Friday, September 30, 2005

Ouch, I've been tagged

Cindy over at WoodSong got me with a meme via Calre at Kiggavik via nuthatch at bootstrap analysis. This should prove to be interesting.

10 YEARS AGO 1995, hmmmm. I had been retired from the Air Force for a year. We lost the aircraft and crew in Alaska's worst aviation accident. I entered the real world with nothing to do with airplanes anymore. Not knowing that one day she'd be my wife, I recruited Ruth to come to work with me at the smallest store in the company in the state. We kicked butt with the help of a few others and moved to the largest store in the company in the state.

5 YEARS AGO 2000, hmmmm. Ruthie and I got married on July 27th. The ceremony was performed by my friend Don the plow guy. In Alaska, your not required to be married by a priest or preacher. I changed companies and jobs. I am now a peddler, now a days known as a salesman. I quit smoking cigarettes.

1 YEAR AGO 2004, hmmmm. The house got painted and a new roof. Ruthie got a new mini-van. On our anniversary we took a train trip from Anchorage to Seward. We took our bikes with us. We rode from Seward to Exit Glacier and back. It was a gas. I also started the Bird TLC blog.

YESTERDAY 9/29/2005 hmmmm. A normal work day. One of my competitors threw in the towel. Ruthie is preparing for a trip to Prudoe Bay. She'll be doing presentations with a Northern Hawk Owl all weekend for BP. I get to house, dog and bird sit. Ruthie cooked salmon patties, yummy. I'm remodeling the spare bedroom into my office. I picked out paint colors at Home Depot and lighting fixtures at Lowes. Sunday I go to work on it. Saturday I'll be at the bird center doing some stuff to get ready for winter.

5 SONGS I KNOW ALL THE WORDS TO: All oldies too. Stairway to Heaven ( I have the album, 8 track, cassette and now CD), Free Bird (I had lots of Leonard Skynard albums), I can't make you love me (Bonnie Raitt is one hot red head) What a Wonderful World (Louis Armstrong says it all) The Dance (one of the few Garth Brooks songs I liked).

5 SNACKS: Oreo's and milk, corn bread and milk, chocolate ice cream with chocolate syrup, smoked salmon on a Ritz cracker with mustard, fresh baked chocolate chip cookies. I hope this wasn't suppose to be a healthy list.

5 THINGS I'D DO WITH $100 MILLION DOLLARS: build the new bird center over looking Potter Marsh. Buy a new pick up truck. My 1988 Dodge is starting to show its age. Take Ruthie and my kids (even though they are all grown) to both Disneyland and Disney World. Buy my Mom a money truck (armored car). I always told her I would when I was a kid. Imitate one of those Corona commercials for a while.

5 PLACES I WOULD RUN AWAY TO: Wrangell St Elias National Park, Alaska, Australia, St Lawrence Island, Alaska, Pribilof Islands (St. Paul), Alaska, Switzerland.

5 THINGS I'D NEVER WEAR: a tux, anything that I can't garden, fish or repair mews in.

5 FAVORITE TELEVISION SHOWS: Barney Miller, WKRP in Cincinnati, The Red Green Show, Law and Order, The Apprentice.

5 GREATEST JOYS: My wife and kids, fishing, biking, traveling Alaska, our house pets, Aggie the dog and Baby the Cockatoo.

5 FAVORITE TOYS: All Tools, RV, PC, Stereo, aquariums..

5 PEOPLE I'M TAGGING: Matt at Creature News, Lori at North to Alaska, John at DC Birding Blog, Charlie at Charlie's Bird Blog
, and Tony at Milk River Blog.


The First Ever CIRCUS OF THE SPINELESS is Online!

It’s at The Big Top at

Monday, September 26, 2005

I and the Bird 7

Welcome to the seventh edition of "I and the Bird". You've caught me at my favorite cafe in Anchorage,Alaska. The Cafe' Del Mundo. The temperature is at max 60°, sunny with a little breeze. Fall is in full swing, leaves of all colors are now falling from their trees. Just the right kind of day to say the heck with work, I want my white chocolate mocha. I'm going to sit right here and read "I and the Bird" until the cafe closes.

Our first story is from John @ DCBirding. John lives in a city that's not in any state. It's a federal district, the heart of the U.S. Government. Full of historic buildings, massive museums and gorgeous parks. It's time to hug that mocha and read about his last Field Trip: U.S. National Aboretum.

