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Falling in Love with South Dakota

roaming peacocks

Recently returned from South Dakota.  Spent an idyllic week in a log cabin near Custer State Park for a conference.  The wildlife was awesome…I mean LARGE wildlife, like tons of bison roaming free (or freeish) in Custer State Park.  It snowed the second day I was there and the native South Dakotans said that it was really rare for snow that early in September.  Visited Mt. Rushmore, of course, and another impressive memorial work…The Crazy Horse Memorial.  I suggest a visit and make sure you partake of the brief movie in the visitor center.  You will leave the movie with a very different perspective of the amount of work that has been accomplished and remains to be done on the memorial.  I added a photo of some interesting “wildlife”, peacocks!  Not sure if they are indigenous or just found their way to the area.  Also saw some wild turkey…BIG birds, but too skittish to get a good photo of them.  COMING NEWS….We will soon have a guest blogger!  Looking forward to her new “voice” in this blog.  If you have any interesting ideas for a blog, send me a comment.


The Medical Language of Rehabbing

There are many medical terms (for humans) that have ‘transitioned’ into the language of rehabbing.  Here are just a few, which you might recognize: (Note: the explanation is written in ‘common’ language, not the more complex medical terminology)

septicemic. When a disease is said to be septicemic, it means that the toxins have invaded the blood stream and can travel to other parts of the system

opportunistic disease.  Is a disease caused by organisms normally residing harmlessly in the body of a healthy bird.  if the bird’s immune system becomes compromised, the pathogens take advantage of this opportunity to cause disease.

pathogen. Is an organism that causes disease (bacteria, viruses, fungi for example)

necrotic. This word means that the cells have died. If there is necrotic tissue in a wound, that tissue has died and needs to be removed so the wound can heal correctly.

palpate.  When you are directed to palpate an area on the bird, you want to use your fingers (usually thumb and forefinger) and GENTLY press/squeeze to check the condition.

debriding.  Means to cut away the foreign, contaminated, necrotic material from a wound or infected lesion until healthy tissue is exposed.

prophylactic.  This word means preventive.  When birds are given a prophylactic dose of medicine, it means they do not have or exhibit signs of a disease, but they are at risk.

Our coming e-book will have a complete glossary of terms used by expert rehabilitators, and rehab terms are used throughout the book.

You will also need to know some terminology if you are to apply for permits and licensing to do rehabilitation work with wildlife.



Things Are Heating Up!

Hi,  After a really hectic baby season here at EVW, we are moving into another busy time.  I wrote previously about our major efforts to move into the twenty first century with our technical doings.  The e-book, Off To A Flying Start, is coming along nicely.  Following an extended  editorial telephone conference, we will soon have the beginnings of a workable document.  Then our techie guru can begin her magic on revisions later this year.  There have been updates to our website and a new Volunteer Response Form.  We hope to have the Volunteer Response Form interactive sometime soon.  If a potential volunteer expresses interest in our work, they will be able to complete the form on line, rather than mailing the form back to us.  Since most of us have forgotten what a postage stamp looks like, this will be a major leap forward!  We will have the new Volunteer Handbook ready shortly. We plan to make that available on line also.  The e-newsletter, Bird Tracks,  is celebrating its anniversary this month!  Cannot believe that only six months ago I was struggling with making sense of how to build an e-newsletter!  Thanks to many of you for your contributions about possible topics.  And the big news…we just might have a guest blogger!!  That is still “in the works”.  I felt it was time to give another voice to this blog, with fresh ideas, topics and new approach to content.  So…stay tuned for more developments.


Altricial vs. Precocial?? Some rehabbin language

In my previous post I mentioned that our September e-newsletter will have information about the licensing requirements for becoming a rehabber in Arizona. What I did not mention, is that wildlife rehabilitators learn what amounts to a new “language” of terms, used when talking about their profession. Two terms that are fairly common for bird (avian) rehabbers…altricial and precocial. These are two frequent terms in an avian rehabilitators vocabulary. The word altricial comes from the Latin word altrix: “nurse”. It describes birds that hatch in a helpless condition and that must be ‘nursed’ until they are able to leave the nest. The word precocial – like the more familiar word precocious – refers to birds that hatch fully developed and are able to leave the nest soon after hatching. In this case, size does matter when it comes to eggs. Some birds that have precocial young have eggs relatively larger in size than the eggs of similar sized birds that have altricial young. Precocial eggs (the larger eggs) contain more nutritive material and require longer to hatch, the young emerge more developed. For an example, the adult killdeer is about the size of a robin. Killdeer chicks are precocial and the killdeer eggs are larger than those of the altricial robin. Killdeer eggs require about 26 days to hatch, while robin eggs require about 13 days. The killdeer young emerge from the egg and are able to run, while the robin’s babies are helpless. The young robins stay in the nest another 10 to 14 days until they are able to leave the nest, then they still flutter around and are under the care of the parents until they learn to fly. There are also semi-altricial and semi-precocial birds, but more about those later!


Upcoming New Handbooks!

We will be working on our Waterfowl Handbook and Volunteer Handbook in the next few months, with plenty of updates. Stay tuned. The work on our coming e-book, Off To A Flying Start, continues, and we are seeking a volunteer to help with the graphics. Things have calmed down a bit after a very busy Spring baby season, but we get plenty of calls, especially following a monsoon. Our Bird Tracks e-newsletter has picked up many new subscribers and the open rate is double the average non-profit e-newsletter! The September e-newsletter will contain a section on what it takes to become a rehabber, how and where to meet the appropriate licensing requirements in Arizona. Go to our website, and click on the subscribe option for the e-newsletter. While you are on the website, click on the Facebook link to read articles by our Director, Nancy, and some great photographs of recent rescues. East Valley Wildlife also is on Linked In, and we have quite an interesting group of people who are linked to our site. For the past year, EVW has really hit the ground running in terms of social media! Stay tuned for more updates.


