Monday, January 30, 2006

Augustine is keeping busy

2006-01-30 17:20:24
Eruption is in progress. Seismicity is unchanged and has continued at an elevated level over the past hour. Short periods of increased seismicity, likely associated with explosions and pyroclastic flows, occur intermittently. Satellite imagery suggests that the volcano produces a continuous ash plume, which drifts to the NE from the vent.

Monday, January 30, 2006 4:55 PM AKST (155 UTC)

59.3633°N 153.4333°W, Summit Elevation 4134 ft (1260 m)
Current Level of Concern Color Code: RED

Augustine volcano has been in a state of continuous eruption since 14:30 AKST (2330 UTC) January 28. Over the past several hours, no large seismic pulses have been detected, such as those that occurred three times last night and correlated with ash rising 25,000 ft or more above sea level. Visual observations from an overflight today, as well as satellite data, show that an ash-bearing plume continues to emanate from the volcano, reaching an altitude of approximately 16,000 ft above sea level and extending roughly 90 miles (150 km) north. For up-to-date Ashfall Advisories and wind trajectories, please refer to the National Weather Service website:

Thermal anomalies (measured by satellite-based instruments) persist, both at the summit of Augustine and on the northern flank, consistent with continuing eruption and hot pyroclastic flow deposits on the volcano. Direct observation of the island during today's overflight was mostly obscured by ash and clouds.

Alaska Airlines has canceled flights into Kodiak & Anchorage. Other airlines probably have also. Check before you go to the airport to pick-up or depart.

Ravens get special care also

There are a lot of ravens around this year. More than I've noticed in a long time. Maybe the cold weather has brought more of them closer to town. I drove down Northwoods Drive the other day and there was a raven on top of every street light on both sides of the street. They didn't leave a one open.

Ravens get into everything. I think they love the challenge of finding out what's inside of a black garbage bag. You'll see them at all of the fine restaurants, around back at the dumpsters. They've been known to make quite a mess sometimes.

This probably is what gets them into trouble. People take it into their own hands to handle a situation wrong. As with troublesome people, guns are not the answer. It's the law in Anchorage to secure your garbage from wildlife. If wildlife is getting into your garbage, maybe your not securing it properly.

Our raven to your left took a pellet to the left shoulder. We think he broke the bone upon landing after being hit. Dr Mike Riddle, DVM, of Diamond Animal Hospital is a volunteer at Bird TLC. He did the pin placement at The Pet Stop. This is his first and if you ask me, I'd tell you he did an excellent job. We are lucky to have him at our clinic.

Despite a duly reputation as crop stealers and dumpster divers, a study found that a family of crows devoured about forty thousnd grubs, caterpillars, army worms and other pests to farmers in just one nesting period. Also, they aid in keeping rodent populations down, and on a dubious note, help to keep our streets free of road-kill remains.

Ravens are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Individuals or organizations may be fined up to $5,000 and $10,000 respectively, and may face up to six months imprisonment for misdemeanor violations of the Act. Felony violations may result in fines of up to $250,000 for individuals, $500,000 for organizations, and up to two years imprisonment.

(Thanks to Cindy Palmatier for the operation picture)

Sunday, January 29, 2006

They came from the land down under

This past Friday, Bird TLC was visited by a film crew from Australia's version of PBS. I don't know if it will be available to be seen in the US.

Their subject was "The Eagles of Alaska". They spent a couple hours filming mainly about One Wing and Beauty. They got some great footage of Beauty having her talons clipped and beak koped.

Hey Duncan, let us know if you see it around the Ben Cruachan area.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Just when you thought Augustine got borring

Saturday, January 28, 2006 8:55 AM AKST (1755 UTC)

59.3633°N 153.4333°W, Summit Elevation 4134 ft (1260 m)
Current Level of Concern Color Code: RED

