By April 20, all the coots are gone from the marina and only five or six are still in the park. All the eager beaks shown below are gone.
A dozen or so more coots are gone every morning, and some of the coots still here are not the same ones.
Wild coots that fly away down in the ditch are not the same "tame" coots that were here last week.
One or two lone coots (above) paddle around the marina, on the way to somewhere else
The swallows begin arriving the first week in April to rebuild their nests under the ramps to the docks. They swoop through the air catching the tiny flies that seem to be fewer in number every spring. The caspian terns fly high overhead at sunrise making their ghastly calls on their westward commute.
These squirrels, sadder but wiser, are not so tame. They "yip" like praire dogs and dive down their holes when people (or dogs) appear.
People who feed a number of wild birds every day, bear some responsibility for this disease since it is spread by food and water. Even if everything is kept clean, a sick bird will try to swallow food, and spit out the infected food over and over. Other birds will pick up the discarded food and swallow it.
There are a number of things that must be kept handy at all times. When the sick bird arrives, it may be within a few days of death from starvation. There isn't time to figure out what to do and where to get things you will need. The items shown below are basic. Treating canker is not easy, but it is possible.
Pigeon Canker Starter Kit
Any of these items may be difficult or time-consuming to find. Spartrix is the most commonly used medication for canker, and it has been available from JEDDS Fine Avian Products (telephone 800-659-5928) in Anaheim, California. http://www.jedds.com , but is currently out of stock. Spartrix is not available on Amazon.com, but the other items are. JEDDS, and other pigeon supply retail dealers can provide further information.
Petsmart also has a hand feeding syringe, but the plunger tends to bind after it is used and washed. This makes it difficult to use for feeding a small amount carefully. Be sure to get the BD brand 10ml syringe with Luer-Lok tip.
Amazon has a variety of catheters available, so it's best to start with the less expensive ones that cost from two to four dollars each. The end of the catheter with the large plastic elastic sleeve can be forced over the outside diameter of the Luer-Lok syringe tip.
The Kaytee hand feeding formula "18 oz. formulated for all baby birds" is available at Petsmart stores and Amazon.
Pigeon Canker Treatment
The immediate need is to administer food, water, and drugs, when the bird is near starvation.
Tube Feeding or gavaging a sick pigeon You Tube How to force-feed a sick bird
Canker, Trichomoniasis PIGEON and DOVE RESCUE " The condition is treated with Flagyl Syrup (obtained by veterinary prescription) or by Spartrix ,which can be obtained without prescription and given at a dose of 1 tablet once a day for 3 to 5 days."
Pigeon Canker University of Florida "Trichomoniasis (pigeon canker) is the most common disease of pigeons. Approximately 80 percent of pigeons are infected with this organism. "
Emergency Pigeon Feeding The Pigeon Cote More details and background on emergency pigeon feeding. (Rather crude looking instruments. Don't count on feeding any specific amount of formula, the crop may be blocked with canker. )
Be sure to bleed the air from the catheter before inserting it, and only press the syringe while the catheter is fully inserted into the bird's crop. I know it is impossible to see anything of the bird's natural anatomy under all the yellow muck, but when veterinary care is not available, you have little choice but to try.
The following describes my experience with the bird shown above. This incident represents my only success, and I don't claim to be a veterinarian or expert. Your results will depend on your access to prior knowledge, patience, and luck.
This pigeon was having difficulty eating. When these birds become sick they are actually starving and they usually come forward to be fed. Sometimes they come indoors and wander around.
The small female shown above was quite weak and flew straight at my face to perch on my head. I was able to gently pick her up and examine her, finding her keel bone protuding from starvation, and a pea sized lump in her throat. She had been unable to eat, pecking at food, but not touching it. Her mouth was fully obstructed with lesions, but I placed a Spartrix tablet in her beak every day for three days. I was unsure if much of the drug was going down to her crop. I obtained "birdseed" from WalMart, and when she suddenly improved, she was able to eat the small seed, but returned back to starving after a day.
I accidently discovered that a Spartrix tablet will instantly turn to soft mush when wet. It may have been doing some good by soaking in the bird's mouth, but I simply placed a Spartrix in the bottom of the feeding syringe with the wet Kaytee hand feeding formula and administered both drug and food at the same time. The bird improved in behavior and the lump in the bird's neck was much smaller at the end of the first week. I was only tube feeding her for the last three days since she hated this abuse, and was becoming quite terrified of me. I lubricated the catheter with olive oil, and it slipped down easily. The bird may be able to only take a few ml of formula if the crop has canker in it. Be sure that the catheter and syringe are fully purged of air, and that no formula is released in the bird's neck where it may cause choking.
