Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Ochre-fronted Antpitta. Rat Poison Kills. Ban Rat Poison. Webcam Captures Secrets. Barred Owl Snag. Bird-Friendly Design. Eagle Lead Deaths. BirdNote. Civilian Conservation Corps. RIP Terry.


For “Winged Wednesday”:

Ochre-fronted Antpitta

Ochre-fronted Antpitta by Roger Ahlman

“A simple whistle in the dense bamboo is all that might reveal the presence of the secretive and highly endangered Ochre-fronted Antpitta. This plump, long-legged bird is less than five inches long, with an olive-brown back and black-streaked white underparts. Males have the ochre-buff forehead that gives this species its name.

This bird was only discovered in 1976, and until very recently, sightings in the field were almost unknown. ABC’s Daniel J. Lebbin was one of the first to take a full-length photo of this species in the wild. He captured the bird on camera in 2010 at the Abra Patricia Reserve.

Abra Patricia, established in 2004 by ABC and in-country Peruvian partner ECOAN (Asociación Ecosistemas Andinos), spans over 24,000 acres of protected habitat.

One of the biggest threats to the Ochre-fronted Antpitta is habitat loss, mostly due to clearing of forest for agriculture. ABC has modeled the range of this species in a planning document for the Marañon-Alto Mayo Conservation Corridor, and continues work with ECOAN to acquire more land to conserve habitat for this antpitta and other threatened birds.

Abra Patricia is designated an Alliance for Zero Extinction (AZE) site because of the presence of both this antpitta and the endangered Long-whiskered Owlet. The site is part of ABC’s Conservation Birding network, so birders can easily visit and take a chance on finding this elusive species. Territories of both species overlap on the reserve’s owlet trail, about an hour walk downhill from the Owlet Lodge.” Photo: Ochre-fronted Antpitta by Roger Ahlman; Range Map, ABC

Help ABC conserve American birds and their habitats!


Death of Red-Tailed Hawk Caused By Rat Poison.

images[9] FLATIRON — “A hawk found dead inside of Madison Square Park earlier this year was a victim of secondary rat poisoning, according to the EPA’s New York City blog.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation performed a necropsy — an autopsy performed on an animal — and found indications of blood clotting, which suggest that the bird may have died of secondary rat poisoning, according to a blog post by the Environmental Protection Agency’s New York City blog called Greening the Apple.

“What we know so far is that there were partially reabsorbed clots of blood indicating a prior episode(s) of poisoning as well as the massive bleed-out that led to this bird’s painful death,” the post said.  Although the investigation is still ongoing, the hawk had most likely eaten a rat that had ingested rat poison, said Rodney Rivera, a spokesman for the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

“It’s definitely not a peaceful way to go,” said Rivera.  A concerned citizen who found the deceased Red-tailed hawk on the west side of the park on New Year’s Day also informed the state that there was an overage of 19 rat bait boxes throughout the seven-acre park, said the EPA blog post.

“The NYS DEC is also investigating this alleged rodenticide,” the post said.”  More at:


Ban super rat poisons

RatSecond-generation versions are too dangerous to be sold in stores, and are stronger than necessary.

“Poison-control centers receive about 15,000 calls a year from parents of children younger than 6 who have been exposed to poison that was intended to kill rats or mice, according to a January report by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.  The EPA's concern about exposure extends to cats, dogs and wildlife as well. The so-called second-generation rodenticides that have been developed in recent years leave high concentrations of toxins in the bodies of rodents, which renders their carcasses poisonous to pets, birds of prey and other animals that eat them.

For a rodent to get a lethal dose from a first-generation rodenticide it has to eat it more than once, but that’s not a problem. Leave first-generation baits out for a week and they’re just as efficient as the second generation. What makes second-generation rodenticides so non-selective is that they kill slowly, so rodents keep eating them long after they’ve ingested a lethal dose. By the time they expire, or are about to, they contain many times the lethal dose and are therefore deadly to children, predators, scavengers, and pets.

