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Thought For Peter T. May 29th

Little Neophyte 29 May 00 - 08:00 AM
bob schwarer 29 May 00 - 08:15 AM
Little Neophyte 29 May 00 - 08:18 AM
Jon Freeman 29 May 00 - 09:41 AM
Giac 29 May 00 - 09:51 AM
Peter T. 29 May 00 - 09:57 AM
bob schwarer 29 May 00 - 10:31 AM
keltcgrasshoppper 29 May 00 - 10:38 AM
Jon Freeman 29 May 00 - 10:47 AM
Lonesome EJ 29 May 00 - 01:57 PM
Little Neophyte 29 May 00 - 01:59 PM
Sorcha 29 May 00 - 05:28 PM
Bert 29 May 00 - 05:57 PM
McGrath of Harlow 29 May 00 - 07:27 PM
JenEllen 29 May 00 - 09:51 PM
Bill D 29 May 00 - 10:23 PM
Little Neophyte 30 May 00 - 12:15 AM
GUEST 30 May 00 - 08:11 AM
Little Neophyte 30 May 00 - 08:25 AM
Peg 30 May 00 - 11:33 AM
bob schwarer 30 May 00 - 01:05 PM
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Subject: Thought For Peter T. May 29th
From: Little Neophyte
Date: 29 May 00 - 08:00 AM

I am addressing a problem I am having about nature to Peter T. because he is our local Mudcat house environmentalist but I am really putting my thoughts out to any Mudcatter here.
In the past week I have witnessed 3 baby birds seperated from their family, left to be a free meal for anything bigger that would come by.
One was a baby mallard swimming as fast it could frantically looking for it's mama who was long gone, only to be left as sushi for some big turtle.
Then yesterday I saw a baby starling on the sidewalk looking up as the starling community fluttered around, swooping down to take a better look at the situation. This baby bird definately looked like a doggy treat for someone's dog that would soon be walking by.
Then just now I saw a baby grackle, just sitting by the side of the trail. Maybe it had just taken its first flight and was tuckered, but if that bird sat there any longer, I know it would have become a lovely meal for some fox.
I have learned not to pick up the baby birds and take them home. Done that been there.
I guess it is just my emotions getting in the way of the natural order of things. But it makes me feel sad, even though I know it shouldn't.


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Subject: RE: Thought For Peter T. May 29th
From: bob schwarer
Date: 29 May 00 - 08:15 AM

You put out a bird feeder and attract as many cats as birds. What to do? back off and let nature have it's way or fight it? There are enough snakes and 'coons here too,to give the birds a really hard way to go, but eventually you see the young ones show up for a meal.

But, the cats and snakes keep the rats more or less under control. I just watch and let them go. Except I grease the bird feeder pole. The squirrels hit it about 18 inches off the ground and slide back down like a fireman. There is plenty knocked on the ground for the squirrels, but Iguess they like to sort through it.

Bob S.

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Subject: RE: Thought For Peter T. May 29th
From: Little Neophyte
Date: 29 May 00 - 08:18 AM

Bob I think the squirrels just like the challenge, or maybe some of them have always dreamed of working for the fire department.


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Subject: RE: Thought For Peter T. May 29th
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 29 May 00 - 09:41 AM

It is a hard one Bonnie but I reckon there are times when you have to try and do something and they often seem to end up in dissappointment.

When I was on holiday at my parents, Whiskey, an old cat with no canine teeth left caught a baby (still pretty bald) blue tit and a baby rabbit.

We got the book (Care for the Wild) out and did what it suggested but the bird died. The rabbit was doing very well but we have not had much success with rabbits in the past but if this one does survive, even though it is a wild one, it seems so tame and shows no fear of humans so I would be worried about its later chances of survival in the wild.

I have seen several success stories though and one of my favourites was a crow who was quite a character - I loved the way he used to march up and down his patch of wall and hide little bits of food under some rocks - then one day, when he was ready, he just took off - great!