Next we visit David of The Wanderling in the Show Me state of Missouri. He's in search of the evading pelagic after a heavy rain shower produced by Tropical Depression Rita. Storm-bird hunt keeps me on the edge of my chair.

Time for another mocha, but decaf this time, please. These stories are great and I don't want to read them at 90 mph.

Now we go to somewheres in the Midwest where Nuthatch writes bootstrap analysis."Give me juicy autumnal fruit, ripe and red from the orchard, " Walt Whitman wrote. He could have been speaking from the perspective of a migrating bird! Hurry up with my mocha. I want it before I read berries jubilee.

Again in the Midwest, everybodys favorite fly fishing woman at Science and Sarcasm, TroutGrrrl becomes the Accidental Birdist while looking through her window.

Tony Gallucci of milkriverblog sends us a piece by Ron Smith of The Nature Writers of Texas. That's right, you heard me talk of them last month. Ron tells us about his exploits with the evasive Popcorn Bird.

Don't leave your leather gloves laying around T. Beth's place Firefly Forest Blog in Tucson, AZ. There's no telling what the Gila Woodpeckers will leave you. Hey T, is the Triple T Truckstop still around? I always use to get a good cup of Joe there.

Now we go to Vegas where Mike of 10000 Birds is working hard (sure Mike, sure). Warming up to my mocha, I read where Mike's telling us he's waiting out a thunderstorm to tell us about the Desert In The Rain. What's that ol' roadrunner up to these days?

Let's change direction for a minute and go dancing up to Michigan with Cindy of Woodsong. As she dances to Marvin Gaye and takes pictures of moths, a barred owl pays a visit. I have a long sip of my mocha as I read So what'’s up with this ‘ Dances with Moths’ moniker?

Another decaf white chocolate mocha please. Got any carrot cake?

Our GrrlScientist is Living the Scientific Life in the Big Apple. As Hedwig the Owl is trying to make sense of this crazy world, I'm learning more about Hummingbirds and Torpor.

If you want to know more about binoculars, see Laura at birderblog. But if you want to have Laura tell you about an invasion of snowy owls go to The Owl and I.

Let's visit Jerry in Lebanon, NH at The Jer Zone. There's a little fellow there that needs a hand finding his wings. Have you seen them?

Our last stop in the lower 48 (outside as we say here) is with Jeff at Boreal Songbird Initiative Blog. Jeff is under the river Swimming in the Great Bird Current.

Pamela at Thomasburg Walks is a birder with enthusiam in Ontario, Canada. Obviously her eye sight is much better than mine. She's doing fine at picking out the warblers outside Kingston on a Breezy, birdy morning.

I feel that I have visited Arctic Bay and helped on the construction of the Kiggavik Bed and Breakfast. Clare of The House & other Arctic musings tells us about Northern Fulmars that will be there until Arctic Bay freezes, in about three weeks or so. Brrr, warm my mocha please.

Now were off to Gippsland, Australia where Duncan writes Ben Cruachan Blog. Duncan talks about trust between man and bird in Feathered Friends and the enjoyment one gets from it.

And now we're off to Korea with Charlie of Charlie's Bird Blog. Charlie is a lucky fellow who travels the word working for British Airways. He's going to tell you the best place he's ever been birding, Saemangeun. Where?

They're turning the lights out on me. I guess they want to close for the night and go home. We'll I'm going to finish this last mocha first and re-read one of my old favorites from the Bird TLC archives, I Got My Raven of Many Colors.

I hoped you enjoyed "I and the Bird 7" as much as I did putting it together. Version 8 will be at Science and Sarcasm. Send your best blog writing to TroutGrrrl or Mike @ 10000 Birds. Entry deadline 10/11.

Hey, can I get a mocha to go?

All contents of submitted stories are the property of the author. All views and opinions expressed in this blog are the views and opinions of the author and should not be considered the view or opinion of Bird TLC.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

I and the Bird 7

I and the Bird 7 is being hosted here on 9/29. Those of you who would like to submit their best articles may do so by 9/27 to myself at or Mike of 10000 Birds @

If you haven't read Mike's blog @ in a bit, I suggest you do. It has some updates on do'es and don'ts for the carnival.

Please subject your e-mail as I and the Bird 7.

