The Wildlife Watch Binocular
Fall 2004 / Winter 2005 Issue
THROW OUT YOUR POISONS – VERY CAREFULLY!
By Kristine Flones
is the Lakota phrase that translates as “all my relations”. In using these
words we honor our connectedness to all life, and the sacredness of the entire
circle of life.
A couple of weeks ago my
neighbor, Jackie Kukle came to get me to catch an eagle that was just sitting on
the road by her house. I gathered my raptor gloves, heavy towels, nets and a
large dog kennel, scolding myself for not having bought the large bird net that
would handle an eagle, and took off down the road trying to keep myself centered
so that I might somehow catch an eagle with a butterfly net and a towel.
Arriving at Jackie’s house, I found Woodstock Police and several people
waiting. They had chased the bird into the woods trying to catch her or get her
off the road. I asked the policemen to help me, knowing that it is a piece of
work to catch such a bird even if they can’t fly. I passed towels around and we
went into the woods. There she was sitting on a log: a truly huge and
magnificent female red tailed hawk. She was only a few months old because she
still had her new brown tail feathers. The red tails don’t come until the
the Barred Owl
She didn’t have an obvious
injury. I felt that I might be able to catch her if I approached obliquely and
very slowly with a calm energy. I asked the others to step back as I moved
closer. There had to be something terribly wrong for me to be within ten feet
of her. She wasn’t alert looking about for an escape. Her eyes were cast down
and her expression was one of misery. I let her feel my energy before taking
each step as she was looking away. When I was within four feet she turned
around to face me. There was a resignation in her eyes. Gently, gently I moved
up to her showing her my bath towel “skirt” that I had wrapped around me. When
I saw and felt that she acquiesced I carefully raised the towel and dropped it
over her, scooping her up in my arms. Oh my, she weighed no more than a crow!
How did such a young hawk get so emaciated?
Everyone was relieved that I had caught her and
there were many wishes for her recovery and her life. This was not to be.
Despite our best efforts the female red tail hawk whose name was Phoenix did not
make it. She died the next afternoon. Her story is a familiar one to wildlife
rehabilitators and naturalists. You see Phoenix died of mouse poison.
She is at the NY State Pathology lab where her tissues are being sampled to
check for the poison that kills so many wild ones every year. This is how it
works: people put out the tiny green pellets of mouse or rat poison in their
attics and basements. The mice collect the sweet smelling pellets and save many
of them, but eat one. The mouse or mice leave the house desperate for air as
their systems close down from the poison. The hawks, owls and the snakes see
the weak mouse and eat it. A few days later they are in the same state as the
mouse. They are bigger so their death takes longer, but eventually their blood
vessels dilate and the blood leaks out. It leaks out of their hearts, too.
They die a sad, miserable death. Along comes a crow, a vulture or a raven, the
carrion eaters. They eat the hawk or the owl. They too will die of this poison
that is made for mice and rats. And so on.
Her name was Phoenix. This
is an opportunity
to give her life again to match her name. Please go through your
storage areas and gather up this poison and triple bag it before taking it to
for toxic disposal. Surely there is no longer a need for a poison
as this. The hawk, the owl and the snake are among our natural rodent control
devices in this world. Obviously, the poison is also extremely dangerous
children, adults and for our pets as well as for our community water supply.
Ravensbeard Wildlife Center was founded
by Ellen Kalish
and Kristine Flones. Ellen Kalish has been rehabbing for five years. She
specializes in birds, especially raptors and waterfowl. Kristine Flones
been rehabbing for four years. She will take most species, but loves to
work with... raptors, crows, woodchucks, fox, bluejays, snapping turtles, vultures,
and bears! Bears? Yes, Ravensbeard has a special program on Coexisting
Black Bears, as well as on other topics of interest.
PO Box 463, Bearsville, NY 12409
Website will completed soon.
few helpful hints from Kristine:
general, do not disturb a wild animal unless it is clearly
an emergency. Wounded animals should be handled with
great care, protecting oneself from talons, teeth, thrashing
legs, or whatever. Items to have in your car for
emergencies are: a large sturdy box or dog carrier,
heavy bath towel, heavy work gloves, small shovel, a couple
of plastic bags. If you have caught an injured animal
keep him or her in a dark, quiet, warm place. Do
not give it anything to drink or eat until you speak with
a rehabilitator. Do not trust info on the web.
is not a case of survival of the fittest ...It is rather
a case of flourishment of the most cooperative.” -- Ken
Casey in “The Return of the Bird Tribes.”
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