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Archive for December, 2011

Wild turkeys in Berkeley? (Farms in Berkeley?)

Wild turkeys on Berkeley rooftop. Photo by Mike Steinberg, Berkeley, CA
1turkey2 mike steinberg berkeley

I’m Mike Steinberg, a long time resident of Berkeley. I’ve appreciated your column for years. Occasionally I cut one out to share with friends.

I thought these pictures I took today might interest you. Across the street from my house on Cornell Ave. in Berkeley, a flock of perhaps 15-20 wild turkeys appeared out of nowhere and settled for a few  minutes on several of my neighbor’s roofs today, Dec 27. Attached are some of the  pictures I took of them.

One of my neighbors keeps chickens in her backyard and she said those chickens were very upset by the sight of these turkeys.
Mike Steinberg, Berkeley, California
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Posted on Friday, December 30th, 2011
Under: wild turkeys | 2 Comments »

Photos of wild pigs in Moraga & other spots around the Bay

Wild pig boar on Lime Ridge, Walnut Creek. Photo by Brian Murphy, W.C., CA.
1willd pig brian murphy wc

Dear readers:
I’ve been writing about wild pigs in Moraga, CA, in my last three daily newspaper columns:

Dec. 27:

Dec. 28:

Dec. 29:

I thought it would be fun to illustrate these columns with some wild pig photos sent to me by my readers in response to what I wrote. I also asked if anyone had ever seen wild pigs in Moraga, or anywhere else in the San Francisco Bay Area. People who responded were asked to include “the name of the city and the nearest cross streets to the sighting … the number of pigs you saw … what they were doing … and when you saw them.” To date, I’ve had 23 responses, indicating there are a LOT of wild pigs rooting around in the Bay Area. If you’d like to add to this information, please do below under “Add a comment!” There will be more newspaper columns and blogs to come on this subject.

In the meantime, check out these great wild pig photos:
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Posted on Thursday, December 29th, 2011
Under: Wild pigs | 5 Comments »

Dog get sprayed by a skunk? This formula neutralizes the smell.

Mount Wanda skunk. Photo by Ann Shackelford, Contra Costa County, CA
1skunk ann shackelford, ccc

It was nice this afternoon to encounter this skunk (from an appropriate distance) near the top of Mount Wanda in Martinez and far away from traffic and other dangers.
Ann Shackelford, Contra Costa County, California

Mount Wanda in Martinez (CA) is a great place to go for a hike. As you discovered, there are lots of native wild creatures to meet and enjoy along the way. Skunks are actually gentle souls and usually friendly to people who encounter them in the wild. Especially if you stay calm and don’t try to get too close. I usually just stand quietly until they go along their way.

They DO get stressed at dogs who run up barking and yapping at them … and respond in the usual skunk way that ends up with that “hunt of mint” wafting through the air. And, of course, a very smelly dog.

If you do happen to be on a walk and your dog gets sprayed by a skunk, this formula neutralizes the skunk spray. Bathe your dog in this solution:

TAKE: 1 quart of 3 percent hydrogen peroxide (from a pharmacy); a quarter cup baking soda; 1 teaspoon liquid soap (I use Dawn). Mix together and wash sprayed animal for 5 minutes, rubbing it deep into the dog’s fur, keeping the mixture out of its eyes, nose and mouth. Rinse with tap water.

Don’t bottle this stuff. The mix causes a mild chemical reaction and expanding gases could “explode” into a BIG mess if confined in a bottle. Based on feedback from users, this recipe, as listed, is a suitable quantity for a small dog. You need to double it for medium-size dogs and triple it for large dogs. It’s amazingly effective./Gary

Posted on Wednesday, December 28th, 2011
Under: dogs, Skunks | 2 Comments »

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Merry Christmas from Peter Sammy Mcgee (he’s Irish) in Livermore. Photo by Jean James, Livermore, CA
1peter sammy mcgee jean james livermore

Dear readers:
Have a VERY Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

It’s been fun bantering back and forth with you this last year. Don’t stop now! Next year will be even better!

Happy Holidays! /Gary

Merry Christmas from Simone in Fremont. Photo by Marian Stevens, Fremont, CA
1simone marian stevens fremont

Posted on Friday, December 23rd, 2011
Under: Happy Holidays!, Happy New Year | 2 Comments »

Start the New Year right at a fun ARF event!


Give the gift of laughter and entertainment this holiday season and help the animals too!

Join ARF and host Tony La Russa for a Triple Play of Events!

Comedian Dana Carvey
ARF 2012-dana-carvey

*** COMEDY NIGHTFriday, Jan. 6, 7:30 P.M. — $35 … $75 premium seating.
Hosted by Mark Pitta, featuring Dana Carvey, George Lopez and more!

Country music star Wynonna
ARF wynonna

*** STARS TO THE RESCUE XXI Saturday, Jan. 7, 7 p.m. — $75 … $100 … $250 VIP premium seating & reception.
Featuring Grammy winning country music star Wynonna, comedian George Lopez, vocalist Jeff Scott Soto and more!

