Wednesday, August 31, 2005

T for Texas

The Nature Writers of Texas has been resurrected, including all
of the archives, in blog format. Each author's articles will be posted as
received and archived for future reference.

We'd welcome you to take a look at

Your buggin' me

This e-mail from a blogin' friend in Texas. So if your into bugs, you'll be in heaven.

That's right, Bootstrap Analysis, Urban Dragon Hunters and milkriverblog are
banding together to bring you another Carnival devoted to writing and
photography about animals on the web.

This, the Circus of the Spineless, is devoted to all those critters in the
lower reaches of the great evolutionary bush -- those that have no
vertebrae. So we're talking here about insects (especially blog favorites
butterflies, moths, dragonflies and beetles, plus a whole host of other
critters), arachnids, molluscs (yep, blog favorites octopi and squid fit
here), crustaceans, worms, mites, lice, and who knows what else folks find
to blog about. We're just looking for the best writing and the best photos
out there in the blogosphere.

It will appear monthly, and you can submit posts with extensive original
writing and/or original photographic work.

Even if you don't submit, you can help us get the word out to those who read
you by posting a notice on your blog -- it would be much appreciated.

There's an introduction and some rules at the official Spineless site.

Submissions for the first edition are due no later than September 28th, so
start collecting now.

In addition to looking for your submissions and/or getting the word out,
we're looking for some other things you might be able to help with.

First, of course, we'll need some hosts for future carnivals including a
host for October 31st! Then we're looking for December and beyond. If you're
interested flash me an email back.

And we're also looking to make the base site a good reference point for
invertebrate info for those who come stumbling around. I already have a
significant linkload based on my specialties (and on Texas to an extent).
We'd love to have any more links you can pass along to add to that list.

Thanks for your help and participation -- hope to see you soon at the Circus
of the Spineless!

tony gallucci
hunt, tx, usa

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Where did the summer go?

I went into Bird TLC today (Sunday) to do some repairs and mods to an outside mew. We have a gyr falcon that's probably going to be staying with us for a while and it's going to move into it. The NASCAR Race was on last night, Ruthie's working and the kids are off doing their own thing. A perfect opportunity to go in alone and get the job done in a timely manner.

It's been raining a lot lately, not unusual for Alaska this time of year. The temps (57°F) have taken a dip because of it. I stopped for a minute to take a break and had a seat on a wobbly saw horse and finished my coffee. I was looking at the trees in the back and I noticed that they were starting to change to their fall colors. ARGH!!! Where has summer gone so fast? We're no way near ready for summer to be over yet.

At the beginning of summer, Cindy and I made a list of items that needed to be done in the mew yard. We probably only got half the list complete. My real job, the one that puts the pb & j sandwiches on the table, has been busier than all get out. I have to take advantage of that when I can because come winter it slows down to a crawl. But, during the winter time, most of these jobs outside in the mew yard can't be done, or at least not properly. Plus, I'm getting too old to be working out in the cold for long periods of time. I'm in no way ready for winter yet.

Come to think of it, we did get a lot done. The Boy Scouts built a beautiful new raven mew. I rebuilt the old one and Karen Ottenbright modified it to work for magpies. A-1 Fence repaired our front gates (maybe they won't knock Don the plow guy out this year). All of the mews had some repairs done to them. Char put together a crew from UAA and they did lots of stuff.

OK, maybe the mews are almost ready for winter, but I'm not!

Friday, August 26, 2005

Bye-Bye Birdie

Say goodbye to the migratory birds that visit Alaska every year

Bye-Bye Birdie

Sept 17, 2005 1-5pm

Bird TLC Property at Potter Marsh

Fun for everyone. Games, tours, refreshments and more

For more info and directions, go to the Bird TLC web site

Monday, August 22, 2005

Guess who came to dinner...

... and a little longer. BE 05-46 arrived from Soldotna today. He has something going on in his left shoulder area. Tomorrow he goes in for x-rays to help determine what the problem is. He was on the ground for a while before being found. His keel is a little sharp and his tail feathers are well worn.

If all goes well, maybe Cindy will get me his x-rays to post here.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

More Great Volunteers

I've written about Ruthie before, but not about Harry. He's been on vacation for the last week visiting his kids outside (lower 48 for those of you not from Alaska). Usually he is at the Bird TLC clinic every Saturday come rain or snow or shine. He also works two jobs putting in about 75 hours a week and then walks to Bird TLC on Saturday to clean mats, clean mews, help give shots, feed the birds, etc for four or five hours. He's a hard working guy.

All of our volunteers are hard workers, but Harry's the stone wall on Saturdays crew. Thanks for the great job Harry!

Wolf Education in Canada

Pamela at Thomasburg Walks In Ontario, Canada writes about Kerwood Wolf Education Centre, her local wildlife rehab center (centre, center???). They recently received two coyotes that will be with them a long time. This center does the same type of work in Canada with the four legged critters that we do with our feathered friends. For those of you out there who want to help more besides Bird TLC, check this story out.