I was still suspicious and wanted to try another drug for the next week of treatment. The US Food and Drug Administration had done testing on Spartrix using a standard clinical method defined in that link. The test method used healthy pigeons that had been deliberately infected with Trichomonas columbae organisms for a period of one week. My bird was nearly starved to death, and must have had the infection for some time. The idea of a single dose (or single drug) cure seemed unlikely.
The Pigeon Canker (University of Florida) information stated that "antiprotozoal drugs which were used successfully in treating this disease, such as dimetridazole and metronidazole, have been removed from the market" . But, JEDDS has CANKEREX PLUS, a dimetridazole powder. I administered this in drinking water for the second seven days of treatment. Other canker drugs are available. Be sure to ask your pigeon supply dealer.
At the end of two weeks of treatment, the pigeon had become "wild" again and was impossible to keep in the small cage without thrashing around climbing the inside of the cage. At this time, the pigeon was released and CANEREX PLUS was mixed with the free birds' drinking water outdoors.
She and her mate return for feeding every day, and she has been able to eat peanut kernels as I shell them. I still put out the birdseed mixture, Hartz Bird Diet "For Medium Birds".
It may be a useful preventive measure to add dimetridazole powder to the outdoor birds' drinking water at regular times and amounts to be determined.
Since veterinary prescription drugs are not available in the US, "drugs" that we may obtain often are used "off label" and may not be drugs at all. Therefore, there are no guarantees on dosage or use. Talk with your pigeon supply or pet shop dealer for information, and use some common sense.
A small flock of coots was seen on the grass at the golf course in Bonita. Given such an opportunity with fresh water, grass growing, and enough room to land and takeoff, they can survive over the winter months.
Early pictures around San Diego taken only a hundred years ago, show dry and barren place, lacking trees and grass. Migratory birds (and many other wild species) entirely owe their current survival to human intervention. Dams, lakes, golf courses, public parks and other government and commercial landscaping now make a liveable, but completely artificial habitat.
Birds now deal with cars, dogs and cats, all sorts of pollution, and angry property managers who claim that the birds will be better off elsewhere, in some mythical natural habitat. They try to convince people that the birds will somehow benefit from their extermination, but this bizarre world is all they have and they survive. It is sadly ironic that these birds are here because of the human population who now vindictively exterminates them.
News Links You May Have Missed But Should have Read
(Going to Hell in a Handbasket Department)
Dolphin, turtle deaths a sign of sick Gulf Associated Press "NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- Continuing deaths of dolphins and sea turtles are a sign that the Gulf of Mexico is still feeling effects from the 2010 spill that spewed 200 million gallons of oil from a well a mile below the surface, a prominent environmental group said Tuesday".
Scientists track whales, without killing them it news Australia "A seven-week voyage in the Southern Ocean conducted by a team of eighteen scientists working on the Antarctic Blue Whales Project under the auspices of the Australian Antarctica Division (AAD) used acoustic tracking technology and satellite tagging to study the large mammals' behaviour and movements."
China's Air Pollution Linked To Millions Of Early Deaths npr "This is the highest toll in the world and it really reflects the very high levels of air pollution that exist in China today," says Robert O'Keefe of the Health Effects Institute in Boston, who presented the findings in Beijing this week."
Tap is running dry on Colorado River, our ‘Most Endangered River in America’
China kills market birds as flu found in pigeons Associated Press "Experts urged Chinese health authorities to keep testing healthy birds, saying the H7N9 virus can infect birds without causing them to become ill, making it harder to detect than the H5N1 bird flu virus that is more familiar to Asian countries. H5N1 set off warnings when it began ravaging poultry across Asia in 2003 and has since killed 360 people worldwide, mostly after close contact with infected birds. "
Oceans may explain slowdown in climate change: study Reuters " Climate change could get worse quickly if huge amounts of extra heat absorbed by the oceans are released back into the air, scientists said after unveiling new research showing that oceans have helped mitigate the effects of warming since 2000."
Why Does this Fish Have Gin-Clear Blood? LiveScience.com " Every animal with bones has blood with hemoglobin, which binds with oxygen and makes the blood appear red. Every animal, that is, except one."
Well, Great Lakes, It Was Nice Knowing You. Asian Carp Have Arrived Takepart.com "Ever since Asian carp were accidentally introduced into U.S. rivers in the 1970s, the invasive fish have been hungrily making their way to the Great Lakes, causing residents of the watershed to dread the arrival of carp in delicate Lake ecosystems, and their potential impacts on the 7 billion dollar fishing industry that represents a major economic driver for the region."