Tony La Russa
ARF tony-trophy-250

*** WORLD SERIES 2011: A CHAMP’S PERSPECTIVESunday, Jan. 8, 6 p.m. — $25 … $125 premium seating and reception.
Live commentary by Tony La Russa on the nail-biting World Series battle between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Texas Rangers!

Tickets available now at 925-943-SHOW… at Lesher Center for the ARTS, 1601 Civic Drive, Walnut Creek, California … Check for updates.

Have fun … and help ARF help the animals at the same time! /Gary

Posted on Wednesday, December 21st, 2011
Under: ARF, Tony La Russa's Animal rescue Foundation | No Comments »

California quail: Are they visiting your yard?

California quail in Moraga yard. Photo by Cecil Williams, Moraga, CA
1quail cecil williams moraga

Dear readers:
I’m continuing to receive emails and letters reporting more California quail showing up in Bay Area backyards. The Moraga backyard pictured above is a good example. Five to 10 years ago, nothing. It seemed like quail had disappeared from the local landscape. Then, in the last year or so, things have apparently started to improve for these beautiful little birds. I wonder what happened to allow the quail population to start growing again?

I’m curious. If you’ve started seeing quail where they didn’t used to be (in your neighborhood, yard, etc.), please let me know under “Leave a comment” below. What city? Nearest cross streets? Describe what you saw (numbers, anything interesting happening, etc.) Thanks. It will be interesting to see what the response is. /Gary

Posted on Tuesday, December 20th, 2011
Under: California quail | 5 Comments »

These two beautiful young indoor cats need a home

Milo. Photo by Francie
1milo francie wise

Good morning everyone! I’m back from my Christmas-shopping break. And look what I found, above and below, when I got back. Anyone need a couple of Christmas  presents?:

A very dear friend passed away a left her beloved kitties, Milo (see above photo) and Manny (see photo below).  They are wonderful kitties, 2 years old, very courteous and neutered. They have been indoors all their lives. Is there someone who would adopt and love these wonderful boys?  Thank you for any assistance.  They want to stay together.

Anyone interested in adopting these beautiful indoor cats together — Milo & Manny — can e-mail me at and I’ll put you in contact with Francie. Great looking cats! If I didn’t have my own two monsters, Jazz and Newman … I’d be tempted myself … /Gary

Manny. Photo by Francie
1manny francie wise

Posted on Monday, December 19th, 2011
Under: Cats | 2 Comments »

Taking OFF to go Christmas shopping

Red-tailed hawk taking off. Photo by Dave Harper, Oakley, CA
1red dave harper oakley

Dear readers:
I’m taking OFF for a couple of days to go Christmas shopping with (and for!) my family. You should do the same. See you next Monday (Dec. 19), same time, same station.  Have a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS! /Gary

Posted on Monday, December 12th, 2011
Under: Red-tailed hawk | 3 Comments »

Fox squirrel freeloading on a Martinez bird feeder

Fox squirrel freeloading on a backyard feeder. Photo by Linda Lansberry, Martinez, CA
1squirrel linda lansberry mtz

It has been some time since we sent you a new picture of our backyard moments! These two pictures are from Friday, Dec. 2.

This squirrel delighted all of us with his silly antics and feeding challenges! The feeders were all filled on Thursday and this one was truly empty by the end of Friday! This squirrel really kept his tail on!

Happy Holidays from Martinez!
The Lansberry’s, Martinez, California

Dear Lansberry family:
That’s definitely a “backyard moment.” Nothing can inhale the contents of a bird feeder like a hungry fox squirrel. Reminds me of the time a squirrel dropped in on one of my feeders. Our yard’s resident scrub jay immediately zoomed down and started pecking the squirrel on the head.  Merry Christmas, squirrel! /Gary

Fox squirrel freeloading on a backyard feeder. Photo by Linda Lansberry, Martinez, CA
1squirrel2 linda lansberry mtz

Posted on Friday, December 9th, 2011
Under: Bird Feeders, fox squirrel | 2 Comments »

Checkout ARF’s holiday shows … Stars to the Rescue … and MORE!


We need your help getting the word out. We are sorely in need of a new puppy rescue/food share van. Our current one I fear won’t make it to the Holidays.  Hopefully these shows below can help fill the $22,000 need.  Please mention as frequently as you can.
Elena Bicker, executive director, Tony La Russa’s Animal Rescue Foundation, Walnut Creek, California, 925-256-1ARF

*** Comedy Night
Friday, January 6, 2012, 7:30 p.m.
Lesher Center for the Arts, Walnut Creek, California; Tickets: 925-943-SHOW
$35 … $75 premium seating
Thanks to last year’s rousing success, ARF has once again added Comedy Night to the upcoming Stars to the Rescue weekend schedule. Hosted by Mark Pitta, the evening will star funny man George Lopez, with more to come. Give the gift of laughter this holiday season and help the animals too!
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Posted on Thursday, December 8th, 2011
Under: ARF, Tony La Russa's Animal rescue Foundation | No Comments »