Invasion of the Great Gray Owl

I keep metioning the invasion of great gray owls into Minnesota and the surrounding states and people look at me like what are you talking about. Well here's the MSNBC news story about it from February 2005.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

I and the Bird #4

If you've been visiting the bird blogs lately you know what this is -- the 4th edition of the blog carnival "I and the Bird". Mike G from Milk River Music & Film has put together this weeks version and he did a heck of a job. There's stories from our magpie visitors to bared owls in Washington DC and others around the world.

If you're completely lost let's start here -- a blog carnival is a periodical roundup of the best writing on a specific topic. I and the Bird is about, well . . . birds! Start off at Milk River and there's links to all the blogs involved with the best stories on birds around the world.

Bird TLC is a non-profit organization dedicated to rehabilitating sick, injured or orphaned wild birds and providing avian education programs to the public. Linking to other blogs from Bird TLC is not an endorsement by Bird TLC. It is a suggestion by me to check them out.


Monday, August 15, 2005

Is it visiting time??

Have you ever spent time as a hospital patient? I spent a week in Alaska Regional back in 2000 and it was the most boring time I ever spent any place. The TV was worse than when I was a kid. The food wasn't bad, it just wasn't good. I had visitors, but the day still dragged on. I begged the doctor to send me home.

This past Friday we had a volunteer recruiting deal at the Alaska Zoo. The people who work the zoo are top notch. I brought some displays from the Bird TLC Clinic and I took them back on Sunday.

As I left Bird TLC after dropping off the displays, I heard all kinds of magpie noises coming from the mew yard. We have just three magpies in the magpie rehab mew, but it was way too much noise to be coming just from them. As I looked around the corner of the building, I saw six magpies making all kinds of a ruckus with our three magpies in their rehab mew. I could see in their mew was the magpie ceasar salad that days crew had feed them and they weren't sharing. The salad had hard boiled egg, salmon, veggies and all the stuff a magpie loves. Those on the outside were voicing their disapproval, but the ones on the inside were telling them "tough cookies". Then they spotted me and four of them took off for the safety of the roof tops of the other mews. Two stood their ground, hoping to get some of the salad, but nope, the patients weren't giving any of it up.

Our three magpies in rehab didn't have any books to read or TV to watch, but there was plenty of entertainment going on around them. We also don't wake them at 4AM to take a sleeping pill. Good thing Bird TLC is located in a industrial warehouse area or we would have some very angry neighbors from all the magpie noise.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

We don't need no stinking badges?

It's the new thing. It was fun and here it is.

They are small and compact. They don't take up much room in your links column and they're low in sodium and cholesterol.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Attack of the NW Crow

The following story was stolen from Karen Ottenbright of Bird TLC.

It all started the way is most bird things start at Bird TLC, with a phone call. It seems there was a crow that "attacked" a little girl on Kodiak. The story went that a little girl ventured out to her family's mailbox and a black bird landed, squawking, on her head. The girl ran crying into the house, where her father went out to see the cause of the ruckus. Finding the black bird on the mailbox, squawking loudly at him, he waved his arm to shoo the strange bird away. The bird responded by jumping onto his arm then climbed to his shoulder. Upon getting comfortable, the bird crooned and nibbled on his ear. Immediately the man knew something was definitely not normal with this bird.

A few days later, the crow (a Northwest Crow) found itself in Anchorage at Bird TLC where he/she has managed to charm just about everyone that has come in contact with him. Quite obviously humans had raised the bird from a very early age. The young flighted bird either got away or the well intentioned people attempted to return it to the wild. Either way, the bird now dubbed "Kodiak" was ill equipped to survive in the wild. It turned to the only source of food it new... people.

Corvids (crows, ravens, magpies and jays) present a special problem for Bird TLC and other wild bird rehabbers. They, unlike most other wild birds, are very social animals. Family structure is very important to their well being. Young ravens that have spent time at the clinic generally finish up their convalescence with adult non-releasable ravens. These adults help "wild up" the juveniles., helping to prepare them for life back in the wild. This may sound odd, but it is true. Ravens and crows especially, must learn social behavior, rules, vocalizations and other etiquette from other birds of their kind. From their family and peers they learn what to eat, where they can find it and what may present a danger to them. Even if we did have adult crows for Kodiak to spend time with, it is unlikely that they would manage to "wild him up" again. This little fellow or gal firmly believes it's a person with a beak.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Yes, we're up to 44 now

If this fellow on your left looks like he's in rough shape, your right. He was found in Dutch Harbor with a compound fracture of the left ulna and radius. (If he was human, that would be between the wrist and elbow). He had been injured for a while because the wound was healing without the wing reconnecting. He had been on the ground scavenging what ever he could to eat. Not a pretty thing to see. He was found by USF&W and sent to Bird TLC. He is an adult bald eagle, not an immature eagle.

On Thursday, Dr Palmatier amputated the hanging portion of the wing trying out a new technique that so far seems to be working out. Pictures of the operation are in the photo album to your right. He's now in recovery and looking much better. He'll get a bath after he has time to recover from the operation. Baths are stressful to eagles, so we don't want to do it right now. We use dish soap when giving them a bath. It's not the strongest stuff, but it's the safest. A lot of the stained feathers will have to wait for a molt. You could tell he wasn't happy with his dirty appearance, he didn't want to look at the camera when I took his picture.

