Wed. Sep 11, 2014 news Volume 13 Issue 9

Wiggles the Starling

The judge rejected our lawyer's emergency petition for release of Wiggles the Starling on September 11. Links to these documents are listed below:

Emergency Petition

Court Order

It's rather like having a child kidnapped except with no ransome.


Sherry Vulgamott:

"Call Senator Alloway. Phone: 717-264-6100 Tell him the judge denied our request to bring Wiggles home. If enough people lay on the legislatures they can persuade the judge to look into it again. Use his name. The judge said that since Wiggles is a bird that would typically live outside, he is a wild bird and therefor is sole property of the game commission. This is solely up to the judge's discretion. He can change his mind if enough people help".

"I hope the person who turned me in for having a "wild" animal can sleep at night, because I can't. This "wild" animal that you turned me in for having is no more wild than you or me. Please tell me what other "wild" animal enjoyed watching cartoons and cuddling with a person? What other "wild" animal can form such a close bond to a person and can talk? For the record, every other state in the union defines starlings as non native and not a part of wildlife. PA doesn't even specifically state that starlings are wildlife either. Their definition of wildlife is any animal, whether living or dead, or any part of an animal whether it is processed as food or not is wildlife. That means every person who has an animal head on their wall or has deer jerky in their freezer is breaking the law. Further more, let's look at other people that the state just turns a blind eye to...people who gather up pigeons to be shoved in boxes and shot at days later. It has been documented that these pigeons are taken FROM THE WILD, and from neighboring states which is also illegal, but yet the state refuses to do anything about them. And, it's just been brought to my attention that people have been rounding up the wild mustangs in PA to sell. There are ads listing WILD mustangs on the internet. Judge Herman said that ALL animals that you see outside are wild. Wiggles is called a wild animal, gets confiscated, and called contraband. But yet, these people are allowed to keep doing what they're doing with no repercussions. How are these cases different? How is this right? Yep, I certainly hope you can sleep at night knowing you broke my heart and killed an innocent bird who had such a will to live. He was not hurting anyone by being in my home. In fact, he helped so many people! You are what's wrong with this world. You are a murderer."

Chollas Reservoir

A road trip to the lake is always a pleasant break in mid summer. Surrounded by trees and with water spraying in the air, it makes a nice hour walk around the edges of the lake. The usual characters were still there including a magnificent male coot with three chicks and the usual honking geese. The squirrels had moved slightly from their old burrows at the east side of the lake to similar holes about fifty yards north. Actually, you can find them almost everywhere not too far from the water.

juvenile coots

juvenile coots

The juvenile coots were just getting their dark colored feathers, and are capable of feeding themselves from muck on the bottom of the lake (above). But their parent coot discovered a bag in the trash that yielded something better (below).

parent coot

male feeding chick coot

male feeding chick coot


The squirrels have the best act in the show at the pond. They have learned to cater to people who cater to them.

Some of them are excited to the point of climbing your leg to get a peanut, but it seems that they remain patient and respectful of their benefactors.

Perhaps they are farsighted and need reading glasses, but often have difficulty finding a peanut dropped nearby. They examine potential food items apparently by taste or feel, which includes using their huge front teeth on your fingers. But they do this slowly and gently until finding the food, and identifying it. I don't know what they would do if they were offered a rock or stick instead.



It is difficult to photograph the squirrels when they are climbing up your body. You can't get back far enough to focus.

pigeon vs squirrel

The pigeons here are as friendly as they are anywhere, and many of them will come and perch on your arm, whether you have food or not. Just a few of them have developed special skills (above and below). Pigeons have difficulty shelling peanuts, but the squirrels find it quite easy. So, the pigeon waits to steal a kernel from a squirrel.

pigeon vs squirrel

The squirrels may act grouchy or secretive, but are able to do little to discourage the pigeons.

pigeon vs squirrel

The legend told by a Balboa Park employee was that squirrels were brought here from Philadelphia for the Panama-California Exposition in 1915. The fair celebrated the opening of the Panama Canal and was responsible for the Spanish Colonial Revival architecture of Balboa Park. The squirrels were released after the exposition ended in 1917. Could all the squirrels in the county be descendents of the original family of tame pets? How far could a family of squirrels migrate in a hundred years?

On the Bay

Nothing special, just somewhat different:
(1) Why do they need so many people loitering in an unmarked boat at a busy marine terminal?

(2) And the tourist cruise business in the bay appears to have been taken over by twelve-year-olds. . .

(3) Mexican Army Training Ship Cuauhtemoc arrived August 15. There was great difficulty communicating with Port Control, perhaps nobody could understand the Mexican ship's name.


(1) In the Movies



(2) Just another Jetski Dinner Cruise

Burning circles on the bay, hoping to cash in on the 911 crisis.


