Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Baby wesley in the box, the WA trip, organizations to donate to

I don't know what's going on with this little one. I would be surprised to see him die of malnutrition, although since Molly is not staying in w the babies (I've been off the internet for a week or so. I assume she's not in there making sure Wesley gets fed anymore? Is that true?), then he is reduced to tussling w/ his larger siblings over each food item that's dropped. It's in this situation that the littlest often loses the battle.

On the other hand, it could be the heat. Were the owlets panting? If they were NOT panting (and by the way, I personally use all caps for emphasis because I can't get the italics to work. I don't use them as a means of yelling..)..

If they were NOT panting, then it had nothing to do with heat. Plus, 80 degrees really isn't too hot for owlets. Even THAT I don't know about because I was on a plane, but the pilot kept saying it was 80 degrees along the coast. Seriously?

When he said that, the whole plane full of Northwesterners groaned and moaned and said, "No that has to be wrong! It can't BEEE!"


The federal wildlife protection people will not go into a nest to take out a baby that's dying, I think. Also, Skyhunters (By that I mean Nancy Conney) does not go on the internet. Some of the people she works with probably do go on the internet but she herself does not so asking her to look at an owl on an internet camera is not going to get you anywhere.

Of course, Skyhunters is part of a network of professionals all over San Diego, so her person in San Marcos may be able to look in on the internet.

But they don't go roaring in to rescue owls in nestboxes.

Now, if an owlet FALLS, they can come in and assess it for injuries and if it's not at all injured, put it back up in the box.

They can also advise a homeowner or landowner as to how to set things up for a successful branching and fledging for the owlets.

They aren't all powerful and they don't just go blasting in unless there's a need to do so.

Because of no regulation on owlboxes, their hands are tied when it comes to these bogus owlboxes w/ no fledging/branching systems. BUT, those tied hands are wringing and those teeth are grinding and they are agonizing over the box situation in general.

The fact that Carlos has done something to at least give the owlets a chance is a heck of a lot more than anyone else in that area has done w/ their owlbox, as far as I can see.

There are a few that have been installed in trees when the homeowner had a large tree, and one I heard of that was even set up between branches on a series of chains to discourage raccoons, though I don't know why a raccoon could not go across a chain. But there is no rule saying you must make it raccoon proof because trees are the natural habitat of owls and raccoons can climb trees. So THAT, for once, IS nature.

OK, so what CAN a wildlife professional do?

They can come in if they are asked to do so, when an owlet is downed, and take it to a rehab center. They're not like these ASPCA cops you see on Animal Planet - they don't go around arresting people for stuff, unless the people are trying to keep a wild one as a pet w/o a permit, or are harassing or messing w/ a protected species.

But an owlbox? No they don't go in unless asked.

NOW...I tend to assume that if an owlet fell and was injured, the Royals WOULD call a wildlife professional.

In fact, if that happened and they did call someone, they could possibly put a camera in the wildlife rehab center to follow the rehabilitation of that one little guy until he's released. Most owlets that come in are releasable, by the way. It's only permanent injuries that deem an animal unreleasable, or if they're hopelessly imprinted on humans.

((Ya know....of course I hope these precious babies branch and fledge flawlessly. But why doesn't a rehab center put a webcam on a baby barn owl who's being rehabbed for release into the wild? Probably because most wildlife centers are so slammed that they can barely keep up, and they don't have the time to even deal w/ a webcam. But it would be BRILLIANT to be able to show people the process! Wow!))

This is why we need the laws changed. We need someone who has the time and energy, to pull together an organization to change the laws governing the putting up of "habitats" for owls and other birds, with actual official plans that have been approved and designed by.....wait for it.....SCIENTISTS (or wildlife experts of other kinds)...with branching systems for owls who BRANCH rather than FLEDGE.

In England, they use the correct word for what owls do. They BRANCH.

Fledging is really what songbirds do - "float" to the ground and hide in a bush and the parents feed them and they slowly learn to fly FROM THE GROUND.

But as you know, Owlets BRANCH, and then it takes a lot of time for them to actually learn to fly. They must be able to hold on to something and beat their wings a lot to gain strength before they can even begin to start to fly-hop and then fly.

So...actually....this conglomerate of people who have all united because of Molly is the perfect network of people to start a campaign to change the law and create official regulations on owlboxes so that we can treat our brothers of the feather more decently when we lure them to what seems to them a perfect nesting spot, only for it to turn into a house of horrors.


