Tues. Apr. 1, 2014 news Volume 13 Issue 4

The Heron

Blue Heron comes to the boat two or three times a week to catch fish. There are now fewer jacksmelt and the heron finds the best fishing right behind the boat. The fish rise to take crumbs overlooked by the coots after their morning feeding. She takes a stab in the dark, making a loud "whack" as her beak strikes the coot steps. The coots are appalled.

She eventually leaps into the bay and comes back with a small fish.

blue heron

Blue Heron must be very hungry, only catching one small fish, and she walks around the dock to the other side of the boat looking for more. By now the sun is up, and fish are harder to find.

blue heron

After the first week of March, the coots begin to realize that the heron is not dangerous. They readily take crackers and crumbs placed in front of the heron as fish bait. It isn't clear that this heron understands the purpose of the "bait", but many herons do. Especially little green herons. (Linked from You Tube)

The Flocks

By March, the coots in the park have fallen into a smooth routine of attendance for morning feeding. None of the coots have been found killed by cars in the street, but there are usually one or two with leg injuries, presumably caused by the hawk. If this is the case, the hawk claims more victims than are actually eaten.

The crippled coots usually "disappear" except one female who hangs on until the last week of March. This bird is dragging a useless right leg (below) and is often tripped by standing on it with her good left leg (right).

crippled coot

injured leg

The other coots peck at the disabled coot, but the she is quite aggressive and shoves on into the food frenzy, using her right wing as a crutch (below).

shoving match

Examining the her leg reveals that the large bones are not broken so application of a splint would not necessarily be helpful. This observation, and the usual lack of even rudimentary veterinary skill suggests that any attempted remedy is not indicated.

Coot News for March, 2013 has an article about a similar crippled coot from last year. Pictures from that link show a remarkable resemblance to the crippled coot this year. The color of her toes is also consistent with her age. Compared with pictures from last winter, there may be fewer coots in the park now, putting less stress on the birds to cross the streets for food.

The Crow

American Crows in southern California are nervous and suspicious. They are more like ravens in the way that they avoid anything unusual. This crow immediately knows that food is being handed out, but remains aloof at the outer edge of the coot flock. With considerable effort and luck, it is possible to fling a cracker to her and she feeds her chick, already out of the nest in the middle of March.

By the last day of the month, the juvenile comes down from the tree to pick up crackers, but still begs to be fed.



News Links You May Have Missed But Should have Read

'Nuisance' New York Mute Swans To Get Birth Control Instead Of Being 'Slaughtered' Following Backlash International Business Times "New York’s mute swans won’t meet the macabre end lawmakers originally had planned for them. Instead of executing the state’s 2,200 mute swans, the State Department of Environmental Conservation, or DEC, will administer birth control to put a lid on the swan population’s growth."

Cameras give researchers a "shark's eye" view of the sea CBS News "More than 30 sharks were outfitted with cameras, sensors and transmitters. "

Ancient virus resurrected after 30,000 years, scientists say CBS News "The virus, which is so large it can be seen under an optical microscope, was found in a 98-foot-deep sample of permafrost near the East Siberia Sea "

California farmers hire dowsers to find water AP "While both state and federal water scientists disapprove of dowsing, California "witchers" are busy as farmers seek to drill more groundwater wells due to the state's record drought that persists despite recent rain."

America’s Axis of Drought The Daily Beast "Severe drought follows a certain unpleasant trajectory, whether it’s in Texas, California or any other state. First come the tales of woe from farmers and fish-lovers. Then cities start worrying about water. Voluntary lawn-watering restrictions get imposed, and when those don’t work—because trust me, they don’t—mandatory measures kick in"

Escargot could follow the dodo, scientists warn AFP "Paris (AFP) - Snails, one of France's signature dishes, could be off the menu if the country fails to stem an invasion by a slimy worm from Southeast Asia, scientists warned on Tuesday."

