Saturday, May 15, 2010

Union Tribune Article: a section quoted

msg sent this quote from the article in the union Tribune:

"Maybe the owlets will fly a bit after first leaving home, but it’s more likely that they’ll just flutter to the ground or to nearby perches for more practice. Those prospects are not without their perils, but San Diego’s Project Wildlife is keeping tabs on developments.

“We’ve been in contact with Carlos and have been offering guidance,” said Kristen Pressler, development director at the rehabilitation and rescue organization. “We’ve actually notified our raptor team. They are on alert to step in if anything happens.”

Pressler said the 15-foot drop from the box is not an issue and that the owls are probably safer in the Royal’s backyard than in the wild. “They are going to be just fine,” she said
."

Here's the link to the rest of the article
http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/2010/may/15/internet-darling-owls-could-soon-leave-the-nest/



This is a new development. I wonder if they have looked over the situation there? Maybe they do feel that he has made enough improvements for the owlets to make it through the branching and fledging. He HAS added quite a few improvements, mainly the platform and a place to land right outside the door (the lanai, or porch), and even the ladders might be usable by the owlets. I don't know if there's any traction on that platform or not. Once on the ground, they could get up the tree and to that platform.

As I said a while ago, it's a heck of a lot better than it was!

I'm surprised that he's working w/ Project Wildlife, that he hasn't said so in any of his many "fireside chats". Has he said that? Does anyone know if Project Wildlife has been there? I had heard that OO box people were working w/ project wildlife, too, and their setup is MUCH more what i would expect from someone who has worked directly w/ wildlife people because of the design and the carpeting.

Could our liason, Charlotte, please bring this to the attention of Nancy Conney and ask her if she knows about this and if it can be confirmed?

If he is now saying that project wildlife is standing by and will sweep in if anything happens, I would want that confirmed because of the strength of his previous resistance to doing anything like that. I would like to know how closely he is working with them. As close as he's working w/ the media? In other words, have they been to his property the way the media has?

If so, then we can all pat ourselves on the back for appying pressure and public opinion to the situation so that he's gone from saying he wouldn't interfere if a baby got injured and was lying on the ground to saying that project wildlife is standing by, ready to sweep in!

Let's watch and see what really happens here. I can hardly believe it's true, but if it is, I rejoice!

Perhaps we have reached Carlos, even though many of us have been banned in the process. HOWEVER, the article ALSO says:

" publicity also has been good for owl box builder Air Superiority of Ramona by raising awareness about nesting boxes as a pest-control strategy.

“This is the time of the year when my sales are best,” owner Tom Stephan said. “And it’s the best time to be putting up boxes.”
"
Again, it's about pest control, not about the survivability of owlets. We still have to get the right design and the new laws into place to stop this proliferation of badly designed and badly placed deathtrap "rodent control" boxes...

Because we can't fight to educate each and every box owner, after the fact. We won't even know about most of them. This was a great opportunity to educate the public and to educate a very public figure, but it's not enough to change the nature of the box makers and the industry they're in.

pest-control strategy indeed!

How about pest control AND barn owl survival strategy combined? Now THAT would work for me.

-Stacey

18 comments:

Margo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kathlene said...

here is the author of the article copied from the article:
Andrew Kleske

Andrew Kleske is a principal content producer for online news and sports for the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Email: andrew.kleske@uniontrib.com

Monica K. said...

Vacadude is John Atkinson, not the author of the article.

I'm glad Carlos has been consulting with the Project Wildlife people. I just hope that Tom Stephan will take all this debate to heart and start introducing necessary changes to his box designs.

Teresa said...

After all of this, if Tom Stephen DID change his box designs, can you imagine how many he could sell then? He would have some of the few safe owl boxes on the market. Sounds like a win-win situation for the owls and the humans if he did that.

Victoria B said...

Carlos hasn't said much about his additions. He said he put on the porch because of the worry warts who thought the babies might fall out. Later he indicated it was unnecessary, because by his observance you couldn't drag them out of the box. True, they are unwilling, but accidents do happen. Regulated owl boxes that require the hole being raised 4" and/or an Astro Turf platform in front of it.