**CORRECTION - note change in ash cloud direction on fourth eruption described below.**

Four explosive eruptions have occurred in the last 12 hours. The first began at 20:24 AKST 27 January (0524 UTC 28 January) and had a total duration of 9 minutes. According to the National Weather Service (NWS), an ash cloud reached a maximum height of around 30,000 feet above sea level (asl) and drifted southeast. The second occurred at 23:37 AKST 27 January (0837 UTC 28 January) and had a duration of 1 minute. No ash was detected above 10,000 feet after this event. The third occurred at 02:04 AKST (1104 UTC) 28 January and had a duration of 2 minutes. Ash drifted SE at a height of up to 26,000 feet (NWS). The fourth occurred at 07:42 AKST (1642 UTC) 28 January and had a duration of 3 minutes. The ash cloud drifted SE at a maximum height of 25,000 feet (NWS). Ashfall advisories are issued by NWS and the most up to date information can be found at

Further explosive eruptions may occur with little warning. AVO is monitoring the situation closely. Please refer to our hourly updates for the most recent information on volcanic activity.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Augustine update

2006-01-24 17:07:07
Seismicity at the volcano remains low but above background levels.

The thermal-imaging and gas-sensing flights have successfully completed their missions. Augustine Island webcam has been repaired and is sending back images.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Alaska is a little different

My wife Ruth is in the living room watching “Dante’s Peak”, an action adventure movie staring Pierce Brosnan and Linda Hamilton, about a small town threatened by a large volcano. How can such talented actors be in such crapola? Boring!!! I’ll wait until she falls asleep on the couch and then I’ll change the channel.

Our Augustine Volcano has been on the quiet side. Seismicity remains low, but above background levels is all the reports are. There are 129 major volcanic areas in Alaska. About 1/3 are historically active, 1/3 have been active in the past 10,000 years, the rest are dormant. Seismic activity is monitored in real time at 30 volcanoes in Alaska by the Alaska Volcano Observatory. Satellite images of all Alaskan volcanoes are analyzed daily for evidence of ash plumes and elevated surface temperatures. Some volcanoes may currently display anomalous behavior but are not considered to be at a dangerous level of unrest. That’s information you don’t find in all of the other states.

A couple of months back my sister called me all excited. They just reported an earthquake in the Maryland and DC area. It registered 1.5 on the scale. I laughed. I asked her how many we had in Alaska that day. She said how many? I said 157. That might have been a high estimate. Guess how many earthquakes Alaska has regularly.
Daily = 50-100, Weekly = 400-700, Monthly = 1500-3000, Yearly = ~24000

This accounts for approximately 11% of the world's earthquakes and 52% of all earthquakes in the U.S. Alaska has more seismicity than any other region in North America and is by far the most seismically active state in the U.S.

The largest earthquake recorded in Alaska was a M9.2 that occurred on March 27, 1964 in the Prince William Sound. This was the 2nd largest earthquake ever recorded in world history. The energy released in this earthquake was equivalent to approximately 4 trillion pounds of explosive. The motions on the fault lasted for 4 minutes, rupturing an area about 800 kilometers long and 250 kilometers wide. The average movement on the fault was about 9 meters.

Info borrowed from the Alaska Earthquake Information Center.

If you can’t tell, things are a little slow at the clinic right now. But that’s a good thing.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Beauty has friends at AIH

Remember Beauty, our beak shot bird? We recently had to place her in an inside mew. The cold weather has not been nice to her tongue, since it doesn’t have a beak to protect it. Because of this, she’s getting acclimatized to inside temperatures. She needs to be in an outside mew so she can get more exercise

Cindy and I developed a plan to insulate and heat an outside mew. On a budget of $0.00, all we need is material. On the advise of a friend, I visited Corey Grubb, Sales Manager of Alaska Industrial Hardware. I informed him of our situation and supplied him with a list of items we needed. A week later I left his warehouse with everything I needed for the job except lumber. (AIH doesn’t do lumber). Everything is 100% donated.

That’s why I like doing business with a locally owned company. We have the big name guys from outside up here also. But, I have a problem just trying to get a discount with them. Money is an issue with all non-profits. Bird TLC is not special in that department. Your local guys like at AIH, know and care about their community. They’re citizens of the same community that donates their hard earned pay to organizations like Bird TLC. They also know we volunteer to help our community and what’s in it.

