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Archive for April, 2010

Scrub jay, Charlie, eats peanuts from Sandy’s hand

Sandy and Charlie the scrub jay. Photo by Sandy from Pleasanton, CA.
charlie jay, sandy

Dear Gary:
Oh, my, did I love your story from Niall in Cyberspace today, April 14 (“Why is scrub jay tapping at my door?”).

My “Charlie” has been visiting me for about 3 years now.  It started with his inquisitive self and my putting peanuts on the table next to me when I was outside reading.  Then he took them from my hand, always touching/shaking them all until he chose the one he thought was best before flying off to bury it or eat it.
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Posted on Friday, April 16th, 2010
Under: scrub jay | 4 Comments »

Colombian hummingbird: First ever photo of rare sabrewing

Santa Marta Sabrewing. Photo: © Laura Cárdenas

Just got this news release from the American Bird Conservancy containing the “First ever photograph” of a Santa Marta Sabrewing, an endangered and nearly extinct hummingbird. Pretty wild! Enjoy. /Gary

MEDIA RELEASE: First Ever Photograph Confirms Colombian Hummingbird
The first ever photo of a living Santa Marta Sabrewing is the first confirmation of the continued existence of this spectacular hummingbird in over 60 years. Stunningly, the area where the bird was found – the El Dorado Bird Reserve in the Santa Marta Mountains of northern Colombia – had been slated for development in 2006 for vacation homes, but was spared by a last minute land purchase through funding from American Bird Conservancy (ABC) and Conservation International (CI), in cooperation with the Colombian conservation organization Fundación Pro Aves who expertly manages several bird reserves in Columbia.

The photograph was taken at El Dorado on 24 March by Laura Cardenas at about 6,200 feet elevation. Cardenas was monitoring migratory birds in the 1,600-acre reserve as part of a research project. This particular bird was caught in a mist net, banded, photographed, and released unharmed.
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Posted on Thursday, April 15th, 2010
Under: Endangered species, hummingbirds | No Comments »

Mother Goose: More pix of goslings after they left Times’ rooftop nest

Goslings 3 days old at Shadelands pond. Photo by Ann & Bill, Concord, CA
thegeese, ann, bill

Hi Gary:
I was thrilled to watch the Mother Goose story from the hatching to the swan dives and the slide show of ma & pa taking the goslings to the pond.

The next day my husband and I went the pond area (at the business next to the Contra Costa Times) and saw them on the green. Went back the next day and saw them swimming in the pond. Two days later we walked the whole network of creeks and ponds and did not see them. Went back again yesterday and today and can’t find them. We did see  two other geese on nests with eggs. Each in a different area. Also two ducklings swimming.
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Posted on Wednesday, April 14th, 2010
Under: Canada Goose, Mother Goose | 7 Comments »

Live Animal Food Markets: Frog & turtle ban by Fish & Game Commission

Bullfrog. Photo by Flickr user John-Morgan used under a Creative Commons License
bullfrog John-Morgan

Frog & turtle ban at live animal food markets! Finally!

Wow, is this good news! And we owe it all to Eric Mills of Action For Animals (see his letter below) who has been leading this fight for years! Please drop Eric an e-mail at and thank him for his his dedication in helping to end the suffering of untold numbers of animals! Eric truly fights the good fight. Thanks, Eric … /Gary

April 12, 2010

Greetings, all:
** See attachment from the State Fish & Game Commission at end of this note.

