Archive for May, 2011

Echo the Paca

Love my spots!

Another of Lisa’s Creatures is Echo, the paca.  A paca is a large South American rodent, but don’t call him a rat!  Echo’s fur is actually lovely shades of brown, with many marvelous spots, and he has big soft eyes.
Echo has found a great home with Lisa and her family.
Blogger’s Note: Photo was Submitted in 2010

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Duckling Dilemma

First comes love, then comes marriage, next comes Mama Duck with the baby carriage.  Of course in nature, this translates to a rash of calls in March about a pair of mallard ducks in backyard pools and “can we please send someone out to catch them?”

Healthy mallards that fly into backyards, office complexes, school yards, shopping centers, etc. can also fly out again.  It’s illegal to capture healthy protected wildlife without a permit.  It’s also fairly impossible to catch a flighted duck, healthy or otherwise. 

“If you don’t come out and catch these @#%&* ducks, I’m going to shoot them!” is another familiar phone call.  It’s illegal to shoot migratory mallards.  You would need a hunting license and you would need to be in an area where hunting is permitted.  This rules out the majority of calls that we receive….about 100% of them. One irate homeowner did damage to his pool after taking a few shots at the visiting ducks.  A more serious concern is that a stray bullet or pellet that could injure or kill a child or a pet in someone else’s yard.  

Instead of running for your rifle… discourage ducks by chasing them off, (and don’t feed them or leave pet food outside.) Once you feed them, you’ve given an invitation to stay.  Wave a pool net or towel at them but be as consistent as possible.  

 Since the mottled brown coloring of the female mallard provides excellent camouflage, people often don’t realize the duck is nesting in their yard until they wake up one morning to a dozen or so little puffballs swimming in their pool.  We can get up to 20 calls a day during April, May, and June concerning ducklings in swimming pools.  There are only a few people who are experts at catching both the mom and babies so the family can be transported to a suitable lake.  Patience is a virtue plus there’s little choice.

 We’ve had calls from people who are sobbing; they’ve watched the ducklings drown over a several day period because the babies couldn’t get out of the pool.  It never occurred to them to make a ramp for the ducklings.  This should be a no-brainer.  Making a ramp or filling the pool up to the top is your first priority; if the babies can’t get out of the pool, they will eventually drown.  Use a board, screen, lawn chair or other device.  It will usually take a long time for the babies to understand and use the ramp but they eventually figure it out.  Unless the pool has just been shocked, the chlorine isn’t as much of a problem as the fact that there’s not a good food source for the ducklings.  On a lake or pond, they’d been eating small bugs and algae.  A trip to a local feed store for some game bird starter will keep the ducklings nourished or try dry dog or cat food soaked in water until spongy.  Depending on the amount of calls coming in and the availability of volunteers who can rescue ducklings, it might take a few days so be prepared.

By: Nancy

Blogger’s Note:  This article was written last year and appeared in our BirdTracks newsletter. But it is timeless information and deserved a repost!

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Timber the Beaver-close up

Hello world!

Here is a new photo of Timber, the baby beaver, another of Lisa’s Creatures, or as I call it “Lisa’s Noahs Ark”.  I think this photo was taken just as Timber was coming from his bathtime, which he enjoys immensely.  Timber is also a real hit with the children during the educational program that Lisa holds at Gilbert, Arizona’s Parks and Recreation. The program gives children the opportunity to learn about exotic animals (and some domestic ones) that are part of Lisa’s ‘menagerie.’  It takes special licensing and an immense dedication to care for many of the animals.  Each one requires a different diet, as well as a knowledge of habitat and other requirements.  Some of the ‘critters’ are ones that are never seen, outside of zoos.

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Lisa’s Creatures on Animal Planet!

Will I be famous?

Here is a close-up of Brisbane, the cuscus, one of Lisa’s Creatures.  Brisbane is getting up close and personal with the camerman of Animal Planet.  Brisbane is an adorable female cuscus and one of the exotic ‘critters’ of Lisa’s educational program. Stay tuned here for information about when the episode will air on the Animal Planet!
photo submitted by Lisa of Lisa’s Creatures
Blogger’s note:  The cuscus is an exotic animal.  Very special licensing is required to take care of such animals. In addition, such ‘exotics’ need highly specialized diets, knowledge and environment to survive outside their native habitat. 

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A Happy Christmas Story

No, I haven’t gone crazy. This story came to me from Ginger around Christmas of last year.  Being a hoarder of good news, I kept the blog on file. As Ginger wrote…timing is everything.

Submitted by: Ginger

“I got a call in November about a cockatiel that was found in a city park.  It was weak and seemed to be lost.  One of the Scottsdale employees was kind enough to bring it to me.  I made an appointment to have it seen by Dr Driggers, the avian vet we use for all the birds.  The day of the appointment, I got a call from a woman who had found a cockatiel in her backyard.  She brought it to me that morning.  Timing is everything!  I was able to get both birds to the vet at the same time.  The vet said that both cockatiels were severely underweight and that I shouldn’t be surprised if they did not survive.  I nursed them along for several weeks and they did great.  I kept the birds in separate cages in my quarantine room so that I could monitor their progress and make sure that both were eating.  In mid December, after all the tests came back negative, they were ready to be moved out of quarantine.  I brought them up to be with my other birds so that they could have more activity around them, and I even placed them both in the same cage so they’d have each others company.  Then, the week before Christmas, I got a call from a woman that adopted a Cockatiel from me two years ago.  She wanted to know if I had any more that might be up for adoption.  Again, timing is everything!  She came and picked them up two days before Christmas.”

