Who Saved My Life?

26 03 2015

march april jarpic real final copy

Wild Lives Matter Too

26 03 2015


Thank you!

4 01 2015

A heart-felt thanks to all who made our 2014 Holiday fundraising efforts successful! Your support goes directly to injured and orphaned wildlife care! Together we’ll meet our mission in the coming year ! And if you haven’t yet contributed, you can start your 2015 tax-deductible giving now!


2014 in review

30 12 2014

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 26,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 10 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Merry Maloney, NorthCoast Wildlife Superstar!

16 12 2014

merry with Al

by January Bill, Bird Ally X co-founder

I was watching a Red-shouldered Hawk perched on a snag outside my window the other day. My 4 year old son pointed him out to me, commenting on how he blended in with the plants. I immediately started thinking of a friend and well-known community member, Merry Maloney. In truth, I think of Merry every time I see a raptor in the sky or when we are rehabilitating one at the Humboldt Wildlife Care Center because when I first met Merry her passion for wildlife drew me to her. I was lucky to have worked with her almost daily for years doing wildlife rehabilitation in Humboldt.  Her knowledge, inspiration, and humor helped keep me on my path to a life devoted to a career in wildlife rehabilitation.

You may know her, she is an exceptional person all around and is active throughout our community, but I would like to share with you the world that I know her from, and that is wildlife rehabilitation.  Once she retired as a school nurse in her first profession, she began her second career as a volunteer with the HWCC in 1999 as the Education Team Leader and Raptor Rehabilitator.   She opened up her and her partner Barb’s (who has supported her every step of the way) home for housing HWCC’s educational wildlife ambassadors. This was an extremely selfless act and was also a huge personal and financial commitment.  Most of the wildlife ambassadors continue to live and be cared for on their property.

Merry attended international conferences and networked with national raptor rehabilitation organizations to ensure stellar care was given to the local injured and orphaned raptors in her charge, giving hundreds of individuals, from Bald Eagles to baby Quail, a second chance at a wild and free life.

She developed and presented over 1,000 educational presentations to schools (preschoolers to grad students) and many community organizations, never turning down an educational outreach opportunity.  Recently Merry had to retire from the work to which she had devoted her life because of her health. Yet her devotion to wildlife, to the environment, to children and wildlife education continues on through the work of BAX/HWCC’s staff, volunteers and interns, and all who have been inspired by her to be wildlife stewards of our shared world.

Merry Maloney is a true wildlife advocate and hero in our community.  For all of her contributions to the HWCC and our community, we honor her by naming our recently-built raptor conditioning aviary the Merry Maloney Raptor Flight House.

Merry,  thank you for doing this life saving work. Thank you with all of our hearts for everything you have done to make this world brighter for both the people and wildlife.  We love you.

merry and carson
Merry with Carson, an unreleasable Peregrine Falcon, named for Rachel Carson. (photo: John Griffith)

Northern Fulmars, seabirds of mystery

2 12 2014

NOFU 2014 - 05-clear-background-copyfrom the Bridge of a crabbing Ship
in the middle of the night on the southern Bering sea –
Wakened by the Rolling Sea.

it is december and in a locker on board
hang orange suits Meant to
Protect human Life
should the Vessel go Down.

otherwise, says the pilot
we have five minutes at Most
before we Succumb to the Cold
and we Drown –

the Bow points to the Sky,
then down into the Trough
the lights cast a wide arc and we see
peppering the Crests,
Heads Tucked, at rest
northern Fulmars,
common Murres, asleep.

Northern Fulmars (Fulmaris glacialis) are mysterious birds. Their pelagic lives rarely intersect our land-locked habits. When they do come ashore, to rear their young, they choose remote sea cliffs at the edge of ice-covered oceans. At sea, because they follow the fishing industry’s floating slaughter-houses, perhaps those who know them best are whalers and commercial fishers.

Infrequent visitors to land, they are less commonly admitted for care than other seabirds who stay close to the coasts. As with all tasks, increased exposure improves our skills. So for many years, Northern Fulmars were regarded as a difficult species to treat, and many of these birds died while in our care.

When caring for a wild animal, besides treatment for whatever the injury or condition, the primary care given is husbandry, which amounts mostly to diet and housing. When we tried to find how to provide better care for fulmars, these are the areas we had to study.

