Monday, May 29, 2006

Busy weekend

I got a call on Friday from Cindy our Rehab Director. We have a eagle coming in from Soldotna on Saturday morning with a compound fracture to it's right wing. She was going to be out of town and was wondering if Ruthie and I could pick it up at the airport. You already know my answer.

I told her to go ahead and give Liz of the USF&W in the Kenai NWR my cell number to contact me. Liz called me the next morning. There was a possible hold up at ERA Aviation. This is the beginning of salmon season and there might not be room for our eagle. ERA donates the flight, so beggars can't complain. They said they would do the best that they can do and they did. The eagle landed at 12:45 and we had it in possession by 1:15.

We took it to the clinic with the idea of placing a wing wrap on it and bedding it down for the weekend. When we got there we prepped a mew with some food and water. We had to take the top off of the kennel to get him out. It was a small kennel, I presume because of the aircraft size and to limit the eagles movement. It was a young eagle, maybe 2-3 years old. His head feathers were changing color. We new there was a problem when the wing would not go the way it should. As I held the eagles feet and head, Ruthie examined the wound. By her remarks that I won't repeat, I new it wasn't good for she has a lot more experience than me when it comes to the medical side. We discussed it and decided that we needed more help.

Since Cindy wasn't an option, we called Barbara Doak. She's been a volunteer at Bird TLC since 1990 and was at one time the Rehab Director. She recommended we take the bird to Pet Emergency, a 24hr animal hospital that takes in birds when Bird TLC isn't available. We kenneled him in a larger kennel and off we went.

When we arrived we were greeted by the staff which included Bobby Beckman, a former volunteer at Bird TLC and son of one of our eagle presenters, Gloria. At Pet Emergency, they donate the time and materials used to take care of the birds that come through there. Right off the bat I felt comfortable that we had taken the eagle there. The staff was very helpful and friendly. They said it would be a little bit. They were going to knock the bird out to examine it and wrap the wing. So we went to lunch.

When lunch was done we headed back. Barbara Doak was leaving the parking lot when we arrived. She had checked in on the bird and brought food for it for the weekend. We went inside and saw that he was fine and still real groggie from the drugs. Barbara wanted them to keep the eagle and she would pick it up on Tuesday when she went to the clinic. It was smart to take the bird there. The wound was huge and the bone was sticking out. They were able to place the bone back in the wing and then wrap it securely.

Chances are on Tuesday after Barbara picks it up, it will go to Pet Stop for x-rays. Hopefully the wing can be pinned and in time it can be released.

Thanks to Shell Stachowicz for taking the pictures and emailing them to me. Also, thanks to the professional staff at Pet Emergency. They were able to make this injured eagle more comfortable then we could for the weekend. Thanks to ERA for the flight and getting the bird onboard as soon as possible. Thanks to Barbara Doak for her advice and thanks to Liz with USF&W for trying her best by herself on the holiday weekend.

Update - Be 06-27 went into surgery today and recieved a stainless steel pin in it's right wing. The pin will be removed in a few weeks after the bone starts to heal.

Friday, May 26, 2006

No, freedom is not free

"Do not stand at my grave and weep;
I am not there, I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the softly falling snow.
I am the gentle showers of rain.
I am the fields of ripening grain.
I am the morning hush.
I am the graceful rush
of beautiful birds in circling flight.
I am the star shine of the night.
I am the flowers that bloom.
I am in a quiet room.
I am the birds that sing.
I am in each lovely thing.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there. I did not die."

...Mary Frye, Baltimore MD, Circa 1933

Have a safe a fun Memorial Day weekend. Remember why we have it.

The eagle beow has a good weekend going. He was released on Thursday at the Anchorage Golf Course. He had been with us since last fall.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Isn't it Great

Say Hi to my friend Kelly. She is my mentor for the Great Gray Owl that I've been training with for a while now. She had a presentation today at the Anchorage Museum of History and Art and the Hunters of the Sky exhibit. You might remember that the other week I was there with my wife Ruth.

There are a couple things that make this presentation fun. First is that most of the people attending are from out of state. Second they can see the live bird and then go and see the same species bird in the exhibit.

Kelly does a really nice presentation. I personally think she does an excellent job making sure the kids understand what she is saying. She also gets them involved by asking them questions. She doesn't talk down to them, but she makes sure they get the message.