Welcome to Bird TLC BE 05-44. Enjoy your stay. You'll feel much better when you leave.

I spoke too soon. Ruthie and I went in on Saturday to help the clinic crew and there was BE 05-45, an immature that had fallen from it's nest here in Anchorage. He was in good shape, no apparent injuries. I'll check with Cindy on Monday and see what the rest of his story is and get a picture posted.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

'I and the Bird' #3: The Backyard and Beyond

Want to go to a B&B? Check out "I and the Bird #3: The Backyard and Beyond" over at Peter Bryant's B&B. During your stay he will take you around the world dishing out a little of everything about birding and other related stories.

Full House @ Raptor Rap

Tuesday night saw a full house at the Alaska Zoo and it's annual Rator Rap. Presented were birds from Bird TLC and the Alaska Zoo including a Northern Goshawk, Great Horned Owl, Red-Tailed Hawk, Snowy Owl and a Golden Eagle. There wasn't an empty seat in the house.

While checking out the Alaska Zoo's web site, I found their photographers link. Check out John Gomes work . There's some great stuff there.

Check out more pictures of Raptor Rap and others in Bird TLC photo's in the photo album to your right.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Alaska looses Bush Rat Governor

Former Gov. Jay Hammond has died at the age of 83. He served as Alaska's governor during the early years of the trans-Alaska oil pipeline, and helped create the Alaska Permanent Fund dividend.

Jay Hammond, Bush pilot, poet and elder statesman of Alaska politics, passed away last night. Bella Hammond called Alaska State Troopers after she discovered that her husband had died in his sleep at their Lake Clark home.

Hammond is survived by his wife of 53 years, Bella, his three daughters Wendy, Dana, and Heidi, and a large extended family.

At his own request, Hammond will be buried Wednesday in Port Allsworth, which is located about 150 miles southwest of Anchorage. Local services will be held Friday at 2 p.m., at the Port Allsworth Bible Church for family only. Memorial services are also being planned for Anchorage, but no date or place has yet been set.

As one observer said Tuesday, Jay Hammond transcended politics. Although best known as a two-term governor and elder statesman, Hammond's legacy runs even deeper.

Alaska political insiders point to the Alaska Permanent Fund and the dividend as the obvious, long-term achievements of the Hammond administration. But they say it does not end there. They say the life of Jay Hammond cannot be limited to the changes he oversaw in the statute books and the Alaska Constitution.

I meet Gov. Hammond once at Club Paris, a popular restaurant in Anchorage where you get the best steak in the state. He took the time to talk to everyone who approached his table. He was extremly polite and quick to answer questions. He was a friend to all Alaskans. He looked like everyone else, but everyone knew who he was. His legacy will live on forever.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Quality Time with One Wing & Ol' Witch

In everyone's mind there's a picture that stands for being a survivor. It might be a man or a woman that survived all odds at whatever confronted them, but their picture is in your mind. We all have our ups and downs in life. If your reading this, so far your a survivor.

One Wing is the picture in my mind that stands for survivor. As I've written before, One Wing is a survivor of the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill in 1989. After that disaster happened, Dr. James Scott's clinic Arctic Animal Hospital, was one of several in Alaska that was sent animals that were sick and injured by the oil spill.

Dr. Scott was sent the birds because of his well known love and care for them. One of the eagles, now known as One wing, had its left wing amputated due to excessive injuries. There were many other eagles to be treated because the toxins from their oiled prey had poisoned them. Only transfusions of eagle blood could give them any hope, and Dr Scott had to select one of these birds as a blood donor since there were no healthy eagles to act as a donor. Dr. Scott choose One Wing because he would never be able to fly again or be released back to the wild. His chances of surviving were very poor.

Normally blood for a transfusion can be taken from as eagle no more often than every two weeks. Now it was drawn from One Wing each day for three days in a row, followed by one day of rest. More blood was taken for several additional days in succession. One Wing should never have survived, but each morning he was still alive when the weary vet arrived to check on his charges. Gazing back quietly from his cage, this eagle was clining to life. Everyone in the clinic was amazed at One Wing's valiant fight to live; a small miracle was unfolding before them.

One Wing soon became more than another patient at the Arctic Animal Hospital. He became a rally point for all the staff and volunteers, but especially for Jim Scott. This bird defied all the odds and refused to give up. To this day, talking about the eagle is a very emotional experience for Dr. Scott. He even wrote a poem (which I'll post soon) early one morning in tribute to the eagle.

Today, One Wing and Ol' Witch (another survivor from the oil spill), his long time companion, spend their days at their mew at Bird TLC. A mew built only for them by a Boy Scout earning his Eagle rank.

I spent Saturday morning in the rain cleaning up their mew. They know me better now than when I first started volunteering at Bird TLC over four years ago, but they keep a close eye on me. They also let me know when I'm starting to get too close. People come to visit them and we're all proud to tell them their story.