Guest post: Playing Detective in the Great Blue Sea DSN "Plastic ingestion occurs in hundreds of species, including 30 species of marine mammals, 41 species of fish, 119 species of seabirds and 6 out of the 7 species of sea turtles and plastic debris recovered from the oceans globally, even from remote regions, is contaminated with chemical pollutants."

Frozen waters causing ducks to starve to death The Buffalo News "The majority of the birds collected were red-breasted mergansers and greater scaup, ducks whose small mouths, or gapes, can only take in equally small fish, the minnows that live in shallower waters – waters that have been frozen solid for weeks or months."

Can You Sue a Foreign Travel Provider in U.S. Court? Smarter Travel "Nothing is more frustrating than suffering an accident when you're traveling, especially if you suffer damages through the negligence of a hotel, cruise line, tourist attraction, sightseeing operator, or such."

Vulture killing drug now available on EU market Bird Life "Diclofenac was regularly used in the 1990’s to treat cattle. When the animals died, Diclofenac remained in the body and was eaten by vultures, causing their almost immediate death. "

MSC Cruises' Garbage Dumping Scandal: Will Travel Agents, Travel Writers & Cruise Bloggers Look the Other Way? cruise law news "what happens when a cruise line ignores MARPOL? Nothing. The IMO is a United Nations entity. It's a "feel good" organization. It can't enforce its own rules and it can't punish cruise lines"

Campbell River whale watching captain gets fined, banned after getting too close again Vancouver Sun "A Campbell River whale watching captain has been fined $6,000 and banned from the industry for 10 years after once again getting too close to a pod of killer whales."

Story Behind The Shot: Seeking A Rare Bird On The East Coast (Western Grebe) The Dodo"This post was created by a member of the Dodo Community, where anyone can post fascinating stories, photos, videos and more. "

Cracked Egg Painstakingly Patched So Rare Bird Can Hatch On Time The Dodo"experts from New Zealand’s Department of Conservation (DOC) Kakapo Recovery team discovered that a fertilized egg under their care had accidentally been crushed by its mother at a protected breeding area on the island of Whenua Hou."

Un hombre se encuentra con este bebe de pajaro. Tienes que ver los siguientes 36 días … increíble. Gran Verdad increíble, ilegal en los EE.UU.

'Slaughter' leaves 21,000 birds dead in France The Local "...21,000 sea birds have died due to the spate of storms that have pounded the French coast since January."

Global warming threat to French Heritage sites The Local "Several spectacular and historic Unesco World Heritage sites in France could one day end up underwater due to a rise in sea levels ..."

Reward increased to 20K following whooping crane deaths in Jeff Davis KATC "The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) has increased a reward for information on the deaths of two whooping cranes to $20,000."

Berry College Eagle Cam Berry College "Feeds for live streaming cameras are featured on this page. This is the only live, streaming video camera of a bald eagle nest in Georgia."

Investigating Cruise Crimes at Sea: Underreporting a concern WXYZ "A Scripps news investigation found that unlike cities in which residents may call 911 for help, passengers are at the mercy of cruise lines, making it difficult to find out what is happening aboard ships."

Sticking Up for Wildlife Ames Tribune "As a passionate defender of Iowa’s natural resources, Schlarbaum doesn’t pass up the opportunity to listen to a good story "

300 dead birds found in home of N.J. animal rescue aide USA Today "The dead birds were in cages "stacked from floor to ceiling, five feet high," said Victor "Buddy" Amato, chief law enforcement officer for the Monmouth County SPCA. "

Cruise Ship Workers Appear To Throw Bags Of Garbage Right Into The Ocean (VIDEO) huffingtonpost "Newly released undercover videos appear to show a cruise ship employee casually tossing bags of garbage straight into the ocean. "

The Sixth Extinction: A Conversation With Elizabeth Kolbert National Geographic "The focus of the last chapter is Kinohi, a Hawaiian crow, one of only about a hundred left on the planet. He's a very personable, charismatic bird. There's a breeding facility on Maui, and Kinohi's genetic material is crucial to this breeding effort—but he wasn't giving any up."