Also, we had some success with bats - lovely creatures! and when we thought they were ready, we have let them have a flight inside the house, a fantastic site - their aerobatics are unbelievable.

I now live in a flat in a town but I miss the creatures that we used to see when I lived in my parents house in the country.

Thinking of rescues, I'll never forget going back to Jayne's house one night and seeing a lamb dressed in a nappy. Jayne asked Pebbles, her daughter, "whats this?" and Pebbles calmly said "It's Bambi mum". Anyway, Bambi was an orphan but she was returned to a farmer but one who promised that Bambi would not end up as somebody's Sunday lunch.


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Subject: RE: Thought For Peter T. May 29th
From: Giac
Date: 29 May 00 - 09:51 AM

Bonnie -

Been there, there now even as we type and
once again swearing that when this baby robin
is on his own, NO MORE! I didn't pick this one
up, it was *rescued* by a couple of women who
were sweeter than they were sensible. But, it's
my baby now, so my unwanted tag of Bird Mama
sticks. I just can't say no to a helpless baby
anything. I do try to repatriate them quickly
before we get attached to each other, or, worse,
it becomes dependent on me for food.

It has learned to swallow, so when it pecks the
food from my hand, out the door it goes. It can fly
VERY well now.

Wrote a song about a clutch of catbirds I raised
last year - a very short song:

Bye, bye birds on the wing;
You were mama's precious things.
Bye, bye birds in the sky;
I heard your tiny voice cry, I can FLY!


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Subject: RE: Thought For Peter T. May 29th
From: Peter T.
Date: 29 May 00 - 09:57 AM

I am no help, Bonnie. I have cared for baby birds that didn't make it, washed oil off birds that froze to death in the night in spite of our efforts, etc. Nature has this quality of inexorable indifference that is totally unsettling. Baby animals get eaten, by enemies, or in some cases by their own mothers. I have watched baby tigers eating two day old baby antelopes. Watching Nature at work is an antidote to warm fuzzy environmentalism -- there is this ominous machine out there which also knits together all this beauty. I have not the slightest idea what it means.

yours, Peter T.

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Subject: RE: Thought For Peter T. May 29th
From: bob schwarer
Date: 29 May 00 - 10:31 AM

Just observing is probably the best. An article in this mornings Tampa Trib on bird rescuing indicates trying to save a bird does more harm than good. If a bird has all its feathers it's on its own so leave it alone.

Bob S.

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Subject: RE: Thought For Peter T. May 29th
From: keltcgrasshoppper
Date: 29 May 00 - 10:38 AM

I think I agree with the above mentioned except ...that I do try and protect any fallen baby birds from neighborhood cats and dogs.. Watching the whole process is really amazing.. We had a cardinal family in the bushes next to our house last year and of the little ones tried its wings and lost power so to speak he ended up at the bottom of a lilac bush.. I did lift him(or her) on to a higher branch.. for safety.. The mother and father continued to care for the little one and by the end of the day he( or she) had flown safely back to the nest...KGH

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Subject: RE: Thought For Peter T. May 29th
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 29 May 00 - 10:47 AM

I haven't got a copy of the book I mentioned but from memory, I think it says that the most common mistake is to try to rescue a fledgling that has maybe come out of the nest a little too early. The advice is to leave them alone.

I think with all these things, if you want to try and hel, you really need to consider its chances of natural survival are better and in some cases such as the above, they are.

When the cat has dragged something into the house, you don't know where to return it and in many cases, they clearly stand no chance on there own. A problem with this type of animal of course is that apart from shock, it is likely to be suffering from severe internal injuries.

I am no expert but I would suggest that if anybody is interested in helping wild life that they do get a book on the subject. The one I mentioned (can't remember the publisher) does offer what I think is good advice on when to interfere and when not to, feeding, releasing, etc for the wildlife that exists in the UK.


