Monday Dec 1, 2014 news Volume 13 Issue 12

The Park Coots

Small flocks of a few coots occasionally appear at the Marina View Park in the mornings during the first week in November. They don't appear to be returnees since they don't know the way up to the lawn for food and water, and they don't amount to the 150 or so usual winter migrants. As reported by Voice of San Diego the USDA Wildlife Services has killed 2608 American Coots under San Diego County's contract. Also the widespread drought in California must be having an effect on migratory birds.

New Coots

Early Coots

Park Conditions

The Port of San Diego Continues to flood the parks with irrigation water in spite of the drought that has continued for several years, and is getting worse than ever. Any coots and various other birds that require fresh water will have this opportunity to survive if they can make it this far south.

The lawn (below) looks like a golf driving range where weed killer has been sprayed to kill weeds. The grass is usually soaked with standing water in places.

park puddles

More Migrants

more coots

On November 17 a large flock of at least a hundred coots flew into south bay in the area adjacent to the parks. They were still floating on the water the next day.

coots on the grass

The new arrivals slowly worked their way around the parks and on November 27, a good number of them were entirely up on the lawn eating the grass.

water pan

One of the steel water pans saved from last winter was deployed so that the birds could have water on days when the park was not flooded. A smaller dish is entirely worthless since the coots put their big feet into the water and tip a small dish over. As shown in the picture above, the water soon looked like mud.

The lawn had not been watered in the last week of November, corresponding with the settling of the migrants in the park.

water pan

water pan

A large 29 ounce can of corn seems ideal for the coots. They ate all that they wanted and left about half in the can.

water pan

Coots can tend to be a little clumsy out of the water.

water pan

One of the coots nearly spilled the corn, so I caught the can and poured the remaining corn into the water pan. The coots attacked the (now partly hidden) corn as if it were something new. Notice the aggressive coots near the top of the picture threatening each other. Not a kernel of corn was left.

The actual number of coots present is uncertain since they are still moving around and have not all established winter territories.

The Crows

These two helpful crows usually appear on the lawn some time later in the morning. They make themselves useful by constantly cawing if a hawk is nearby. Often the hawk lurks in a palm tree right overhead. It is always best to keep the coots back near the water in the ditch so they have a chance to escape. The lawn is just a large hawk buffet dinner table for predators, since coots may not be quick enough to escape to the water when a hawk dives down and traps them against the grass.

helpful crows


The hawk has little chance at stealth with two noisy crows.

helpful crows and hawk

helpful crows

helpful crows and hawk

The Marina

There are six or eight coots at the boat well before sunrise every morning. It appears that there may be a dominant male and female mated pair of coots that will maintain their territory there. They hang around the boat more and are fed more than the other coots so that their territorial nature is reenforced. Generally, there are small flocks of travelling coots around the marina and they come and go at will.



It's not unusual that the two birds shown above also appear at the boat. The little duck (lesser scaup) is about the same size as the coots, and fits in well flocking with them. The blue heron is there because the crumbs dropped in the water attract the seasonal jacksmelt that are here in good numbers now.

Wiggles the starling

Editorial Notes:

This case establishes an unexpected legal precedence where a wild bird was transferred to another state to avoid being killed under state law. If you care for wild birds in the US, you should read through these documents, and be familiar with federal and state wildlife laws. If possible, read the "Wiggles the starling" community on Facebook.

This was at least a partial victory since the bird was transferred to Walden's Puddle Wildlife Rehabilitation & Education Center in Joelton, Tennessee, where a starling would be legal to keep alive. Rather dramatic, this was just before Wiggles was scheduled to be euthanized early in November. This comes with some question on how the bird was treated in custody as shown by This document linked here as Answer to Order to Disclose. The court (Judge Herman) had issued this Court Order that shows that there was concern that the starling should be kept alive, in view of the fact that Sherry had obtained legal counsel and intended to persue every possible means to protect Wiggles from euthanasia. This was the nearest result possible to changing the law, the use of discretion in law enforcement, where a judge has the liberty to ensure justice regardless of the actual law. This establishes another precedence for dealing with a confrontation between strict law enforcement and common sense.