So, have fun. I know I am enjoying reading all the stories from around the world every other week. I look forward to your submissions.

I have e-mailed everyone who submitted to I and the Bird 6 and have gotten a few mailman rejections. Don't be insulted if you didn't get an e-mail invite. Either I have your e-mail wrong or you need to check on it.

Seven charged in whooping crane deaths

Seven central Kansans were charged in U.S. District Court on Wednesday in connection with the death of two whooping cranes last fall.

They told wildlife officials that they mistook the endangered cranes for legally hunted sandhill cranes on a Nov. 6 Stafford County goose and sandhill crane hunting trip.

The wounded birds were found by local farmers, and captured by wildlife officials. They eventually died while undergoing treatment.

Named in the case are:

• Michael L. Burke, 33, Great Bend

• Chad M. Churchill, 34, Ellinwood

• Kim Churchill, 53, Ellinwood

• Scott L. Hjetland, 33, Chase

• Ronald Laudick, 50, Hudson

• Mark S. Ricker, 33, Raymond

• Lonnie J. Winkleman, 33, Lyons

The defendants are scheduled to appear in U.S. district court at 10:30 a.m. on Sept. 30. They face maximum penalties of up to six months in jail and a $15,000 fine.

The charges are under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, which deals with the legal hunting and illegal killing of all migratory birds.

Initially officials said penalties could reach $100,000 and up to one year in jail under the Endangered Species Act.

" (Charges under) the endangered species act, in our opinion, would require an allegation be made that the hunters knew what they were killing was a species protected under the federal endangered species law," said Jim Cross, spokesman for U.S. Attorney Eric Melgren. "The charge we used is based on the fact that the hunters shot and killed the (protected) birds."

Kevin Jones, Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks law enforcement director, said the federal judge could also prohibit the men from hunting in the future.

They could also face restitution charges, which could require them to repay the government for the costs of the investigation, or a formulated value of the dead whooping cranes.

Officials think there are fewer than 300 whooping cranes currently in the wild.

Sportsmen and wildlife enthusiasts have been upset by the shooting.

Jim Kellenberger, a longtime hunter education instructor, said misidentification is not an excuse.

"We teach kids you never, ever, pull the trigger if you can't make 100 percent positive identification," Kellenberger said. "This was a horrendous thing."

Ron Klataske of Audubon of Kansas said he has mixed feelings on what the punishment should be.

"On one hand we would like to see the most severe penalty to discourage this kind of carelessness," he said. "But the human factor comes into play, and we have concern for the individuals involved if they really didn't intend to kill whooping cranes."

To decrease the chance of a similar mix-up in the future, Wildlife and Parks has increased efforts to educate hunters on the differences between sandhill cranes and whooping cranes.

The opening of the season has been slightly delayed this year, to give whooping cranes more time to migrate through Kansas.

Legal shooting hours have also been moved to a half-hour after sunrise to give hunters a better view of the birds.

It was the first known case of whooping cranes being shot by sandhill hunters in modern history.


The Wichita Eagle

Friday, September 23, 2005

Four charged for shooting owls during winter influx

DULUTH, Minn. (AP) - When thousands of great gray, boreal and northern hawk owls flocked to northern Minnesota last winter looking for food, they became targets.

Stemming from separate incidents, four men have been charged in federal court with killing the protected birds. Together, more than a dozen owls were shot dead.

"We know of several more owls that were shot but, as of now, we don't have enough information to prove any more than these four cases,'' said Scott Staples, a Minnesota Department of Natural Resources conservation officer.

"Most people enjoyed driving around and seeing all the owls last winter, so I think people were pretty upset when they saw or heard about the shootings,'' Staples said.

Experts say about 5,000 owls arrived to northeastern Minnesota last winter. Nearly 1,000 owls - mostly great grays - were killed after being hit by cars.

Those charged for shooting the owls include Ronald Mlaskoch, of Willow River; Tyson Warner, of Tamarack and Roy and Jacob Line, both of Cromwell. All faced fines ranging from $850 to $6,800.

When questioned by DNR officials, Roy Line said he would consider shooting owls if they threatened geese on his property. Line later confessed he had shot an owl, the DNR said in a news release.

In the most severe case, officers say they found at least 10 owl carcasses on Warner's property. He pleaded guilty to violating the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and is scheduled to be sentenced Oct. 24 in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis. His hunting, fishing and trapping privileges could be suspended for two years.