Both times when Max came out last night he put a foot down on the dowel porch before he stepped to the perch attached to the box. Without that porch, he may have lost his balance and fallen. He may have only done so because it was there to use, but as clumsy as he looked, I'm sure it made it easier.

There is something on top of the platform that looked like it could be Astro Turf. The tufts stick up like grass in the picture with Molly perched there.

The perch in front of the dowel porch was added after Carlos viewed a video sent to him by a viewer of the box. He said it was the best he'd seen about fledging and put in on the transferit site. I think it's called, "Backyard Barn Owls" or something close.

I don't know why Carlos is so resistant to speaking about his additions being important to the safe fledging of these owlets. Perhaps he keeps thinking that it really isn't necessary.

Early on, before the dowel porch was added, Donna did say that if anything happened they would call someone for help.

I know they want a happy ending, and they have increased that possibility immensely by the additions to the original setup.

I think if Carlos had said that he'd spoken to Project Wildlife the mods would be telling everyone. Why he doesn't is beyond my understanding.

Victoria B said...

Regulated boxes would help ensure safe fledging. Forgot the rest of sentence for prior post.

Lori said...

My question, after watching the owlet that came out of the box last night, would be, where in the world will all of the other owlets go if they were to come out?

The small perch accommodated one outlet, but where in the world will they all fit and have room to flap their wings when they all want to come out?

Noting that the owlet reached out of the box with his foot to the perch, it seems the distance between the perch, the porch, and the fledge ledge is too wide for them to reach or hop to safely/ easily. Also, if they do get to the tree nearby, the branches are so small in diameter, that I would think it would not be as easy for them to grip with their feet, and their weight would cause the branches to sag/droop. Doesn't seem like it would create the most secure feeling for the owlets.

After watching the video, it would seem that multiple modifications/ additions should be made ASAP. It will be interesting to see what occurs.

Vee

chipmonk said...

The aticle in question was written by Andrew Kleske.I read the article which was written May 13th.The more i read the more i got upset,so I decided to write Mr.Kleske,and nicley ask what expert he talked to(i can only guess,can't we).If i may i would like to share his reponce,written to me.And I quote:

Thanks for your comments.The fledging process was decribed to me by an owl expert and while I may have downplayed the danger(this is nature afterall)I suspect these particular owls have the best chance of any given they will likely land in Carlos backyard away from major predators.They have perches to practice on and a soft lawn to land on if they fail.I suspect they will be ok,certainly better than in a true wild setting with any number of predators stalking them from below and above.The fact that all that hatched have survivied to almost adulthood should be some consolation.We'll see soon.
End quote.
I'm sure you can see why i was upset,also Karen in our Barn Owl Alliance wrote him also,we both felt like punching the wall!.To me the job of any reporter is to objectively repot the FACTS,not make assumptions.So i decided to write an e-mail to his editor,stating this,as of this time no reply.As a member of our Barn Owl Alliance,I also decided to write Tom Stephans areally nice e-mail asking if we could talk outside of M&Ms chat room,he could make such a difference.I got a reply from him,MY OWN e-mail back,how sad.Ok i will stop now LOL.
I will not give up Stacey,non of us will! Maureen

Kate said...

I listened to Carlos the other day and he was advertising his blog site and told people that it had useful information for putting up owl boxes for pest control.
Arghhh.
Today he said that he thinks "branching" is a "made-up word".

I've observed chat rooms before and these are no different with the hero-worship, cliquey behavior, language that they make up, etc. I wonder if a study has been done? It's sort of sad when you think about it.

I love reading your blog, Stacey!
Kate

Stacey O'Brien said...

I've seen a proliferation of anti-science, anti-truth points of view surrounding this whole thing. The "journalist" who dismisses fact, supplanting that with his own uninformed assumptions and the statement that "this is nature after all". Nature? A box on a pole is nature? We really have a problem if we've got a generation of people who truly think that THAT is nature! I feel sorry for them!