I urge you to think about it. If you're an empty nester and you are passionate about this, why not start a foundation or group to start putting the word out to legislatures and the Dept. Of Fish and Game to do something about these owlboxes?

It CAN be done.

Here's an example:
In San Diego county, they are going around to every single live wire spot and capping it, just to protect raptors who sit on those spots and get electrocuted. It's costing SDG&E to do it, but they are doing it!

Nancy Conney is one of the main people out there doing this, but it's an SDG&E project. So someone, obviously, agitated and educated this massive corporation to fix the problem of electrocuting raptors and owls.

I've seen these survivors of these horrible electrocutions. I know a red tailed hawk who got electrocuted from the tip of one wing across to the tip of the other wing. Now, one of her wings grows these very weird feather shafts that are way too fat and short, then they fall off, having never produced a real feather. Many of these raptors die or have to have a wing amputated.

But the good news is that even though this has been going on for decades, SOMEONE went out and made it their mission to get the power company to do something about it and they ARE! It's a miracle in these days of greedy corporations, I think.

So in the same way, I think Fish and Game could be lobbied to change the laws for owlboxes to require a professionally (and by professional, I mean wildlife biologist or raptor expert such as Nancy Conney) approved design and setup.

And I think Carlos is a groundbreaking homeowner in the sense that he has at least TRIED to put something around for the owlets to land on.

I saw an owlet looking out last night as if he was looking for something to land on, but there wasn't anything close enough to hop to yet. Maybe there will be in a day or two?

But I was happy to see that the owlet was acting cautious and didn't appear to be wanting to just jump out.

I just met a "jumper" when I was in Washington.

------- the baby owl in Washington----- and the Wildlife Center in Washington ---------

It was the sweetest little barred owlet! SO sweet! oh man.

And they were calling him a "nest jumper" because he apparently just jumped out of a nest somewhere. They could not find a nest anywhere though. Maybe he was the last survivor of a nest disaster? Who knows. Sometimes you just don't know the full story of an orphaned owlet.

There were no parents coming to feed him, so he was taken in by the NW Wildlife center (which is a BRILLIANT center. SO awesome). They have the wildlife center inside a big HOUSE! BRILLIANT! It keeps the animals out of the weather, and it's so spotlessly clean that you can't tell, when you walk into the house, that there are animals in it at all! Talk about CLEAN!

I mean, haven't you walked into houses that smelled like cat pee and they only had one cat? Imagine housing possums, birds, turtles, squirrels, rabbits, baby raptors...etc...etc...gophers...and no smell.

Anyway, of course they had the big caging outside for the other stages of rehab, but the babies were all kept in this house on govt land. AND they had people living there 24/7 to care for the animals. They had a room w/ interns living there, getting some experience, working 40 hrs/week. THAT's why it was so clean.

A side note - one of the founders met his wife while volunteering at a wildlife center. Hot tip! If a guy wanted to meet a woman who was strong, a lover of animals, hardworking, dedicated, disciplined, educated....and they were all beautiful...try volunteering at a wildlife center - but ONLY if you are also a lover of animals, big hearted, loving, gentle, dedicated, disciplined...outdoorsy possibly...

And I've always said that the bio department is where you can meet your Indiana Jones. Wanna find the real Indiana Jones? He's in the Biology department, probably as a grad student or post doc. Seriously. Or Indiana Jane.

Sy Montgomery is a perfect example of an Indiana Jane - she goes into jungles that would scare the tar out of just about anyone. One time she was tracking the living dinosaur, the cassowary, and she was walking in shoes that were so full of her own blood they were squishing. And her clothes were soaked w/ her own blood. Why? Well, in Borneo...there are places where if you stand still for a moment, the entire floor of the jungle seems to suddenly move toward you. Why? LEECHES! Millions and millions and millions of leeches burrowing into you everywhere and there's nothing you can do to keep them out.

Did it stop her? NOOooooooo...! She was tracking the cassowary! What do you mean STOP. Sheesh. No WAY!

She's so tiny I don't know how she survived it but she did.

another time she lived among the people in the Sudarbans, where tigers regularly attack and eat people. The people are OK with this, because they have realized that the fact that they have maneating tigers who attack even from underwater and pull people off of BOATS, means they also don't have poachers and loggers.