At $27 a seat, they didn't make much money that day. But you can pack a three hour tour into thirty minutes.


(3) Mexican Army Arrives

According to this link: Mexican Navy Training Ship to Sail on 7-Month Cruise to 14 Countries Latin America Herald Tribune, the Mexican army’s training ship, Cuauhtemoc, has received authorization from the (Mexican) Senate to sail on a seven-month training cruise that will take it to 14 countries in the Americas and Europe. The ship is shown (below) approaching about four miles south of Point Loma. (The ship's radio operator identified the ship as "Mexican army training vessel.")

Mexican Army


The miserable old blackbird comes to eat cracker crumbs and have a drink of water. He is more miserable as he has been shedding feathers. His tail feathers show how new feathers grow in at the sides as the old feathers drop off.

I have been unable to catch him to do anything for his crippled foot. The closeup photographs show it most likely to be entangled with human hair; a hazard of the nesting season. It is uncertain if he will survive another winter.



There seems to be a normal number of swallows in the marina. In late summer they swoop around in flocks of twenty or thirty birds catching tiny flies in midair.




Wiggles' lawyer submitted a petition to the court August 27 relating the fact that there is no evidence that the bird has not been properly cared for, and would be best served by staying with the bird's original caretaker. This case is of great interest to anyone involved with wild birds in the US. It offers a challenge to the corrupt and poorly conceived US federal and state wild bird laws that make it illegal and as difficult as possible for anyone to care for an injured bird.

A link to a news story follows below. That story includes several important links relating to this case.

court document

Free Wiggles, and return him back to his Surrogate Mother – A Beautiful Love Story between a Bird and Human Paws for the News "An irreplaceable bond between bird and human was created, and a dependence upon each other.”

News Links You May Have Missed But Should have Read

Take a Bite out of HSUS Humane Watch "Despite its carefully marketed image as a group concerned almost solely with finding homes for needy cats and dogs, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) only gives 1% of the money it raises to pet shelters, according to its tax return, and it doesn’t run a single pet shelter.”

Porpoises have to be careful in the Eastern Scheldt Wageningen UR, Wageningen University"From the data, you can conclude that the animals in the Eastern Scheldt were not born there, but had been living and feeding in the estuary for a considerable amount of time. They can swim in, but cannot or apparently do not dare to swim out again. ”

Warmer Oceans Are Bringing Out the Dolphin Bullies Motherboard "Roberta Kwok explained over at Conservation magazine, “From 2007-2009, researchers saw 23 bottlenose dolphins attacking porpoises in Monterey Bay. And examinations of 216 porpoises stranded in California from 1998-2010 revealed that about a quarter of the animals had likely been killed by dolphins. .”

California Is Now Experiencing Its Most Severe Drought Ever Recorded Climate Progress "...there’s evidence that this particular drought is “more severe in many ways than a landmark drought in the late 1970s, and is comparable, if not worse than, events that occurred since instrument records began in the mid-19th century.” ”

Animal Rescue Stories: Do They Make Us Feel Too Good? The Dodo "For the activists who are already fighting animal abuse, the victories are necessary; otherwise how would we cope with the devastating knowledge of the catastrophic suffering all around us? ”

Shipshape to take on whalers Examiner "The flagship of the three-strong Sea Shepherd anti-whaling fleet has been under repair at Southern Marine ShipLift for almost a month and is about to leave Launceston.. ”

The wrapper that killed the whale Mindanao Times "A plastic chips bag had blocked her intestines causing the dehydration that led to her death. ”

Free Wiggles, and return him back to his Surrogate Mother – A Beautiful Love Story between a Bird and Human Paws for the News "An irreplaceable bond between bird and human was created, and a dependence upon each other.”

Geese die before city of Woodland puts out water trough News 10 abc "WOODLAND – City officials provided water for a small flock of geese fighting for survival in an old retention basin, but concerned community members said it may have been too late for several geese that died overnight.”

Paper Cups Find New Use at SeaWorld Dolphin Project Blog "I wonder if SeaWorld realizes what their response reveals about the lives of incarcerated orcas? If SeaWorld takes the point of view that an activity as contrived as that of having a paper cup placed on its rostrum adds content to a captive orca´s life, then what does that say about that orca’s living conditions? The fact that SeaWorld uses the term “enrichment” to describe the everyday handling of their orcas illustrates SeaWorld’s understanding that the lives of captive orcas are inherently impoverished and lacking in natural variety.”

Geese stuck in drought-depleted California pond are rescued Reuters "In response to the drying of the pond, Gordon and two other members of Charlotte, North Carolina-based Carolina Waterfowl Rescue boarded a flight to California to take part in a rescue operation in the longest trip they have ever undertaken for such a roundup.” (Why couldn't a California licensed rescue agency do this?)