Summer Sizzles in the Valley

Noted that I have not posted in a while. Spring is one of busiest seasons for rehabbers, plenty of babies to deal with. But the summer has been hectic also, due to some sudden storms. Our Director, Nancy, has been up to capacity, when calls come in about birds being swept from nests due to rain and wind. Check out our website advice, because often there is the possibility of “renesting” a bird, particularly a dove. Doves are excellent parents and will continue to take care of their nestlings, even when the baby is on the ground. But that is not a safe place for it, so we have some hints about replacing the nest…or making a new nest. Watch carefully, and the parents might just return to take care of their babies. We are also in the process of compiling the information for our e-book. The working title is…Off To A Flying Start. The e-book will be for rehabbers and those who want to learn more about the care of songbirds here in this area. I will be posting information about the progress of the e-book. We have also started the new e-newsletter. The title is Bird Tracks, and many of you will recognize that title from our “hard copy” of the newsletter. The e-newsletter is a free subscription and is full of helpful information and updates. Nancy often submits a column for the newsletter. Log onto our website and click on the e-newsletter button to subscribe. We never share or sell email addresses! After you subscribe, the Bird Tracks newsletter will appear in your inbox notification each month, around the middle of each month. There is also a way to unsubscribe, but we hope you will not do that. We also hope that you will share the e-newsletter with others and ask them to subscribe. We are on a mission to get 100 new subscribers to the e-newsletter in 100 days!


An E-Book is Coming!

We are beginning the daunting task of putting together an e-book, which we hope to publish in a few months.  We are currently doing the groundwork of selecting material for each chapter along with photos and illustrations…along with planning an awesome cover image.  The publication of an e-book is similar to traditional publishing of a “paper” book, but in many ways can offer the author a wider range of distribution.  The reader also has the advantage of being able to access the book immediately and to read the book on a variety of mobile devices…Kindle, ipod, laptop, etc.  In addition, the font size can be changed to accommodate easy reading.  All in all, this is an exciting project. Stay tuned!


A Great Rescue Magazine

While waiting at my vets office, I was browsing the magazine shelf.  Amidst the many other “animal” magazines was a gem titled…Ready,Set,Rescue…  We at East Valley Wildlife mainly rescue wildlife, native species of birds and small mammals.  We also have an education division, Lisa’s Creatures, that has many exotics as animal ambassadors.  The magazine that I read was unusual since it was an excellent source of article, tips, online resources, training and information about special needs pets, all of them rescued and adopted.  The magazine covered dogs, cats, parrots, reptiles, and many exotic species.  There was a also a directory of agencies that help with information about adopted animals.  So, when you have a minute check out Ready,Set,Rescue Magazine if you have a rescued pet or intend to rescue one.


Baby Season Is Upon Us!

A newborn cottontail

The new season started early this year.  Baby bunnies were arriving.  Now the baby birds arrive for our volunteer to rescue and rehab. From now until the end of summer will be the busiest time for our volunteers.  We also had our fund raiser, The Easter Basket Bonanza this past Sunday.  We make Easter Baskets and sell them at The Epiphany Church Methodist each year.  The members of the church also buy baskets to donate to the Child Crisis Center.  The baskets this year were wonderful, each one with a unique theme and filled with stuffed animals and toys.  We also encourage people at this time of year to “Get Stuffed!”.  Rather than buying live chicks and ducklings for the Season, we ask that they gift stuffed toys instead.  A live baby chick or duckling makes a BAD gift.  They grow up quickly and cannot be released, since they are too tame and cannot fend for themselves on a lake.  A baby duckling will never be “adopted” by another duck!


Pigeon Hero – Cher Ami

I recently returned from a brief vacation and while there I noted that there were a great many pigeons, pigeons in parks, pigeons on beaches, pigeons scavenging on terraces, pigeons pecking on patios. Some were even canny enough to hang out near cafes and soar in to gobble a leftover muffin or pastry!   The tourists were trying to ignore them, there were signs on beach terraces…Do Not feed pigeons…and the resident population was not particularly bothered by the birds. I have heard pigeons referred to as flying rats, and that really hurts.  Pesty, perhaps, but ratty…never! The pigeon is technically a rock dove and there is at least one very famous pigeon, a bird that saved 200 American lives during World War 1.  That pigeon’s name was Cher Ami.  Cher Ami was a Black Check cock (male) carrier pigeon.  He was one of many owned by the U.S. Army Signal Corps in France.  The birds were used to carry messages, but Cher Ami did more than that.  He Helped to save the lives of 200 men of the Lost Battalion of the 77th Division in the Battle of Argannoe in October, 1918.  In his last mission Cher Ami delivered the life saving message, despite having been shot through the breast, blinded in one eye and having one leg dangling by a tendon.  The tiny message capsule was still on his dangling leg.  The bird was awarded in France the Croix de Guerre for heroic service.  His Army buddies fashioned a tiny wooden leg for him.  On June 15, 2008 National Pigeon Day was celebrated in New York.  The 77th Division was from New York. If you visit the Smithsonian Institute, look for Cher Ami.  And if you are ever tempted to denigrate a pigeon, remember the men of The Lost Battalion.

for more information about Cher Ami visit


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