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Subject: RE: Thought For Peter T. May 29th
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 29 May 00 - 01:57 PM

Driving Interstate 25 from Denver to Colorado Springs one foggy early Summer morning, I noticed the heavy traffic ahead slowing quickly, tailights flashing. And then I saw the reason for this rush-hour snag: A mother goose and six tiny goslings were trying to cross the highway to a little stream beyond. Her determination to reach the water was evident. She would lead her little running chain of babies across the shoulder and into the lane, only to have car horns send her and her family flapping back to the highways verge. I passed the scene, but looking in my rear view mirror I saw her leading them again into the highway. For a brief moment I was struck by the pathos of it, a wild animal and her trusting progeny trying to obey a primal urge in the face of insurmountable man-made obstacles. Was the mother cut down by a truck to leave her children to scamper after her even to death? Or did someone, more selfless, risk-taking, and in less of a hurry to make a business appointment than I, stop and act as crossing guard for them? Years after, I have no idea who I was in such a hurry to meet, but the visual memory of the crossing geese is still vivid.

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Subject: RE: Thought For Peter T. May 29th
From: Little Neophyte
Date: 29 May 00 - 01:59 PM

Thanks Bob, Jon, Peter, Giac and KGH for all these stories and good advice, I am finding it all very helpful.

I have a friend Kris who lives in a small town in northern Ontario. He has a knack for taking care of birds and he spent many years working in a bird sanctuary.
Well one day a contracter came to him because he did not know what to do. They had been clearing some land for development and knocked down a tree that had a crow's nest in it. It seems that the baby crow was still alive after two days of being abandoned and this contracter was feeling really guilty. So my friend Kris took in the bird and nursed it to health. From then on it was Mama Kris. Joe the Crow took residence in a tree in their backyard, and came through a crack in the screen door whenever he please. Joe would fly upstair to wake up Kris in the morning, drink the milk out of his cereal bowl at breakfast (there is a picture of this that Kelloggs would pay big buck for). Joe the Crow would even fly along with Kris while he walked into town with the family to get groceries on mainstreet.
The Toronto Star found out about Joe the Crow and sent a journalist to write a story about him. There is even a children's book being published this year based on the story of Joe the Crow.
But then trouble started.......
Once Kris took the family for dinner in town at Mr. Subway and Joe flew in the back door and startle all the patrons. Joe became bored in the afternoons while everyone in the family was at work or school so to entertain himself he would steal the neighbour's underwear off the clothesline. People in the town started to complain because their kids were scared of Joe even though he was friendly Joe could be overwhelming.
Kris had to deal with the problem, so he drove Joe to their cottage and left him there, hoping somehow Joe would make it on his own.
Kris went back to check a few days later. Joe was gone and all Kris could do was hope he would make it on his own.
To this very day, Kris gets choked up if you talk about Joe.


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Subject: RE: Thought For Peter T. May 29th
From: Sorcha
Date: 29 May 00 - 05:28 PM

From Bambiland, aka, Wyoming: best thing to do is leave wild animals in the wild. Mother Nature is relentless, but only She knows her own balance. Game and Fish Department here has monumental problems with kind people who try to rescue everything from baby rattlesnakes to baby cougars. Seldom works. In spite of that, I have a friend who raised and released 2 baby badgers, and her mom let 3 baby possums spend the late winter/early spring in her solarium. Don't do it unless you really, really know what you are doing and how to go about it.

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Subject: RE: Thought For Peter T. May 29th
From: Bert
Date: 29 May 00 - 05:57 PM

We had a couple of 'possums and a couple of squirrels that we rescued and bottle raised. One of the squirrels took off into the wild; the other squirrel and the 'possums died of old age. The 'possums were great pets but the squirrels were bloody pests.

Animals that the cats or dogs brought in almost always died.

We also hatched a couple of snapping turtles and raised them until they were old enough to be accepted by a sanctuary.

Some animals (turtles and snakes) that were rescued from short term dangers such as busy highways. Well we just borrowed them for a couple of days, fed them and released them somewhere safer.

