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July 17, 2010: Replies to recent questions and comments

by Bob Sallinger

kgw.com

Posted on July 17, 2010 at 9:11 AM

Updated Wednesday, Oct 30 at 8:45 AM

Thanks to everybody who is still checking-in and leaving comments! I'll try to respond some recent postings as best I can.

K2 and Life in Captivity: I think K2 will respond well to life in captivity. He is young and younger birds tend to adapt better. However if it turned out that either because of his personality or his injuries that he was going to suffer in captivity, we would euthanize him. We actually set a very high bar for quality of life for captive birds and the vast majority of non-releasable are euthanized rather than placed in educational facilities. In this case however, I am relatively optimistic that it will work out for K2. When I started at Audubon in 1992 we had two educational red-tails, Syd (who is still with us!) who was hit by a car right after fledging (like K2) and never regained flight and Lucy, who came to us as a full adult after having her wing shot off. Syd never really knew life as a wild red-tail whereas Lucy clearly knew what it meant to be free. Syd would interact with the public--look at people, vocalize, come to the front of her cage etc whereas Lucy always seemed to be looking right through you so something beyond. It was always really interesting to me to see how the public would respond to the two birds---across the board, young or old, people would intuitively ask lots of question about Syd, interact with Syd....but when it came to Lucy, they would almost always comment that she seemed sad or made them feel sad. While people asked many different types of questions about Syd, they typically just wanted to know why Lucy couldn't be free. That experience affected me a lot...I hate to see any bird in a cage but there are some birds that simply should not be in a cage.

Plastic Bags: I am not an expert on plastic bags so I wound direct folks to Surfrider Foundation for more informed answers on disposing of plastic. However I do know that it is a real challenge. The worst thing obviously is for it to simply be released into the environment. However landfills are not great answers either since plastic lasts virtually forever--I have read that nearly 25% of landfill capacity is now made up of plastics. Those plastics will last for thousands of years and they can work their way back into the broader ecosystem. A combination of not creating new plastics and recycling the plastics that are already in the system is probably the best answer. One thing from the Ban the Bag rally that I thought was really interesting was the fact that the the ocean will periodically spit out the giant gyrs of plastic that currently exist---it will wash-up on shore where it can be collected. The key is to make sure that we don't add more plastic into that system.

When did I start working with Raptors: My then girlfriend, now wife, found an injured prairie falcon in Goldendale,Washington in 1992. We took it to Portland Audubon's wildlife care center. I thought it was a pretty cool place so I decided to volunteer. A few months later they gave me a temporary job and the rest is history.My first 12 years with Audubon were focused on helping individual injured animals but today I work more on habitat protection. For those interested in learning more about some of our efforts to protect local wildlife habitat, go to our West Hayden Island Page.

Cool picture of the day: We spend lots of time on birds on this blog so I thought I would give the four-leggeds some airtime. The following picture was taken this spring on Sand Island which is in the Columbia River near I-205. The tree was gnawed by a beaver. Several other similar sized, nearby trees had already been felled. The beaver also was nearby....working diligently to dam the Columbia River....really!

 

 

 

 

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