Falconry and bird abatement

Interestingly, in California, Falconers are licensed through the state (CDFW), but those performing bird abatement using their own birds must also register through the US Fish and Wildlife Service. Furthermore, if there is or expected to be a "take", it is the responsibility of the landowner (not falconer) to obtain a depredation permit from the USFWS.

We found this out yesterday after inquiring about a harris hawk being flown over Santa Cruz Subaru for a second day in a row - harassing gulls as it is supposed to do. However, there are active nests with young chicks on adjacent rooftops. The parents were aggressively defending their territory for long periods of time.

At one point, the hawk attacked and injured one of the chicks. This type of casualty is considered "incidental take" and is expected.

Gulls and raccoons and extraordinarily devoted parents. They will not give up trying to protect their young. So, while this hawk is doing it's job of keeping the Santa Cruz Subaru rooftop clear of gulls, its presence imposes an inordinate amount of stress on the neighboring gull parents.

While we support the use of raptors to reduce avian conflicts, care should be taken in planning for the optimum, most sound, most humane use of the birds. 

In the end, we had a very good dialogue with the falconer. 

A sweet story

We just had to share this sweet story from one of our customers. We love working with people who share our compassion for animals, no matter the species. Enjoy!

This is the picture of the little mouse nest I found while cleaning my garage. It was in a small doll's suitcase (circa 1964), nestled in a large cardboard box containing my childhood memorabilia. The babies were snuggled in a beautiful best made of holiday tissue paper and tiny shredded pieces of my beloved childhood books!  

When I realized mama was hiding in the box, but outside of the tiny suitcase, I quickly relocated the whole thing to a small, fenced area with my garbage and recycling. I covered the box with a big blanket, making sure the entrance/exit holes that the mother had obviously made were not blocked. We were having work done on the house, with workers coming and going, so I put a "PLEASE DO NOT MOVE" sign on top of the blanketed box. 

For the next twelve days I checked on the mouse family daily. There were 14 babies - a few appeared younger (as seen in the photo) - maybe there was a second mother? 

Often the mother was not present ... I'm assuming she was out scouting for food. I left water for her and seeds and grains from my pet rat's diet. All was happily eaten! It was fun watching how quickly they developed, and began running around! Four of the tiniest babies died. I buried them in a plant container full of colorful flowers.  

On the 12th day, when I went to say hello, I was surprised to find both the miniature suitcase and the box empty of mice! Other than one lone baby who jumped up and out and skittered off quicker than I could realize what had happened. 

They had graduated from their nest and were all off figuring things out. I just prayed they ran in the direction of the creek next to my house, and not toward my garage!