Sunday, November 19, 2006

Freedom or Euthanasia? Florida's Pelican Man Sanctuary near closing

This is a thought-provoking article: is it kinder to keep alive birds (and other creatures) who can not be free, who must live their lives in cages — or, to be unoriginal, to take arms against a sea of troubles and end those damaged (by us humans, usually) lives, kindly, lovingly?

Everyone who has helped with wildlife faces that question sooner or later and we all come down with differing responses. Here's a piece about the Saratoga, Florida sanctuary that was once viewed as a model... until more was known about how its founder sometimes operated.


Pelican Man left questionable legacy
by Tom Lyons, HeraldTribune.com, November 19

Wild birds? I like them as much as the next guy, and more than most.

I'm a fan of sea and shore birds. I have many times gone to pains to extract someone's fishing line out of mangrove branches to prevent harm to pelicans and cormorants and herons and other critters.

But I can't help but see a big, bright silver lining in the supposedly dire news from the Pelican Man's bird sanctuary on Sarasota's City Island.

According to its own press releases, the sanctuary could close, very soon, if it doesn't get a lot of donations, fast.

I'm not urging anyone to donate. I'm even tempted to hope the usual donors, and any others who would consider giving, will come to their senses this time and put their checkbooks away.

There, I've said it. Let the hate mail begin. ...

:::snip:::

Check the link above, the article title, for the complete article. Add a comment here.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Repudiating Rep Hunter's extended hunting on Santa Rosa

Write Sen. Dianne Feinstein at http://feinstein.senate.gov/contact.html
thanking for overturning the Rep. Duncan Hunter proposal for Santa Rosa Island. I've posted the press release on my web site.

Here is Senator Boxer's address: http://boxer.senate.gov/contact/email/index.cfm

Urge them also to support the Endangered Species Act, pointing out the especial need for habitat protection. A wild creature without a natural habitat is no longer wild....

Friday, November 10, 2006

Charging volunteers to volunteer

Interesting article about the Lindsay Museum charging teens to volunteer. (I'll paste the full article in comments below since it won't be easily available for long.)

Betsy

Lindsay Wildlife Museum charging teens to volunteer

By Theresa Harrington
CONTRA COSTA TIMES

WALNUT CREEK - Feeding animals, cleaning cages and teaching others about critters at the Lindsay Wildlife Museum is fun and educational for teens who volunteer at the nonprofit facility.

It's also costly.
:::snip:::
(http://www.contracostatimes.com/mld/cctimes/15983419.htm)

Friday, November 03, 2006

MAX, the great horned owl

Missing Max: Great horned owl flew away

A feathered friend to many children in Santa Barbara is missing -- and his caretaker hopes the public will help in the search. Max, an 8-year-old great horned owl that has thrilled elementary school students for years through the Audubon Society's Eyes in the Sky Education Program, flew the aviary Wednesday night and hasn't been seen since.

He flew away in the La Cumbre Road area. If seen, contact Gabriele Drozdowski - or the SB Audubon Society or call the SBWCN 966-9005; they surely will contact her.

After all these years in captivity, can he feed himself?

UPDATE
NOV 14: Max was found approximately two and a half blocks away - and was reunited with Gabriele, a happy reunion for both owl and person, according to the story in today's Santa Barbara News-Press, available online only to subscribers.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

gull rescued

Date: Wed, 25 Oct 2006 7:33:41 -0700
To: wildlifecaring@cox.net
From: brcramer@...
Subject: gull rescued

To WildlifeCaring:
Sheila Blackmore and I captured the gull with the hook and brought it to Cat and Bird where Dr. Christine Sellers expertly removed the hook. We then brought him back to the waterfront, releasing him at the yacht club where undoubtedly he flew to happy eating grounds at Stearns Wharf. Let's hope he is luckier in avoiding hooks!

No further word on the pelican with the injured bill that I reported to the Waterfront Dept (and which Brian, Sheila, Kyra and I tried to rescue).

Betsy

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Feeding Pelicans on Stearns Wharf





More from Saturday, Oct. 7, photos sent by Betsy

LOGO for SB's Stearns Wharf?

