Barntini 2015 was a Blast! Thank You!

The second annual Barntini! was a terrific time with an awesome turnout! Thank you to everyone (individuals and businesses, listed below) who contributed to the food, the drink, and the silent art auction! Thank you to the band, Silver Hammer, for keeping the Beatles vibe happy and strong all night! And thank you to all those who volunteered their time to make this big party happen! And thank you especially to all who came out to have fun and  support  the work of the Jacoby Creek Land Trust and Bird Ally X/Humboldt Wildlife Care Center. See you at next year’s Barntini!

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Thank you to everyone who donated food, drink, art and more!

Bien Padre
Bonnie MacRaith
Brett Shuler Catering
Casa Lindra
Coast Seafoods
Cypress Grove
Dutch and Dewey’s
Eureka Natural Foods
Fieldbrook Winery
Gretchen Schuster
Gus Clark
Humboldt Distillery
Ken Griggs Homemade Beer
Laura Corsiglia
Linda Parkinson
Moonstone Crossing Winery
North Coast Co-op
Patricia Sennot
Six Rivers Brewery
Tomaso’s Specialty Food
Willow Creek Farms


Osprey in Care – the Fish Hawks

Love is a hunting osprey    
above the charging sea –
Silver fish beneath the sky
expose their dreams to fly.

The Osprey (Pandion haliaetus), the Fish hawk, an easily observed raptor who plunge-dives feet first from the sky to catch fish, lifting themselves and their prey straight back into the sky. A familiar sight: one of these large, long-winged birds carrying a trout or a perch, or any other of the over 80 species of fish that make up nearly all of their diet.(1)

We don’t often see these birds in care. When we do, often we are only able to help them out of this world due to the severity of their injuries – collisions with industry, fishing gear, and other hazards industrial civilization has brought to rivers, lakes, shorelines of fresh and salt water. Rarer still that we raise their young as orphans.

The challenges of raising wild predators are steep. Predators need to learn how to hunt. This is something that parents teach their young, something that adults of a family group can teach, even, in some cases, a foster parent. We can place young nestling hawks into a another nest of the same species and the new “parents’ will care for the young newcomer as their own.

For a wild animal like the Osprey, the challenges are clearly greater. It’s a rare species that produces young who don’t do better with their parents help post-natally. For young Osprey, an adult to lead the way is crucial. For wildlife rehabilitators to successfully raise any wild animal, serious attention to that patient’s natural history and a means to replicate those principles as best we can are essential. For orphaned Osprey, recreating the juvenile period of education requires a degree of specialization.

Our work with other plunge-diving species, like the Brown Pelican or Belted Kingfisher, coupled with our work with more commonly admitted land-using birds of prey, such as the Red-tailed Hawk, give us the tools and experience we need to provide good care for these unique birds.

And this Summer, those tools and experience are being put to the Osprey challenge! We have both an adult and a fledlging in care.

2015 Osprey - 106Our adult Osprey patient, brought to our facility after intial treatment at Tehama Wildcare, outside of Red Bluff.

2015 Osprey - 122Our Juvenile Osprey patient was brought to us  from Stanislaus Wildlife Center in Stanislaus County.

The Adult, we believe a female, was a victim, along with her entire family, of a nest fire. In early July, her nest in Red Bluff came in contact with utility equipment (Osprey often nest on utility poles and towers). Her feathers were badly singed. She and a nearly-fledged chick were taken to Tehama Wild Care in Tehama County. After being stabilized, she and her chick were transferred to Humboldt Wildlife Care Center for long term care. Unfortunately, her chick died soon after arriving at our facility, possibly due to stress.

At this point the adult Osprey has an excellent prognosis. Her feather damage is severe, but she is able to fly, and we anticipate a full recovery.

2015 Osprey - 001BAX/HWCC rehabilitator Lucinda Adamason meets Karen Scheuermann of Tehama Wild Care in Weaverville to bring the adult Osprey and her chick to Humboldt for continued care.

2015 Osprey - 037The adult’s feather damage is apparent as she is perched above the pool in our Aviary developed for patients who dive for fish.

2015 Osprey - 047At feeding time, we have opportunities to take photographs. This bird has no desire to be around people and protests loudly when her “space” is violated. Keeping our movements hidden from a sharp predator like her is difficult, but we try so that her stress level stays as low as possible.

2015 Osprey - 104Our second Opsrey patient, a juvenile from Stanislaus County.

After nearly in month in care, we admitted another Osprey, a juvenile who’s been raised by Stanisluas Wildlife Care Center near Modesto. Fearful that the youngster was becoming too accustomed to people, with help from the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the bird was transferred to Humboldt Wildlife Care Center to provide an opportunity for recovery. Between our large aviary as well as the company of the adult Osprey , this bird also has a good prognosis.

This bird has some feather damage as well, so, even if all else about her (we believe based on her large size that she is also female) is fine, it will be some time before she will be released.

2015 Osprey - 087The initial exam. The feet that we hope will soon be lifting fish from rivers and lakes!


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2015 Osprey - 091A small amount of blood is periodically collected and tested to make sure that general health is maintained while in care.

The day after the new juvenile arrived we introduced her to the adult with whom she’ll be spending the rest of her care. While it’s hard to tell what any raptor is thinking, the introduction went well – both birds became more interested in each other and appeared less stressed in general. Now it is our hope that they form a bond of some kind – for both of thier sakes.

Because the damage to their feathers may extend their time in care, we have an opportunity to give the young bird the chance for an education in hunting. Because of the adult, the juvenile may actaully wind up with a foster-mother, and the time spent in our aviary will provide her chance to to learn to hunt.
2015 Osprey - 097Introduction day. While it is hard to ever say what any wild animal is thinking, let alone a raptor, the introduction went well. Both birds became immediately more interested in each other than us. Each appeared to become less stressed by the company of the other.