All in all I don't think you can make much difference in the grand scheme of things. But the kids grew up learning to love animals and respect wildlife.

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Subject: RE: Thought For Peter T. May 29th
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 29 May 00 - 07:27 PM

I've a lovely little book in front of me about a lady who, in 1940 a few days after Dunkirk , found an abandoned sparrow chick outside her door. She looked after it, meaning to return him to the wild. But he turned out to have a deformed wing, so he stayed with her until he died 12 years later -far longer than the lifetime of a wild sparrow..

In the meantime he'd had all kinds of adventures, entertained people in air-raid shelters, and learnt to sing along with the piano (his rescuer had been a professional musician). As is well known, "sparrows can't sing", but Clarence never knew that.

The books called Sold for a farthing, by Clara Kipps, and remarkably enough, though it's been out of print in Engkland (where it all happened) for many years, there's an American edition of it still available.

Here is a relevant passage:

Feeling that if a new-born infant is left outside one's doorstep something should be done about it, I picked it up, wrapped it in warm flannel and, sitting over the kitchen fire, endeavoured for several hours to revive it.

After I had succeeded in opening its soft beak - an operation that required a delicate touch and immense patience to avoid injury - I propped it open with a spent match and dripped one drop of warm milk every minutes down the little throat. At the end of half-an-hour, though the bird was still quite cold, I noticed a slight movement of one skinny wing, so, after adding a little soaked bread to the last feed, I put it gently into a small pudding-basin lined and covered with wool, which I deposited in the airing-cupboard. Then fully expecting it to die in tye night, I went to bed.

To my astoishment, early next morning I heard a faint continuous sound coming from that airing-cupbopard - an incredibly thin yet happy sound, the kind of noise a pin would make if it could sing; and there was the little creature, still in his porcelain cradle, but warm and alert and crying for breakfast.

After that, his mouth was rarely shut; and as he required constant feeding, I took him with me in his basin to the Air-Raid Warden's post, where he began to serve is country by providing us with endless amusement during the long hours of waiting.

I fed him on soaked bread mixed with Bemax, hard-boiled yolk of egg, and one drop of halibut-liver oil, given frequently in small quantities and pushed gently down his throat with the carefully pointed end of a match. Though the children of the neighbourhood constantly brought along caterpillars and worms in matchboxes tied with blue ribbon, I kept him strictly to this vegetarian diet; and he thrived and grew into a lusty and importunate fledgling.

And I'll leave you with that. It's a great book.

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Subject: RE: Thought For Peter T. May 29th
From: JenEllen
Date: 29 May 00 - 09:51 PM

Bonnie, this was exactly why I chose the field I did. My first instinct was to follow my love of photography and wildlife, but it just didn't work out. People want realism, and realism isn't me wandering the savannah with a rolled up newspaper going 'BAD LION! SHAME ON YOU!!' ya know?

I am certified as a wildlife rehabilitator, but you can take all the certification in the world and stick it in your ear when it comes to dealing with animals. I get the wounded and orphaned of every imaginable species dropped at my door, some make it very well, and some just don't.

The greatest victories come in the smallest places. Bunny managed to drink from a dropper, Eglet likes his mice warmed in the microwave first, racoons like to ride in your shirt, and Lyle and Julia (latest members of chez Jen) produce more excrement than I ever thought possible from two diminutive quail.

The resident animals, a dog and a cat, manage to behave themselves with the 'transients'. Dog is ever faithful protector of all, and wakes me should anything be out of order. Cat is a cat, and I've traded the rolled up newspaper for a squirt gun and threats of "if you do, so help me, you'll wish you hadn't" and he leaves with evident disgust.