Kelly is one of many Bird TLC Volunteer Education Presenters. She is also the caretaker of this bird and has been doing so for about 5 years. Unlike many other rehabilitation clinics, our education birds stay at a caretakers home, not Bird TLC. That caretaker is responsible for their housing, feeding, and well being. After the initial expense of building a mew for the bird, they pay for the birds food themselves. In Kelly's case it's about $130 a month. Other birds are less expensive. Ruthie is caretaking a Northern Hawk Owl and it's food bill a month is about $65. They are also responsible for doing educational presentations with the bird about 12 times a year.

Sometimes there are medical bills also. Normal check ups and exams are provided for by our volunteer veterinarians, but some medicine, blood test and x-rays are not. So our caretakers are dedicated to the bird in more ways than one. A Great Gray Owl can live up to 40 years in captivity.

So, don't you think it's great that we have volunteers like Kelly? Volunteers that provide the home, food, care and time for the bird. Time to do education presentations to the public with a bird that came to Bird TLC with an injury or illness that didn't allow them to be released back to the wild. I think they are all great.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

open wide

Never say never, because you'll be proven wrong. DeAnne Maus did a presentation at our Baby Bird Seminar last month and said we never get any baby ravens. This is number two. It's about 3 weeks old. It's nest was on a tower being torn down in south Anchorage and mom or pop was not around. We're lucky the workers noticed it before it was too late.

It's already stealing the girls hearts at the clinic. I don't get it though. All it does is eat and then takes a nap. I try that and I get in trouble.

I guess it's a baby raven world right now.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Hunters of the Sky

Ruthie had a presentation Wednesday at the Anchorage Museum of History and Art. It was part of the "Hunters of the Sky" exhibit. Someone from Bird TLC is doing a presentation every Wednesday at 2PM and yesterday was her turn. I went to help out and got a peek at the exhibit before her presentation. WoW! It is awesome. Worth checking out. We're going back on Sunday just for ourselves.
This exhibit is the main event for the summer. It's all about raptors and was developed by the Science Museum of Minnesota and the Minnesota Raptor Center. There are tons of displays, hands-on activities, and a lot of taxidermy specimens. This exhibit will be showing through September 17th and Bird TLC will be a part of it during this time.

Here's some more pictures of the exhibit. Oh, and by the way, Ruthies presentation was excellent. It's amazing, I've been to most of her presentations for the past 4 years and I always come away with something I didn't already know. She's a natural.

I have a link to the "Hunters of the Sky" page at the Anchorage Museum of History and Art to your right. I'll leave it up until the exhibit ends.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006


20,000 people have visited our blog since I started it on Aug 27, 2004. The blog has helped get the word out about the Bird TLC mission, helping you to know what to do or not to do with a wild bird, we link to some great sites, we've shown you what we do and offer an opinion or two. I hope you've enjoyed it as much as I have hosting it. I've meet a lot of great people through it also. My wish is for Bird TLC to close it's doors due to the lack of business. Now, back to reality.

Hey, if you have an extra check that your looking to send to someone, Bird TLC is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization dedicated to rehabilitating sick, injured or orphaned wild birds and providing avian education programs to the public.

Bird TLC
P.O. Box 230496
Anchorage, Alaska

Or during the month of May, Wells Fargo Bank is providing us with free credit card services. Call the clinic at 907-562-4852 , give them your credit card number and tell them that Dave asked you to call.

Good news is Good mews

Long time Bird TLC volunteer and friend Elise Patkotak is a free lance writer and she's in the Anchorage Daily News every Wednesday in the "Voice of the Times" . This week she wrote about our "2006 Mew Yard Spring Clean Up" and the friends we made that helped us out. You can also visit her blog by clicking on her name above. If you don't leave her blog with a smile on your face after reading it, riga mortise is setting in.

Voice of the Times Go to the 3rd story

By the way Elise, Thank You also!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

MBD at Alaska Zoo

Migratory Bird Day was celebrated at Alaska Zoo on Sunday. Our friend John Gomes was there and took a lot of photo's as usual. He's the Alaska Zoo official Photographer and does a great job. Check out all of the fun and activates at John's site. By the way, the robin you see at your left is a rehab success and was released on Sunday at MBD.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Open wide

I meet with Cindy & Kristen out at the flight center on Friday. They were having fun identifying the eagles who pulled their ID bands off and were putting a newer style ID band back on. They also were doing a good medical going over of the birds. At the flight center right now we have 16 eagles in different stages of rehabilitation. Some are there awaiting placement at a permanent facility and others are awaiting release.

