Monday, October 31, 2005

It's here

Winter has made it here. Saturday night we got our first snow fall of the season. But the real story is the temperature. It has been under freezing (32°) for the past week. We've had to move two birds inside because of the temps.

One Wing and Ol' Witch are us to it though. They act as if it's just another day.

Spineless, again

The Circus of the Spineless is coming to town once more, this month at Snail's Tales.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Feed the birds

Matt at Creature News said Saturday was RSPB's Feed The Birds Day 2005. So we did. I know Alaska isn't part of the UK, but we are allies in many ways.

There were Owls everywhere

Owl-A-Ween 2005 was a HOOT! There was a great turn out by the Bird TLC education owls and there also was a great turn out of owl fans. People came from all over to see the owls at Ship Creek Mall yesterday. There was a young man of 72 who saw our article in last Sundays paper. He came to see the owls and brought pictures with him of the owls from around his homestead. There were tourist up from Seattle, Portland, Texas and else where's as well as people from the Anchorage area. The place was packed.

The owls that were there are as follows; 2 great gray owls, a barred owl, 2 great horned owls, a short eared owl, a saw whet owl and a northern hawk owl. You could tell the crowd was excited to be there and so were the presenters.

If you missed it, there are presentations every Saturday at the Ship Creek Mall from 2-3 PM. There's a different bird being presented every week until May. For a full schedule, go to the Bird TLC web site main page and click on view my calendar. There you'll also find out what else is going on at Bird TLC.

Thanks to the great crowd, thanks to all of the presenters and thanks to the owls. To all who took pictures, email me at and I'll post your pictures and mention who took them.

Also, we just had a presenters class graduate just before Owl-A-Ween started. Congratulations to all of the new presenters.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

New Look

Things look diffetent? I was having some problems with the old look. I had done so many modifications over the past year or so that the columns were out of wack. Picture loading was an issue also. I use Mozilla Firefox as a browser and everything looked just fine. I was having a problem lining a picture up so I went in with Microsoft Explorer for grunts and giggles. Boy were things were way out of wack.

Give me a little bit and I'll have all the links and so on up.

Thanks for your patience.


Possible success

I went in the other day and sanded the floor of the indoor mew we've been repairing. Then I started to paint it when Cindy Palmitier walked up and said "the x-ray of the short eared is in the exam room". I'm like "ok, cool". Then she's like "no, you don't understand. It's good and I want you to take a picture of it to use on the web site". I'm like " OH, OK, Kewl!"

Cindy is generally a perky person. She usually has a good attitude and is not a negative person. I find her easy to work with and she gets me excited about the work we do at Bird TLC. But this time she was more perky and more positive. You see, the short eared had a stainless steel pin placed in it's left wing three weeks ago. He was x-rayed today and it's looking real good. We have had some bad luck with this in the recent past with golden eagles. The operations would go well but we would loose them to osteomyelitis (bone disease) within a few weeks. It was very depressing.

So, if everything continues going well, the pin can be removed in about a week or so. He still has to take it easy for a week or so after that. Then it's time for physical therapy. Get that strength back and make sure he has good motion in the wing. Then we'll see if he can flight test ok. If he does, he has a good chance of being released. We then might have to tie bricks to Cindy to keep her on the ground.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

I and the Bird #9

Guess what. It's here. The ninth edition of "I and the Bird". GrrlScientist at "Living the Scientific Life" did a heck of a job even though she was challenged by the evil powers of Blogger. Read from bird fanciers all over the globe. Enjoy, I always do.

On a personal note, my son Ryan turns 21 tomorrow. He helped me get the Bird TLC web site up and going. He's a fine young adult. Happy Birthday Ryan.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Fall clean up at the Big House

You've read about One Wing and Ol' Witch here before. They are a couple of our resident birds at Bird TLC that I like to write about. They both have been with us since the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill disaster in 1989. They are grandfather claused into our permit with USF&W. Under current regulations, they would not be able to be kept any wheres.

Mother nature and the eagles cause a lot of damage to the mews just through normal use. This mew was built 3 years ago by a Boy Scout to earn his Eagle Scout rank and he did an awesome job. Rain, snow, heavy winds and mewts do a lot of damage to the mew. During summer when there's not a lot of rain, it tries to turn into a dust bowl. Then we get rain and it tries to turn into a mud bowl. Then we get snow and it tries to turn into an ice rink. And the circle continues.

