Monday, January 19, 2009

Lessons Learned

...

I'm still digesting everything I was taught at the eight-hour wildlife emergency response class.

Here are a few of the stories I heard.

Years and years ago, some person in Berkeley California caught a "seagull" that they decided to keep it as a pet (this is both illegal and ill-advised). They cut off all of its feathers to keep it from flying away. When this animal (which turned out not to be a gull, but a Laysan Albatross, a truly magnificent seabird with a gigantic wingspan) proved to be a poor house-pet, they let it "free". (Click on the underlined word "albatross" and you'll come to a very interesting story in National Geographic about these long-lived birds.) This bird was found wandering the streets of Berkeley, and eventually made it to the International Bird Rescue Research Center.

Albatrosses flight feathers grow back slowly and in stages, and soaring birds like albatross (who spend almost all of their life aloft) do not do well in captivity. So the IBRRC obtained a dead albatross from the US Fish and Wildlife Service (collecting any part of a migratory bird is illegal in America, without a special permit). They performed a laborious process of splicing the intact feathers from the dead bird onto the feather shafts of the live bird. The process took hours and hours, with the bird under sedation. The rehabilitators glued tiny dowels (toothpicks or bamboo skewers or wires) inside the hollow cores of the birds feathers, and used this structure to attach the "donor feathers." The bird was fitted with an identifying band on its leg, and released into the albatross colony on Midway Island in middle of the Pacific Ocean.

Nine years later, a scientist working with albatrosses called the IBRRC and reported that Laysan Albatrosses had started breeding on a group of small islands off the coast of Baja California. Upon examining the leg-bands, it was discovered that this very same bird was incubating eggs with a mate.




Another story that stands out is about a bobcat who was hit by a car. A well-meaning bystander picked up its unconscious body, intending to bring it to a wildlife rehabilitation facility.

The only thing they didn't take into account is the fact that an unconscious predator may not stay unconscious for the entire length of a car ride. Sure enough, this wild cat woke up and the driver had to keep flapping their hands at it, to keep it at bay.

The bobcat made a successful recovery from its injures, and was released back to its home in the wild. The driver, presumably had a great story to tell their friends.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm thinking...Ricky Bobby.

Minette said...

Note to self: Always place unconscious bobcat in TRUNK. ;-)

Anonymous said...

Bobcat slashing your faceoff while driving the car?

I HATE when that happens!

I take this opportunity to tell all your readers that I wish them a warm heart for tomorrow's inaguration of Barak Obama!

I was in Columbia, Maryland yesterday, and saw tour buses from WYOMING pass me by on 83. Small world, eh? Lots of tour buses all over the place.

Wether it is going to be paralyzing -30 degrees or a balmy 30, all we can feel is the love!

THANKS TO EVERYONE WHO VOTED FOR OBAMA!

Annalisa

Anonymous said...

We have Bobcats here in Connecticut. I have seen one in the backyard once (quite a beautiful animal)and I do not think I would like to have one mad at me while I was trying to drive it to the vet...

ellen said...

I'm always suprised by what people think of wild animals (or don't think, more to the point)!

Julie said...

I love the albatross story. I just visited some Layson Albatross a few weeks ago! There is a small nesting colony (about 50 nests) at Kaena point park. The western most tip of my island of Oahu. They are in town presently doing their egg laying thing, it is fun to watch them waddle around. My fried Shannon gave us an impromptu dialogue between Albatroses, (Or is it Albatri?). I am not quite sure why they all spoke with British Accents but it was very amusing. On the same hike we saw humpback whales breeching and two hawaiian monk seals. A friendly hiker told us where to look for the monk seals, but we still almost couldnt see them because they spend most of their time on land lying very still and looking a lot like every other rock on he beach. Loving you blog as always! Julie

. . . Lisa and Robb . . . said...

Monk Seals!!!!

The most endangered seal on earth.

Sally said...

Lisa and Robb-- two fabulous and heartwarming stories!! Thanks so much-- laughing out loud, and thrilled that the unfortunate albatross had a happy recovery...

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