More legal links:

Court Order in response to Emergency petition for return of personal property

Court order directing the Game Commission to file of record a response to this Order, and provide details as to the location of the animal, the method of care and health and well-being of the animal held in trust.

As an aside of ironic interest here, the previous state documents contain a Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency "TRANSFER OF WILDLIFE FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES." The "educational" lesson to be learned here is that trying to care for an injured bird is illegal and you may be prosecuted. But if you turn the bird over to a licensed rehabilitation agency the bird will probably be killed.

Trying to keep a wild bird alive is a daunting problem. The federal legal system intended to protect wildlife by making possession illegal, also made wildlife less than worthless since it is illegal to keep a protected bird. Where only nonprofit corporations licensed by state government have the legal authority to keep a crippled bird alive, doing so is a conflict of interest. A nonprofit must make money like any other business, and they don't make money by keeping animals alive, while an individual citizen picking up an injured animal to care for it is breaking the law, but only interested in the welfare of the animal.

Handling animals is an unnecessary expense for a nonprofit and in many cases, state regulations limit this effort by requiring euthanization or early release of animals. Licensed agencies (in most cases) take in donations and produce dead animals. State license application procedures are designed so nobody can apply, books and training are not available without a license, and a veterinarian won't help because he doesn't have a license either. A case like "Wiggles the Starling" reveals the worst horrors of the rehab business, and exposing this is our best hope for legal reform. Working through the current legal system is our only option, but since the state makes its own laws for its own convenience, this is bound to fail. And the news media loves the nonprofit agencies. They are happy to have a light-hearted space filler at the end of a broadcast to praise a nonprofit doing its regular job: self promotion, advertising, fund raising, and "education". We are clearly in the midst of a global extinction event. Everything is changing now. But politicians still cling to the old system that promotes money for nonprofit corporations and produces more dead animals.

Wiggles the starling (continued)

The following text was taken from the Wiggles the starling facebook page.

Wiggles the starling: I'm so sorry Chris! Yes, that's all it is. They're describing why she was on the astroturf and what she ate...etc. They conveniently left out the part that she was scheduled for euthanasia 2 times and her wounds...

Wiggles the starling: Basically, the whole entire thing is a lie. Those pictures have to be staged. Because, the way she looks now doesn't match up to what those pictures show. Wiggles looks good now, but I can tell she is not the picture of health, which is what these are suppose to show.

November 4, 6:00 AM from Wiggles the starling:

This time last year, Wiggles and I were listing our 30 days of gratitude. I think Wiggles would be OK with me just making a huge gratitude post, even though I could easily list 30 reasons to be grateful for
First and foremost I am eternally grateful for Walden's Puddle and Lane Brody! Because of them Wiggles is ALIVE and safe in Tennessee!
I am grateful for every single person who has liked this page and the people who aren't on FB, who all took their time writing and calling, spent money, prayed, sent me encouraging notes and messages, and didn't give up on us.
Jon, Angela, Ashley, Stephany, Jackie, Ronni, Patti, Arlene, Sue, Chris, Teresa, Dr. Shapiro, Jeanne, Cliff, Richard, Laura, Missy, and anyone else my foggy brain has forgotten at the moment (need more caffeine!!).
Because of all of you, he is alive! Wiggles lived 4 months in deplorable conditions, it truly is a miracle that he is alive! He's a fighter, just like his momma and all his Godparents all around the world!
Wiggles was literally within an hour of being put to sleep when he was rescued! In fact, he was scheduled to be put to sleep the day before, but the vet had to cancel and rescheduled for 10AM the next day. Wiggles was picked up at 9AM to be transported to Walden's Puddle in TN! So, yes. Wiggles being alive is truly a miracle!
Let's all focus now on sending positive healing thoughts and prayers to him in TN. We're no longer focusing on how he lived for the past 4 months, but how we can get him healthy. OK? Wiggles is living like he would be if he were with me. He even gets to watch Spongebob!!!!!!! Since he can't be with me where he should be, he is where he has to be, where he is safe, ALIVE, happy, and very well taken care of, loved and spoiled.
Oh, and Wiggles is a girl. I kinda thought he was a she, but each time I would go to take a picture of that eye ring I saw in the sun, it never showed up in the picture!
This page isn't going anywhere. I plan on updating everyone as I am updated with how she is doing. Oh boy, that's gonna take some getting use to...typing and calling Wiggles "she." LOL

News Links

This section presents links to news agencies with the intent of showing news articles as they were written by the originating author. Websites using obnoxious popup advertising or employing HTML tricks to discourage taking quotes, protected by US Code Title 17, will not be referred here.