Isn't that kind of sad? The people are willing to sacrifice themselves because this keeps their habitat from being destroyed. What's a few dead relatives compared to your entire world being ripped apart by greedy corporations and individuals? We don't realize what people are willing to do to keep their habitat from being destroyed until we see an example like this. We don't realize how desperate the situation is until we see something like this. But Sy Montgomery, all 80 pounds of her. decides to go live among the people so she can understand. And she does.

Indiana Jane.

And need I mention Jane Goodall.

So these men and women are just amazing. Raising a barn owl in the comfort of my own home is NOTHING compared to what most biologists are willing to endure for their species. People say I've sacrificed. HA! No way. I haven't sacrificed my life, my health, my sanity, to my species. Many have. Many have disappeared into jungles never to be found. Well not MANY, but some.

So, back to the NW Wildlife center. I suggest you donate to THEM. They are really hurting financially because they're small and they are in a small town, BUT they are surrounded by some of the most amazing habitat and tons and tons of wildlife that needs tending to, and baby season is roaring in.

I've decided that's my mother's day choice for donating in Molly's name - the NorthWest Wildlife Center in Bellingham Washington!!!

Here's another thing that blew me away about the place - the way they tend to not only the physical needs of the animals coming in but the EMOTIONAL NEEDS! HELLO! WOW! Joy!

Dancing in the streets! Shouting w/ Joy! Trumpets! Parades! Someone is actually concerning themselves with the emotional lives of animals in a practical way while rehabilitating them for the wild! What a CONCEPT!

Oh baby we are rocking now!

Example: When I went down to this massive basement where they had rooms for baby owls, we went into a clean, warm room and there was a carrying case w/ a little gray lump of a baby owlet snuggled up to a stuffed animal! How BRILLIANT!

He wasn't screaming in fear because he had no one to snuggle up to, because he was alone. He was relaxed, yawn...and completely attached like velcro to this stuffed animal.

They brought him out, and we kept our voices hushed so as not to scare him or let him get used to humans, and he barely even opened his eyes, he was so relaxed. In fact, I thought he was sick and weak but was later told, no, he's been extremely feisty and energetic so far.

So they brought him out (the guy was wearing a glove, which made me chuckle, since the owlet was so mellow), and they encouraged me to preen him like the mother would.


So I gently preened him, using the tips of my fingers in the exact same motions that the parent uses to preen and gently stimulate the baby's endorphins and relax him. And BOY did he relax. He closed his eyes and leaned into my hand and turned his head this way and that so I could get this spot or that spot, as if he was saying, "Oh...that's the spot. YEAH. that's the spot...now just go a little to the left over here..oh yeah. that's perfect...mmmm....now do my neck...oooh yeah....."

What's funny is that later we were told he was a little demon of a feisty owlet which is why the guy was wearing the glove. A screaming, biting, scratching wild owlet. So again, I had this experience of an owl somehow knowing that I know them. It's a mystery how they know this. So much for us still to learn about these guys and how they think!

There's a spot on owls where there are no feathers growing, along the side of the neck, where the skin feels like silk. Gently rubbing that spot makes them swoon.

I then did his back and under his wings a little and showed the guy there the vestigial gland that in other birds is the uropygial gland. In other birds, it contains oil that is used to condition the feathers and help w/ the waterproofing. In owls, there is no oil, so it's just a vestige.

Humans have similar vestigial parts. For example, nipples in men. They are not neccessary and serve no function, but they are developed in the fetus BEFORE the gender defining organs are developed, so it makes no difference if it's a male or female, in the order of development, they come before gender is defined developmentally.

Side story: I once wrote a long paper about the fetal development of the caudate nucleus in the brain. In those days we didn't have computers to write papers (I date myself, But then again, no one else will so I have to haha). So around colleges were lots and lots of ladies taking in handwritten papers and typing them up for students and making a tidy profit.

So I took my long (110 page) paper to this woman to have it typed up. And I did it very close to the deadline for the paper, of course. So I get it back and in every case, the word "development" was misspelled as "developement". Can you imagine the impression this made on the professor of my DEVELOPMENTAL biology class? yeah. The paper was fine but she was horrified after all. And I didn't have the time and money to have it retyped.....Arg. College!

Anyway, I was so impressed that they encouraged the grooming of this owlet, that they put in a stuffed animal for him to snuggle with. He was so calm compared to other lone owlets in rehab centers.