So, if you live in Alaska, visit your local Alaska Industrial Hardware. Tell them Beauty appreciates them. You’ll probably get a funny look, but you’ll feel good knowing that you’re supporting a local company that supports its community and Bird TLC.

I'll post more pictures when the project is complete.

Augustine update from AVO

59.3633°N 153.4333°W, Summit Elevation 4134 ft (1260 m)
Current Level of Concern Color Code: ORANGE

Earthquake activity at Augustine Volcano has remained at lower levels throughout the day but the level of seismic activity is still above background. Based on the characteristics of previous eruptions, it is likely, but not certain, that more explosive eruptions will occur. These events are likely to be similar to those of January 13, 14, and 17 and it is possible for them to occur with little or no warning. AVO is monitoring the situation closely and the observatory is staffed 24/7.

Observations made on a flight during the afternoon of January 18 indicated that that the summit was steaming vigorously, so much so that it was not possible to determine if a new dome had been emplaced. Evidence of explosive ejection of volcanic bombs producing large truck sized circular craters was observed on the northwest flank. Block and ash flow deposits with car-sized blocks produced by dome collapse covered parts of the southeast flank and dilute ash cloud surge deposits were observed on the northwest flank. A white steam plume was observed rising to about 8500 ft (2600 m) before it trailed off as a bluish haze to the east. Little to no ash appeared to be present in the plume.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Augustine update from NWS

Picture from yesterday when Augustine took the holiday off. Picture from the Alaska Volcano Observatory.

WWAK71 PAFC 171737

835 AM AST TUE JAN 17 2006

835 AM AST TUE JAN 17 2006








Saturday, January 14, 2006

Augustine Volcano

Augustine Volcano is located on Augustine Island, an uninhabited island located in Cook Inlet approxamitely 172 miles southeast of Anchorage. It had erupted 5 times yesterday (Friday 1/13) spewing ash up to 52,000 feet in the air canceling airline flights into Anchorage. It has also sparked a buying frenzy of dust mask, tarps, visqueen and vehicle air filters.

Scientists say it is likely the start of a prolonged series of eruptions building toward an even bigger climax. At some point, these throat-clearing eruptions are going to open a route for magma to reach the surface in what would probably be a bigger explosive eruption releasing far more ash, said Game McGimsey, a U.S. Geological Survey volcanologist with the Alaska Volcano Observatory.

Three eruptions over an 8-hour period Friday sprinkled a light dusting of ash over communities on the lower Kenai Peninsula, where schools were closed as a precaution. A fourth eruption, just before 5 p.m., missed the peninsula when its ash plume sailed southeast past the Barren Islands into the Gulf of Alaska. A fifth blasted off just before 7 p.m., with ash headed the same direction. As of this post no ash has reached Anchorage.

A Web camera on the island showed spectacular views of the volcano between eruptions Friday. The island mountain, most of which had been snow-white Thursday, was now thickly caked in brown ash. I've placed a link at right to the Alaska Volcano Observatory's excellent web site.

I'll keep you updated. You can also check out the Anchorage Daily News or KTVA Channel 11 in Anchorage.

Map and pictures courtesy of the Alaska Volcano Observatory.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Help! I found a baby bird.

If you're outside during spring and summer, sooner or later you're probably going to find a baby bird. Look it over. If it's injured and needs medical attention, take it to your local veterinarian or a licensed wildlife rehabilitator. Call your local game warden for the name and phone number of the nearest wildlife rehabilitator or check the Wildlife Rehabilitation Information Directory.

If the bird is uninjured you should ask yourself, "Is it really an orphan?" Nine times out of ten the answer is no! Look for nests in nearby trees and shrubs. They are usually well hidden and hard to get to. If you can find the nest, simply put the bird back in it. It's a myth that the parents will not care for young birds that have been touched by humans. In fact, birds have a poor sense of smell. Great horned owls kill and eat skunks without even noticing their overpowering stench.

If you can't find the nest, put the baby bird in a shrub or tree - somewhere up off the ground. As soon as you leave, the parents, who were probably watching you the whole time, will return and continue to feed the fledgling. If you want to be sure the parents are still around, observe the baby bird from a distance, preferably with binoculars. If the parents don't return to an undisturbed nestling in two hours, something may be wrong. The parents may have been killed by predators or hit by a car. Don't worry if you only see one parent. A single parent can raise the young alone.