View: Stand with those who stand up for wildlife lohud "As the annual USDA/Wildlife Services slaughter of geese in New York commences this month, the demand by the public to stop them increases. ”

Eighth Grader Inspires School to Cancel Trip to SeaWorld ecorazzi"A teenage girl has single-handedly stopped her school from visiting SeaWorld and supporting the cruel captivity of cetaceans”

Another Life: ‘Dolphin initiatives’ can start swimmingly but end badly Irish Times"Irish Whale and Dolphin Group says even sociable wild dolphins are best left to wild lives”

China And Russia Block International Plan To Create Antarctic Ocean Sanctuary Huffington Post "China and Russia have thwarted an international attempt to create the world's largest ocean sanctuary in Antarctica as both nations eye the region's rich reserves of fish and krill.”

Despite rescue, sea lions die of gunshots UT San Diego "Koontz said those cases were part of a spike in animals severely injured by gunshots.”

Call for worldwide shake-up of shipping after slaughter of seals in Scottish waters Herald Scotland "New evidence that hundreds of seals have been slashed to death and beheaded by a type of propeller used in shipping and offshore industries has prompted a powerful plea for a worldwide ban."

Mr. Barker’s LegaSea launched this month the Log "Ocean Defenders Alliance, an organization working to protect marine ecosystems through meaningful action, christened its newest boat on Oct. 1 in Huntington Harbour."

Tribes begin two-month swan hunting season - with limitations Twin Cities "The two-month hunt, which has been approved by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, represents the first legal swan hunt in the Mississippi Flyway and the first hunt anywhere where trumpeter swans can be legally killed -- though the primary target will be similar-looking tundra swans. "

Op-Ed: Ailing Singapore dolphins and dubious SeaWorld connections Digital Journal "Captive dolphins in Singapore made the headlines this week — for all the wrong reasons. Water quality, disease, and a dubious link to a SeaWorld-funded website, raised several eyebrows and great concern. "

Three seals found dead on Porthmadog beach including one beheaded North Wales News "According to the Conservation of Seals Act, 1970, fishermen have the right to kill a seal where it is done to prevent it from causing damage to a fishing net or fishing tackle in that person’s possession "

Plastics in Paradise: Scientists Collect 60 Tons of Junk Surrounding Remote Hawaiian Islands takepart"Would you expect to find pristine beaches and crystal-clear water? Or nearly 60 tons of fishing nets and plastic garbage?"

Animal Rights – Fundraising Wrongs ~ Part II word press"Animal rights groups such as the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), Born Free USA, and the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), seek to claim the “moral high ground” on behalf of animals. However, that “high ground” stands on a shaky foundation of exaggerations of the truth, intimidation of the opposition, and risky games of legal hi-jinx with donor money. "

Mystery of bleeding dead dolphin found in village alleyway a MILE from the sea Irish Mirror "The newest resident of Chicago’s Shedd Aqaurium is an orphaned southern sea otter pup. Just five weeks old and weighing less than 6lbs, she was rescued along the California coast by state wildlife officials"

Orphaned baby otter rescued from California coast – in pictures the guardian"Residents of Tarring, West Sussex, say the body of the 4ft mammal was warm and dripping with blood - the RSPCA is investigating the strange discovery "

Small fish in a big pond: the plight of the lemon damsel fish the guardian"Research by marine scientists into Great Barrier Reef fish populations remind us of the need to protect the tiny creatures in a vast ocean"