Yet one pesticide company is doing all it can to avoid meeting new safety regulations.  The new rodenticides became popular because people wanted the strongest possible product to use against vermin and often didn't know about the hazards to other animals. According to a January article in Audubon Magazine, rodent poisons have been found in 78% of California's mountain lions and in 92% of San Diego County's raptors — hawks, owls and the like.”  More at:


Webcam captures secrets of endangered birds

Live stream set up in Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve will help experts study the snowy plover and California least tern.

 “Pavloff, president of Variable Speed Solutions in Huntington Beach, had just finished working on a web camera project for the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve. Even before it started broadcasting live online on March 11, he couldn't help but stop and stare at his screen.

"I never watch webcams in any length. And then after this project, all of a sudden I find it sitting next to me at night and I can't look away and I'm constantly going back to it," he said. "It's gotten to the point where my wife is telling me, 'Get off the webcam!' And I tell her that I'm only looking at birds."

The birds he's looking at are the western snowy plover and in a month's time, he will be also be looking at the California least tern. They are listed as two of the state's endangered bird species.”  More at:,0,1521041.story


The barred owl and the beautiful snag

“…..By now it was 6:15 p.m. and time was truly up, finished, and done. I returned along a paved road, and was about to cross into the wetland, when I saw our barred owl sitting out on an exposed branch in the woods. This was my bold girl. I walked right up to her tree and we stared at one another. No widened eyes, no fear, this had to be the same owl. I fired off a few camera shots in the disappearing light.

Then, I got to thinking. What was this bird up to? Was she about to hunt? So, again, I found myself standing and waiting. Ten minutes of stillness, then she shifted her position, and took off toward the creek. I followed her flight, and she headed straight for her original roosting spot.

A female Barred Owl looks out from a tree cavity

Here is the point when the unexpected occurred.

The owl did not roost on her low branch, but flew directly into a beautiful tall snag by the creek, and vanished.  You see a strong flight directly into a solid object. The owl doesn’t slow down, and you don’t see any folding of wings, or slowing down. Poof! The owl is gone – as if by magic.

Oh, it was a prime spot for a nesting owl. It was a beautiful thick snag, complete with a roof, and a deep cavity for raising owlets. The pieces were starting to come together. This owl had been guarding her nest area when I encountered her the other day. The low branch she had occupied was a mere four feet from this fine snag.”  More at:


The Need for Bird-Friendly Design

“For many people, birds and nature have intrinsic worth. Birds have been important to humans throughout history, often used to symbolize cultural values such as peace, freedom, and fidelity.

In addition to the pleasure they can bring to people, we depend on them for critical ecological functions. Birds consume vast quantities of insects, and control rodent populations, reducing damage to crops and forests, and helping limit the transmission of diseases such as West Nile virus, dengue fever, and malaria. Birds play a vital role in regenerating habitats by pollinating plants and dispersing seeds.

Birds are also a vast economic resource. According to the U.S. Fish and wildlife Service, bird watching is one of the fastest growing leisure activities in North America, and a multibillion-dollar industry.

The Legal Landscape

ArchWeek Image

A bird, probably a dove or pigeon, hit this office building window hard enough to leave a ghostly image on the glass.
Photo: erocsid

At the start of the 20th Century, following the extinction of the Passenger Pigeon and the near extinction of other bird species due to unregulated hunting, laws were passed to protect bird populations. Among them was the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA), which made it illegal to kill a migratory bird without a permit.   The scope of this law, which is still in effect today, extends beyond hunting, such that anyone causing the death of a migratory bird, even if unintentionally, can be prosecuted if that death is deemed to have been foreseeable.

