Sunday, October 29, 2006


This years Owl-O-Ween had a great turn out. We had 6 different types of owls being presented and Bird TLC was open to the public. An estimated 200+ people and 2 moose came to visit us.

We had kids of all ages. We invited people and businesses from the TLC neighborhood and a lot of our regular supporters.

We light the place up right with the help of Barbara Fleming. We even had the approval of a momma moose and her calf. Yours truely even did Mew Yard tours in costume.

Thanks to John Gomes and Britt Coon for the images. Check out more pic's.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

A Snowy Day

Today was a pretty good day. The weather man predicted 4 inches of snow. Well, we didn't get it but I did get to spend the afternoon with the snowy.

Cindy (my mentor) had a presentation at Mears Middle School and I went along to observe. This is only the fifth time the snowy had been out and it handled itself very well. Cindy is very good with him also.

After the presentation we went back to the Bird TLC clinic and I got to spend some time with him on fist. Cindy showed me how he likes to come out of the kennel and go back in. We also had plenty of bait recovery practice. I belief he was getting tired from a long day. At one point he was laying down on my fist.

Tomorrow during my lunch I get to go to Cindy's house where the snowy is staying right now. We're going to cover feeding and a few other things. Our plan is for right now to go visit everyday during my lunch. Once he's good and use to me we'll move him to his new mew in my backyard. We think that should be by the end of this month.

Monday, October 23, 2006

If you really want to know

If you really want to know what brought this Snowy to Bird TLC, check out this post from last November.

Sunday, October 22, 2006


The mew is done. Totally complete inside and out except for having a resident. That will come in a little while. Here's the spec's

12 foot long and 6 foot wide, 6 foot tall on the low end and 7 foot on the tall. The roof is 1/2 clear PVC and half tinted. All wood is pretreated except for the douglas fur panels. There's 3 inches of pea gravel for the flooring. Inside there's also a 65W halogen light with reflector. On the outside there is a motion light. HD astro turf is used on the perches.

I learned a lot. I have repaired mews but have never built one. I'm not a carpenter. I'm an aircraft mechanic turned salesman. I've changed jet engines in 100° weather and snow storms. I've recovered down aircraft. This past week I built a mew.

I did make a few mistakes. You'll have to find them though, because I'm not telling you what they are. If there's a next one, it will be when there is no rush. But I did beat the first snow.

I now must start my training with the Snowy. I can now do it without the rush a building a mew.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Mew Day 2.5

I spent a few lunch hours this week and a few more right after work when it wasn't raining, working on the mew. I'm loosing light more and more each day so it was time to break out the work light.

They are predicting rain on Sunday and snow on Monday and Wednesday. So I'm running out of good weather time to complete this. I will be at it on Saturday from early morning on and we'll get a lot done.

As soon as it's complete, I need to start working with the Snowy at Cindy's house (she's my mentor with this bird). That's the easy part, no time limit. However, we don't want to drag things out. As soon as Cindy's comfortable with me handling the Snowy, he'll move into his new place.

Friday, October 20, 2006


We have both a male and a female White-Winged Crossbill that will be visiting with us through winter. They are victims of window hits. Unfortunately, they will miss their migration by the time they are well enough to travel.

The red one is the male. They will have first class acomadations until next fall when they will be released when their friend come back.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Alaska Day

Today is Alaska Day. The territory was officially handed over to the U.S. from Russia and the American Flag was raised in Sitka in 1867. See what people who don't live in Alaska, think of Alaska with this link.

My daughter Cassie use to joke that Alaska was an island off of the coast of Mexico because that's where it's placed out of convenience for the map makers. Google United States map and you'll see that or no Alaska or Hawaii at all.

It's raining hard today, so it's another down day for mew construction.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Oh my gosh!

I have had some down time on the mew building due to some rain. That's suppose to lighten up tomorrow but maybe turn to snow this weekend.

I went to the clinic today and to my surprise and many others, Rachel, our Exec Directors desk has a top to it.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Snowy mew day 2

Today started at 10 AM and it was +29°F. We're having Snowy Owl temperatures and it's mew isn't done yet. We did get up to 45°.

It doesn't look like I accomplished much today because most of what I did was tedious. I beefed up the roof rafters. We must be concerned of what amount of a snow load it can withstand. They are predicting a mild snow winter for us this year. If it's like any prediction they have made in the past, I better get the snow shovels ready.

The roof is on the back half of the mew. I used a tinted roof panel to help filter the sun come summer. The front half will be clear for the light when I get it up.

The existing shed wall will help block out the wind. So will the Douglas Fur paneling I put on the back wall and part of the outside wall. The rest of the walls will be done with 2 X 2's. They will be spaced evenly apart all the way around.

It started getting dark on me again as you can tell with the bottom image. I was ready to call it quits for the night. Besides, there was moose pot roast waiting for me inside.

I'm taking tomorrow off from the mew construction. It's back to the paying job. Also, my son Ryan is coming over for dinner. I haven't seen him in a while and it's time for some quality time with him.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Snowy mew day 1

Day one started at 10:30 AM and it was +33°F.

I decided on this spot because it seemed the most quiet of the few I had to chose from. One wall as you can see is going to be of the existing wall of our shed. The raspberry bushes were removed.

It felt like it was raining for a while. When the temperatures raised, the frost from the night before rained down on me from off the roof. The warmest it got was +49°.

I stayed at it until 7:30 PM tonight. I ran out of light and the batteries for my saw and drill needed recharging. So did I.