Fish and Game Commission contemplates pier fishing ban request - the log"Reminding Manhattan Beach of the state’s regulatory powers, Sutton also told Howorth in his letter that the city’s pier fishing ban would have unintended consequences on certain protected groups." “I think there is a social issue involved here. [There are] people on the strand who are all now multimillionaires. Those houses are worth millions,” Rogers, a one-time Manhattan Beach resident, said. “The people on the pier aren’t so tony. They come from a mile or two or three or four inland of Manhattan Beach. I’m accusing Manhattan Beach of maybe having a reason for stopping fishing on the pier that they are not willing to talk about.” “I think there is a social issue involved here. [There are] people on the strand who are all now multimillionaires. Those houses are worth millions,” Rogers, a one-time Manhattan Beach resident, said. “The people on the pier aren’t so tony. They come from a mile or two or three or four inland of Manhattan Beach. I’m accusing Manhattan Beach of maybe having a reason for stopping fishing on the pier that they are not willing to talk about.”

More than 50 sperm whales spotted off California the log"More than 50 sperm whales emerged off the Southern California coast in an extremely rare, hours-long sighting that had whale watchers and scientists giddy with excitement. "

US supreme court justices mock fraud charges against man who threw fish overboard the guardianThe justices were critical of the Justice Department’s decision to prosecute Yates. Justice Antonin Scalia wondered “what kind of mad prosecutor would try to send this guy up for 20 years?” "

Newport Beach looking at three options to spare Balboa Island seawall the logHow to deal with rising sea level?

Scientist say red tide fueled by 12 sources news-press "One of the most interesting things that hadn't previously been taken into account is the organism's ability to not just use sunlight, like plants, but also consume other single-celled organisms as a nutrient source," researcher Judith O'Neil, a University of Maryland environmental sciences professor"

Taiji dolphin slaughter protest descends on West End London 24 "A protest against Japan’s annual slaughter of dolphins, porpoise and small whales has closed the road outside the Japanese embassy in Piccadilly"

Speared dugong swim ashore to die Solomon Star "THE unexpected happened on Thursday at the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources head office when from the ocean; a dugong came ashore and died at the Ministry’s ramp "

NOAA Administrator Declares Most U.S. Overfishing Ended The Fishing Wire "In the United States, we've brought overfishing under control. That means healthier ocean ecosystems and a brighter future for fishermen and coastal communities all along our coasts."

Flashback: Remember that Super El Nino Talk? KKTV .com "Today, NOAA dropped the likelihood of an El Niño episode to 58%."

Mystery over 'poisoned' ducks in town that inspired Hound of the Baskervilles Telegraph "The population of Muscovy ducks in Buckfastleigh, close to Buckfast Abbey on the edge of the Dartmoor National Park, Devon, are believed to have been attacked by a mystery poisoner after some were found to be covered in a pink substance thought to be antifreeze. ."

Reward Seeks to Find Who's Shooting Sea Lions Irish Times "The father of a Dublin schoolgirl who fell to her death from a cruise ship, took his own life, an inquest has heard.."

Father of girl (15) who fell to death from cruise ship took own life NBC San Diego "On Monday, San Diego Animal Advocates (SDAA) announced a $2,000 reward for information leading to a conviction in a recent string of sea lion shootings."

Animal rights protestors send 'deafening' message to Japan to stop Taiji dolphin slaughter express "Up to a thousand furious demonstrators gathered outside the Japanese embassy in London to protest the "atrocious" killing of up to 20,000 dolphins, whales and porpoises in the country every year.."

EXCLUSIVE: Squad of sea lions mine-hunt for Royal Navy express "The Royal Navy may not get another chance to use the mammals, however. The US navy is to replace its 80 dolphins with drones, which can be built in far less time than the seven years it takes to train a dolphin."

Ethics panel extends review of Whitfield, wife the Courier-Journal "HumaneWatch: An ethics investigation into a Congressman--whose wife is an HSUS lobbyist--will continue."

Court dismisses challenge to EPA’s E15 Rule the log "The NMMA said because the latest decision continues to allow the potentially dangerous E15 to be sold at retail gas stations across the country — where, it said, 95 percent of boats are fueled — it has joined the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute in supporting the Look Before You Pump campaign that focuses on alerting consumers to check the labeling on fuel pumps and prevent misfueling."