Eagle mewt is the best epoxy in the world. It sticks to everything and dries as hard a a rock. The best way to remove it is with Simple Green (full mix) and a pressure washer. During the winter time that's not practical unless you like a lot of ice sculptures. Notice the 4 ML clear visqueen. It's double layered. Both birds perch there a lot and nature takes it's course. The visqueen protects the plywood wall and it can be hosed off during the summer.

At the base is some pea gravel just donated by Anchorage Sand and Gravel. We have a new volunteer who works for them and we got him to beg for us. When the mewts are hosed off the visqueen, the pea gravel helps filter it into the ground. It's also a safe place to walk when it's rainy season and it looks nice.

Notice all the bright green on the perches and tree stumps? That's astro turf. Smooth surfaces are a no no to captive birds. This is especially true with eagles. They develop what's called bumble foot. It can become so severe that the birds can't stand and the blisters bleed. Astro turf keeps their feet clean and massaged, preventing bumble foot. The problem with astro turf is that it traps things in it. Things like food particles, down feathers, dirt, etc. So, they must be cleaned regularly and replaced when worn. It's the best thing out there for what we use it for.

Just out of the pictures, there's a large water trough. It is changed and cleaned regularly. It has a heater in the bottom so the water doesn't freeze during cold spells.

So, while neighbor Don was repairing the inside mew, I was cleaning and repairing the Big House, One Wing and Ol' Witches home. There's new visqueen, I placed gravel along one wall and behind the corner perch, raked up feathers and salmon skin, then cleaned and replaced some astro turf. More still needs to be done, but after 4 hours I was pooped. I grabbed a 5 gallon bucket and turned it upside down for a seat. Then I took a 10 minute break for some quality quiet time with the masters of the house. Weather permiting I'll get more done next Saturday.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Holy cow, there's a hole

I got some great neighbors. I also like my neighbor hood. You could almost throw a rock to downtown Anchorage from my place. I've lived here about 16 years. My street is a dead end so it's fairly quiet. Even though I'm almost surrounded by apartment buildings, my neighbors don't change much. I mean not many move away.

Not many started in Alaska. Most came from other states for what ever reason. They are also of many different occupations. There's building maintenance guys, dentist guy, retired school teacher, a nurse at the state prison, a couple folks in business for themselves, the Chinese lady who helps me with my garden and one loud salesman and his wife who both like birds.

Last week Cindy Palmitier pointed out to me that the floor in one of the indoor mews is rotting away. Someone tried to repair it, but the goo they used didn't work. I saw the job as being over my head (I'm no Tim Allen) so I said "I'll go find help".

Now these mews have been around for a while, at least 15 years. This is where mainly larger birds are kept when they first arrive at Bird TLC. They can move around some, but not a lot. Remember, their in for medical reasons. We don't want them to move around a lot, just yet.

When they are used, they are scrubbed down every day. Some where's over the past 15 years some water made its way through the paint and sealant and ate away at the wood.

Here's where neighbor Don comes in. He had his own building maintenance business at one time and now works for a local assistant living center. I've seen his work and I wish I had that talent.

I bribed Don with lunch last Saturday to come look at our rotting mew. He said, no problem. I have some 3/4 plywood we can use. It'll take about 2 hours. AWESOME. Don said he can do it next Saturday. I went by Home Depot and bought paint, more sealant, brushes, etc. I was excited.

Due to the small work space, I was evicted from the mew. That was fine, there's plenty to be done around the clinic. Don went to drilling, sawing, banging and so on. He was right. Right at 2 hours he was done. He said, let the filler cure for about 24 hours, then sand it smooth. Then you can seal and paint. Did I say AWESOME?

So I'll probably go in Tuesday while Ruthie is at work and seal the bottom. Then Wednesday night I'll paint the mew.

By the way, did I say I had great neighbors? Thanks Don! AWESOME!

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Ok, here's the scoop on #48!

X-rays revealed an old dislocation of the left elbow with significant calcification of the joint. There appeared to be a small abscess involved as well. A culture of the fluid has been sent out to the lab for testing, and Dr. Palmatier drained the abscess to get rid of as much infection as possible. The bird is now on antibiotics and we wait for the culture results. Since this is an older injury we have started physical therapy to try and establish as much range of motion as possible for the bird, but it is unlikely that he will ever fly. We'll have to wait and see.

Cindy Palmatier
Rehabilitation Director
Bird Treatment & Learning Center

Thanks for that update Cindy. You sure were able to put it in email a lot easier than I was able to write it down. Please keep us updated.

