating waterfowl has always been a challenge for Bird TLC. The success of the spectacled eiders rehabilitation and soon to be release is confirmation of the advances Bird TLC has made in its caretaking of waterfowl. Remember, spectacled eiders are listed as threatened under the US Endangered Species Act.

USF&W is determining where he'll be released. They have to determine where the latest location of a flock and how to get him there. We liked having him visit, but will love to see him leave. (Nothing bad intended of course).

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

I and the Bird #2

Nervous Charlie @ Charlie's Bird Blog has posted the second issue of "I and the Bird", the blog carnival for bird lovers. Amazing writers, naturalists, and enthusiasts from all over the world have submitted some of their favorite blog posts relating to the interaction between humans and avians and compiled them here for your reading pleasure.

Check it out, you'll find some great reading.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

BE 05-35

Eagle BE 05-35 came to Bird TLC from Kodiak, Alaska on 6/6/05. He had rotten crop and a very bad infection and abrasions on his left leg. He also was laying down, probably because his leg hurt so much.

He's a lot healthier now, but his infection will not clear up all the way. A sample is being sent to the lab in Seattle for testing (picture to left). He's still feisty though. He got away from 2 handlers last week and bit one on the elbow (ouch). As soon as we can get that infection cleared up, he's ready to go to the flight center. There he'll get his strength back for flying and then it's release time.

BE 05-40 was admitted last Friday. It's our 40th eagle of the year. It's not looking too good though. One leg is not responding and it's been laying down for some time. The keel is bruised real bad and a little sharp. It's dehydrated and exhausted.

The crew has been pumping it full of fluids. It will eat if small chunks of salmon is hand feed to it. Two of our vets have looked at it and can't determine what's the problem. We rigged a donut under it to keep it's keel cushioned. Keep your feathers crossed.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

1st Anniversary

OK, we made it a whole year. The Bird TLC Blog is one year old today. During this time we survived without threatening e-mails and phone calls, however I am still being picked on about my spelling even though it was in the first post that it was not allowed. Blogger didn't make it easy with their spell check not working for a long, long time.

A lot of things have happened at Bird TLC during this time. We now have an on staff Rehabilitation Director, Cindy Palmatier. She is doing an awesome job! I would hate to see where we would be if she hadn't come on board almost a year ago. We've had success with quite a few birds and some disappointing losses. But through all, Bird TLC has grown for the better. That means we are able to provide better treatment for the birds. The clinic is operating more smoothly and efficiently.

We also have an Executive Director, Rachel Morse. She's also doing an awesome job! She has implemented many changes that's steering our organization in the right direction. We are no longer on cruise control. Her fund raising ideas and volunteer recruiting are fantastic. She has updated the computers at the office and they are networked. She also has the acquisition of a webcam in the works. She listens to the volunteers on what they need or their ideas. I'm enjoying working with these two tallented women.

I don't have the room here to mention all of the volunteers and supporters. I wish I did. None of this could happen without them. They simply are invaluable! Sometimes they are almost overwelmed with the amount of work and care that goes on at the clinic, but they go on. You'll also see them on Bird TLC committees and at events.

Also, thanks to all of the webmasters and bloggers for their ideas, help and support. They also are too numerous to list, but they know who they are.

And last but not least, thanks to my wife and kids. Ruthie puts up with me spending a bit of time at the monitor and not doing my honey do list. The kids, Nick, Ryan and Cassie have helped with the website, at the clinic, raising baby birds, getting donated salmon and much more. Their always great supporters in most anything I do.

Well, I'm looking forward to another year. Thanks for your support!


Saturday, July 16, 2005

What the world needs is a few more red necks (So says Charlie Daniels)

I was raised in the southeast and lived half of my life there. I'm told that I still have a pretty heavy southern accent. I listen to some country music, but over the past few years my taste have switched to classic rock (it wasn't classic when I first heard it).

