March 26, 2013 at 12:42 PM
Six eagles found nearly dead over the weekend from poisoning after they fed on the carcasses of two euthanized horses have nearly recovered, the wildlife director at a Bainbridge animal shelter said today.
The eagles are alert and getting feisty and are being moved to a outdoor cages today, said Mike Pratt, wildlife director at the West Sound Wildlife Shelter on Bainbridge Island. The shelter, funded by donations, takes in wild animals of all sorts that have been injured or orphaned.
The shelter started getting calls over the weekend about first one eagle, then a second found nearly dead on private property in Winlock, Lewis County. By the time shelter staff arrived to pick up the birds Sunday, four more had sickened, Pratt said. The birds, five juveniles and an adult, were so ill they could not stand and two were comatose.
Once back at the shelter, volunteers and two veterinarians were waiting. They administered a charcoal purgative around the clock and, by Tuesday morning, even the sickest birds had revived. They may be released by the end of the week, right back where they came from, Pratt said.
“This is why we do what we do, this happened because of a mistake,” Pratt said. “We were able to make it right, and give these eagles a second chance at life.”
Meanwhile the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is investigating the incident, said spokeswoman Joan Jewett. It is a federal offense to poison an eagle, even accidentally.
While the story may yet have a happy ending, it is a cautionary tale, Pratt said. Animal owners should never leave the carcasses of euthanized animals out where other animals could eat their poisoned flesh — a violation of Washington State law. And every homeowner should take the hint that poisoned animals kill.
Instead of rat and mouse poison, choose traps for rodent control, even inside your home, Pratt said. Poisoned rodents go outside, where they can in turn poison owls, cats, or other animals.
A seventh poisoned eagle was taken Friday to the wildlife shelter at the Audubon Society of Portland, Oregon. That eagle, a first-year male, looks excellent and will be released tomorrow, said Lacy Campbell, operations manager at the wildlife center.
March 25, 2013 at 4:25 PM
From delicate candy stripe shrimp to lumbering sea lions, Joe Gaydos of the nonprofit SeaDoc Society will present an up-close and personal look at the animals of Puget Sound in a talk and slide show presentation Tuesday night at Town Hall.
“Bears to Barnacles: Way cool Creatures of the Salish Sea” is part of the Seattle Science Lecture Series, and includes a slide show, video and even the sounds of some the Salish Sea’s animal life.
The talk starts at 7 p.m. at Town Hall and costs $5. Tickets are available at the door, online or by calling 888-377-4510.
Even better, a ticket gets you a double header, with the Science Now lecture beginning at 6. UW researchers will present on climate change and its effects on mussels and toxic algae blooms.
Read more about mussels and their amazing biology in my story in the Seattle Times.
March 22, 2013 at 4:38 PM
No, not this kind:
My beaten, battered OtterBox case for my beloved iPhone. How rugged is this great little thing? So rugged that when I found my phone this morning on the top of my car, where I had forgotten it for two days two nights several snow and rain showers and multiples trips riding all around everywhere, my phone was just … fine. Glowing cheerfully with all my mixed texts and phone calls. It was kind of nice being without it for a while, I confess. Though rather inconvenient for a working reporter. Or more accurately, for the people trying to reach one.
All by way of saying, you outdoor types, if you haven’t already, Otter-up! Or the equivalent! You may be glad indeed.
I do know some certifiably outdoorsy types, such as Jeff Duda, research ecologist at the USGS Western Fisheries Science Research Center in Seattle, who use no case at all, choosing instead to “go bare” to embrace the beauty of these sleek devices.
But that is because he knows how to take his entire phone apart, blow it dry and put it back together again. He says it still worked after a dunk, even with a few bits left over on the counter when he put it back together.
March 22, 2013 at 4:34 PM
Time for a guest post, this from Andy Ritchie, restoration hydrologist on the Elwha project for the National Park Service. Our subject: kelp.
He had some interesting feedback on my post about the sediment in the Elwha blowing out the kelp at the mouth of the Elwha as restoration kicks in all the way to saltwater. Kelp Armageddon, you see. Or, maybe Kelpocalypse? Here’s Andy, in the email last night:
“I enjoyed your blog post on the ongoing ecosystem shift in the algal community in the vicinity of the mouth of the Elwha.
“However, I propose that the term “Kelpocalypse” would be more suitable. I believe that it is a better candidate because (1) it sounds cooler and (2) Armageddon is a specific place name for a battle (which is in a sense appropriate), while ‘Apocalypse’ is sort of a disaster and a triumph at the same time (like the Elwha dam removal) AND ‘Kelpocalypse’ nicely changes the original word to not make it ironic when you talk about burying kelp. On the other hand, if you said, ‘kelp apocalypse,’ that would be ironic, which is sort of beautiful:
” ‘Apocalypse’ is from the ancient Greek ἀπό (apo) [away from] + καλύπτω (kaluptō) [to cover], meaning a ‘lifting of the veil,’ which obviously is NOT happening with the kelp, BUT that’s captured in the word kelpocalypse, since the ‘apo’ goes away, and thus we’re left with ‘kelpocalypse’ or, as I like to think of it, ‘the covering o’ the kelp.’ ”
“In closing, here’s why kelpocalypse is a word: http://www.guardian.co.uk/culture/2013/mar/11/why-we-need-invent-new-words.”
Well. So what do you think? Is he onto something here?
Who’s going to argue with The Guardian?
I’m kind of liking kelpocalypse … though it is quite the tongue twister. And it’s giving my spell check fits.
March 22, 2013 at 7:00 AM
It’s often the new or unique that stand out to us. Paired with its red head and odd shape, that was certainly the case for this spider. I found it while digging in the familiar territory of my yard garden recently and, as soon as it turned up, I knew it was something I hadn’t seen before.