2015 Osprey - 068Stocking the pool with goldfish to begin the process of learning to hunt.

Four years ago we began the hard work of rapidly increasing the capacity of Humboldt Wildlife Care Center. Four years ago, HWCC could have not taken these patients. Four years ago long-term patients, most aquatic birds and others were transferred to rehabilitation facilities in the Bay area.

Thanks to your support we are emerging as the kind of wildlife care facility we’ve long strived for, a place that is respected throughout the state for the quality of the care we provide. We still have more progress planned, and there will always be advancements to make. But with these two Osprey, sent to us from hundreds of miles away, we have the chance to acknowledge the distance we’ve already traveled.

Thank you for helping making Bird Ally X/Humboldt Wildlife Care Center into the place we are today. And thank you for looking forward with us, and supporting us in our continued improvement and development – for providing the best care we can, working for the best injury prevention, for continuing to improve co-existence with our wild neighbors and for training the next generation of wildlife caregivers.

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Thank you for being a part of this life-saving work! Your support is 100% tax-deductible!

All photos Laura Corsiglia/BAX






Western Screech-owl in care shows his finery right before release to the wild

One of the lesser known side-benefits of working at a wildlife hospital is the intense and privileged proximity caregivers have to wild freedom. Want to help give injured and orphaned wild animals a second chance? Volunteer with your local wildlife rehabilitator!

weso wingspread aviary


Young Common Murres in Care

For Northern California and the Pacific Northwest, natural conditions (i.e., deep, cold nutrient rich water) are excellent for seabirds, many of whom we rarely meet. Even the Common Murre (Uria aalge), a species with a breeding population well over a million in the Northeast Pacific ocean, is not so commonly seen after all, except by ocean-going anglers and others aboard vessels.

Common Murres spend their lives on the open ocean coming to land only during the nesting season, when they lay eggs and raise their young on sea stacks and rocky cliffs – Devil’s Slide just south of San Francisco, the Marin Headlands, on sea stacks and rocky cliffs all the way to Alaska, including Flatiron Rock just off Trinidad, Humboldt County and Castle Rock near Crescent City at the Oregon border in Del Norte.
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COMU 2015 - 025A periodic physical examination makes certain our young Common Murre patients are developing into healthy young adults.

While their wild salt lives may be a mystery to those who stay ashore, unfortunately Common Murres are all too familiar with human action, especially when it comes to ocean health. Common Murres are regular victims of oil pollution, derelict fishing gear, overfishing, agricultural runoff which can produce harmful algal blooms that coat prey fish in poison, and of course, the general industrialization of the sea.

Because of these threats, Common Murres are regularly admitted into the many (but too few!) wildlife care facilities that are found along the Pacific Coast.

Humboldt Wildlife Care Center is no exception. Each year approximately 3% of our patients (roughly 30 birds) are admitted for care. Half of these, typically, are juvenile birds who have become separated from their parents before they were ready. In our seabird pool right now we are caring for 6 juveniles and 1 adult.

COMU 2015 - 005Common Murres are colony nesters who enjoy the proximity of their cohorts.

Unlike many birds (e.g., pelicans, albatross) who are nearly full grown when they leave their nest, Murre chicks leap from their rocky colonies weeks before they can fly. The chicks are led to sea by their fathers, who continue their care, feeding them and showing the young birds how to dive for fish. Fathers and young congregate in large feeding areas off the coast.

Chicks and fathers recognize each other by call, with voices that are evolved to resonate across waves and wind. Should the father be injured or killed, or a large vessel plow through the feeding area, scattering the birds, it is possible the chick will be orphaned or unable to survive alone. How often this happens, we don’t know. What we do know is that when an orphaned youngster makes it to the beach – usually weak, cold and exhausted – if found, we can raise them in our specially prepared saline pool and release them when they are able to fend for themselves.

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COMU 2015 - 078For this year’s Murre chicks, fate has provided an adult Murre, whose prognosis for recovery is very good, and who for now has the role of surrogate parent, or at least favorite aunt or uncle.  The presence of this adult bird greatly reduces the stress of the youngsters. We hope the benefit is mutual.

As always, your support makes our work possible. Each Common Murre chick eats a little over a pound of fish a day. After 6 weeks in care that’s about 50 pounds. With 7 Murres, you can see how quickly our fish bill adds up! Keeping salt pools for the young birds takes resources too! Thank you for your support! If you would like to contribute  to their care, please click on the donate link. Your tax-deductible support goes directly to the rescue, treatment and release of injured and orphaned wildlife on the North coast and beyond! Thank you for being a part of this life saving work!

(All photos: Laura Corsiglia/BAX)


Cormorants in the Crosshairs, the movie

Documentary filmmaker Judy Irving (Pelican Dreams, Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill) premiered her short film, Cormorants in the Crosshairs, the 19th of August in Portland at a benefit for  The Audubon Society of Portland’s legal  effort to stop the slaughter of Double-crested Cormorants at East Sand Island in the mouth of the Columbia River.

The short film was done in collaboration with Bird Ally X co-founder/co-director Marie Travers and offered to Portland Audubon as an outreach tool. After its premiere, the film was made available online (see below) to help spread general appreciation of the often maligned Cormorant as well as an introduction to the issue of Cormorant killing. Below the movie are links to more information on the East Sand Island Cormorants.

1)news about the killing

2)issues facing salmon

3)Portland Audubon’s lawsuit

4)Information about USFWS hidden analysis showing Cormorant killing won’t help salmon