If you are as upset by this as we are, write Mayor Marty Blum and the SB City Council . Be sure and write to SB Waterfront Director John Bridley and Harbor Operations Manager Mick Kronman .

Tell them you want citations issued for feeding the birds - law-breaking that the City doesn't seem to care about. Either that or ban fishing on Stearns Wharf.

They're good people all of them, we hear, but if we don't let them know what's happening on our City Wharf, we are as much to blame as they are for letting this casual cruelty continue. (There is no reason to hook a gull by the beak unless you're being careless or intentionally cruel. We at Wildlife Caring vote for carelessness, but the result is the same for the young gull!)



Sent on to Wildlife Caring for posting - picture taken on Saturday, October 7. The unfortunate young seagull was too far away to be caught. (And, of course, our correspondent wrote, there was no one from the City available to help. There should be someone there all day, watching out for the birds and the people. Tell them! Show that people care, that this is not acceptable.)

Monday, June 12, 2006

Action Alerts: Bald Eagle and Brown Pelican

Public comment is being taken by the US Fish and Wildlife Service on two changes to present regulations.

One is to permit easier access to killing of bald eagles by Native Americans for religious purposes; public comment taken by the US F&W through June 19. What poetic justice to allow Native Americans to kill the US national symbol for religious reasons! (WildlifeCaring does NOT support such "justice.") To comment on the proposal to delist the bald eagle, please address an e-mail to baldeagledelisting@fws.gov

The other is to delist or change the listing of the California Brown Pelican as "Endangered" under the Endangered Species Act. Public comment is being taken through July 24. Here is the F&W address for comment: fws8pelicanpetition@fws.gov

Press coverage of both these issues - and much more about SB pelicans - is available at http://pelicanlife.org — click the link to the right. For more info on those proposed F&W changes, check the site's pelican and wildlife news pages.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Euthanasia NOT for this young hawk!

An important reminder sent by "Lynnprints" (GalleryPaseo/Lynn Adams):

Last week Camarillo Wildlife Rehab received a call from the North Central animal shelter about a young hawk with a "dangling leg". The hawk was thought to need to be euthanized but the officer in charge (Carlos Escobosa) wanted to call and explain the injury just in case there was something that could be done. It was hard to asses the injury over the phone so thought taking the bird in would be best as if it needed euthanasia, we could do that. Pat Ott offered to take the bird directly to me as it obviously needed immediate help.

When I received the bird it appeared that she had break mid shaft. It appeared to be a clean break so I decide to wrap the leg and send her into our wildlife Vet in the morning for further eval. The Vet later confirmed that she had a tibi-tarsal break and performed surgery to put the leg back in place. The young red-tail has an external fixation holding the leg in place which will be removed in 3 weeks. She will under go therapy for her leg after the pins are removed and will get a second chance to meet the skies sometime in late August.

The reason for this e-mail is to reach the shelters' medical staff to let them know, even when things seem un-repairable, they are often repairable. As wildlife rehabilitators, it is our job to take in "orphaned and injured" wildlife. If the animals need to be euthanized, we can determine that once in our care. Thank you Carlos, for offering her a second chance.

Brenda
Camarillo Wildlife Rehab

Saturday, May 27, 2006

housekeeping - update

Given the overwhelming lack of recent interest in this blob or blog by WCN volunteers (except for the redoubtable and loyal Sharon) (thanks for participating, Sharon!), we're moving on. Even so, we will definitely be open for comments with an ever-present open door to SBWCN news and reviews.

With a new personality onboard, me, BirdSelf!, the emphasis will be shifting more to news: avian flu (with an emphasis on wild bird news), action alerts, anything else, wildlife-related, that strikes the fancies of participants.

Comments, updates, suggestions (either in the comments or by e-mail to the address at below, at the first entry), news, tips welcomed!

Friday, May 19, 2006

caring for crows

From Connie, a SBWCN volunteer with many years of experience:
I got my first baby crow yesterday, 5/11, which means it's time to send my yearly baby crow call letter to the Center. You should be receiving lots of calls (and lots of baby crows!) from May 15th through early July, so would you please forward my suggestions to everyone tending the Helpline and the front desk?