The photo is a bit blurry but not for lack of trying to get a clearer one. Found at or perhaps even below the ground level while moving compost, the spider seemed very determined to get back there. Though not speedy, it seemed oblivious to my efforts to slow him (or her) down and turn it around for a clearer shot. Also it had a talent for tucking itself up into tight places to hide. By the time I could check my phone to see if I had gotten a good shot, it was gone.
Have you seen one like it before? Can you identify it?
If so, toss your answer into the comment thread or email me if you prefer. We’ll update the post later in the week with the best guess — you’d actually need a specimen for more accuracy than that — of Rod Crawford, the Curator of Arachnids at the Burke Museum.
March 20, 2013 at 9:45 AM
Welcome to spring. To many, the most welcome of seasons, our time of birth and renewal arrives in the Northern hemisphere March 20.
Already the Puget lowlands have responded to the longer days. The swamp lanterns are glowing (thanks John Gussman, for this beautiful photo from the Elwha Valley, taken last week!)
The crows are breaking twigs and buildings nests. Oregon grape is flushing yellow. The Indian plum is festooned with its delicate white tresses, and the call of chorus frogs is on the night air. No swallows yet — at least that I have seen. But it won’t be long.
As spring arrives, scientists are telling us what many have already noticed: Spring is coming earlier than it used to.
The Union of Concerned Scientists in a recent release noted that from spring green up to the migratory timing of hummingbirds, spring has shifted its calendar by as many as five days earlier, and snow cover in June in the Northern Hemisphere has been lower over the past five years than at any time since satellite observations began in 1967.
As I recently reported in the Seattle Times, species such as the wolverine require deep snow persisting as late as June to survive. Wolverines make their birthing dens on deep snow, both for insulation, and protection from predators.
In an article published in January in the peer-reviewed journal PlosOne, scientists also found that using nature journals kept by Henry David Thoreau in 1852 and Aldo Leopold in 1935 that the record-breaking spring temperatures in Massachusetts and Wisconsin resulted in some of the earliest flowering times in recorded history for dozens of spring-flowering plants.
Here in Pugetopia, it seems winter never really came at all. Not even our once-a-year snow drama on the streets of Seattle, just a little cold fog around Thanksgiving. Here’s adieu to the season that wasn’t.
March 18, 2013 at 7:00 AM
What’s bigger than a swallow — and brings just as good news? Gray whales, Washington’s biggest sign of spring.
The resident gray whales are back in Whidbey and Camano Island waters once again.
The Orca Network’s Whale Sighting Network received its first report of a North Puget Sound Gray Whale on Feb. 4, and in the past few weeks have received reports identifying several North Puget Sound grays returning to feed in Saratoga Passage, from Polnell Pt. to Port Susan and Possession Sound.
This small group of resident grays typically arrives to our region in early March and stays through the end of May or early June, feeding on ghost shrimp along the sand and mud shores of Saratoga Passage between Camano and Whidbey Islands, and in Possession Sound.
Not true year round residents, they are more like lingerers, stopping to rest and feed on the journey to their summering grounds in the Bering Sea. The whales are arriving from their birthing lagoons in Mexico, where they have spent the winter. They undergo one of the longest migrations of any mammal.
Read more about it in my story in the Seattle Times.
Viewing opportunities are excellent from the shorelines of Island county or from the Mukilteo/Clinton ferries. Bottom feeders, the whales often feed close to shore by turning on their sides and sucking up huge mouthfuls of sand filled with ghost shrimp, then straining it out through their baleen plates, swallowing the invertebrates and pushing mud and water back out, leaving plumes of mud trailing through the water.
The telltale sign of a gray is their pectoral fins and fluke tips, which can often be seen above the surface of the water while they are feeding. Climb a bluff, and you can get a great view of the entire whale as it feeds in the shallow intertidal area.
Howard Garrett of the Orca Network also advises gray whale spouts can also often be seen while they are traveling or feeding in deeper waters, and their flukes are exposed whenever they take a deep dive.
March 17, 2013 at 11:47 AM
There are winners and losers as the Elwha dam removal project underway transforms the Olympic Mountain watershed.
Running 45 miles from its origins in the snow fields of the Olympics, the Elwha reaches the saltwater of the Strait of Juan de Fuca, where a new world is unfolding.
With the Elwha Dam gone as of just about a year ago, and Glines Canyon Dam nearly 2/3 down, silt and sediment, wood, leaves, sticks and other organic material long trapped behind the dams is cutting loose.
Some of it is banked in soft slumping heaps along the river banks, and even the deepest pools in the river have filled in. And some sediment is making it all the way to the near shore at the river mouth.
Where, researchers tracking sediment transport by the river before, during and after dam removal could tell you, a kelp Armageddon is underway. “It’s amazing,” said Helen Berry, Marine Ecologist with the state Department of Natural Resources.
March 14, 2013 at 10:13 AM
Happy ending, I promise.
March 14, 2013 at 7:00 AM
Artist Alden Mason helped us see the landscapes of the Northwest in a new way. Even its most familiar features, from trees to salmon.
Mason died last month, and when I wrote his obituary, arrangements for a service had not yet been settled. But the Foster/White Gallery which represented Mason, 93, has scheduled a memorial at the gallery from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday.
In addition to his artwork, Mason also left a legacy of artists that he helped train as a professor at the University of Washington for more than 30 years, including Chuck Close and Robert Shimomura.
Another Mason alum, Greg Kucera and Phen Huang, director at Foster/White are also curating a show of Mason’s work at the Bagley Wright Exhibition Space from April 25 – June 30. The gallery is at 407 Dexter Ave. North in Seattle. Phone 264-8200. Open 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday through Saturday.
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