The transients that survive never stay. As attached as I get, I can't bear to keep them in captivity. I try and make every effort to make them ready for the wild again. Every so often I get visits. One fall I had a young doe whose mother had been hit by a car. I ended up having to make her a little orange vest that said "PET" on it so no one would shoot her. She jumped the fence when it pleased her, and she brought her fawns back to raid my garden every so often. And the eagle who took a chunk out of my left butt cheek, whenever I see him circling the farm, I imagine him waiting for me to go sunbathe or something!

The idea is to put things right, not to just save lives. 9 times out of 10, the animals were meant to die anyway. It's incredibly ugly, but it happens. If you save everything, then no one on the food chain gets dinner, simple as that. It is also incredibly difficult to know the particulars about each individual species, I can imagine people doing more harm than good in the guise of 'help'.

I have to say I applaud the ingenious ways of deterring animals I've read here. Greasing the pole! I've used the plastic cone things, but a greased squirrel might be more fun to watch than the birds....


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Subject: RE: Thought For Peter T. May 29th
From: Bill D
Date: 29 May 00 - 10:23 PM

...when my son was in 6th grade, he brought home a baby house finch with only the beginnings of feathers..(like sparrows..noisy & mean)..well, we fed it cat food and kept it warm. I figured it would never make it, but I was wrong. The bird died about 2 weeks ago, after 7 years of chirping, sitting on us, pecking our eyebrows, laying un-fertile eggs, yelling for attention and generally keeping us entertained in its own belligerent way... just never know.....

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Subject: RE: Thought For Peter T. May 29th
From: Little Neophyte
Date: 30 May 00 - 12:15 AM

McGrath, your passage was my bedtime story tonight.
JenEllen, thanks for the insights, I feel much better about it all.
And everyone else, I loved all the postings.
Well, it is time to say nighty night.

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Subject: RE: Thought For Peter T. May 29th
Date: 30 May 00 - 08:11 AM

....Makes you wonder if every other barrio in the universe is as predatory as ours. If so, then why?

After a hard rain has evaporated, you see the worms banished to the barren islands of concrete, writhing in a blind search to quench their thirst for moisture. I cast about to see if anyone is watching, then toss them back into the green sea of grass - to overturn Nature's decision and grant these primitive and repulsive creatures a reprieve.

I wouldn't tell this to just anyone, lest...well, you know.

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Subject: RE: Thought For Peter T. May 29th
From: Little Neophyte
Date: 30 May 00 - 08:25 AM

Guest, I know how you feel. I got so obsessed with saving the worms after a rainfall that I would never get where I was walking on time.
So now I have limited my rescue mission to those worms that are heading down the sidwalk. I figure those worms that are travelling crossing the sidewalk have a better chance of making it than those worms heading down the sidewalk.
As for snails, well, that is another problem.


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Subject: RE: Thought For Peter T. May 29th
From: Peg
Date: 30 May 00 - 11:33 AM

interesting siblings and I did our share of rescuing baby animals as kids, and had some odd pets as well, including animals my dad raised for a while (chinchilla and quail among others)...

I resuced a young squirrel a few years ago (its foot crushed by something) and once its initial shock wore off and it sensed itself trapped in a box in my apartment with my cats waiting outside, it got MAD!
I agree that nature is best left to its own devices, but we cannot deny that humankind's encroachment upon natural habitats and destruction of many species of flora and fauna leaves us with some measure of responsibility to protect to balance what we should do with what we shouldn't is difficult. We have forgotten what it is is to listen to nature, to see it, to smell it, to feel it. I think regaining some measure of our closeness to the natural world helps temper the romanticism that makes us into bleeding-heart baby squirrel rescuers...but at the same time gives us reasonable amounts of sympathy and compassion for non-human creatures and plant friends..


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Subject: RE: Thought For Peter T. May 29th
From: bob schwarer
Date: 30 May 00 - 01:05 PM

An old Greek I knew years ago would catch any roaches he found in his house and turn them loose outside(to probably get back inside). These are the Florida roaches that the Chamber of Commerce refers to as palmetto bugs. Sure. Big suckers. I won't go that far.

Bob S.

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