NOFU 2014 - 01

NOFU 2014 - 03
Early in treatment, in a small tepid salt pool. The environment is meant to be stress-free.

Northern Fulmars eat anything – aquatic invertebrates like krill, small fish, squid. And they live on the open ocean. While their habitat is impossible to recreate, it still is relatively simple. Open sea.

In late fall of 2003, there was a Northern Fulmar wreck (a seabird wreck is an unusual mortality event involving large numbers of the same or mixed species – while these have occurred throughout time, warmer oceans, acidified oceans, and nitrified oceans are playing an increasing role) in which hundreds of these birds were beached from Baja to British Columbia… sadly very few birds were released. Most facilities did not have proper pools and lacked experience. Along the coast, most birds died.

NOFU 2014 - 10
Evaluating feather condition and ablity to stay dry in water, or waterproofing…

At the facility where I was the care manager, we realized that our diet, established to provide high calories without fat, so that oils wouldn’t contaminate the pool, was not merely not helping, but was actively harming the birds, who were dying, several a day. We switched to a fish-based diet, and immediately, birds began to respond. We managed to release 7 of the 75 in our care. While we were encouraged by our improvement, still this was a dismal result.

NOFU 2014 - 08

NOFU 2014 - 12
Regular examinations and blood tests allow us to track the patient’s progress.

In 2007, along the coast of Monterey Bay, another Fulmar wreck occurred – much smaller in scope, only birds in the bay were affected, not the whole coast. Still we had 140 birds in care! We were seeing similar results, roughly 10% of the birds were looking good, appearing to be headed for release.

By coincidence, the facility we were using had seawater pools that were available for Sea Otters. Because of the large numbers of birds in care, we had to use these pools as well. Imagine our shock when nearly all the birds on seawater suddenly became voracious eaters, vocalizing and highly active. While we had no physiological reason for these birds not thriving on freshwater (many other seabirds do fine on freshwater while in care) our eyes told us all we really needed to know. Northern Fulmars require salt water.

NOFU 2014 - 11

NOFU 2014 - 06

NOFU 2014 - 09
NOFU 2014 - 07
As their health improves, a larger salt pool and far less handling are required for continued recovery.

So last month, when we got four fulmars in from local beaches in Humboldt County, the first thing we did was salt our pools. In fact, our pools are built with pumps that allow us to switch back and forth between salt and fresh water for just this reason. We use salt for all pelagic birds now – while it is more expensive to add salt to a pool, certainly, but salt, especially for Northern Fulmars, is the difference between life and death.

Your generosity supports innovations like these. Without you we would not be able to provide the best care we can, and “push the envelope” to improve, to learn, and to be able to save more wild lives. Thank you so much for making our work possible. Scroll through the following pictures of our Northern Fulmars recently in care… and when you feel good about their release, please, feel free to feel good about yourselves for helping to make it happen.


NOFU 2014 - 13

NOFU 2014 - 15
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NOFU 2014 - 21NOFU 2014 - 20
NOFU 2014 - 25
NOFU 2014 - 23
Rehabilitator Lucinda Adamson (left) and wildlife student/volunteer Lisa Falcao watch their patients fly away.

NOFU 2014 - 22
All Photos: Laura Corsiglia/Bird Ally X


Ban Wildlife Killing Contests.

18 11 2014

After 9 months of deliberation, on December 3 in Van Nuys, the California Fish and Game Commission (FGC) will decide on new regulations banning killing contests. If adopted, these regulations will apply to nongame animals and furbearing animals. Coyotes will be covered under these rules. Your voice is needed.

Below is our letter to the FGC on behalf of Coyote.

California Fish and Game Commission
Michael Sutton, President,
Richard B. Rogers, vice-President
Jim Kellogg, Jack Baylis, Jacque Hostler-Carmesin

Dear Commissioners,

Thank you for engaging in the hard work of bringing the will of Californians as expressed in Assembly Bill 2402 to bear on the California Fish and Game Code.