This may include bird deaths due to collisions with glass, though there have yet to be any prosecutions in the United States for such incidents. Violations of the MBTA can result in fines of up to $500 per incident and up to six months in prison.”  More at:


Eagle Deaths Investigated on Virginia's Eastern Shore

Four Bald Eagles found dead on Eastern Shore

This immature Bald Eagle was admitted to the Wildlife Center of Virginia. Credit: Wildlife Center of Virginia

“State wildlife officials are investigating the deaths of four bald eagles on the Eastern Shore.

Ruth Boettcher with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries said that three dead eagles and two live eagles were found in Northampton County. One of the live eagles later died. The other one was taken on Saturday to the Wildlife Center of Virginia in Waynesboro.

The wildlife center says its veterinary intern found metal fragments in an immature eagle's digestive tract and elevated levels of lead in its blood. The fragments appear to have since moved through the eagle's system. Another lead test was planned.   

According to the U.S. Department of the Interior, ingesting lead shot from firearms is a threat to several types of scavenger birds, including eagles. Although lead shot was banned for waterfowl hunting in 1991, its use for hunting and shooting sports remains widespread, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

"Ingested lead pellets from shotgun shells have been a common source of lead poisoning in birds. Other sources include lead fishing sinkers, mine wastes, paint chips, bullets and other swallowed lead objects," according to the USGS website.”  From:



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On This Day:

FDR creates Civilian Conservation Corps, Apr 10, 1933:

“On this day in 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt establishes the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), an innovative federally funded organization that put thousands of Americans to work during the Great Depression on projects with environmental benefits.

In 1932, FDR took America's political helm during the country's worst economic crisis, declaring a "government worthy of its name must make a fitting response" to the suffering of the unemployed. He implemented the CCC a little over one month into his presidency as part of his administration's "New Deal" plan for social and economic progress. The CCC reflected FDR's deep commitment to environmental conservation. He waxed poetic when lobbying for the its passage, declaring "the forests are the lungs of our land [which] purify our air and give fresh strength to our people."

The CCC, also known as "Roosevelt's Tree Army," was open to unemployed, unmarried U.S. male citizens between the ages of 18 and 26. All recruits had to be healthy and were expected to perform hard physical labor. Blacks were placed in de-facto segregated camps, although administrators denied the practice of discrimination. Enlistment in the program was for a minimum of 6 months; many re-enlisted after their first term. Participants were paid $30 a month and often given supplemental basic and vocational education while they served. Under the guidance of the Departments of the Interior and Agriculture, CCC employees fought forest fires, planted trees, cleared and maintained access roads, re-seeded grazing lands and implemented soil-erosion controls. They built wildlife refuges, fish-rearing facilities, water storage basins and animal shelters. To encourage citizens to get out and enjoy America's natural resources, FDR authorized the CCC to build bridges and campground facilities. From 1933 to 1942, the CCC employed over 3 million men.

Of Roosevelt's many New Deal policies, the CCC is considered by many to be one of the most enduring and successful. It provided the model for future state and federal conservation programs. In 1942, Congress discontinued appropriations for the CCC, diverting the desperately needed funds to the effort to win World War II.”



Terry-cat wouldn’t eat anything for his dinner the night before or breakfast.  I tried raw organic ground beef, cooked ground beef, salmon, cat and baby food in the feeding syringe.  He just spat everything out.  The fluids and B12 he had at the vet, hadn’t helped any.  But, as usual, he curled up to sleep against by back during the night.  A vet tech friend had came over with a FIV test, and he was positive, so that is why he had such a weak immune system.  If only his former people had had him vaccinated.

Jay called to say that he had to stay there to help the cleaning lady at his mother’s house.  They were going to move furniture or something.

Ray came over and he got a a very large pet carrier out of my attic.  As friendly as the stray, “Blondie” is, he won’t let anyone pick him up, but likes to be petted on the head.  But one of us should be able to quickly scruff him and plop him in a carrier.  A bigger carrier has a wider door when you are coping with a sharp four cornered flailing cat.  Just as Ray put it door side up, Blondie came up to me, so I petted his head, scuffed him, and dropped him in the carrier.  It didn’t take Animal Control very long to get here to pick him up, as they were in the neighborhood. One more un-neutered tom cat to catch, “Charcoal”, and maybe we can clean up where they have been spraying.  It makes the place stink.