Every May, Bird TLC has a Baby Bird Clinic. Yes, you also can become a baby bird mom or dad. I let you know as soon as we have this years clinic scheduled.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Under federal and state laws, it is illegal for an unlicensed individual to possess a native wild bird.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Just a few simple things you can do to avoid harming wildlife

Most of the wild birds brought to our clinic suffer from injuries or problems caused by humans. Since most people try to avoid causing harm to other living things I decided to put together a list of things to do or not to do to help wildlife. The list is in no particular order of importance, but if everyone followed these suggestions, our caseload would be dramatically reduced.

1. Prevent your pet cats and dogs from attacking and/or "playing with" wild birds. Don't allow them to run without supervision and raise your cats as indoor pets. Many injured birds are brought to the clinic each year with terrible wounds from dog and cat attacks.

2. Alert birds to large expanses of glass in your home, such as patio doors or picture windows, by hanging streamers, putting bird silhouettes on the glass surface, or allow the glass to be a little bit dirty. Reducing the reflection should cut down on the number of birds who collide, often fatally, with windows and doors. Static-cling decals that you can affixed to windows are available through WindowAlert.

3. Educate children to respect and care for all wild creatures and their habitats. Children need to learn that wild animals are not playthings and should be allowed to go about their lives unmolested. Children should also be told not to destroy nests, burrows and other wildlife homes.

4. Pick up litter and refuse that could harm wildlife, including six-pack connectors (after cutting each circle to reduce the risk of entanglement), monofilament fishing line, lead weights, swivels and watch batteries (if consumed by waterfowl they can cause mercury poisoning).

5. Be alert when driving, especially near wildlife refuges and in rural areas, to avoid hitting or running over wild creatures. Animals do not recognize the danger from an oncoming vehicle. And please stop and move any turtles away from the roadway or shoulder of the road.

6. As a general rule, leave infant wildlife alone, since they are not always truly orphaned. A parent may be nearby or will return soon. Be sure they are in need of help before you remove them from the nest area. If you find young birds on the ground, attempt to return them to the nest.

7. Place caps over all chimneys and vents on your roof to prevent birds, ducks and raccoons from taking up residence and becoming a nuisance or getting trapped.

8. Do not leave fishing line or fish hooks unattended or lying about outdoors. Try to retrieve any kite string left on the ground or entangled in trees. We lost one sea gull and a loon due to fishing lures and or weights. Check out Wildlife Without Lead.

9. Before mowing your lawn or rototilling your garden, walk through the area first to make sure no rabbits or ground-nesting birds are in harms way. Remember, it only takes a couple weeks for these babies to grow and leave the nest. Be tolerant and give them the time they need.

10. Check trees to make sure there are no active nests or residents of cavities before cutting them down. Even better, avoid cutting down dead trees if they pose no safety hazard, since they provide homes for a wide variety of wildlife.

11. Use non-toxic products on your lawn and garden.

12. Motor oil should not be left in oil pans unattended. Birds often fall into these pans and few survive.

13. Do not attempt to raise or keep wildlife yourself. Not only is it illegal, but wild creatures do not make good pets and captivity poses a constant stress to them. Young wild animals raised without contact with their own species fail to develop survival skills and fear of humans, virtually eliminating their chances of survival in the wild.

14. Explore non-lead alternatives for ammunition and fishing tackle. Voluntary change to non-toxic substitutes will help keep the environment free of poisons and give outdoor enthusiasts the gratifying opportunity to preserve the nature that they dearly treasure. We recieved seveal eagles in the clinic this year with lead poisoning from eating other birds or animals that were shot with lead pellet.

15. Trappers, check your traps regularly. Promote trapping methods that will reduce the possibility of catching nontarget animals. Follow the Trappers Code of Ethics.

More information can be found at Wildlife Haven - Center for Rehabilitation & Education

IMPORTANT NOTE: Under federal and state laws, it is illegal for an unlicensed individual to possess a native wild animal.