My advice runs counter to the easy answer that baby crows should be left on the ground for the parents to feed, but I rehabbed an average of 160 baby crows a year for 20 years, so have a good idea of which crows are going to make it on the ground and which are going to die if they aren't brought in for help.

Questions to ask when receiving a baby crow call:

1. Is it a baby or injured adult?
Check for eye and mouth color--babies have blue or grey eyes, pink to red mouth
Adults have brown to black eyes, some black to all black in mouth
If it is an injured adult, it needs to come in for rehab.
If it is a baby, ask

2. What is the length of its tail?

The shorter the tail, the more necessary it is the bird be brought it. One, two, three inches, the bird definitely needs to be brought in as it will be too many days before it flies for the parents to feed adequately on the ground. If the tail is 4 inches, it may need to come in. If the tail is 5 inches, the bird looks sleek and mature (a fledgling), ask

3. Are there obvious predators in the area and are the parents in attendance?

If there are dogs or cats stalking the bird and it can't fly, bring it in
If there are no parents guarding or feeding it, bring it in (crows can't self feed until 2 weeks after they start flying)
If no predators and the parents are involved, ask

4. Are there any obvious wounds, illnesses, or broken bones
Mouth should be bright pink (pale mouth = anemia/internal injury, yellow=trich)
Any open wounds or growths (injury or pox)
Does one wing or leg droop or not work like the other (broken bones)
If there is stool on the ground, is it healthy (white=urine/inadequate food, dark green or black=starvation and/or organ damage)
If the bird appears healthy on the ground, it is still wise to pick it up to check condition

5. Pick bird up (you can replace it to the same spot or put it in a safer spot nearby, usually up in a bush, and the parents will return to feeding after you've left)
Is breast bone well padded or is it sharp (breast bone runs the length of the chest and should be well padded on both sides--if emaciated/knife like, the bird needs to come in)
Do you get any mites on your hands when you pick him up (most don't, but if has mites, needs to be treated)
Does he grip your fingers with his toes (baby crows don't bite, and it doesn't hurt if they do, but a healthy crow will grip tightly with its feet and you'll have to pry its feet off to remove)

Only those babies passing all of these tests should be left on the ground. Babies left too long will either die or come in another day in much worse shape.

These same guidelines apply to all baby bird calls, with some variation in tail length, mouth color, etc., but baby crows are often the most difficult for callers to figure out because they are so large that people think they look like adults rather than babies.

Once in the center, try to keep baby crows together in groups of two or three, the same social setting as if they were in a nest (avoid isolation or overcrowding). They need to be fed massive amounts of food compared to other babies, so keep checking keel bone and stool color to make sure you're keeping up with their caloric needs (again, in a cage of two to three crows, you can keep better track of changes in stool color or keel bone). Crows can be very hard to feed, often need to be caught individually, wrapped in a towel and force fed with several short breaks during each feeding round, and even then they have a tendency to toss half of it out (and all over you). Hang in there though, feed, feed, feed, and 95% of the babies you get in will make it!

Please feel free to call me (phone number on request-wc)if you have any questions. My longer piece on feeding and housing should be in your files somewhere....

Thanks,
Connie

CARING FOR CROWS

From Connie, a SBWCN volunteer with many years of experience:
I got my first baby crow yesterday, 5/11, which means it's time to send my yearly baby crow call letter to the Center. You should be receiving lots of calls (and lots of baby crows!) from May 15th through early July, so would you please forward my suggestions to everyone tending the Helpline and the front desk?

My advice runs counter to the easy answer that baby crows should be left on the ground for the parents to feed, but I rehabbed an average of 160 baby crows a year for 20 years, so have a good idea of which crows are going to make it on the ground and which are going to die if they aren't brought in for help.