Japanese fish survive 5,000-mile trip across Pacific in tsunami boat Reuters "Scientists are baffled as to how a group of small fish native to Japan survived a journey across the Pacific after they were found on a boat swept away by the 2011 tsunami and washed up last month on the coast of Washington state."
Say Goodbye to Arctic Summer Ice LiveScience.com"major sea ice loss could come within a decade or two, though some ice will stick around near Greenland and Canada's Arctic islands."
Pequannock approves waterfowl hunt at PV Park northjersey.com "My understanding from people who hunt is that once you shoot a couple, they tend not to come back," said Hollberg. "We'll see what happens.""
Activists renew efforts to end live pigeon shoots in Pennsylvania newsworks "Pigeons are kept in boxes and then launched one by one into the air by a spring-loaded panel when the box is opened."
Cruelty to badgers 'almost doubles' ahead of cull BBC "The figures, revealed by Ms Abbott in a parliamentary question, showed that prosecutions for crimes including badger baiting have risen each year since 2007 - with only a minor dip to 48 in 2010 from 50 in 2009."
Extraordinary dolphin footage Deep Sea News " It shows the famous manta night dive in Hawai’i interrupted by a dolphin, which seems to solicit help from a diver for a case of fishing line entanglement. The dolphin holds patiently still while the diver carefully removes the line"
Underfunded academic, seeking tenure, attempts to steal research ship Deep Sea News "Police in San Diego, California caught a missing South Carolina woman on Tuesday after she tried to steal a 120-foot research ship while its sleeping scientific occupants were still on board"
Scientists find Antarctic ice is melting faster Reuters"The summer ice melt in parts of Antarctica is at its highest level in 1,000 years, Australian and British researchers reported on Monday, adding new evidence of the impact of global warming on sensitive Antarctic glaciers and ice shelves."
Boat filled with protected species hits coral reef Associated Press"A Chinese vessel that ran into a protected coral reef in the southwestern Philippines held evidence of even more environmental destruction inside: more than 10,000 kilograms (22,000 pounds) of meat from a protected species, the pangolin or scaly anteater. ."
Florida battles slimy invasion by giant snails Reuters"South Florida is fighting a growing infestation of one of the world's most destructive invasive species."
Lawmakers Pass Legislation to Put More Restrictions on People, Businesses ... and Birds Hawaii Reporter"lawmakers vote to ban the feeding of feral birds and make those who violate the ban subject to a misdemeanor"
FPL Provides Threatened Birds with New Nests, a First for the Company PR Newswire "After Florida Power & Light Company installed new, more storm-resilient power line poles in the Duette Preserve in Manatee County, the company preserved nests for the Southeastern American Kestrel, and provided additional nesting options for the threatened bird. The Southeastern American Kestrel is the smallest falcon in the United States."
So that's why they call it the crow's nest: Birds take nautical term literally and build their home on top of yacht's mast dailymail."Staff at the marina said it is the first time they have seen an actual crow's nest built on the top of a yacht's mast"
Sea Lion Strandings Climb, Scientists Still Stumped Yahoo."Scientists still don't know why nearly 1,300 sickly sea lions have beached themselves on the shores of southern California since the beginning of the year. "
Experts unclear how China bird flu infects humans Associated Press."Almost three weeks after China reported finding a new strain of bird flu in humans, experts are still stumped by how people are becoming infected when many appear to have had no recent contact with live fowl "
Waiting for a Clash on Climate Change National Journal."For the past two years, the House Energy and Commerce Committee has operated as the launchpad for legislative attacks on EPA’s rules"
Audit finds problems with Calif. specialty plates Associated Press."State auditors reported significant problems on Thursday in how California agencies collect and spend money from certain specialty license plate funds, including the loss of more than $22 million in revenue that could have been used for programs to help veterans, college students, firefighters and others"
H7N9 outbreak linked to waterfowl migration Asia News Network""The first outbreak of H7N9 happened in the Yangtze River Delta area in March, and later in April cases of infection were reported in northern provinces. The infection time and route coincided with the migration of water birds," he said."
Mont. man reunited with bird he lost in a divorce Associated Press"A Great Falls man who lost his macaw in a divorce more than five years ago has been reunited with the bird, thanks to an observant friend."
Earth Day 2013: What's in danger is Earth Day, not just Earth DC Decoder "Earth Day 2013 poll finds Americans far less eco-conscious than they were in 1971, a year after Earth Day was founded. Only 39 percent now say it's 'very important' to restore the environment."
Ancient Snail Shells Hint at Future Global Warming Live Science "The new research, published today (April 22) in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, reveals the historical links between carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and surface temperatures on Earth. "
Taiwan man contracts H7N9 bird flu, first outside mainland China Reuters " A 53-year-old Taiwan businessman has contracted the H7N9 strain of bird flu while travelling in China, Taiwan's Health Department said on Wednesday, the first reported case outside of mainland China."