They had had a barn owlet but they had the good sense to send him to a center that had another lone barn owlet and put them together so they wouldn't be continually freaking out.

you saw how Molly and McGee's babies huddled together whenever Molly left, when they were young. When they're so young, they really need to snuggle with either each other or the mom.

Another example was the possums. They had hammocks for the baby possums to snuggle in. There were a bunch of the cutest tiny furry possums all tangled up together in this lovely hammock (it was a ferret hammock, but don't tell the possums), and they were so content! I reached in and stroked their noses and heads. One lay there and opened his mouth to show me his teeth, but he was so comfortable that he didn't even change position and continued to snuggle w/ his "mates".

So smart.

BTW, possums are gentle souls. They can't move very fast, so they open their mouths to show their teeth, but that's about it. I'm not saying you should stick your hand in and test them, but they are just sweet. I've rescued 3 adults in the field, meaning I had to catch them and put them in a carrier to be taken to a wildlife center, and they all growled and showed teeth but not one of them even attemped to bite me. I wasn't wearing any protective gear at all, not even gloves. Amazing. These were completely wild possums.

I feel sorry for them because they are so easy to pick off for every predator out there and for cars. They just don't move that fast.

If you ever see a dead possum by the side of the road, stop and check for babies. The babies will hang around the dead parent for hours. Check the inside of the pouch. They are marsupials like kangaroos and koala bears, so they keep their young babies in a pouch! If you find babies, put them in a box and take them to a wildlife center and they'll be raised and released in an appropriate place w/ lots of undergrowth to hide in, and nearby water, and lots of snails to eat.

I've seen possums walk along, stop, sniff the air, and go right for a hidden snail. They can smell snails from a distance and ravenously eat them. They also eat fruit, but grapes give them diarrhea...

After I visited the wildlife center, I went to speak at an event at the local library where they also had activities for kids such as dissecting owl pellets and getting an entire skeleton out, then identifying the skeleton w/ a little chart.

They even had cupcakes decorated to look like owls! Make a chocolate cupcake and put opened oreo cookies on the frosting to look like the owl's eyes, and use a piece of licorice to make the beak. They put a piece of round candy in the middle of the oreo halves to look like the pupil of the eye and used licorice to make the great horned owl kind of nose markings that look like a V. You can not do that part and it still looks like an owl. I thought it was very clever and very tasty!

The thing I LOVE about doing events is meeting so many people who are just as passionate about wildlife. People from all walks of life, united in their love for the wild ones.

I always come back very inspired by the people I meet.

The kids and students really inspire me the most. Biology majors, kids who are following their dream. I meet younger kids who are very focused, like I was, and want to be biologists or vets, with supportive parents standing nearby nodding and smiling. What a joy to know that there is a generation of kids taking the torch and wanting to continue the work.

There are a LOT of good, hardworking, nice, polite kids out there. They're not all screaming in the grocery store! haha. If you're single and not around kids a lot, your only experience w/ kids is probably the screaming tantrums at the store, right?

Lucky for me, I'm an auntie of 6 kids, 4 step, and 2 my very own flesh and blood, my sister's kids Michael and Megan.

Yes, I digressed a lot on this post but it's not a book, so I'm not editing my blogs.

I'll edit when I do the book though, so don't lose hope.

----Carlos' legacy and contribution to raising awareness about barn owls ----------------------

And I'm so grateful to have Carlos and his owlbox and all his efforts. I do apologize for letting it get to me about him saying that we scientists have never worked w/ wild owls. in the balance of things, he's doing a great thing for a lot of people and without him doing it,, so many people would not have had the knowledge and experience that they are gaining through this. His extra cameras - that extra effort - makes all the difference in the viewing experience. And having such good sound is absolutely wonderful, since barn owls express themselves so much through vocalization.

People really ARE learning through watching and hearing these owls. I'm amazed at how much people know, who've been watching. I mean, most can even distinguish between Molly and McGee just through their behavior. That's very cool! Who could have done that before all of this? Who knew what the owlet begging sound was, or how they bond as a greeting (the parents)) or how they prefer the head? Or how they swallow their prey whole, or how rowdy it gets in the nest when food is brought, or how they are stepped down in age to ensure the survival of the most aggressive baby if there's not enough food for all?

If you think about what you've learned from this one experience, we should all be grateful above all. Some of my commenters don't like the selling of objects, but you know, other people do. They DO want a souveneer of the experience. I saw quite a few molly t-shirts and I saw the necklace in Julian and it is GORGEOUS.