Questions to ask when receiving a baby crow call:

1. Is it a baby or injured adult?
Check for eye and mouth color--babies have blue or grey eyes, pink to red mouth
Adults have brown to black eyes, some black to all black in mouth
If it is an injured adult, it needs to come in for rehab.
If it is a baby, ask

2. What is the length of its tail?

The shorter the tail, the more necessary it is the bird be brought it. One, two, three inches, the bird definitely needs to be brought in as it will be too many days before it flies for the parents to feed adequately on the ground. If the tail is 4 inches, it may need to come in. If the tail is 5 inches, the bird looks sleek and mature (a fledgling), ask

3. Are there obvious predators in the area and are the parents in attendance?

If there are dogs or cats stalking the bird and it can't fly, bring it in
If there are no parents guarding or feeding it, bring it in (crows can't self feed until 2 weeks after they start flying)
If no predators and the parents are involved, ask

4. Are there any obvious wounds, illnesses, or broken bones
Mouth should be bright pink (pale mouth = anemia/internal injury, yellow=trich)
Any open wounds or growths (injury or pox)
Does one wing or leg droop or not work like the other (broken bones)
If there is stool on the ground, is it healthy (white=urine/inadequate food, dark green or black=starvation and/or organ damage)
If the bird appears healthy on the ground, it is still wise to pick it up to check condition

5. Pick bird up (you can replace it to the same spot or put it in a safer spot nearby, usually up in a bush, and the parents will return to feeding after you've left)
Is breast bone well padded or is it sharp (breast bone runs the length of the chest and should be well padded on both sides--if emaciated/knife like, the bird needs to come in)
Do you get any mites on your hands when you pick him up (most don't, but if has mites, needs to be treated)
Does he grip your fingers with his toes (baby crows don't bite, and it doesn't hurt if they do, but a healthy crow will grip tightly with its feet and you'll have to pry its feet off to remove)

Only those babies passing all of these tests should be left on the ground. Babies left too long will either die or come in another day in much worse shape.

These same guidelines apply to all baby bird calls, with some variation in tail length, mouth color, etc., but baby crows are often the most difficult for callers to figure out because they are so large that people think they look like adults rather than babies.

Once in the center, try to keep baby crows together in groups of two or three, the same social setting as if they were in a nest (avoid isolation or overcrowding). They need to be fed massive amounts of food compared to other babies, so keep checking keel bone and stool color to make sure you're keeping up with their caloric needs (again, in a cage of two to three crows, you can keep better track of changes in stool color or keel bone). Crows can be very hard to feed, often need to be caught individually, wrapped in a towel and force fed with several short breaks during each feeding round, and even then they have a tendency to toss half of it out (and all over you). Hang in there though, feed, feed, feed, and 95% of the babies you get in will make it!

Please feel free to call me (phone number on request) if you have any questions. My longer piece on feeding and housing should be in your files somewhere....

Thanks,
Connie

Thursday, March 16, 2006

HELP NEEDED - Spring springs forth

We're posting requests for help needed at the various SBWCN satellites. Please respond to Julia Parker, SBWCN, 966-9005 -- unless other specifications are given.

We'd all love it if you'd post comments here about what you're doing, the volunteer experience, generally, and any thoughts you might have to help others cope with what we all know is or can be stressful. This is your blog - it will be what you want it to be.

Requests received (the first three moved from "Lessons Learned") — click on Comments for details:

Request to help Julia diSieno in Santa Ynez with deer
Request to help with baby raccoons
Request to help Nancy Callahan on Saturday mornings


To see what people are saying, click on Comments and scroll down; the most recent posts are at the bottom of the scrolling. Anonymity is promised and welcomed here.

Monday, February 13, 2006

LESSONS LEARNED AND BEING LEARNED

Spring nears and the wildlife care volunteer’s thoughts turn to... babies!

We know what spring means: the quiet hours at the Center will be over! The time fast approaches to roll up the sleeves and get busy. Caring then goes from dawn to dusk and cleanup continues into the night.

What can we expect? Any care classes scheduled? Any hands-on rehab training on how to fill those gaping beaks? Any books recommended?, although we all know you really only learn by doing, assisted by the ancients, those with hard-earned skills and many baby seasons under their hats.

Share with others your experiences with small mammals, songbirds, raptors, reptiles, and seabirds, too. What are their requirements, what did you learn? We’ve heard about the poor possum returned from an operation at CARE, placed outside at the Center where it died. Surely, that won’t happen again. Warmth, duh!, but what are the other essentials for proper care? Species by species — few know all. And do you have a favored species, which and why? Share with others which creature interests and calls out for your help.