DNR officials said outraged members of the public led them to investigate reports of people shooting the owls.

Information from: Duluth News Tribune,

Thursday, September 22, 2005

10th Anniversary of Yukla 27, AWACS crash

It was 10 years ago today, September 22nd, that an AWACS plane carrying U.S. and Canadian military personnel crashed after takeoff from Elmendorf Air Force Base, killing all 24 people aboard.

Their aircraft call sign was Yukla 27. Yukla is a Tanaina Indian name for "Eagle". On 22 September 1995, Yukla 27 began rolling down runway 05 at 0746 Alaska Standard Time. The E-3B did not fly far after take off, remaining airborne only 42 seconds. Losing most port (left) wing thrust, Yukla 27 banked into an inescapable crisis, reaching an altitude of no more than 270 feet, and disappeared into the timbered hills 3,500 feet Northeast of the runway at precisely 0747:12. Having wrestled the E-3 to the edge of the laws of physics well below stall speed, pilot Capt Glenn "Skip" Rogers' last transmission was "We're goin' in, we're going down."

Each chose to answer the highest calling of citizenship by risking his personal safety in defense of his country. There is no more selfless act. All who die in the line of duty do so that others might live in peace and prosperity. It is a profound sacrifice and a priceless gift. The tragic accident which claimed Yukla 27 transformed its 24 man crew into the stuff of legend. They were 24 of the best. The day of their loss will be forever marked into history and my memory.

The investigation into the accident revealed that geese, being sucked into the jet's engines, caused the crash.

I knew most of the crew of Yukla 27. I was the crew chief of the aircraft it replaced after I retired. Funny thing is that I knew most of the crew from the time spent deployed to Panama, not our time in Alaska. Aircraft Commander, Capt. Skip Rodgers was a real professional. TSgt Bart L. Holmes was the flight engineer, and one of the best. These two I worked with the most, the rest I saw in the halls at work, at squadron picnics, etc. They were the best of the best and won't be forgotten.

"High Flight"


John Gillespie Magee, Jr.

Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds--and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of--wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence, Hov'ring there,
I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air.
Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
I've topped the windswept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or even eagle flew,
And, while with silent, lifting mind I've trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand and touched the face of God.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

New home for Kodie

Do you remember me posting last month (Attack of the NW Crow) the story of the NW Crow that came to us from Kodiak? Well Kodie, as he's called now, has a new mew. Our volunteer Karen Ottenbright did a heck of a job of putting together an escape proof (so far) mew that will be in Cindy Palmitiers office at Bird TLC. Karen also did the story that was posted last month. She is one of a small group at Bird TLC that like to deal with corvids a lot. She also presents a magpie among other ed birds.

Nice job Karen!

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Bye-Bye Birdie, the rest of the story

As if you can't tell, the day started out pretty ugly and it got worse before it got better. Trying to put up tents in the rain brings back some ugly flash backs. However, we had a lot of dedicated volunteers that were going to make Bye-Bye Bird work or they were going to go home wet trying.

I left at 11:30 with Cindy to go get the eagle that was being released today. Taking the senic route due to construction on Ft. Richardson that we were unaware of until we got there, we were running a little behind. On the trip back the weather had cleared up real good. Half way back it was sunny and then it turned for the worse again. As we pulled up to the event it started to pour again which was around 2PM.

The weather didn't dampen our attitudes too much (sorry for the pun). Everyone had their stations up and going and the weather finally cleared up. The sun came out a little, but it stayed partly cloudy for the rest of the afternoon which is not unusual weather for Anchorage in September.

During this time, we had our Bird TLC Education Birds being presented. There were at least three birds being presented the whole time. We had a bald eagle, golden eagle, great horned owl, snowy owl, great gray owl, sawwhet owl, northern hawk owl, rough legged hawk, northern goshawk, merlin, American kestrel, short eared owl, northwestern crow, raven, magpie, stellar jay and I'm sure I missed a few.

There was a shuttle bus provided by the Alaska Zoo bringing people from the Potter Marsh parking area to the Bye-Bye Birdie site and giving a birding narrative along the way. There was a bird migration game for kids. They were shown what birds migrated, what they ate and where they traveled with help from USF&W, and Alaska Dept of Fish & Game.