This eagles beak is a little over grown. He wasn't too happy about us holding him down and trimming his beak with a Dremmel tool. Now it's nice and trimmed.

Below are some facts about beaks from Bald Eagle Info.

Beak - The hook at the tip is used for tearing. Behind the hook, the upper mandible, the edge sharp enough to slice tough skin, over laps the lower, creating a scissors effect. A bald eagle's beak is a strong weapon, but is also delicate enough to groom a mate's feathers or feed a small portion of food to a newly hatched chick.

The beak of a female eagle is deeper (distance from top to chin) than the beak of a male.

The beak and talons grow continuously, because they are made of keratin, the same substance as our hair and fingernails. The beak of a captive eagle is not warn down naturally, so must be trimmed annually.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Happy Mother's Day

And a special Happy Mother's Day to all of of Baby Bird Mom's out there!

Saturday, May 13, 2006

International Migratory Bird Day

Join us tomorrow at the Alaska Zoo for a celebration of Migratory Birds. This years international theme is Boreal Forest: Bird Nurseries of the North. Join us for fun activities, games, and a wild bird release. Since it will be Mothers Day, all mothers get in free and receive a special bird gift. Bird TLC will be presenting a special program about Boreal Birds at three different times. Check the Alaska Zoo website for details.

Also, go to your local Kaladi Brothers and pick up this months special "Boreal Brew". An organic and bird friendly Bolivian blend. Procedes go to Bird TLC. It's good stuff! I picked up a bag yesterday.

Raptors come to roost

An excellent article in yesterdays Anchorage Daily News about the new exhibit at the Anchorage Museum of History and Art, "Hunters of the Sky". Bird TLC presenter Gloria Beckman and the immature bald eagle she presents was there for the opening.

When you get a chance, check out the article but most of all check out the exhibit. There will be weekly raptor programs every Wednesday at 2Pm with Bird TLC.

Photo by Joshua Borough / ADN

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Cleaner than clean update

Britt just emailed me that the dumpster was weighed before being emptied. It weighed in at 5,500 lbs or 2.75 tons. WOW!

IATB # 23

This photo stolen from Nick at birdDC. If you didn't guess, I and the Bird #23 is out and posted on his blog. If you guessed that then maybe you can guess the 27 birds pictured on IATB 23 and win a Peterson Field Guide. Nick did an excellent job and he has a couple new writters on board. Check it out!

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

What are these guys?

Harvey from Alabama runs the Ringdrops blog. He sent this picture and wondered if the readers of this blog could identify the chicks in it. Can you?

I visited his blog and it mentions some of my old stomping grounds. Orange Beach, AL , Foley, AL , Gulf Shores, AL , Florence, AL and a few more. He says he and his wife drive around Alabama taking pictures. Sounds like the life to me. Alabama is a beautiful state.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Cleaner than clean

2006 Mew Yard Spring Clean Up was a huge success. I can tell by my aching back. But I'm not the only that's sore today, I'm sure. We had an excellent crew with some great help from some missionaries from the Latter-Day Saints and Lenny the electrician. I believe if those fellows didn't show up we would still be there.

Here's a short list of what got accomplished;
  1. All mews were pressure washed inside and out.
  2. Pea gravel was cleaned and raked and more added where needed.
  3. All exterior outlets repaired and covered.
  4. All trash, weeds, over grown brush, leaves, old equipment, etc. is gone.
  5. Roof and door repairs to the mews.
  6. Relocated the duck & goose mew to where it will be in the sun.
  7. Tore down two old mews that had become hazordous.

And much, much more too numerous to mention. We have more that needs to be done, but because of all the hard work on Saturday, the list is a lot smaller.

Also, thanks to the folks at AIH & Home Depot. Thanks to them, our expenses for the weekend is right at $00.00. Also thanks to Elise Patkotak and Britt Coon. Two great gals that supplied the food and drink along with muscle power. Also, OB McCreary for the use of the dumpster. It kind of got used.