BIrd Ally X fully supports the advances being made in our state’s relationship with, and regard for, our wild neighbors. The change in Californians’ appreciation for wildlife, wild lands, and wild systems over the decades is very encouraging. As advocates for our patients – injured and orphaned wild animals – we also support the Commission’s commitment to employ ecosystem-based management and use credible science in decisions regarding the wildlife with whom we share our beautiful state.

coyote pup 3 June 13 - 03
Coyote pup in care at Bird Ally X/Humboldt Wildlife Care Center  (photo: Laura Corsiglia/BAX)

Coyote killing contests are one example of an activity that serves no scientific purpose. They are contrary to the best available science regarding coyote management. We stand with Project Coyote, Center for Biological Diversity, Defenders of Wildlife and others in calling for an end to these contests. We recommend that you give serious consideration to the credible, peer-reviewed science these groups have presented that demonstrates the need for a management plan for coyotes and all predators that takes a rational, effective approach which promotes co-existence.

Natural systems depend on this advance, as do individual animals who are orphaned by the careless disregard for life exemplified in these killing contests.

Non-lethal methods of coyote control (e.g gaurd dogs, lambing sheds, predator lights, etc.) have been shown to be more effective at protecting livestock. Eradication efforts and lethal measures to control coyote populations have been shown repeatedly over decades to fail. Poisons, leg-hold traps, guns, explosives, fire and flood have all been used in gruesome and barbaric attempts to extirpate this animal, iconic and revered in North America for millenia. Adaptable and resilient, coyotes’ population has exploded. As Wyoming folk-wisdom has it, “kill one coyote, two appear.”

Lethal means have been known to be cruel and productive of the opposite of their intended results for nearly as long as they’ve been employed. Still, there are virtually no limitations placed on coyote killing in California. Coyote hunting has rightfully earned a reputation as an irrational blood sport.

There is no legal, scientific or moral justification for killing contests. What constitutes a proper relationship with the natural world is poorly represented in such a contest. The posture of respect that is the hallmark of a true hunter is absent. Now that the spotlight is shining on these gruesome contests we urge the Commission to ban them. To not do so now would be to sanction wanton, senseless killing and set California back in its commitment to science and good stewardship.

California’s wildlife rehabilitators work hard on behalf of our state’s wild animals, supported almost solely by our communities. Our patients are almost exclusively victims of our modern world. Our neighbors largely share our concerns, as do thousands and thousands of others, from all walks of life – it’s commonly perceived that wildlife killing contests are repugnant and must, in the face of true understanding and scientific knowledge, be seen as outdated, outmoded and an out and out travesty.
Coyotes and all wild animals deserve respect. As wildlife care providers, it is our duty and our mission to work to modify those aspects of our lives that cause unnecessary injury and are unnecessarily cruel.

Co-existence is the only humane future, especially since so much has been lost through negligence, cruelty and inaction. The eras of wild animal killing contests are past. That previous generations have decimated or extinguished so many other populations – bisons of the great plains, eskimo curlews, passenger pigeons – in similarly wanton displays is a shame and disgrace yet to be lived down. 

The natural world needs people who are compassionate, who are kind, who prefer life over cruelty. Killing contests foster none of these qualities.

We urge you to carry through and help California lead the way into a more rational, civil and humane world. Please end these wanton wastes of real lives. Ban killing contests. 

Thank you again for taking up this issue and for the hard work that each of you do.

Project Coyote has started an online petition to put an end to this wantonly cruel, environmentally stupid bloodsport. Read it, sign it, share it here.

Resources and Literature

Fox, C.H. (2006) Coyotes and Humans: Can We Coexist? Animal Protection Institute, Sacramento, California

on the success of non-lethal management that promotes co-existence:
Fox, C.H. (2008) Analysis of The Marin County Strategic Plan for Protection of Livestock & Wildlife: An Alternative to Traditional Predator Control. Master’s thesis. Prescott College, Prescott, AZ. 112 p.

on the importance of keystone predators such as coyote in an ecosystem:
Henke, S.E., and Bryant, F.C.  (1999) Effects of coyote removal on the faunal community in Western Texas, Journal of Wildlife Management 63, 1066–1081.

on the failure of indiscriminate coyote killing to protect livestock:
Berger, K.M. (2006) Carnivore-Livestock Conflicts: Affects of Subsidized Predator Control and Economic Correlates on the Sheep Industry. Conservation Biology 20:751-761.


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