I'm told a lot of red neck jokes and I spread around a few myself. This little fellow in the picture is no joke though. He's a red-necked grebe. He gets his name from his plumage. Once he's an adult, his neck will be covered with red feathers during the summer. He'll also be a great swimmer. You'll only see his head and neck out of the water when he swims. He'll also be a great diver, propelling himself deep with his lobed toes as he pursues fish, crustaceans, and aquatic insects. Then when he has young ones himself, he will carry them on his back when he swims.

We don't know for sure how, but this little guy got separated from his parents on a weekend when Bird TLC was closed. It was taken to Pet Emergency Clinic which is open 24/7/365 which takes the birds in until we open up.

In the lower 48 states, wetland habitat loss is the major factor contributing to population decline. The alteration or destruction of wetlands eliminates nesting habitat. Conservation of large inland wetland complexes is critical to the stability of red-necked grebe populations.

In the United Kingdom, breeding has been suspected but the potential sites are kept secret and birds given special protection. Fewer than 20 individuals spend the summer in the UK each year, with numbers increasing slightly in the winter when birds move there from colder Europe.

In Alaska (and all of the U.S.), it's protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918. By the map to the right you can see that the red-necked grebe spends it summer inland near large lakes breeding ( below the Arctic Circle), and winters on the southern coast.

This little guy will be spending most of it's summer with Bird TLC and one of it's Baby Bird Mom's. Once he gets his juvenile plumage, he'll be released at a local lake where other grebe's are. Hopefully from there he can learn from watching others. I found lots of links on red-necked grebe's, but none talked about life span expectations. Here's hoping he enjoys a long life from there.

Monday, July 11, 2005

It's our tern again

Remember our little buddy from "A Turn with an Arctic Tern" ? Well check him out now. He has grown up a bunch, hasn't he. I say he, but we're not sure and it won't tell us.

Within the next 2 weeks, he's going to be taking that 21,750 mile trip a year for the next 20 years. Cindy will find a colony of arctic terns and release him in their presence. Then Mother Nature gets to take it from there.

Keep your feathers crossed.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Weblogers take the survey

Take the MIT Weblog Survey

MIT is taking a survey on weblogs and their writters. Check it out.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Always wanted to join the carnival

If you work, volunteer or help out at a bird rehabilitation clinic, your interest are obviously with birds. Then even if you weren't interested in birding at first, eventually you become interested. Then after you become interested, you become addicted. I am a total amateur bird watcher, er ah birder.

I spend a good amount of time at night on the computer. I do this blog and maintain the Bird TLC website. A couple of years ago I had no clue to what I was doing. I believe I might be getting a handle on it now. I learned from other websites and blogs. One of my favorites to visit is 10000 Birds.

Mike e-mailed me a little time back about a birders blog carnival. So I asked him a very professional question, " A what?". Here's his answer.........

I and the Bird is a carnival celebrating the interaction of human and avian, an ongoing exploration of the endless fascination with birdlife all around the world. It is also a biweekly showcase of the best bird writing on the web published on alternating Thursdays.

So click on the icon above and check out "I and the Bird". You'll be able to read some fine blog writting on birds in Australia, England, Alaska and some of those other states. Mike, that was a good idea.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

To Denali and back

Ruthie and I just returned from Denali National Park. She did a presentation with Jasper the rough legged hawk for the Denali Foundation's Intergenerational Elderhostel. Wow, what a mouth full, but what a neat program.

First, The Denali Foundation was founded in 1989 in order to develop and implement research, education and communication programs that benefit the Denali Park region, the state of Alaska, and our planet. They believe that wilderness provides an educational opportunity to teach and to share values common to all of us.