Ray and I decided we were going to find that front survey stake between Lots 1 and 2.  The metal detector still kept giving us false readings, so we had two tarps full of removed dirt, and no stake.  Then we measured from the front stake in between Lots 2 and 3 again, and came up with a very different area from where Jay had been digging.  It wasn’t long before Ray said, “ I found it!”  We ran a string to the back stake to see where the line was.  A fence was in the way, so we had to string it so there weren’t any bends in the string.  Lot 1 is a lot bigger than we thought, but a permanent car port can’t be built between the houses without going into easements.  Oh, how I hate my van to be sitting in the TX summer sun.  Maybe one of those metal ones won’t count, as it can always be moved. 

After lunch, I knew that it was Terry’s time to go.  I laid down on my bed with him for the last time, petted him, told him I loved him, and he looked at me as if to say, I know you do and I love you, too.  I could have let Animal Control take him with Blondie, but I wanted to be with Terry to the end.  I loaded him in a carrier, and we travelled the 25 miles to the vet again, but this time he wouldn’t be coming home.  I know he enjoyed a good few weeks here, even though he was sick from the time I got him.  The receptionist tried to comfort me by saying suppose someone else had adopted him, and had just thrown him out to die when he got sick.  Of course, I couldn’t stop crying, but I knew it had to be done yesterday.


Dizzy-Dick said...

Now I have tears in my eyes. I can't stand it when a pet is dying. BTW, I heard on the news about the trouble with the Conroe pound. I guess they had an outbreak of Parvo or something. Do you have any more inside information?

Sandra Merrikin said...

Aw Penny, I'm so sorry but it was definitely the best thing to do for Terry. I hope you're able to find a healthy cat.

LakeConroePenny,TX said...

Hi DD.

No I hadn't heard of it until you mentioned it. But here is the story:

I have only been to the Conroe Shelter once, to donate some things.

If only people would get their pets vaccinated, it would save a lot of suffering and deaths. Even more would be saved if everyone would just get their pets neutered. There aren't enough good homes.

It doesn't take much to start a Parvo outbreak. You know that the people who give away puppies on the side of the road haven't given the pups their first shots. The 'free' pup gets sick, so they take it to the shelter.

Happy Tails, and Trails, Penny

LakeConroePenny,TX said...

Thank you for your comment, Sandra.

I am all 'catted out' for now. Vet said not to bring one here for 30 days. Maybe the right little old lady cat will come along then.

Happy Trails, Penny.

Rod and Loyce Ivers said...

I'm certain that Terry the cat was very thankful that he had you and your home to spend his last days with.... And as hard as it was, you made all the right choices for his care in the waning days of his life.... Another cat will come along, they always do... Rod

LakeConroePenny,TX said...

Thank you for your comment, Rod.

Yes, I miss him, but as you said, maybe another cat will come into my life to take his place. Though one animal never takes the place of another, as they are all individuals.

Even Misty has been looking for him.

Happy Tails to Biscuit, and Happy Trails to you and Loyce, Penny

Gypsy said...

I understand what you must be going through, but time will make some of the ache go away. Good luck.

LakeConroePenny,TX said...

Thank you for your comment, Gypsy.

You of all people would know after you losing your Lady, but I hadn't had him as long as you had Lady. So I know that it is worse for you.

My SPCA boss has already found me a little old white girl cat, with one blue eye and one green. I am looking forward to her arrival as soon as we feel it is safe for her to come here. Plus, our SPCA cats are all healthy, tested for FIV and FELV before they are adopted, and have been kept in homes, as we don't have a shelter.

So I have something to look forward to.

Happy Trails, Penny.