Greenhouse gases make high temps hotter in China Associated Press "— China, the world's largest producer of carbon dioxide, is directly feeling the man-made heat of global warming, scientists conclude in the first study to link the burning of fossil fuels to one country's rise in its daily temperature spikes."
The Bird Flu Has Spread Beyond China, and It's 'One of the Most Lethal' Ever The Atlantic Wire "the first reported case of a human infection outside mainland China arrived Wednesday"
Honor Your Heroes Deep Sea News Honoring Russell Johnson, the hero of science
Tracking bird flu: US wildlife workers on the front line against deadly strains NBC News "So far, neither H5N1 nor H7N9 seems to have developed the ability to pass easily from one person to another. "
How Can We Stop Lionfish From Taking Over Our Oceans? Eat Them. Takepart ""It's really sad to hear before and after tales from folks who are out on the reefs every day," said Keri Kenning from the Reef Environmental Education Foundation (REEF). "All of the small reef prey fish are just disappearing. The reefs just aren't as diverse and colorful anymore."
Fossilized bird egg sells at auction for more than $100,000 The Sideshow "The elephant bird was thought to be the giant flying beast known as the Roc (or Rukh) in the tales of Sinbad and accounts of Marco Polo's voyages,"
Ban pesticides linked to bee deaths, say MPs BBC "Neonicotinoids will kill bees, let me be absolutely clear about that. It is what numbers do they kill and whether it affects populations - the question is whether banning them in any way would be proportional and at the moment the balance of evidence suggests it wouldn't be,"
Expedition documents epic clash of titans: orcas versus sperm whales Grind TV "A recent photo expedition off Sri Lanka in search of blue whales instead produced a far more extraordinary sighting: that of killer whales in a dramatic 30-minute assault on sperm whales."
Getting to the Bottom of Why Guppies Jump LiveScience.com ""I don't want to anthropomorphize too much, but it's almost like they have a plan," Soares said. "They stop, then use just their lateral fins to move a bit backwards, then they change direction, and when they take off from the water, they keep moving their bodies back and forth.""
EU aims to better protect bees from pesticides Associated Press "Beekeepers have reported an unusual decline in bees over the past decade, particularly in Western Europe, according to the European Food Safety Authority. "
Rising seas clearly evident along SC coast Associated Press " effects of higher sea level are very clear down a winding dirt road in South Carolina's Georgetown County where acres of what was once a forested wetland have morphed into a salt marsh of dead trees jutting toward the sky. "
Corn surges on concern weather will delay planting Associated Press "Corn futures surged on concern that wet, cold weather in the Plains region will delay planting and reduce harvests. "
Invasive predator fish that can live outside water hunted in Central Park The Sideshow "New York's Dept. of Environmental Conservation is asking that anglers fishing the man-made Harlem Meer secure the razor-toothed fish in a container and alert park staffers, or call 311."
The Atlantic Ocean Off the East Coast Was the Warmest Ever Recorded in 2012 The atlantic wire "During the second half of last year — the hottest recorded year in U.S. history — ocean temperatures off the East Coast hit their highest temperatures in the 150 years measurements have been kept. It's not a comforting record."
Power shift: Energy boom dawning in America CNBC " International Energy Agency projects the U.S. could leapfrog Saudi Arabia and Russia to become the world’s biggest oil producer by 2020. IEA sees the U.S. becoming a net oil exporter by 2030."
Popular Duck Breeds HGTV Gardens " Originating in Beijing, China (originally called Pekin) around 2500 B.C., white Pekin ducks are a calm, hardy breed. Although raised predominantly as a “table” or meat bird, Pekins do make wonderful pets and laying ducks."
Stupid Video (but it's short)
San Diego Weather
Note: linking to these sites listed above does not constitute an endorsement of any product, services, or information found there. (Especially government and nonprofit agencies)
(Use your mouse cursor to read the titles)
”Among the things of which we may be most afraid of is the silence of birds. It foreshadows endings. It creates images of places despoiled, of habitats laid waste - oil slicks or poisoning by pesti- cide - of war and the threat of war, of destruction by heat or ice or water. The silence of birds is the absence of birds . Strip from each day, season, year, the presence of birds. Still the movement, stop the singing. In cities, the only natural sounds would be our own, our voices, the wind and rain. Birdsong is more than itself. It is not an addition, supplementary to the rest of our lives, pleasing but inessen- tial; it is vital, necessary, for the sounds we hear daily are, at the very least, one marker, if not of our success then of our welcome failure, thus far, to complete our process of destruction."
Esther Woolfson Corvus A Life With Birds