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Archive for July, 2010

Great horned owl chicks: Hoo’s who?

Great horned owl chicks by David Thompson, Orinda, CA
david thompson orinda 3 horned

My wife and I woke up this morning to see these three youngsters outside our bedroom window. How old do you think they are?
David L. Thompson, Orinda

Beautiful great horned owl chicks. You can still see the down on them. They look to be about 4 weeks old. You have a GREAT yard! /Gary

Posted on Friday, July 16th, 2010
Under: great horned owl | 1 Comment »

AVMA Video: Protecting pets from heat stroke during heat waves

Protecting your pets from heat stroke during summer heat waves

This video from the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) offers advice on how to protect your pets from heat stroke during summer heat waves, like the one that’s hitting us right now.

Please take 2 minutes and 42 seconds to view this video. Seems like the life of your pet is worth 2:42. Thanks. /Gary

Posted on Thursday, July 15th, 2010
Under: Cats, dogs, Hot Cars, Hot Weather, Pets, Pets in Danger | No Comments »

Snakes (surprise!) are commonly found in the middle of town

Gopher snake by Sue Miller, Livermore, CA.
sue miller livermore1

Dear Gary:
A few weeks ago, while workmen were replacing doors in my Livermore, Calif.,  house, I was in my side yard and decided to go in to get my sunglasses. I walked in from the garage and into an internal hall leading to my bedroom.  As my eyes adjusted to the change of light I thought I saw a slight movement at the edge of the hall.

When I looked more closely, I saw a rather large snake, front part emerging from the sliding doors of my linen closet!  He was raised up and hissing. The shock elicited a scream from me and the snake went completely into the closet.  From the brief glance I had, I was afraid it could possibly a rattlesnake!
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Posted on Wednesday, July 14th, 2010
Under: Gopher snake, Snakes | No Comments »

Gulf Oil Spill: BP’s ‘Cross Your Fingers’ containment system

Heavily oiled brown pelicans from Grand Isle, Louisiana. Photo by Flickr user IBRRC used under a Creative Commons License.

BP is beginning to test a new tighter-fitting cap on its gushing wellhead. They hope it will stop the millions (?) of gallons of oil that have been spewing into the Gulf of Mexico during our worst-ever oil spill.

“Cross your fingers,” I heard someone from BP being quoted as saying on the radio news station as I drove to work this morning.

The “Cross Your Fingers” containment system. Why didn’t they use that in the beginning? Maybe if they’d crossed their fingers back when they first discovered the spill the Gulf of Mexico wouldn’t have turned all gooey black by now.

I think we ALL better cross our fingers, this time. /Gary

Posted on Tuesday, July 13th, 2010
Under: Big Oil, Oil, Oil Spills | No Comments »

TLC enters the world of dog show competitions at 8 p.m., July 21

Photo by Flickr user heatherbuckley used under a Creative Commons License.


Like to watch TV? Interested in dogs? Always wondered about dog shows and the people who enter them? You might want to check out the following new program on the TLC Channel. Looks interesting. /Gary

“Super Pooches” Premieres on July 21 at 8 p.m. ET/PT

On Wednesday, July 21, TLC invites viewers to explore the fast paced, quirky, and often times stressful world of show competitions with the new special, “Super Pooches,” premiering at 8 p.m. ET/PT.
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Posted on Monday, July 12th, 2010
Under: Dog Show | No Comments »

Marine Mammal Center: Rescue & rehab of ill & injured marine mammals

Harbor seal pup

The Marine Mammal Center is a nonprofit veterinary hospital, research and educational center dedicated to the rescue and rehabilitation of ill and injured marine mammals – primarily elephant seals, harbor seals and California sea lions – and to the study of their health.
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Posted on Friday, July 9th, 2010
Under: Marine mammal, Marine Mammal Center, Sea lions, Seals, Whales | No Comments »

Gulf Oil Spill: Will the spill affect our backyard birds?

Baby birds in nest

Just got this (below) from The Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Like wild birds? You might consider getting involved in Cornell’s NestWatch project. /Gary

Will the Gulf Spill Affect Backyard Birds?
Scientists ask bird watchers to monitor nests.

Ithaca, NY — As oil washes ashore along the Gulf Coast, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology ( is asking birders to keep an eye on nesting birds — not just near water, but hundreds of miles inland.
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Posted on Thursday, July 8th, 2010
Under: Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Oil, Oil Spills | 1 Comment »

Schwarzenegger signs landmark egg bill into law

Hens on egg farm crammed together in battery cages. (Farm
battery cages hens

Tuesday, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed landmark legislation that protects animal welfare and food safety. The new law requires that shelled (whole) eggs sold in California comply with the modest but important food safety and animal welfare standards of Proposition 2. Passed in a 2008 landslide, Prop 2 phases out production of eggs from hens crammed into cages.
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Posted on Wednesday, July 7th, 2010
Under: Chickens | 1 Comment »

Lead poisoning: New bill gets the lead out of California wildlife areas

Condor. Photo by Flickr user IvyMike used under a Creative Commons License
condor1 IvyMike

Just got my July 1, 2010 “Endangered Earth Online,”  my weekly e-newsletter of the Center for Biological Diversity. And as usual, it contains an article (see below) I want to share with you about wildlife and lead poisoning. /Gary

New Bill Gets the Lead Out of California Wildlife Areas
In another victory in the transition to nontoxic ammunition for hunting, the California Assembly has passed a bill banning the use of lead shot in California’s 667,000-acre network of state-owned wildlife-management areas.
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Posted on Tuesday, July 6th, 2010
Under: California condors, California quail, Lead bullets | No Comments »

4th of July: Tips for keeping our pets safe

Labrador retriever. Photo by Flickr user Kevin Rodriguez Ortiz used under a Creative Commons License.
lab kevin rodriguez ortiz

We’ve got the 4th of July weekend coming up … a time where we humans are looking forward to some time off, maybe a picnic dinner or BBQ, and of course some great fireworks displays on Sunday evening of the 4th. Unfortunately, our pets don’t usually feel the same about all those bright flashes, loud explosions and the acrid smell of burning fireworks. This is the biggest freak-out weekend of the year for our pets … when more terrified dogs and cats get lost than at any other time.

To help you and your pets make it through the next few days, here are some handy tips for keeping your pets safe during the 4th of July by The Humane Society of the United States. Please read them carefully and do what they say. The lives and well-being of your family pets may depend on it. Thanks for caring. /Gary
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Posted on Friday, July 2nd, 2010
Under: Fireworks, Fourth of July | 1 Comment »