It's the nicest owl necklace I've ever seen and I've seen a lot, since my grandmother collected them.

So..let the guy sell stuff to the people who want it. And as for his e-book, who wouldn't want that? It's going to be great! I'm going to buy one at least! at LEAST!

And Eric is a bestselling author, so it's going to be well written. This story is a big story and a lot of amazing things have happened.

See...I got good sleep and can see the big picture.

Yes, it upsets me when someone keeps saying that I and other scientists have never worked w /wild owls. Of course it's a slam on my reputation. But....hey, it's the internet...and the overall work he's doing is ultimately good. Because it has allowed people from all over the world to not only observe, but to literally fall in love with barn owls. This is a GOOD THING and will benefit barn owls for years to come, because people now know how passionate and wonderful these mysterious wild ones are, and they know what needs to be done to improve their lives. And a baby owlet falling to the ground is more than just a statistic to people now. It's a real little soul w/ a huge personality, not just a "bird" of some kind and who cares.

This is an intangible thing that Carlos' box and his efforts w/ the cameras and videos have given to us. Let's not lose sight of that.

Also, people keep asking me if the flash is bothering the owls. I don't think it is. It's no different than lightening, which they've been seeing since the beginning of time. So don't worry about that anymore.

------ Wildlife Organizations, and volunteering or getting involved -----possibilities------

Another great thing is that people have become aware of the existence of wildlife rescue and rehab centers. If you live somewhere in the US, there is probably a local wildlife rescue and rehab center that needs volunteers (you will start by cleaning cages and doing laundry. They need to see that you have staying power and are not going to whine that you wanna play w/ the animals. The animals are going to be released, so you can't let them get used to humans. In fact, usually there are curtains on the cages so they don't get used to seeing humans, even). But if you stay long enough and are consistent, they will start to train you to go out and pick up injured animals and/or do the first aid and basic surgery like cleaning wounds and putting in stitches or tube feeding animals that are so weak they can't even swallow for themselves...all that kind of hands on stuff.

No, you do not have to have any particular educational background to do this. You learn on the job. Many places will take kids of about 14 or 16 and on up. Some places will allow a 14 year old to volunteer if they are with a parent and work together. This is a very worthwhile pursuit! Even if you're "just" cleaning cages (which is extremely important work, actually), if you keep your eyes and ears open, you will learn a lot just from watching.

I did that at first at Caltech when I started by just cleaning up after and feeding animals. I had my eyes and ears open and so tuned in that I listened to the advice the professors gave their PhD students and post docs and all the discussions and questions that they asked, I listened and learned and went home and wrote everything down that was said. I soaked up everything I could and never just tuned out and cleaned. No, I was there to learn. If you take that approach, you can really get a lot out of volunteering at your local wildlife center.

They all need things like towels, blankets,...MONEY. Man the food for these animals is expensive. Mice cost at least a dollar apiece! Imagine feeding a hundred owlets every day, or more!

You can donate gifts in kind, put a wildlife center in your will, put them on a life insurance policy, donate regularly, if you have a platform, let them advertise there for donations. They are almost all struggling and barely making it because it's a mostly volunteer effort.

The government does not pay for these wildlife centers! We do. If you are upset about what we've done to our environment and the animals, donate to wildlife rescue and rehab centers, or to activist groups like Defenders of Wildlife (they are trying to stop the wholesale slaughter of the wolf packs, which is being done from helicopters by hunters w/ machine guns. The "hunters" are even using the radio collars that biologists had been using to track the health of the re-introduced wolves, to track them down and slaughter them. Some states even offer a bounty of 150 dollars a paw - ALASKA - and it needs to be stopped. It's no different from the great buffalo slaughter when they shot the buffalo from trains until they all but wiped them out.)

And that's just one organization! The Jane Goodall Institute has chimpanzee rescue and rehab centers all over africa where they take the orphaned chimps that have been ripped from their dead parents arms by poachers who sell these traumatized and dying babies in markets, and sell the dead parents for "bush meat"...the institute gets these babies and brings them to their centers and the volunteers hand raise them. They have a system of letting them grow into adults and joining peer groups and eventually ending up in family bands on protected land. Fenced, but yet close enough to where they are almost living as if they were wild. They also have a worldwide organization for kids to get involved w/ the environment and animals, called Roots and Shoots.