Thanks to all who participated for the hard work. I know One Wing and Ol' Witch already appreciate it.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Mission Complete

Back in the 70's as the Vietnam war was winding down, I had the pleasure of being a member of the "T Tail Mafia". No, it wasn't a street gang in LA. We were young men and a few women who had the priviledge of being a part of what would become history. Not the kind of history your kids will study in school, but a history you know made a difference.

As of May 6, 2006 the C-141 will no longer exist in the Air Force inventory. They have been the backbone of the United States Air Force transport fleet for more than forty years. The last one, tail #60177 known as the Hanoi Taxi will land at Wright-Paterson AFB in Ohio. It was the first aircraft to bring the POW's home from Hanoi. If you watched the ceremonies like I did, it was the aircraft always in the background. It will be officially retired and is becoming a static display for the Air Force Museum. Not all of the Starlifters were so lucky. Many are at Davis-Mothan AFB in Arizona awaiting to be scraped or already have been.

Charleston AFB, SC was my first duty assignment. It was going through a lot of transition at the time. The Vietnam war had just ended. Lots of people were getting out of the Air Force and not many were coming in. It wasn't very popular to be in the military at that time.

Working on a transport aircraft took me around the world doing all kinds of things. I've been to Europe, Africa, Asia, South & Central America, Canada and lots of the U.S. I've meet presidents of foreign nations, kings, princes, numerous politicians, etc. I've worked long hours and partied with many a NATO troops. We brought home the wounded, tired, sick, POW's, families of, and some deceased. I remember mostly the British paratroopers in Panama, the French Foreign Legion troops in Zaire and the U.S. Army troops in Guyana. I also remember the dedication so many had to an aircraft and it's mission. Some I'm still in touch with to this day. This aircraft was a work horse. To borrow a phrase "it could take a licking and keep on ticking".

As an E4, I became a flight chief for a while, a position usually held by an E7 or above. Problem was they didn't have enough to go around, so it worked its way down the food chain. My true love was going on TDY's. Going anywhere I've never been before. If someone said the place sucked, I wanted to go find out for myself. They could send me anywhere at anytime, and they did. I traveled the world and I traveled on this aircraft into manhood.

Those days are gone and now so is the aircraft. Leaving only fond memories for old crew chief's (war dogs) and flight crews. The new war dogs and flight crews have it now with their new aircraft. Thanks Lockheed, she was a great ride. I'll never forget her. Good job! Mission complete.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Saturday will be a busy day

Saturday is going to be a busy day. Our 2006 Mew Yard Spring Clean Up will be taking place from 9AM until about 3PM. A massive extreme yard clean up. Our committee that has put this together has volunteers from local organizations helping out and tons of supplies donated. The final cost of this project for Bird TLC is $00.00 . If you want to help out stop on by Bird TLC between 9am and 3PM. I'm sure we'll have an extra rake.

There will be Education Birds being presented at the Kaladi Cafe's in Anchorage from 9AM until 11AM. Have a cup of java and find out about one of Alaska's wild birds. While you are at it, pick up some Boreal Brew, a bird friendly coffee. Procedes go to Bird TLC.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

No tell Motel, sort of

This good looking guy came to us via Colorado. He spent about a week at Bird TLC enroute to the North Slope for release. He spent a couple days at the clinic and a couple at the flight center getting climatized and building up its flight strength.

When he was released last week, he didn't hesitate to leave.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Have a cup of java with Bird TLC at

Any local Kaladi Brothers Coffee Cafe on May 6th. We will be presenting a Bird TLC Education Bird at each Anchorage location from 9AM until 11AM.

For the month of May at all Kaladi Cafe's, the coffee of the month will be Boreal Brew, a bird friendly blend with proceeds going to Bird TLC. This blend will also be available for purchase online at The Kaladi Brothers web site. They have organic and fair trade coffee also.

Kaladi features 10 vibrant cafes in South Central Alaska, each with its own flair and character. Get a drink on the run, meet your friends, surf the web, see a wild bird presentation or just chill at a Kaladi.

You'll catch me from time to time during the week at the Titlewave, City Market or South Center locations drinking my white chocolate mocha. They have the best coffee in town. They also have free wireless broadband.