Caught In A Lie: Vancouver Aquarium's Underhanded Whale Breeding History Revealed The Dodo "Fresh off the announcement that the Vancouver Aquarium would end its captive whale and dolphin breeding programs, new documents reveal disturbing practices at the facility, which contradict the CEO’s claim that the aquarium does not participate in planned cetacean breeding programs. ”

A plea for the humane treatment of Wiggles the pet starling Carolyn Hasenfratz "It is rumored that a rehabber is currently caring for Wiggles. If true I hope the rehabber is kind to Wiggles. ”

Spatial and Temporal Occurrence of Blue Whales off the U.S. West Coast, with Implications for Management PLOS one / news360 "Mortality and injuries caused by ship strikes in U.S. waters are a cause of concern for the endangered population of blue whales (Balaenoptera musculus) occupying the eastern North Pacific. ”

Travel bloggers call for conference to cancel dolphin tours the Guardian "The TBEX travel bloggers’ conference in Cancun is the latest in a string of tourism companies to be put under pressure for their association with dolphin or whale tours ”

Seal cull action group spreads across Scotland the Press and Journal "A Sea Shepherd spokesman said its crew members formed a human shield between the gunmen and their targets in a stand-off which lasted for 30 minutes.”

Starving Sea Lions Continue to Strand on California Beaches The Marine Mammal Center "Of the nearly 650 patients we’ve admitted this year, two-thirds of them have been sea lions. In fact, we’ve rescued more sea lions during the first half of this year than we did during all of last year.”

San Salvador receives final plank the log "SAN DIEGO --The San Salvador, a 100-foot full-rigged galleon that served as the flagship for explorer Juan Rodriquez Cabrillo in 1542, received its final plank, Wednesday, July 2 at the ship’s rebuild sits at the Maritime Museum of San Diego.”

Community questions San Miguel Island closure the log"The Channel Islands westward-most accessible land mass was shut down April 17, when Navy officials expressed apprehension over the island’s overall safety.......It is a complete falsehood that San Miguel Island was used as a bombing range during World War II. Throughout World War II, San Miguel Island was occupied by island lessee, Robert Larkin Brooks and his employees.”

Report: Bill Nye, Al Gore Get The Physics Of Global Warming Wrong Daily Caller News "“Although not an accurate demonstration of the physics of climate change, the experiment we have considered and related ones are valuable examples of the dangers of unintentional bias in science”

Common Skate MCSUK "Sadly, there is no longer anything common about the common skate. Once abundant, this 'manta ray of the north' has become very rare in UK shallow seas and in European waters. ”

Dolphins Squeal with Delight Because They Are Happy, Study Finds IB Times "Published in the Journal of Experimental Biology, dolphin expert Sam Ridgway, from the National Marine Mammal Foundation, analysed the time delay between dolphins and whales getting a reward and their squeals – also known as echolocating.”

HSUS Response to Attorney General Investigation: Misdirection Humane Watch "It isn’t relevant how “effective” HSUS is in regards to whether or not it is raising money by deceptive and misleading means. To argue otherwise would be like a bank robber saying “But I gave half to charity!”

Can Birds Lose Their Minds? Audubon Magazine "Feather-plucking parrots, suicidal dolphins, and anxious gorillas: these are the characters that populate Laurel Braitman's new book, "Animal Madness.”

Carolina Waterfowl Rescue California Goose Trip Carolina Waterfowl in Facebook Pictures From North Carolina Waterfowl Rescue Showing How They rescued a flock of geese stranded in a drought-stricken pond in California. -- A nonprofit that does what people think they do. ...

SeaWorld Orlando announces major killer whale expansion WESH TV "The park has allocated $10 million to new research and conservation projects, Atchison said.The announcement follows the company's more than 30 percent plunge in stock prices. SeaWorld attributed the plunge to a major decline in guest attendance.”

An Open Letter to SeaWorld: More than Bigger Tanks, Orcas Need the Ocean Sea Shepherd "As a company responsible for the care of animals, with any steps that you take, you should be asking yourselves “Would this change be better for the animals?.”

ASeaWorld to expand killer whale habitats at parks WKMG TV "The expanded pool will give killer whales more room to swim. However, SeaWorld CEO Jim Atchison tells Local 6 the larger tank will also provide SeaWorld with even more capacity to breed and house additional killer whales,...”

5 Ways SeaWorld Can't Compete With An Orca's Natural Home The Dodo "On Friday morning, SeaWorld announced that they will be creating a new enclosure with larger tanks for their killer whales. Here are a few reasons why larger tanks won't come close to competing with an orca's natural habitat:.”