On another personal note, my daughter Cassie turned 18 today. Happy Birthday Sassie Cassie!

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Happy Alaska Day

In Sitka, Alaska, on October 18, 1867, the great land of Alaska was transferred from Russia to the United States.

The Russian Double Eagle was lowered for the last time, and the Stars and Stripes made their first appearance over Alaska in a ceremony formalizing the transfer of the territory of Alaska from Tsarist Russia to the United States of America at the incredible purchase price of approximately two cents per acre.

I work today. So do a lot of other Alaskans on Alaska Day. I did notice in the paper that the two museums are closed and so are state and city offices and courts. But that's it. The buses will run, the garbage will be picked up and the parking meter patrol will be around. Oh, Bird TLC will be open also.

Happy Alaska Day!

Monday, October 17, 2005

BE 05-48 arrived today

He came in from Tatitlek, Alaska. He was found at the town dump and sent to us by a local citizen, Ted Palmer. After being examined by Cindy Palmitier, it was found that he has a swollen left wrist with limited motion and was very dehydrated. He's scheduled for x-rays tomorrow to find out what the hidden issue is.

He was very shy of me when I visited the clinic today. He hid behind his perch and wouldn't let me get a good picture. He's been on the ground for a bit. He's very dirty and his tail feathers are a little messed up.

I'll check in on him tomorrow and we'll see what the x-rays show.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

BE 05-47

BE 05-47 was brought into the clinic yesterday by Rick Sinnott of the Alaska Dept of Fish and Game. We believe it's a victim of a car hit. There seems to be some possible spinal injury. The bird is resting for now. I'll get with Cindy Palmatier, Bird TLC Rehabilitation Director tomorrow for more details.

A Day at UAA

A few of us spent the afternoon at the University of Alaska, Anchorage Student Union Hall. The hall was lined with many well meaning non-profits of all types. I do believe the Bird TLC exhibit drew the most attention with the help of a few of our feathered friends.

Ruth was there with the rough legged hawk known as Jasper and Ron was there with the northern goshawk known as Gos. Also, there were helpers not presenting a bird, Cindy & Melissa Palmatier and myself. We made as many students that showed interest aware of who Bird TLC is and what volunteer opportunities are available.

Right now we have a handful of UAA students volunteering at Bird TLC. Here's hoping we add a few more.

On a personal note, today is my brother Larry's 55th birthday. He and his wife Annie live in Union Bridge, Maryland. Happy 55 Bro.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

I and the Bird #8

It's here! Actually it's at Science and Sarcasm. I and the Bird 8 is there with 23 different bird stories from around the globe. Troutgrrrl does a great job of listing the stories for our enjoyment. Check it at out at

Monday, October 10, 2005

The most common owl

Short-eared owls opportunistically inhabit areas where small mammals, especially meadow voles (Microtus pennsylvanicus), are abundant. Generally diurnal, but most active at dusk and also at night. They occur widely in the Old World, in Iceland, the Hawaiian Islands, Galapagos Islands, and North and South America. They inhabit wide open spaces such as grasslands, prairie, agricultural fields, salt marshes, estuaries, mountain meadows, and alpine and Arctic tundra. In the Northeastern, Central United States and the United Kingdom the short-eared owls is listed as endangered.

This little guy was definitely in danger. It was rescued by an owl fancier last week who lives near Lake Hood, the largest and most active seaplane base in the world. It was surrounded by dogs full of curiosity. She doesn't know if the dogs hurt the bird or just discovered it while it was on the ground. She recovered the bird and it made its way to Bird TLC.

After a complete exam and x-rays, it was clear that there was a fracture at the upper portion of the left humerus. A perfect scenario for it to receive a stainless steel pin to aid the humerus in mending. We'll know in about 2 1/2 more weeks if the wing is mending as we would like. X-rays will be taken again to see if calcification is happening in the area of the fracture. Hopefully it is. Then it depends on how much calcification has occurred as to when the pin will be removed. Keep your feathers crossed, if everything goes as hoped, 05-581 could be released within a few months.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Tagged again. Book Meme

Mental note, don't pick on Cindy at WoodSong or she'll tag you again with yet another meme. This one made me think a little bit. I'll get her back. hehe

I've had a lifelong hate / love affair with books. Through my school years I only read what was required of me. I wasn't into reading books until I was well into my adulthood and became a history buff. My son Ryan is the reader of the family. It's seldom that he's not into a book.