The blad eagle was released at 3pm (ish) by Mayor Mark Begich, our raffle winner Dan, a representative of ConnocoPhilips and USF&W. We expected our eagle to go one direction, and like a wild bird he went another. Here's a link to John Gomes, the offical photographer of the Alaska Zoo. He took some great shots at the site. Here's a link. I stole one of the release pictures below. Thanks John!

Things wrapped up about 4:30PM. Even though things started off a little wet, they ended up with a lot of fun being had by all. Let me finish up by saying thanks to the people that made the first Bye-Bye Bird a blast ....

Alaska Zoo, Alaska Dept of Fish & Game, US Fish & Wildlife, ConnocoPhilips, ConnocoPhilips Employee's on the 17th floor, Cafe Del Mundo, Alaska Salmon Express, Tim Vanderhouwen of Airport Equipment Rentals, and all the great volunteers and staff at Bird TLC. Good job Rachel!

We successfully said Bye-Bye Birdie

Bye-Bye Birdie was a success. Mother nature threw some rain at us at first, but by afternoon we had the sun covering the who show. I'll write up a full story along with some pictures and a lot of "Thank You's" after I rest up from all of the great work the volunteers did.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Visit with us tomorrow and say Bye-Bye Birdie

Tomorrow is the day we're going to say bye-bye birdie, until next year, to the migratory birds that visit Alaska every year. Come visit us at 15500 Old Seward Hwy, with parking at Potter Mash boardwalk. There will be kids games, live bird presentations, refreshments, and more. Admission and parking is free. Go to the News page @ the Bird TLC website for more info and a map. I hope to see you there.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

I and the Bird #6

The 6th edition of I and the Bird is out and can be found at Birdchick. Sharon's goal is to show that a person can enjoy birds without being a total geek and she does an awesome job of it. A birding enthusiast, she manages the Wayzata shop for All Seasons Wild Bird stores in the Twin Cities in Minnesota. If your in her area you may also find her on local TV or radio. Check out all of the stories submitted to her from all around the world.

Are you uncommonly interesting in birds? You have a place with the writers of the birding blogosphere in the next I and the Bird. Send in a link of your favorite blog post regarding an interaction with one or more wild birds, along with a brief summary to me, the next host, Dave of Bird TLC or Mike of 10000 Birds. Be sure to put "I and the Bird 7" in the subject line. The next I and the Bird will be presented on Thursday, September 29, so the deadline for submissions is Tuesday, September 27.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Almost Bye-Bye time

Ruthie and I just came from a meeting of the volunteers for Bye-Bye Birdie. So far they have really put together a heck of a program. If you haven't made plans to be there, think it over. Check out this link for more info .... Bye-Bye Birdie

Last week in Canada

Last week, Trix @ WhipPoorWill lost her best laying hen to a goshawk in her front yard in Northern Ontario. Check out her version of this experience at

Be careful though. She's knows how to use a chainsaw.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Off to Seward

On Friday, Cindy asked if we would take a Cassin's Auklet to the Alaska Sea Life Center (ASLC) in Seward on Saturday. Ruthie and I love visiting both places, so we gave a eager "Yes". I also figured that this time of year, all of the leaves on the trees should be changing colors. That would make a beautiful drive. Although it is usually a beautiful drive anytime of year, I was looking for those fall colors.

Our little guy was being transferred to ASLC because they are much more capable of rehabitating a seabird properly than at Bird TLC. Their modern facility is the envy of all rehabers. They mainly do sea mammals, but they also do seabirds as well. We have an official handshake agreement with them. They send us land birds and we send then the seabirds. If you have never been to ASLC, you must put it on your must see list.

We meet up with Tim when we arrived and he admitted our Auklet. He checked him over well and said he looked pretty good. After some time at ASLC, he hoped to release him in Dutch Harbor when he visits there in about three weeks. He then took us on the behind the scenes tour of sea lions, harbor seals and others going through rehab at this time. What a cool place.

Now we were off on our own. We went upstairs and took the tour of the rest of the center. It was crowded but had lots of stuff going on. We went for a late lunch at the Peking Restaurant (best Chinese in Seward), and then on our way towards home.

We made a lot of side stops to look at the scenery. The trees were just starting to change. In about another week should be the time to check them out. However we did get to see lots of neat stuff. We also got to see trumpeter swans at Tern Lake and beluga whales at Turnagain Arm. We enjoyed the lovely weather provided also. It was almost a picture perfect fall Saturday.