It's not me

If you receive an email soliciting donations, advertisement or just about anything for Bird TLC, it's not us. I'm the only one from Bird TLC who would do this if we decided to. We have never decided to attempt to raise finances via the internet, except for a post or two by me requesting donations.

Take notice that there are no commercial ads on the Bird TLC web site or the blog. Even though I've requested to raise funds through advertising, pay per click or something on that line, I've never received approval through our board of directors to do so. At this time we don't even take online donations.

However, if you fell you must donate, send a check to:

Bird Treatment and Learning Center
P.O. Box 230496
Anchorage, Alaska 99523

Monday, January 09, 2006

Help! I found an injured bird II.

Small birds get injured also. Bird TLC is not just about raptors. We take in all wild birds. Bird Treatment and Learning Center. There are certain things you have to watch out for when your capturing small birds compared to large ones.

Most small birds don't hurt when they bite unless they pinch you in the right spot. Their beaks are not designed to rip and tear. They are for eating berries or small insects.

Their feet are designed to grab branches, not a running bunny or swimming salmon. They aren't going to be able to poke you or talon you like an eagle.

I use a towel most of the time when I capture a small bird. It just makes it quick and easy compared to bare hands. It also reduces stress when their heads are covered after capture.

You have to be careful not to hold them too tight. It's easily done and you can do some major damage. It's OK if you don't hold them tight enough and they get away. You can just recapture them. You don't have to be as concerned with your own safety like you do with raptors.

After capture, put them in a small box, pet carrier or a grocery bag and secure it closed. Make sure they get plenty of air. Remember, they are small and fragile. Carry the box or bag like they are small and fragile. Take them straight to a rehab clinic.

If you take a bird to a wildlife rehabilitator, you can help by taking a donation of food, money, or volunteer your time and talents. Keep in mind that most organizations rely solely on donations from caring people like you. Your thoughtfulness will be greatly appreciated.

As with handling all birds, wash your hands when you are done.

Do not attempt to raise or keep wildlife yourself. Not only is it illegal, but wild creatures do not make good pets and captivity poses a constant stress to them. Young wild animals raised without contact with their own species fail to develop survival skills and fear of humans, virtually eliminating their chances of survival in the wild.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Help! I found an injured bird.

Our friend Rexroth's Daughter at Dharma Bums asked an excellent question. What do I do if I come across a bird in need? You can't dial 911. There are no bird ambulances. I respond to a lot of bird in need calls, but by the time I get to Michigan from Alaska, it might be a little too late. Also, if you capture the bird yourself and take it to a vet, you might be responsible for a hefty vet bill. So, what should you do?

First, become aware of wild bird rehabilitation centers in your state. A good link to help find one is Wildlife Rehabilitators. Another is The Wildlife Rehabilitation Information Directory. Both list rehabbers (rehabilitators) all over the world. There are other sites that do the same. Pick whatever you like as long as it list ones in your state. Find the ones listed in your state and then determine which one is closest to you. This will be one contact for you to call if you find a bird in need.

Also, look up the phone number for your local U.S. Fish and Wildlife office. Depending on their budget, sometimes they have the staff to respond to an injured bird report. Also, check out your states Department of Fish & Game. That agency might be called by another name in your state, like game warden.

Let's take it for granted that no one can respond to help you out. More than likely that will be the case. For this post lets say you found an injured or sick great horned owl. You don't know what's wrong. It won't fly and pretty much stays in one area.

  • Find a friend or neighbor to help you. If the bird can run or partially fly, you'll need help to trap it. It would be best if you could find someone with experience.
  • Find something to put the bird in once you capture it. Dog kennels work great. If you don't have one, use a large strong box. The box should be well ventilated (cut plenty of air holes) and just large enough to allow the bird some movement, but not so large as to allow the bird to thrash around inside.
  • You will need a thick bath towel, blanket, heavy jacket or any other lightweight material that is large enough to cover the entire bird. Thick gloves would be nice if available.
  • Approach the bird from the rear. If the bird is alert and can follow your movements, anticipate that it will struggle when first covered. The bird will be stressed. It's unaware that you are trying to help. Try to keep the recovery time to a minimum.