Massive, multicolored lobster fetches $95,000 Grind TV "Weighing an astonishing 56 pounds, which is more than three times the species’ average weight, the multicolored lobster triggered an intense bidding war and ultimately fetched $95,000."

Man claims PETA stole, killed family pet WAVY "Cerate checked his security camera and the video shows a van with “PETA” on the side back into his driveway. Two women got out of the van and one walked up his porch, took Maya, and put her in the back of the van."

Environmentalists Fight Navy in Legal Battle to Protect Marine Animals in the Pacific Ocean Science World Report "environmentalists are fighting the U.S Navy in court I order to protect animals from war games in the Pacific Ocean."

Seals behaving badly Times "Seals are raping penguins and scientists don't know why The birds are injured in these encounters. In one incident, a seal attempted to copulate with a penguin, then ate it.."

Here Are 11 Of The Hundreds Of Wetlands Animals Who Can Now Live In Peace the dodo Nothing about coots, or if the USDA will continue exterminating them, or other wetlands birds. . .

November 2014 Standard Grants US Fish & Wildlife Service Nothing about coots, or if the USDA will continue exterminating them, or other wetlands birds. . .

Details out for Japan's whaling plan Radio New Zealand "Japanese media have published a summary of the new research whaling programme that Japan will submit to the International Whaling Commission (IWC) later this month, the ABC reported.. "

Let police shoot at the troublesome crows Watertown Daily "It’s that time of the year when tens of thousands of crows flock nightly downtown and in residential neighborhoods to roost in trees. "

Catsharks May be More Vulnerable to Overfishing Than Previously Thought Science World Report "It's important to understand shark populations as they continue to be harvested and as their numbers continue to decline. Now, scientists have announced that shark populations in the Mediterranean are highly divided, which may have important implications for conservation efforts."

Bird flu confirmed at duck farm in Yorkshire Farmers Weekly " 3km protection zone and a 10km surveillance zone were authorised by the secretary of state at 23.15pm on Sunday night.."

Tuleyome Tales: Wintering birds – coming to a wetlands near you! Lake County News "NORTHERN CALIFORNIA – The Central Valley, from Red Bluff through Bakersfield, is part of the 4,000-mile Pacific Flyway, the route taken by migrating birds from Alaska to Patagonia (at the southern end of South America). ."

Pacific Ocean Quarantined After Contact With Carnival Cruise Ship The Onion "WASHINGTON—In an effort to control the spread of a significant health threat, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention quarantined the Pacific Ocean Monday after the body of water reportedly came into contact with Carnival’s Crown Princess cruise ship. ."

The Story of How a Turkey Became My Best Friend Free From Harm An life-changing experience that may have touched many of us.

WA Fisheries Department refuses to pay for whale carcass removal as they are 'mammals, not fish', mayor says "The row over the $188,000 bill for removing a whale carcass from a Perth beach has deepened as the WA Fisheries Department claims it is not responsible because whales are mammals, not fish"

Damage Caused by Echo in Captive Dolphin Communication Dolphin Project "This reduction in vocalizations is due in part to the effect of the echo caused by the walls of the pools where the dolphins are confined. Yet despite assurances of many water parks that dolphins do not suffer in their environments, this echo phenomenon is well-known in closed environments."

Why the Passenger Pigeon Went Extinct Audubon Magazine "I have stood by the grandest waterfall of America," he wrote, "yet never have my astonishment, wonder, and admiration been so stirred as when I have witnessed these birds drop from their course like meteors from heaven."

Governments agree 20% hike in bluefin tuna catch the guardian "Apparent recovery of Atlantic bluefin tuna stocks prompts decision by 48 countries to raise fishing quotas for species"

Conservationists appalled after Ottawa raises Atlantic bluefin tuna quota the globe and mail "The decision has confounded conservationists who accuse the federal Conservative government of ignoring science in its desire to appease fishermen who enjoy the bluefin’s lucrative returns."

talian officials sue Costa Concordia owner for $275 million over ruining local tourism new york daily news "Costa Cruises, a unit of Carnival Corp., was hit with huge lawsuits by officials from Tuscany and the island of Giglio on Monday. They allege that the January 2012 disaster contributed to a major decline in visitors to the area." (Keegan Vaughn Bizaaré , via Facebook: "Total cost was just over $ 1,750,000,000. Recovery alone of the gear in the ocean $60M. Got the figure first hand from the concordia salvage master Nick Sloane last week." )

Restaurant owner, parent company plead guilty in sale of whale meat the los angeles times "Typhoon Restaurant Inc. and owner Brian Vidor each pleaded guilty to one count of unlawful sale of a marine mammal at the now-closed restaurant The Hump at the Santa Monica Municipal Airport."