Blogger’s Note: Not all such stories have such happy endings.  Our volunteers, those who handle domesticated species, are finding that there is an increase of abandoned birds, some left in foreclosed and empty homes, some released “back to the wild”. The domestic birds that are released have very little chance of surviving on their own. “Released” birds cannot feed themselves and most often fall victim to predators, both human and animal.

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Meet Lucas, the Fennec fox

I am so soft and cuddly!

 

This is my new Fennec fox named Lucas.  He is very cute and fun to hold.  He smells sweet, and clean like warm sheets.  His fur is amazingly soft.  He was donated to my ed program by a very generous couple in Kansas.

submitted by: Lisa

Blogger’s Note: Lucas is just one of a Noah’s ark of critters in Lisa’s Creatures educational program. The program allows youngsters to get “up close and personal” with creatures they normally only see in zoos or get a glimpse of in the wild.

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Free Range Chicken…or Chicken with Free Range?

Here is another story from our archives about Evie, the finely dressed hen. Evie was later renamed Buttercup!

Meet Evie, the East Valley Wildlife Hen.  Sporting her pink diaper, this finely dressed fowl struts her stuff around the house.  Evie is an important new addition to our collection of animal ambassadors.  This educational outreach animal reminds children and adults about the importance of being kind to all species, even those we think of as food providers. 

submitted by: Lisa

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Australorp???

As promised, I went back to some archived articles to repost a few of them. This gem came from our volunteer, Ginger, about a chicken rescue.

I got a call last week from a young man in Mesa.  He had a chicken that hopped the block wall into his yard and fell into his pool.  It was bitter cold that night.  The poor chicken was soaked to the bone.  It was evident that she was under attack, most likely by a dog, and that is what caused her to leap the fence.  She had most of her tail feathers missing.  Poor girl!  I wrapped her in a warm towel, brought her home and put her in an aviary holding pen with a heat lamp.  I checked on her several times during the night, and she seemed okay, but she was whimpering and shivering.  I wasn’t sure that she’d pull through.  Next morning there she was standing in the pen all bright and cheery ready to face the day.  It turns out that she is a Black Australorp chicken.  Very pretty girl, well except for the torn tail feathers.  She’s very friendly and can be pet and picked up easily.  She is up for adoption, but I’m pretty sure that Jeannie will be taking her into her flock.

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Clean That Birdbath!

The temps are rising here in the Valley of the Sun. Many people keep birdbaths in their yards, for the beauty of seeing their winged visitors and providing them with some refreshments when the temperatures soar.  Please remember to keep that birdbath clean, by scrubbing the birdbath regularly and changing the water daily.  Dirty water can spread disease among our feathered friends. Positioning the birdbath in some shaded area of the yard can help keep the water cooler and fresher.  Remember, if you have roaming cats in the area, position the birdbath where the bird visitors have ample notice of an approaching cat. Also, if you hang hummingbird feeders in your yard to attract those beauties of nature, remember to clean those regularly. The typical hummingbird feeder mixture can grow bacteria rapidly in hot weather.  Likewise, position the feeder where predators do not have easy access – or ants can get into the sweet nectar! Lastly, if you see people feeding waterfowl their old (or fresh) bread…please caution them that a diet of this kind can make ducks and geese very ill. I believe it is the yeast in the bread that breeds bacteria, but don’t quote me on that.  If you have any other hints for us during these hot weather days that will help wildlife, please pass them on in the comments section! Always glad to hear from you.

Marge

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CALL AHEAD!! PLEASE!

This morning I overslept until 8 AM.  When I walked out the front door to get the newspaper, I noticed a neighbor’s cat by my gate.  I shooed him off and then noticed a little baby dove in a plastic container that someone had put by the gate where the shade was.  If I had walked out there 30 seconds later, that bird would have been cat breakfast! 

 Later a guy called, said he lived nearby and had found the bird and brought it over.  (If he knocked on the door, I didn’t hear it.)  But he did get instructions to never do that again.  People need to realize that they can’t show up at a rehabber’s house unannounced with a rescued animal. And, leaving a rescued animal on the rehabber’s doorstep, especially in this  hot weather can be a death sentence for the animal.  Remember, contrary to popular opinion….Rehabbers are human…they do oversleep; they get sick; they even go on vacation (rarely); or like many of us they use their garage door and never look on the front stoop.  Also, most volunteers specialize in certain animals…SO taking a Cactus Wren to a rehabber who handles only doves or ducks is like taking a parrot to a vet that only takes in cats and dogs.  The right diet and housing is needed for the various species. 

Luckily this story has a happy ending…the little dove was literally saved in the nick of time and is happily cuddled up with 5 new nestmates.

article submitted by: Nancy

Blogger’s note:  East Valley Wialdlife wants to thank all those kind-hearted people who take the time to rescue an animal…but Please, when you find an animal and bring it to a volunteer, call ahead, find out if that volunteer takes that species and don’t just leave the bird on the stoop!

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