What's the deal with no lifeguards on cruise ships? Fox News "Last month, a 4-year-old boy drowned aboard the Norwegian Breakaway, and his 6-year-old brother was seriously injured. Last fall, a Florida 6-year-old drowned aboard a Carnival cruise ship -- just a few months after a Minnesota 4-year-old was left brain damaged after a near drowning aboard a Disney ship."

Boaters caught between orcas and their dinner off B.C. coast CTV News "A group of boaters who found themselves caught between fleeing sea lions and attacking orcas off the B.C. coast this week managed to capture the once-in-a-lifetime encounter on video."

'Our lost duck friends' remembered Union Leader "Campbell had a few drinks at the hotel and then drove his car into the ducks. Campbell was not charged with drunk driving, and maintains he was not intoxicated."

Venice: perilous times the guardian "Around 650 of these floating giants, some displacing a localised tide of over 100,000 tonnes of water, enter the city each year. Their engines shake its foundations, spew pollution and deposit ever-increasing numbers of passengers."

Extinction v. Captive Conservation: The Fate of the Three Amigos Wordpress "This is about more than legal and political wrangling. It is about endangered species conservation on a grand scale. It is about hunters and ranchers turning species away from the brink of extinction. "

Work for Port or the City? You’re exempt from lobby laws San Diego Reader "Graham's new job reportedly entails lobbying on behalf of local developments, including the San Diego Unified Port District's bay front master plan for Chula Vista. "

Friday Afternoon Diversion: Penguins Don't Understand Rope chicagoist "What happens when a flock of penguins encounter a rope they need to get past? "

California salmon begin migration � by truck Sacramento Bee "The goal is to save the salmon from low river flows, warm water and greater exposure to predators - all induced by the worst drought to strike California in 40 years."

Drought Continues As San Diego Looks At Reusable Water KPBS "San Diego is standing at a crossroads about what to do with its wastewater. "

Viewers are Furious With Animal Planet for Mistreating Animals on "Reality TV" Mother Jones "Mother Jones uncovered photographic evidence of animal mistreatment behind the scenes of the TV network's hit show, Call of the Wildman. "

Carnival Corporation Posts Onboard Cruise Crime Data glossynews"Carnival Cruise Lines has released data about 576,727 alleged crimes reported on board their ships during the previous year."

Whale watching may not be so eco-friendly Nelson Mail NZ"The research demonstrated that, as the level of interaction increased, so too did the effect on the animals' biology, habitat use and numbers. "

Activists call for end to marine mammal captivity with protest inside the Vancouver Aquarium Straight.com"“People are starting to understand that facilities like Seaworld, Marineland and the Vancouver Aquarium exploit cetaceans for entertainment because it is extremely profitable, not because it's humane or beneficial to the animals in any way,"

New York Continues its Animal Blood Bath Trend With Upcoming ‘Crow Down’ care2.com"“animal advocates and a state senator are raising opposition and hoping to stop any and all contests that target wildlife in the future."

Japan told to halt Antarctic whaling by international court the Guardian "Judge rules that Japanese whaling program is not scientific and that it failed to justify the number of minke whales it kills"

Japan’s Scientific Research Program Still Yet To Uncover Why Whales Die When Speared With A Giant Harpoon the shovel "After decades of research, Japanese scientists are no closer to discovering why whales suddenly die when tracked down, surrounded and then shot with an explosive-tipped harpoon. "

San Diego Bait Barge Moves To Temporary Home Near Harbor Island

Click Here for Current Bait Report

Click Here for Relocation Map (along East end of Harbor Island Drive, not shown in video)

Lake Morena Reservoir Is 4 Percent Full And Will Stay That Way

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)


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morning coots

unusual frontal shield

morning coots






Hish-hish went the evangelines, serpent-birds who drank the night nectar of the requiem trees. In the dark of the grove, their eyes shone silver like the mosaics of the temple roof.”

--Laini Taylor, Daughter of Smoke & Bone


Beaky the Coot

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