Next thing you know they'll be thinking their swimming pool is a natural lake with all the ecosystems you'd find in a real lake - never mind all that chlorine...

-Stacey

Stacey O'Brien said...

Those of you who have tried to talk to Tom, know that you are not alone! Over a period of years, many wildlife experts, workers, rehabbers, and fish and game agents have tried to talk to Tom about his design and have explained to him about branching and how the box is horribly designed and how to improve it, and they've all gotten the same brush off that you got.

Let it be well known that HE KNOWS all about what the problems are. He just doesn't want to hear about it or do anything about it.

That's why the only recourse is to enact laws that can be enforced. When people throw away the moral decency, the desire to do the right thing, the desire to do no harm, then all we have left is the law.

When the greed of man runs amuck and no one cares for the lives of the innocent, we must turn to the law, for they have no internal law by which to measure themselves - no conscience tugging at them. They do not understand the laws of integrity, so we must give them the laws of the courts, the laws that they themselves live by - force.

But since we do live with a conscience, with our own internal laws of integrity, that force must be contained and bound by the law. So it is to the law that we now turn, to make change on behalf of the innocent.

chipmonk said...

Amen to that Stacey!!.As always your right and to the point.We have no other way to go except inact laws.We all learn so much from you,and for that i am grateful for knowing you,and for working with you for this most important cause!
Maureen

Kate said...

Thank God for people like you, Stacey. I'm so distressed about how much interference with wildlife goes on. And, how much misinformation is being passed on and adopted as truth to be defended til death.
I can't read the chat (I've never read the one Carlos does) because I get too ticked off.

It IS fascinating to watch this little family, but all of the craziness from the chat room mania to the merchandizing is really making my blood boil.
I just don't want to get started.....
I would love to have had scientific narration on all of it rather than Carlos' "observations"

Charlotte said...

Stacey, I tried reaching Nancy again today and left another message. I will try again tomorrow as it seems best to catch her when she's in. I hope it's okay with you if I raise the subject of changing the laws with her again, this time reading some of what you posted to your blog Sunday which was so perfectly articulated . ("when people throw away the moral decency, the desire to do the right thing, the desire to do no harm, then all we have left is the law." etc. You capture exactly why the laws need to be changed..

I will also ask Nancy how involved Project Wildlife is with the Royal compound, if she is able to confirm that.

I did a bit of investigating on the Project Wildlife website and found a brief and mildly disturbing spot done by TV-8 regarding barn owls..It's an interview between a reporter and Trish Jackman who is Project Wildlife's manager of home care rehabilitators. There are references to Molly and McGee, what a great job they are doing and how everything is exactly as it should be there. There is a video clip which pans around Carlos' back yard which indicates either that they've been there OR the tv reporters have..

The disturbing part comes at the end when the two begin to discuss how owls "are perfect pest control". This I quote from Trish Jackman, (barn owls are) "great to have around which is another reason why if you don't think that they're nesting in your area and you want to try an owl box to encourage them to nest in your back yard or neighborhood, because they will take care of any rodent problem that you have . They'll also eat occasional insects but they're perfect natural pest control". This, from the state's leading rehab facility? Ouch. The news clip is impossible to imbed (or impossible for ME to, anyway). To view it, go to www.projectwildlife.org, click on "news and events" and scroll down to the picture of owls.. This organization also has barn owl boxes for sale.. dimensions: 20" h x 18 1/2" W x 22" D . the picture of the sample box is shown mounted on a pole.. Looks like our education efforts will need to extend to some of our country's rehab facilities!

Stacey O'Brien said...

Lord have mercy. Carlos found a yes person even in a rehab center. A rehabber should not be touting owls as pest controllers.

Indeed, please do ask Nancy what she thinks of that. Tell her we are ready to move forward to change the laws and ask her what we need to do. We want to do this and we've assembled, what design would SHE like to see, what laws would SHE like us to lobby for, and to whom should we go to lobby for these changes?