The Gorilla Foundation has bought up a lot of land in Hawaii that's close enough to their original African habitat, and are trying to establish a new territory for them where they won't be wiped out by poachers. They are also the ones w/ Koko the Gorilla, who can now READ ENGLISH and uses flash cards to make sentences to leave messages for her keepers and to have discussions with them. She also signs her name and it looks like a human signature. The great thing about this is that she can now tell us what gorillas think about and how their minds work. AMAZING work being done there.

There's the World Wildlife Federation, through whom I've sponsored a snowy owl and to whom I give. I give to all these organizations.

Last night people asked who I choose to give to. I give a 5 to 10 percent of the book proceeds to wildlife and human organizations. I'll tell you what human ones I give to, also. Here's my personal list:

Since we're going to all give to an organization for Mother's day in Molly Royal's name, I'm giving you my personal list:

Compassion International
World Vision
St Judes hospital

Skyhunters (in Alpine, CA: www.skyhunters.org)
WWF (world wildlife federation)
World Wildlife Fund
Jane Goodall Institute
Defenders of Wildlife
Sierra Club
The Nature Conservancy
Friends of the Sea Lion (a marine mammal rescue and rehab center in Orange County , CA.- in Laguna i think) - haven't given to them regularly. Not for any reason, I just keep forgetting. :-(

But please do give to your local wildlife rescue and rehab center if you can. Time, goods, or money are all needed.
And/Or to the organizations involved in saving wildlife in the gulf w/ this massive disaster. God help the people and animals who will be affected for many decades to come because of this horror.

This was more of a CHAPTER than a blog. Thank you for being so patient!

Love and peace,

I'll be giving my Molly donation to the Northwest Wildlife Center in Bellingham, Washington


Anonymous said...
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Sarah said...

Awesome post, Stacey. Your writing is so "right there"; reminds me of why I loved reading your book. I'm going to give my mom my extra copy of "Wesley the Owl" for Mother's Day.

To answer the question you asked in the first paragraph, as far as I know, Molly has not stayed in the box with the owlets for over a week. She does stay appreciably longer than McGee when she does a food delivery though. Last night on one of her deliveries she went almost all the way into the box although I think she gets mobbed by the owlets so she probably physically can't go in the box when she's delivering food!

Yesterday all of the owlets were panting so it's not just Wesley. Looks like the same conditions again today.

Thanks again!!

Gaffney said...

Stacey, in answer to your question- yes, they were all panting for hours. The heat has to be magnified in that box. I could not see Wesley but could see the other three panting. When I did see Wesley, he was near comatose on the floor, on his stomach with his nest mates stepping on him and clutching at his head. He did not immediately open his eyes. He just laid there looking lifeless. He eventually struggled to rouse himself. I really thought his demise was imminent.

I am truly sorry there can be no removing these little ones unless they injure themselves. It goes against the grain, mine anyway, to think that Skyhunters would have to put any fallen owlets back into those boxes if they were uninjured. I guess we just standby, wait and hope by some miracle that all goes reasonably well for all four owlets.

V said...

I've been watching for the last hour. It looks like Wesley is the only one really panting non-stop.
He has been down countless times.

chipmonk said...

Great post Stacy,I learn so much from reading your book and your wonderful blogs.Even though i get alittle mad at times from Mollys stream,your are right that Carlos has given us all a wonderful insight to owls in the wild.I will continue to love these wonderful owls,and all of nature.Thank you for your knowledge and wisdom.

mandymu said...

Hi Stacy,
I really enjoyed reading your 'chapter.' It was very informative, and obviously passionate.
Since it is so long, though, I sincerely hope that people will have the patience to read through to the end of the post. In the end, you edify Carlos's efforts and give him kudos for the awareness he is spreading through Molly, McGee, and their owlets.
I am an educator, and when working with human relationships, one learns that you need to make a 'sandwich' when you are making a point that might be hurtful. It is good to edify something first, then bring up any negative points you may have, and end with something that again uplifts. This opens the lines of communication to all audiences, even those who might be resistent to criticism. If you want them to hear you all the way through, you've got to soften them up FIRST.
I was patient enough to read the whole chapter, so I know that you have wonderful, appreciative things to say, as well as some useful constructive criticism. I just hope everyone will get to the end...
Thanks! Mandy

wess_liana said...