  • Carefully place the jacket, towel or blanket over the bird. Make sure it is covered completely. Take a mental note as to were the beak is and where the talons are.
  • Quickly restrain the bird under the covering. Again, be careful of the beak and talons.
  • As the bird calms down, gather the covering together, being careful to get the bird's wings gently folded against the body, and place it into the cardboard box and close the lid fast.
  • Transport to clinic ASAP! Do not feed. Do not give water. Let the clinic diagnose what's wrong first.
  • Do not try to caretake the bird yourself. More damage can be done by the bird not recieving proper care immediately.

  • Please be aware of the following:

    • Under Federal and State law it is ILLEGAL for anyone to injure or possess a bird of prey.
    • Only a person fully licensed by both the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and their states Department of Fish & Game may rehabilitate injured raptors.
    • A raptor's feet and talons are its means of defense so BE CAREFUL! !
    • An injured raptor requires immediate specialized care. Any delay very much reduces the bird's chance for recovery.
    • Most veterinarians have neither special facilities nor the practical experience to properly handle an injured raptor.
    • Feeding an injured raptor severely decreases its chance for survival, so please DO NOT FEED !
    • It is possible to aspirate a bird by forcing it to drink. You may offer it water, but do NOT force it to drink.
Sounds easy, don't it? Don't count on it to be as easy as it sounds. There's always different gliches that make it a challenge. Take someone with you if you can. Be carefull. Do not let your guard down. They will bite or talon you without warning. They are birds of prey that injure and kill with their beaks and talons. If your injured, cut or scratched, get medical attention right away.

Not everyone can do this, but a lot of people can. My wife Ruth can do it. She'll scream at the sight of a spider or bee, but she'll tackel an eagle without hesitation. That's one I can't figure out.

NOTE: Extreme care must be used when the bird is transported in this manner. If the day is warm or the covering is made of a tightly woven material, the bird can rapidly overheat. The bird should be transferred to a more suitable enclosure at the first opportunity.

More information can be found at The Birds of Prey Foundation.

To be continued...........

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

51 eagles in one year

Our record for eagles in a years time at Bird TLC is 52. In 2005 we admitted BE 05-51 on 12/30. He was found on the ground in the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. He is an adult, a little skinny and a little dehydrated. His mutes were dark green with signs of blood. X-rays showed nothing abnormal.

He was given an IV to get his fluids back up. He was tube feed for 2 days and is now eating on his own. A little salmon, make sure there's no bones or skin and some herring.

We don't know exactly what happened. We guess that he ate something that really didn't agree with him for a while. He seems to be getting his strength back. We'll continue his present diet for a while longer and monitor his progress.


Join Gwyn at Bird Brained Stories and a trip around the birding world with I and the Bird #14. There are a few new blogs to add to the list a a lot of great stories.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

An Invitation to all Bird TLC Members

January 22nd 2-4PM
Ship Creek Center
Third Floor



Please join your Board of Directors and Executive Director for an overview of 2006. We will present the results of the boards planning session, a tentative calendar for the year and answer questions about the direction of the organization and our future. This is your opportunity to tell us what you think.

The discussion will include:

-- The building and the property -- Fundraising Programs -- Events

-- Administrative Procedures -- Other issues and concerns from volunteers


Thank you for making 2005 a great year for Bird TLC. We could not be a successful organization and wild bird clinic without you.

Free Parking in City Lot at 3rd and C Street
Behind Ship Creek Center

Monday, January 02, 2006

Starling Update

Starlings thrive despite a chilly reception

INVASIVE SPECIES: Bird is a pest in Lower 48; state hopes to slow its spread here.

Anchorage Daily News

Published: January 2, 2006
Last Modified: January 2, 2006 at 01:38 AM

As far as invasive-species abatement campaigns go, the new effort to stop the spread of European starlings in Anchorage is still fairly modest. The state has one person on the job.

That would be Department of Fish and Game area biologist Rick Sinnott, who's also responsible for managing all of the wild bears and moose in town (as well as all the people who interact with wild bears and moose).

The rest of this story in today's ADN.