This one I'll only guess at. I've been divorced and lost custody of quite a few. I now own about 400 books but have had about 200 more. I've given away some, but most I've kept. I use to collect books about the Vietnam War, but that's behind me now. I'm now into business and the American Civil War.


The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People - by Stephen R. Covey -This is not a book to take every idea word for word. I've read it three times, each time getting more out of it. The main two things it did for me were 1) got me more organized 2) it helped set my personal priorities with my family. Being more organized gives me more time with my family and now I take it.

The Greatest Generation - By Tom Brokaw - Reading this book I learned more about my parents generation. My only regret is that my father passed away before I read it. I called my Mom today like I do every Sunday. She was telling me that she was going through some of my Dad's things and came across an envelope full of two dollar bills. My grandma gave my Dad a two dollar bill for his birthday (except when he was away during WWII) since he was 16. He never spent any money she ever gave him. He just saved it.

At The Altar of Speed - by Lee Montville - I was born a redneck and even though I now live over three thousand miles from there now, I'm still addicted to NASCAR. Dale Earnhardt Sr was my driver of choice even before it was cool to be a fan of his.

The God Father Returns - by Mark Winegardner - the Corleone Family lives. I would never condone this type of violence in real life but in fiction, this is the best. The loyalty that the family has for one another is indescribable. It's a guy thing.

Zig Ziglar's Secrets of Closing the Sale - By Zig Ziglar - The bible of salesman of old. However, it's still has a lot of good info for the computer generation. Sometimes I think you need to take a step back and look things over. Most people in upper corporate positions are in their late 50's or older. The young or cockie salesman has no chance.


The Eagle Lady - by Cary Anderson - Recently stolen by my wife Ruth. She's an Alaskan landmark that has been stirring up some controversy lately. The Eagle Lady that is, not Ruthie.


The Eagle Lady. Buy it and not read it?

I'm not tagging anyone. I've noticed that most blogs I visit have been tagged and answered. It took me a few days to answer. I've been busy getting ready for winter and remodeling the spare bedroom into my office.

For Raven fans

No, not the NFL team. I haven't been a fan of the NFL since the owner of the Baltimore Colts moved them out of town during the middle of the night and the cover of darkness so the fans wouldn't see it. The NFL then approved the move telling me, it's not about the fans.

The Anchorage Daily News ran a nice story about Ravens and their daily commute to work everyday.

Check out the link below.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Ellen and Ruth go to the beach

The beach along Prudoe Bay and the Arctic Ocean. For some reason they didn't get a tan.

All jokes aside, they were there as guest of British Petroleum (BP) for their Safety Fair. They both took the Bird TLC education birds they present along with them. Ellen took the rough legged hawk known as Jasper and Ruth took the Northern Goshawk known as Gos.

Both said they had a great time except for when they were mistaken as terrorist. If you see them, ask them about it.

Check out more pictures from Eleen in the photo album. I didn't know they have grizzles working the pipeline.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

More from Bye-Bye Birdie 2005

Bird TLC had a young volunteer at Bye-Bye Birdie as our official un-official photographer. James Holleman spent the day taking lots of pictures. He copied them from 35mm to CD and gave copies to me.

At left is a picture of the eagle that was released putting distance between him and the crowd. There are lots more of the pictures James took in the Bird TLC photo album to your right.

Thanks James! Great job!

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Dave, what's this?

A new found friend to Bird TLC and myself, Sue Murphy, sent this picture to me via email with the above title. Sue said the picture was taken just north of Knik Goose Bay Road mile 16 ...that's just before KGB crosses fish creek. It was taken by Rick Harvey.

Sue wanted to know what it was. I sent her the answer, but I was wondering who else could identify this feathered friend. Leave me a comment with your answer.

Thanks for the picture Sue & Rick.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

It's a bird, it's a plane, it's a


I know, Dave this is a story of the wrong kind of bird. As a former aircraft mechanic, I had to post the picture.

I like salmon. I like eating them. I like catching them. My wife Ruth makes a killer salmon patty. I made Cindy at WoodSong hungry when I talked about smoked salmon on a Ritz cracker with mustard. But I only like wild salmon, preferably from where? You guessed it, Alaska. You can have that farmed stuff.

Check out Alaska Airlines News for the rest of the story on this beauty of a plane. American made plane, by Boeing. I can't wait to see it in person.