Stacey... this is a great post, as always, but I need to veer off-topic a bit to let you know I got my copy of "An Eagle Named Freedom" in the mail today and am so excited to read it!!

msg said...

catbirdcan -- excellent suggestion about following the M&M feed on http://www.sportsmansparadiseonline.com/Live_Owl_Nest_Box_Cam.html. She's in the chat room now. Finally, Stacey can offer her perspective on neutral ground.

Chris said...

Wonderful post, Stacey. Filled with valuable information. Please write lots of long posts! And also msg, great link to see the owlets without either the silliness or the hostile chat! Thank you.

Chris said...

Sorry, I left out catbirdcan, and we can't edit. Thank you so much for the link.

Cybee said...

Nice comments. Yes, Carlos is providing owl awareness that I think may help create a greater sensitivity to barn owls and even other birds as well (having a bond with a barn owl family allows us to better envision families of birds for example the ones endangered by the oil slick...makes the danger more real and relatable). Hopefully this awareness extends to improvements and regulations as to owl boxes. Btw, Stacey, it was noted that Molly (?) was trying to hold the food specifically to Wesley yesterday evening...I can't identify between the owlets but that is what the others were observing..so that is good news. Thanks for your great thoughts..I too am a Jane Goodall fan as well...read a great book about her by Dale Peterson. Also, v. interesting about the reading gorilla! Fascinating!

Janet said...
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Gaffney said...

How exactly was it observed that "Molly was trying to hold the food specifically to Wesley"? There is no longer a camera on the inside of the owlbox to enable us to see inside the box when the owlets are brought food at night. When Molly or McGee brings food there is no way anyone can tell for sure who grabbed the food or who eventually got to eat it. The entrance is completely blocked from view by Molly when she puts her head inside the box. When all we have is this b&w blurry video at night(and I am grateful to at least have that),it's being filmed from a distance and at an angle, how can anyone rationally make an assumption like that?

Cybee said...

Hi! Good point. Actually, I could not tell that Molly was specifically giving the morsel to Wesley .... it was an outdoor view of Molly sitting on her perch delivering the food and supposedly (so said the other posters) she was trying to give it to Wesley...I can't verify that myself, as I can't distinguish the owlets . However, I did see that Molly did not relinquish the morsel at first until she decided it was time.ha...so who knows if it was really her selecting Wesley or not..........ha! Truly...now that I think of it...how can one distinguish the owlets from that vantage? Well, anyway..hopefully Wesley is getting his share...fingers crossed....

Gaffney said...

I hope so too.

Anonymous said...

Stacey,Thanks for everything! For your ability to see the big picture and bring it in to focus for the rest of us... for being the QUEEN of diplomacy and voice of reason, for the life you've dedicated to learning about wildlife and the gift that your sharing is to us. Thank you, too, for losing it the other night! We needed to hear it all as much as you needed to get ot out! And lastly, thanks for not only pointing the way towards positive change, but for leading the way there. I'd encourage every single reader here to find SOME way to become more involved. You have no idea how big an impact your actions can have!

Remember the words of another remarkable woman, Cultural Anthropologist Margaret Meade: "Never doubt that a small group of concerned citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."

I look forward to seeing you on the sportsmansparadise site. That's where I first started watching Molly. I only went to Ustream because I heard YOU were there!!

Susan said...

Thank you for your organization donation suggestions!

When my father passed away a few years ago, we asked that donations be given to our local nature center in lieu of flowers. It brought some comfort knowing we were helping their endeavors in honor of his memory.

Susan from MI

Lynn said...

Stacey..u mentioned that u didn't know for sure about the panting thing..this talks about gular fluttering specially the later part of the article concerning owls. Thought you might find it interesting.
Thanks for what you do!

morganminpin said...

Excellent post with lots of good information on how to help these owls we all love. I particularly liked your description of the wildlife center that provides the babies with a stuffed "friend" for comfort and companionship. There is a wildlife center (I think it's in Florida, I'll try to find it on the web and come back and post the address) where they take old fur coats and cut them up into surrogate "parents" for their orphaned little ones. Supposedly they gain weight faster and are healthier when they have a real fur "mom" to cling to. I sent them a fur stole and hat that had belonged to my grandmother (and that I would never, ever wear!) and was very glad to find such a good use them.

Stacey O'Brien said...

morganminpin - that is an AWESOME use for old fur coats and hats that never should have existed in the first place! It's a way to redeem the lives the animals lost to provide the fur coat in the first place.