(It’s also baby (and lost spring migrant) seabird time, but the seabird pond is closed for the unspecified future. What will be done for the lost and injured? What’s being done, anyone know? What should one do if one sees an injured or oiled/cooking oiled seabird?)

To see what people are saying, click on COMMENTS and scroll down; the most recent posts are at the bottom. Anonymity is promised and welcomed here.

Messages from: Sharon, Betsy, Connie, E. Mtn. Drive Charis (posting J. Parker's "training" e-mail) and posting Trace Eubank's moving report on the rehabilitation of a PEREGRINE FALCON, and a few anonymice

(No editing here but online reading is hard: brevity is not only the soul of wit, thanks, long-winded Polonius, but highly recommended in online writing..............)

Friday, February 03, 2006

SANCTUARY: it’s needed and wanted!

At first, the capital campaign for the Fairview property mentioned prominently that money was being raised for rehabilitation AND a sanctuary. Then, the mention was for a home for just a few creatures for “educational” purposes. Now, it sounds from what Julia Parker has said, that she and the WCN intend to follow what they see as the letter of the regulations, and euthanize all non-releasables, saving food money, although that is not mentioned.

What do you think? Other (but not all) rehabilitation organizations are also sanctuaries. Why not the SBWCN? Why not apply for an additional permit to allow non-releasable birds and small mammals? There’s space on the 1.5 acres. And will the annual $-raising Biltmore luncheon have a name change and no longer be the SANCTUARY AWARDS?

The pond for years had non-releasables and instead of killing the pelicans and gulls, donors were brought to admire them, especially at volunteer appreciation parties, but individually, too. People often donated as a result. (What would they have thought of the plan to transfer those birds to a zoo!)

A volunteer wrote to this blog: “This is always a problem for us on so many levels. It is also one which should be of interest to the money side of the machine, since showing animals to potential donors is one of the main ways we/they procure funds. ...Nothing is more heart breaking to me than thinking about putting down a healthy animal, for instance, one who was raised by us, because after many months the animal turns out to have some defect or incurable yet not life threatening (or painful) condition.”

Don't animals have rights to life? Shouldn't they?

What do YOU think should be the policies of the SBWCN for unreleasable wildlife, should there be a sanctuary, not a zoo, not as pets, but a chance to live out their lives?

Messages from: gulled in SB, Sharon, E. Mtn Drive Charis, Betsy, Brat, accompanied by a mischief of anonymice, including a thoughtful Anonymous comment from an "oldtimer" on 2/17/2006 04:13:25 PM

To see what people are saying about sanctuary, about euthanasia, click on COMMENTS and scroll down; the most recent posts are at the bottom.

Available is how to view the status of the 1460 N Fairview permit; go to SB County P&D; write in the permit application number:
04BDP-00000-01564. Available on the SBWCN web site is the MOU from the State.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Leadership, followership, what do we want, what do we need?

This week, we solicit comments on what should we expect from a 501(c)(3) that COULD NOT EXIST without its volunteers. You can have a nice Mission Statement (ours is lovely! - see it at the SBWCN web site) but what does that mean in practice?

"Ours"? - what is the structure of the SBWCN, who makes the decisions? It's the Board of Directors but who chooses them. What are the qualifications? How long do they stay? What do they do besides that all-important raise money? Why not be a membership organization, as are so many others?

What’s right, what needs improvement, how did the SBWCN use to be?, how is it now? what do you like? what do you not like? and anything else you want to say. From a mostly all volunteer organization of a year or so ago, the WCN has two full time staff people, out during this quiet time at the Center rounding up new volunteers, we assume - any suggestions for new volunteers?

...But, hey, this is not a questionnaire - these are but thought-provokers, do with them as you will. First, read SBeak’s thoughtful observations on leadership in non-profits. Scroll down the POND, POND, POND comment section to near the end.

To see what people are saying, click on COMMENTS and scroll to the bottom to see the most recent posts.

Messages from: gulled in SB, Sharon, a city bird watcher, Gabriele Drozdowski, E. Mtn Drive Charis, with the usual mischief of anonymice