SeaWorld and Its Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Week Orcinus "These corporate folks always express reverence for the market and say they listen when it speaks. Well, the market is speaking loud and clear: SeaWorld's old way of making millions off the exploitation of animals unsuited to captivity are over. ”

'The End of SeaWorld' Huffington Post "SeaWorld, as we know it today, is over. It's only a matter of time. The company is finished. Here's why.”

Future Shark: Living in an Ocean on the Brink DSN "Last week Discovery Channel successfully botched yet another Shark Week.”

'Alarming' Rate Of Bird Deaths As New Solar Plants Scorch Animals In Mid-Air AP "IVANPAH DRY LAKE, Calif. (AP) — Workers at a state-of-the-art solar plant in the Mojave Desert have a name for birds that fly through the plant's concentrated sun rays — "streamers," for the smoke plume that comes from birds that ignite in midair”

The Port of San Diego Investigative Newsource The Port of San Diego's Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal .

Magpies 'don't steal shiny objects' BBC "Exeter University scientists show that the birds are actually nervous of such objects, presumably because they are novel and may prove dangerous.”

New species of non-venomous snake discovered in Brazil Odisha Sun Times "Scientists from four Brazilian institutions have announced the discovery of a new species of non-venomous snake that inhabits the savannas in the central part of the country.”

Abandoned baby dolphin is adopted by a female from a completely different species Daily Mail "A young abandoned common dolphin has a bright future after it was adopted by a female bottlenose dolphin in New Zealand.”

SeaWorld Announced Its Orca Expansion Plan Without Legal Approval the Dodo "SeaWorld can’t legally begin the project yet. According to the California Coastal Commission’s San Diego Coast District Office, the company has not yet applied for the permits that are necessary to expand.”

Wisconsin residents report rise in fish-eating spiders Toledo News "MADISON, WI (WALB) -If you are afraid of spiders, you may not want to read any further..”

Russia Detains Japanese Whaling Vessel Radio Free Europe "Russia said the ship intruded into its waters in the Sea of Okhotsk between Kamchatka and the Russian mainland..”

Sleeping With The Enemy: Why is PIJAC in bed with Animal Rights? Herp Alliance "The short answer as to why PIJAC is in bed with animal rights is ‘Puppy Mills’; or maybe more specifically, the money represented by PIJAC’s biggest constituent, the Hunte Corporation (the largest puppy mill broker in US). But why would the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council (PIJAC) hire an Animal Rights “fat cat” to run the pet industry. In a word? — SURVIVAL.”

Conservation, or Curation? The New York Times "This interpretation threatens to reduce the Endangered Species Act to a mechanism that merely preserves representatives of a species, like curating rare pieces in a museum. Also likely to suffer are efforts to protect or repopulate areas where endangered species once lived. ”

Therapy ducks case turns ugly Mansfield News Journal "WEST LAFAYETTE – Issues between West Lafayette officials and a military veteran have gone beyond his keeping of therapy ducks within village limits.”

Plastic rubbish heaps at sea pose bigger threat to Earth than climate change, claims ocean expert The Independent "Charles J Moore, a captain in the US merchant marine and founder of a leading Ocean research group, has just finished his first in-depth survey of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch”

On Calif. coast, biotoxins cause deadly sea lion seizures, seafood scare ALJAZEERA AMERICA "The culprit? Domoic acid, a deadly neurotoxin produced by algae, that appeared at record high levels along California’s Central Coast this spring and summer, closing fisheries and taking the lives of many marine mammals. But toxic algae isn’t just limited to California-- this summer various toxic blooms have poisoned coastlines across America, including Lake Erie and the Gulf of Mexico.”

President of ASPCA Is Now Puppy Mill Lobbyist Terrierman's Daily Dose "Ed Sayres, the former President of the ASPCA, is now the head of the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council (PIJAC), the Washington, D.C.-based lobby group representing pet stores, pet products, pet dealers, and pet breeders. ”

Japanese whaling: the saga continues SBS "“This was the first time that any international court, let alone the ICJ, had been asked to rule on the questions that Australia raised before the court. So it was a complete unknown as to how the court might respond to the arguments Australia presented. To have such a resounding win in those circumstances was really quite exceptional,” he said. ”

Stormygirl incident might have played a role in retirement of game commission’s executive director Elizabethtown News "There absolutely was a better way we could have handled that," Putnam said. "The black eye the Game Commission took, and the emotional distress that we caused Pati (Mattrick), wasn't worth the juice we got out of telling people not to break the law."

Save Wiggles the European Starling

What You Need To Know About West Nile Virus In San Diego County

San Diego Weather

Note: linking to these sites listed above does not necessarily constitute an endorsement of any product, services, or information found there. (Especially government and nonprofit agencies)


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old squirrel







“A goose flies by a chart the Royal Geographic Society could not improve.” 

Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.


Beaky the Coot
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