Reward for Arrest in Sea Lion Shootings Up to $7K NBC SanDiego "The Humane Society of the United States along with the Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust are offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the person or people responsible for shooting eight sea lions over the past year ."

Japan's 'New' Whaling Plan Deemed 'A Slap In The Face Of The International Community' the Dodo Earlier this year, an international court delivered a blow to Japanese whalers: the country’s annual Antarctic whale hunt was deemed unscientific and ordered to come to an end. ."

Britain confirms bird flu on northern England farm is H5N8 strain Oriental Daily "The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said that the risk to humans was minimal, and that a cull of all 6,000 ducks on the farm in east Yorkshire should be completed later yesterday."

OC Animal Care Director Departing Amid Questions About Agency Voice of OC "Orange County Animal Care Director Ryan Drabek is stepping down to accept a job as deputy director of Los Angeles Animal Services, amid criticism of the small agency from a former employee"

Hawaii Bill that Would Further Regulate Marine Fish Collection in Hawaii Postponed due to lack of Scientific Evidence Fish Channel "Aquarium collector Ron Tubbs of R.T. Distributors told the paper that whoever wrote the bill knows absolutely nothing about aquarium fish. Other aquarium fish collectors said that these extra regulations are not necessary and they wouldn’t be in business if they depleted the reefs or if most of their fish die during transportation. Tubbs also said that the amount of oxygen put into the collection bag was more important than the amount of water put in the bag. "

Bloody Skies: The Fight to Reduce Deadly Bird-Plane Collisions National Geographic news "There is growing agreement among aviation experts and biologists that killing geese and other birds has no long-term impact in reducing the risk of bird strikes and may exacerbate existing threats by creating vacant desirable habitat thereby inviting other birds."

SeaWorld Doesn't 'Educate' Students National Geographic news "SeaWorld's assertion on the ever-important values of conservation and education is a hypocritical one."

Chula Vista gains new gateway to the bayfront the log "The Port of San Diego and the city of Chula Vista celebrated the completion of the H Street Extension project "

Giant Kelp Forests Making Comeback After 2-Million Urchins Removed From SoCal Coast CBS "giant kelp forests in Southern California are returning to health after volunteers removed nearly 2 million urchins that devour the sea plants."

Draft Spiny Lobster Fishery Management Plan to be made available to public fish rap news "The FMP is being made available to the public as a courtesy while it completes a peer review process. A more in-depth discussion about the plan is likely to take place at the commission’s meeting in February,"

New bird flu strain in Europe threatens poultry sector, UN agency warns UN News Centre "24 November 2014 – The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) today warned that a new bird flu strain detected in Europe poses a significant threat to the poultry sector"

Stampeding Black Elephants New York Times " A black elephant, explained the London-based investor and environmentalist Adam Sweidan, is a cross between “a black swan” (an unlikely, unexpected event with enormous ramifications) and the “elephant in the room” (a problem that is visible to everyone, yet no one still wants to address it) even though we know that one day it will have vast, black-swan-like consequences."

Why This Video Of A Beluga Whale 'Playing' With Children Is Actually Very Sad The Dodo "what many have chosen to see as an example of how captivity allows for a feeling of connectedness with whales, orcas and dolphins, is actually an indication of their suffering."

Tapping Into the Ocean With San Diego's Billion Dollar Desalination Plant

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)


(Use your mouse cursor to read the titles)

dead coot


crow hiding peanut


crippled blackbird




crow and blackbird

cackling and buzzing coot call

coot bath



"There is nothing in which the birds differ more from man 
than the way in which they can build and yet leave a landscape as it was before."

  Robert Wilson Lynd 


Beaky the Coot
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