Forge the bond between the generations as you explore this subarctic wilderness with your grandchild. Discover the exciting intact ecosystem of Denali National Park while searching for caribou, moose, Dall sheep, grizzly bears and wolves. Phenomenal vistas, glacial rivers and spectacular wildflowers are part of your everyday life in Denali. Local naturalists, explorers and adventurers work together to make your Alaskan experience one that you will never forget. Children will take daily guided hikes with elevation gains of up to 1700 feet. All activities will focus on appreciation of wilderness, communication between the generations, teamwork and most importantly-fun! Note: This program is only for hostelers and their grandchildren ages 9-11.

OK, did you get that. Grandparents and their grandkids only, no mom or dad. What a neat idea. And we met quite a few grandparents and grandkids from all over the states. They were from Florida, Ohio, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Arizona, NY and other states also.

First we had dinner with them. They were the most friendliest people, must of been 40 of them. We were flooded with questions about Anchorage, Alaska, Bird TLC, birds and you name it. Ruthie was holding back any discussion about rough legged hawks until her presentation. Granparents and grandkids both wanting to know more.

Then Ruthie did her presentation with Jasper. While she discussed anything and everything about rough legged hawks, I went around showing bird artifacts (wings, feathers and the such). Her presentation went on for about 45 minutes when it was interrupted by a moose outside of the learning center. An animal we Alaskan's see almost daily and take for granted sometimes. These people were glued to the windows watching the moose's every move.

Thanks to the staff of the Denali Foundation for putting us up at the researcher-in-residence cabin and for their friendly hospitality. Also, thanks to all of the grandparents and grandkids that made the trip worth while. Ruthie, myself and Jasper really enjoyed ourselves.

Some pictures from the trip are in the photo album.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Have a Happy 4th

I hope everyone has a Safe & Happy 4th of July. It's one of the more fun holidays of the year. Ruthie has to work and the kids are off hiking or doing other things. Later on today we'll have a BBQ when they get home, BBQ chicken. I just put the flag out and it looks like we might get rain later today.

Our fireworks display will be around midnight tonight. That's when it will get dark enough to be able to see them. It really won't be dark, more like dusk. We'll see if we're able to stay awake to see them.

Tomorrow we're going to Denali National Park. Ruthie has a presentation there with Jasper the rough legged hawk. We'll spend the night and come home on Wednesday. So I'll spend part of today getting ready for the trip.

Again, be safe and Have a Happy 4th of July. Say a good word for our troops wherever they are. Here's hoping they can stay out of harms way.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

We have GREAT volunteers

We do. We have people from all walks of life. We have housewives, teachers, salespeople, retired people, students, and many more. We have people that drive for an hour or longer to get to the Bird TLC clinic to volunteer for a day. And guess what, we're looking for more.

Although Bird TLC has a full-time Executive Director and Rehab Coordinator and part-time office staff, volunteers make up 90% of the organization. The volunteers are the lifeblood that keeps Bird TLC operating 24/7/365. From providing first aide for injured birds to making presentations with a bird on the fist to administering intravenous fluids to an eagle, volunteers contribute invaluable work and bird knowledge.

Our goal is for every bird is to release it back to the wild,though we know that's not always possible. We also have programs to take non-releasable education birds into the community to provide avian education to the public.

If you live near Anchorage, you can become a part of this. We have openings for Clinic Volunteers, Foster Parents, Education Presenters, Reception and Outreach, Data Entry, Building (mew) Maintenance and others. If you have a special skill or talent that you would like to contribute to Bird TLC, we are interested in hearing them.

If any of this got your interest, contact our office M-F 9AM-5PM at 907-562-4852 or e-mail @ .

Can you see yourself in this picture?

Saturday, July 02, 2005

39 and holding?

No, I'm not talking about my age. I wish I was. We're up to the 39th eagle being admitted for the year. BE 05-39 was brought to us by U.S.F. & W. from Anchorage. That's right, he didn't have too far to travel.

We're not sure what happen to 39. He was found on the ground not wanting to fly. He's an immatue, less than 2 years old. We think he either flew into or was hit by something. He has no broken bones, just minor abrasions.

After some recovery time he should be fine. Then we'll release him back to fly the skys around Anchorage again.