I am actually a little farther along then the pic's show. The back wall is in place and two rafters connect the middle and end post together.

More tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Please bear with me ......

The Bird TLC Education Committee has just notified me that I am having a new addition to the family. No, not the pretty blonde on the left. That's Cindy Palmatier, our Rehab Director. Her husband Todd and my wife Ruth would probably have something to say about that. However, the snowy she's holding will be moving to our house as soon as I get a new mew built in the backyard. At that time I become it's caretaker. Here's a link to more images.

The mew must be built before the snow flies, which will probably be in a few weeks. It will be 12 feet long, 6 feet wide and 8 feet tall. So, I need to get busy.

Most of Bird TLC's Education Birds live with their caretaker. The caretaker takes on most of the birds expenses like housing, food, etc. After the mew is built, I'll be in training with the bird until I prove to our Education Committee that I can handle the bird under any situation and am very knowledgeable of it's species. Then I'm required to do 15 hours of educational presentations a year with it. I'm going to be busy.

This all started 4 1/2 years ago when I took my wife Ruthie to the Bird TLC Clinic to do "her bird thing" after we had a bad snow and her car wouldn't make it through the unplowed roads.

If you would like to read a female version, visit Susan Get's Native in Ohio. She does a lot of the same bird stuff we do here in Alaska. It's great to read someone else's stories on the same topic but from a little different view.

Monday, October 09, 2006

More on DC

Sorry, I'm retired from the USAF, so different veteran memorials always attract me. We were in DC 5 years ago and visited the DC Veterans of WWI Memorial where we found 2 Dorsey's on the wall. So we had to go back again and visit. I also wanted a picture of Cassie (now 19) in the same spot we took a picture of her last time when she was 14.

My Dad (my hero) was a WWII Veteran. The WWII Memorial wasn't built yet when we visited last, but we had to see it this trip. I knew so many of my Dad's friends who had fought in the war. Most of them have passed on now.

The Korean War Memorial is very unique. Those guys on patrol seem like a ghost platoon. The Forgotten War.

Vietnam is one most would like to forget. The folks just a little older than me got to deal with it like my brother in law Mike.

Here's a shot of most of the mall. They are expanding the Vietnam Memorial. They are adding an underground section with pictures of those on the wall and mementoes placed at the wall will be on display also.

I guess the Gulf Wars and Afganistan are next. I hope there will be a last one soon.

Anyhow, we had a great time. Weather was about 75° with a slight breeze. We parked right by the FDR Memorial and walked over. It's a busy place.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

U.S. National Arboretum

One of the highlights of Cassie and my trip back east was the U.S. National Arboretum. I had read about it over at John's A DCBirding Blog and knew I had to check it out when we were in the neighborhood.

April or May is probably the best time to visit, but we were there in September, so that would have to do. Wow, what a big place. Nine miles of roadways wind through and connect the numerous gardens and collections on this 446-acre campus. You can check it out by tram, car or bike. If we were closer to home I would have chosen bike, but ours didn't make the trip.

We spent 4 hours there and still didn't see it all. Being an amateur gardener, I was jealous of the staff working there. That's where I would volunteer to work at if I lived nearby. There's Aquatic Garden and Koi Pond surrounding the Administration Building, the Friendship Garden, the National Herb Garden, and the National Bonsai & Penjing Museum. Hikers and bikers will also find many intriguing trails throughout the Arboretum.

We had lunch under a huge Magnolia tree in the National Grove of State Trees. It was so quiet except for the wind blowing leaves, squirrels and jays.

You can't bet I'll be back.

Saturday, October 07, 2006


We have a Ruffed Grouse visiting with us. It was found on the ground not flying and a little under weight. We found nothing wrong so we are fattening it up and we'll see if it will pass a flight test.

What's most interesting is that part of it's protect is to be perfectly still whenever something threatening comes near. It has that down pat. Everytime we look in on it it's as stiff as a stick. I didn't have to wait for it to sit still to take a picture either.

Thursday, October 05, 2006


I'm having trouble with blogger allowing me to post pictures. It seems I'm not alone in this. I have several new post ready to go, but without pictures it would be kind of hard to understand.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Hi Red

We have a Red Tailed Hawk visiting right now that came to us from Tok, Alaska. It has a fractured right wing that has already started to heal when it came to us. Fortunately, it was already set (by itself or Mother Nature) and is pretty close to being set properly. So all we are doing is wrapping the wing to keep it inmobile and hopefully it doesn't damage it more while it's with us. We're also making sure it's feed and watered regularly.

We don't get many Red Tails. They do go as far north as Fairbanks, but like a more open area and less populated also. We no longer have one in our education program either. Raider was our last one, he had been with us for quite a while. He passed away about a year ago from aspergillosis.

With a little luck this Red Tail will be releasable. We'll know after we can flight test it.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

We're back and we're pooped

OK, Cassie and I got back early Monday morning, but we've had a lot of catch up to do. So that's why I'm just getting back to posting.

First things first. Bye-Bye Birdie was awesome. Why you ask. Because we had a great organizing committee headed by Britt Coon and some fantastic volunteers. Folks from Bird TLC, Alaska Zoo, USF&G and ADF&G. The weather was a little chillie at first but the rain held off and all was well. The eagle release was picture perfect. Check out John's album for a look. I'll have more later. Thanks to everyone involved.

We have a few birds in the clinic we don't often see. I'll be posting later this week. We had a good time but we're glad to be back home.