THIS IS A BIG DEAL, SO I’M HOPEFUL THAT THE MEDIA WILL GIVE THIS ISSUE THE PUBLICITY IT DESERVES.  It will spare the lives and prevent the suffering of millions of animals, while protecting the environment and the public health.
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Posted on Tuesday, April 13th, 2010
Under: Fish and Game, Frogs, Live Animal Markets, Turtles | 4 Comments »

Wolf hunt ends in Idaho, Montana — after killing 500

Lonely wolf. Photo by Flickr user Ghetu Daniel used under a Creative Commons License
lonely wolf Ghetu Daniel

Here’s an important (and sad) item from the weekly e-newsletter for the Center for Biological Diversity. /Gary

E-Newsletter, Center for Biological Diversity, April 8, 2010, “Wolf Hunts End in Idaho, Montana — After Killing 500″:
Last week as Idaho’s wolf-hunting season finally came to a close, the Center for Biological Diversity and wildlife lovers across the country mourned the killings of more than 500 imperiled northern Rockies gray wolves by hunters and the feds.
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Posted on Monday, April 12th, 2010
Under: Wolves | 1 Comment »

Mourning dove constructs “Motor Home” nest

Mourning dove nest on car. Photo by John Schembra, Concord, CA
dove nest, patty grant

I’ve seen a lot of strange nests constructed by mourning doves over the years … but a dove building its “nest” on a car to create a MOURNING DOVE MOTOR HOME really takes the cake! This is a bird that obviously likes to travel.

In the words of Patty Grant who sent me this photo … “Spring has sprung!”

That’s for sure! /Gary

Posted on Friday, April 9th, 2010
Under: Mourning dove | No Comments »

2010 California Animal Legislation: Will these laws affect you?

California condor (USFWS)
condor flying

California Animal Legislation as of April 6, 2010, compiled by Paw Pac, California’s Political Action Committee for Animals.

** For copies of bills to read them in more detail: You can subscribe for updates.
** All legislators’ and Governor’s address: State Capitol Bldg., Sacramento 95814. Directory: 916-322-9900.
** To find the names of your Assembly Member and Senator:
** E-mail addresses follow a formula. Examples:, or, Letters, including hand written, by regular mail are always preferable to e-mail.
** Paw PAC 2008 California Voting Chart:
** Compiled by: Virginia Handley
** Paw Pac: P.O. Box 475012, San Francisco, CA 94147; 415-646-0622

If you like or dislike any of these laws, write your legislators and the governor and tell them how you feel about it.
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Posted on Thursday, April 8th, 2010
Under: Animal protection legislation | No Comments »

Results from the 2010 Great Backyard Bird Count

Western bluebird (Joe Oliver/Walnut Creek, CA)

Count records more than 600 bird species across the continent

The 13th annual Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) results are in and it was a record-breaking year for participation. During the four-day event in February, more than 97,200 bird checklists were submitted by an estimated 63,000 volunteer bird watchers from across the United States and Canada. From reports of rare species to large-scale tracking of bird movements, the GBBC provides insight into the lives of bird populations.
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Posted on Wednesday, April 7th, 2010
Under: Birds, Great Backyard Bird Count | No Comments »

Bird Nests: 4th Annual Gary’s Wildest Bird Nest Contest

Hummingbird nest and hummingbird with egg

It’s time once again for the 4th Annual Gary’s Wildest Bird Nest Contest!

Categories: 1. Most Unusual Nest Building Materials. 2. Flimsiest Nest. 3. Weirdest Nest Location. 4. Most Unique Bird. 5. Most Artistic Nest.

NOTE: A Grand Prize will be awarded for the Most Wonderful Nest of All. (More on this later.)
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Posted on Monday, April 5th, 2010
Under: Bird Nest Contest, Bird nests, Birds, wild birds | No Comments »

These special cats need loving homes

A live cat is much more fun than this stuffed one (hint, hint!). Photo by Flickr user heypatrick used under a Creative Commons License

I received the following two e-mails this week, trying to find homes for a couple of needy cats. Need a beautiful kitty? Check these out and go for it! Thanks for caring. /Gary

I am writing on behalf of a 14-year-old sweet kitty named Bronwyn Fox, who just lost her dearest friend and owner, Bev. Bev passed away a week ago and wanted so badly to have Bronwyn kept safe and loved. A friend of Bev’s had agreed to take Bronny but now has changed her mind. I wish I could keep Bronny but I have an adopted shepherd-mix that tried to attack her when I attempted to keep Bronny overnight.
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Posted on Friday, April 2nd, 2010
Under: Cats | 1 Comment »