Gyrfalcon updates

The Gyrfalcon that was in the stolen van has been recovered and will be fine. Thanks to the observant citizen and to APD.

Phil the gyrfalcon with the feather issue will be seeing an dermatologist tomorrow. Keep your feathers crossed for him.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Gyrfalcon stolen along with vehicle from driveway

HAWK-NAPPING: Pet bird of prey slept in van as both were taken.

A car thief may have made off with more than he bargained for when he drove a Dodge Caravan away from a Chugiak driveway Friday morning.

In the van, behind a backseat, was a young falcon. For full story in the Anchorage Daily News go to

If you have any information about this, contact the Anchorage Police Dept @ 786-8500.

Friday, September 09, 2005

I learned something new

I learned something new last week when I was at the Bird TLC clinic. But, that's not unusual for me. I usually learn something, mostly small things. I stick my nose in whenever I'm there and there's something new or different going on. I'm also not bashful about asking questions to make something more clear to me or just my plain ol' curiosity kicking in. (Heck, I'm usually not bashful about anything). All the staff and volunteers offer any information freely.

About a week and a half ago, Travis Boom brought in this gyrfalcon he named Phil. Travis is a doctorate student at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. He volunteers his summers at the Yukon Delta Wildlife Refuge as a biological technician. Phil has no flight or tail feathers. He would have died if not rescued by Travis. His intentions was to bring Phil into Bird TLC for rehabilitation or placement in its education program. There were a lot of people around when he brought Phil in the clinic and I didn't want to get in the way. So I just stayed back and figured I catch up later on. Copies were made of a newspaper article in The Delta Discovery about them. The article was posted on the rahab bulletin board. It was a little large so I decided to read it later on also.

Things were slow one day later in the week and Rehab Director, Cindy Palmetier took me on a tour of all of her patients. We got to Phil and she told me that she really wanted him in an outside mew. The problem was Phil can't fly and all of the perches in the outside mews were too far off the ground for him. I'm not sure, but I think that's one of her ways of asking me if I would fix that. She knows I wouldn't say no. Heck, 2 1/2 years ago I volunteered to be the Bird TLC Webmaster. First thing I did was run to the book store and bought "Webmastering for Dummies".

I was really busy the rest of the week, so I went into the clinic on Sunday. On the weekend is best for me, very few interruptions. I took out the old perches and replaced them with two new lower perches. The upper one is able to be relocated higher without much effort if needed. I did some other minor repairs to the mew, cleaned up my mess and went home.

On Monday I went in to see what Cindy thought of my project. She said it was great, go out and look because Phil is in the mew. She said she still had to add a little ramp. I checked it out and Phil was comfortable, at least until I came close. I took a few pictures so I could maybe do a write-up in the blog later on about my craftiness and Phil. On the way out I grabbed a copy of the news article.

Later that night when I had a chance, I read the news article about Travis and Phil. This is when my education began about gyrfalcon in Alaska. I didn't know that one of the highest concentration of gyrfalcon in the world is in the Yukon Delta. This species is considered a special concern for Alaska. This is the only state in the U.S. that has breeding gyrfalcon. That's where Travis Boom's work is important, checking out how the state's population of gyrfalcon are doing.
So, a couple thanks go out here. The first one to Travis Boom and his field partner Josh Spice for rescuing Phil. Also, for the great work they do each summer. The second to Phil, for educating me on his species especially in the state of Alaska. Something that I was casually ignoring. As Travis said "I'd like the community to know that there is a phenomenal species of bird here. They are residents of Alaska and they are here year round." I know it now.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

No salmonellosis for me please

Back in February 2005 the Alaska Department of Fish and Game reported on the death of redpolls at household feeders in Fairbanks and Nenana has been increasing. Then an outbreak of salmonellosis in Pine Siskins had been reported in Juneau. ADF&G came up with the following report....

In a nut shell, they figured out it was salmonelloisis in most cases. To help prevent further out break, they requested that everyone would keep their feeders clean and to keep feces and seed debris picked up from underneath the feeders.

With winter coming upon us, I figured it was a good time to rerun this report. Lets get those feeders down and thoroughly cleaned before the weather turns and the ground underneath cleaned up before the first snow. Then keep the ground cleaned up during winter, don't just let the snow cover it up.