Does she know anyone in the dept of Fish and Game, or in the Dept of Fish and Wildlife who would want to work w/ us to enact new laws so that the parameters we set up that are on our Barn Owl Alliance home page will be manditory and a permit will need to be issued for each owlbox and subject to inspection.

She might know someone who's as frustrated as we are, who is already well placed within the Fish and Game/Wildlife government structure, who could guide us right to where we need to go and how we need to do it. Perhaps Nancy herself could help us change the laws!

Keep trying to reach her and tell her we're ready for action. What does she want us to do?'

Also, we'd like a statement from her that we can quote, as a rehabber, about why these boxes are dangerous and not in the best interests of the owls. Ask her if we can use it on our BOA site and in other materials - she's the one who bears the brunt of caring for so many barn owls and who suffers emotionally every time she sees that guy out w/ his billboard about "rodent control".

Time for us to try to get some rehabbers and agents on board with us!

That other rehabber, oy vey. Lord have mercy..

I'm flying at 4:30am and have a lot to do before then so...gotta go.

I'll comment on the other stuff later. IN my experience, the parents don't have to tempt the babies outside. I've NEVER seen a father deliberately with-hold food from owlets, even fledged ones.

They are SO far from being ready to learn to hunt. THey can't even hop from branch to branch yet.

But yes, the parents will teach them to hunt once they can fly.

They are beginning to demonstrate how to kill, by bringing live prey in and killing it in front of the babies or letting the babies try it.

As for luring them out, if they get momentarily blinded by a flash every time they step out, and they can't see where to step, they're gonna go back inside. It's not brain surgery (but, as my friend Cait says, few things are...).

Stacey O'Brien said...

Lord have mercy. Carlos found a yes person even in a rehab center. A rehabber should not be touting owls as pest controllers.

Indeed, please do ask Nancy what she thinks of that. Tell her we are ready to move forward to change the laws and ask her what we need to do. We want to do this and we've assembled, what design would SHE like to see, what laws would SHE like us to lobby for, and to whom should we go to lobby for these changes?

Does she know anyone in the dept of Fish and Game, or in the Dept of Fish and Wildlife who would want to work w/ us to enact new laws so that the parameters we set up that are on our Barn Owl Alliance home page will be manditory and a permit will need to be issued for each owlbox and subject to inspection.

She might know someone who's as frustrated as we are, who is already well placed within the Fish and Game/Wildlife government structure, who could guide us right to where we need to go and how we need to do it. Perhaps Nancy herself could help us change the laws!

Keep trying to reach her and tell her we're ready for action. What does she want us to do?'

Also, we'd like a statement from her that we can quote, as a rehabber, about why these boxes are dangerous and not in the best interests of the owls. Ask her if we can use it on our BOA site and in other materials - she's the one who bears the brunt of caring for so many barn owls and who suffers emotionally every time she sees that guy out w/ his billboard about "rodent control".

Time for us to try to get some rehabbers and agents on board with us!

That other rehabber, oy vey. Lord have mercy..

I'm flying at 4:30am and have a lot to do before then so...gotta go.

I'll comment on the other stuff later. IN my experience, the parents don't have to tempt the babies outside. I've NEVER seen a father deliberately with-hold food from owlets, even fledged ones.

They are SO far from being ready to learn to hunt. THey can't even hop from branch to branch yet.

But yes, the parents will teach them to hunt once they can fly.

They are beginning to demonstrate how to kill, by bringing live prey in and killing it in front of the babies or letting the babies try it.

As for luring them out, if they get momentarily blinded by a flash every time they step out, and they can't see where to step, they're gonna go back inside. It's not brain surgery (but, as my friend Cait says, few things are...).

Charlotte said...

I'm on it, Stacey. Just want you to know I'm trying.. I do think Nancy must be incredibly busy right now. I called three times and left messages twice today. Nancy is also preparing to go out of town from thurs through sun so if I don't reach her tomorrow, we'll start fresh next week. Our momentum is building, can you feel it?!!

Treeza04 said...

why are some comments deleted?