It's nice to have the feeders out for the little guys during winter. Let's not make them into death traps for them.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Feisty magpies annoy and entertain

Here's an article in today's Anchorage Daily News about one of my favorite corvids. Photo by BOB HALLINEN / Daily News archive 2002

SOUTHCENTRAL WILDLIFE WATCH Published: September 4, 2005 Last Modified: September 4, 2005 at 04:37 AM

You don't need to take a long wilderness hike to watch wildlife. Black-billed magpies, common Anchorage birds you can attract to a feeder come winter, provide hours of fascinating (or annoying) wildlife watching.

The black-and-white birds have a sweeping black tail that's longer than the rest of the body, said Rick Sinnott, Anchorage area biologist for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

Their black feathers have a glossy sheen, giving them a green or purple look up close.

But their appearance is just one reason the birds are entertaining. Magpies sometimes seem to have a bit in common with teenage boys -- engaging in aggressive, sometimes risky stunts like pulling hairs out of a cat or dog tail, then flying away.

"They'll know just how far a dog can reach on its chain," Sinnott said.

This behavior -- tweaking a potential predator -- is intended to impress other magpies watching from a safe distance.

Magpies will sometimes squabble among themselves, particularly in the late winter and early spring when a nonbreeding bird deliberately crosses another bird's territorial boundary. The fracas attracts other magpies, and the chasing and noisy chatter spreads from the ground to birds in the treetops.

"They act and sound like spectators at a hockey match," Sinnott said.

The original two birds may wind up rolling around on the ground, pecking each other. Usually the intruder retreats, but sometimes it manages to squeeze in a nesting territory of its own, between other nesting pairs.

Magpies aren't fussy eaters. They'll snack at bird feeders, especially those stocked with peanuts or suet, and will eat all sorts of other foods, including roadkill, insects, berries, Chinese food and french fries. They can quickly empty a bird feeder, returning repeatedly and caching each beakful nearby. They seem to be able to remember the location of hundreds of temporary food caches.

In the Anchorage area, magpies nest in birch trees, often building bulky stick nests several feet in diameter. They squawk a strident alarm call, which sounds a little like "mag, mag, mag," anytime terrestrial predators get too close. That includes dogs, cats and humans.

Magpies defending a nest, or more typically their awkward fledglings, may swoop down at people, occasionally smacking someone in the head. Sinnott said he's never heard of anyone being seriously injured by a magpie. They are only about twice the size of a robin.

Every now and then someone will propose a magpie hunting season because of their raucous behavior and because they occasionally eat songbird eggs and nestlings. But Sinnott figures any bird tough enough to stick it out through an Alaska winter has earned our respect and admiration.

"Really, they're no worse than New Yorkers," he said. "They're kind of obnoxious, but you've gotta love them for what they are."

EYEBALL MORE: For information on wildlife viewing in Alaska, go to www.wildlifeviewing.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Congrat's Lisa

Congratulations to Lisa Pajot on here Wedding Day today. This is a picture of Lisa at Migratory Bird Day at the Alaska Zoo earlier this year.

Even though she was getting married today, she came into the clinic with her hair already done up to pick up a magpie that was being released today. Talk about dedication.

Best wishes for a long and happy marriage!

Friday, September 02, 2005

Clinic Volunteers needed

Clinic Volunteers Needed!

With school starting up again next week, it has made a few volunteer positions vacant.

Our clinic volunteers provide day to day care and feeding for injured birds of all sizes, as well as assisting with medical care and treatments. All clinic volunteer training is provided.

Volunteers must be 18 years old or older and able to commit to 4 hours per week. For more information, or to sign up contact Cindy @ 562-4852.

Hurricane Katrina

Victims of Hurricane Katrina are attempting to recover from the massive storm that is still making its way across the Mid-Atlantic States. American Red Cross volunteers have been deployed to the hardest hit areas of Katrina’s destruction, supplying hundreds of thousands victims left homeless with critical necessities.

By making a financial gift to Hurricane 2005 Relief, the Red Cross can provide shelter, food, counseling and other assistance to those in need.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

I and the Bird 5

John at DC Birding has put togethers the newest version of I and the Bird 5. Check out the writting of 19 different bloggers at
These bloogers take you all over the states and the world with different stories about birds from bird watching to rehab stories.