Archive for the ‘Bird miscellany’ Category

Chicken/migratory bird volunteers wanted


I volunteer with Chicago Bird Collision Monitors, whose main purpose is rescuing migratory birds that crash into glass windows in the Loop (see my post from September of 2010). Occasionally we get calls about chickens wandering the streets.

Chicago Bird Collision Monitors is looking for volunteers to:

  • monitor buildings in the Loop
  • drive birds to the western suburbs
  • rescue chickens
  • foster chickens

If you’d be interested in helping out with any of these, please contact Chicago Bird Collision Monitors at 773-988-1867.

NOTE: While Home to Roost is concerned with the safety and welfare of chickens, we are NOT a chicken rescue. We do not take in birds.

The Urban Chicken Consultant Recommends Enslaved by Ducks


So what’s life like living with animals? Not just dogs and cats, but turkeys, ducks, rabbits, and exotic birds?

Check out Enslaved by Ducks by Bob Tarte for the answer!

This book, written by a freelancer whose wife loves animals, contains witty, clever, and poignant stories/anecdotes about animal husbandry. A cute little bunny leads them to owning a veritable menagerie of fowl and other life forms, including ducks, budgies, doves, African greys, rabbits, and other assorted oddities.

It reminds me of my experiences as a kid! Lots of anthropomorphizing – and great fun!

Salmonella outbreak linked to chicks and ducklings


An outbreak of 25 cases of  Salomonella Altona has been linked to chicks and ducklings in the eastern United States, including NC, PA, OH, and IN.

Symptoms include diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps. The disease can be diagnosed with a stool sample. Onset takes 2-3 weeks, and symptoms usually last 4-7 days.

For more information and tips to protect yourself from Salmonella Altona, read the full post on the Center for Disease Control’s website.

Chick Growth – Day by Day


Blogger Joshua Jay Elliot logged the growth of his chicks over the course of two months. There’s a lot of fun commentary and great photography. Check out his blog here.

This is a very informative and artsy photographic  documentation of chick to pullet! Enjoy!

May 4: International Respect for Chickens Day


Ah, the lowly chicken! They outnumber people on this terrestrial orb. They provide eggs, meat, amusement, and poop. They are culture’s unsung heroes. It’s about time they had their day.

The following is a press release from May 4, 2005, from the United Poultry Concerns website:

United Poultry Concerns is launching International Respect for Chickens Day on May 4th. We’re urging everyone to do an ACTION of compassion for chickens on that day. This can range from writing a letter to the editor to tabling at a local mall to showing the movie Chicken Run to students, family and friends.

“International Respect for Chickens Day is a day to celebrate the dignity, beauty, and life of chickens and to protest against the bleakness of their lives in farming operations,” says UPC president Karen Davis. “Chickens are lively birds who have been torn from the leafy world in which they evolved. We want chickens to be restored to their green world and not be eaten.”

The idea for International Respect for Chickens Day traces to famed Le Show host and star of The Simpsons, Harry Shearer, who proclaimed Sunday, May 14, 2000 – Mother’s Day – National Respect the Chicken Day because hens are justly praised as exemplars of devoted motherhood.

In March 2005, Walt Disney Studios contacted United Poultry Concerns about Disney’s upcoming movie Chicken Little, starring a chicken as a hero, just as in real life chickens are heroic protectors of their families and flocks.

In Letters from an American Farmer, a study of American colonial society published in 1782, St. John de Crevecoeur wrote about chickens, “I never see an egg brought to my table but I feel penetrated with the wonderful change it would have undergone but for my gluttony; it might have been a gentle, useful hen leading her chickens with a care and vigilance which speaks shame to many women. A cock perhaps, arrayed with the most majestic plumes, tender to his mate, bold, courageous, endowed with an astonishing instinct, with thoughts, with memory, and every distinguishing characteristic of the reason of man.”

Bird specialists agree that chickens are highly intelligent individuals with social skills that Professor John Webster calls “pretty close to culture – and an advanced one at that. Chickens are sentient creatures and have feelings of their own,” he says. International Respect for Chickens Day urges people to honor chickens by performing a compassionate action for chickens on May 4th. (http://www.upc-online.org/nr/42705irfcd.htm)

Sunday, 9/26/2010: Busy Day with Chicago Bird Collision Monitors


I admit it, I’m a bird person. Any kind of birds. Chickens, quail, parakeets, turkeys, king vultures, golden pheasants, emus. And migratory birds. So in the fall and the spring, I help migratory birds navigate Chicago’s Loop.

A Unfortunate Banner Day

Sunday, 9/26/2010,  was a big migration day, and my team from Chicago Bird Collision Monitors picked up over 260 live birds and hundreds (I’m guessing 500-600) of dead birds in downtown Chicago.

These birds are our brightly colored, tiny treasures: warblers, thrushes, hummingbirds, sapsuckers, wrens, kinglets, brown creepers, and others. So why do they hit buildings? What’s going on?

Chicago and Migration Paths

Chicago is on a major migratory flight path between North and South America. You can see from this map (from http://www.birdnature.com/mississippi.html) that Chicago is a major intersection of migratory flyways from Canada and the northern United States.

The Draw of the Big City

Birds who are passing through in the early morning hours are drawn to the lights of the city and come down. They are attracted to lighted lobby and office windows and landscaping inside buildings. They get lost in steel and glass canyons, spiraling downward from exhaustion, not realizing that up is out.

These birds do not understand glass, so they will fly into it, thinking they can reach the trees or lights inside. Many die on the street every day in the spring and fall. They sustain head injuries from collisions with glass; they are stepped on, run over by cars, and eaten by gulls and crows. Some die of fright.

How CBCM Helps

I volunteer with Chicago Bird Collision Monitors, and once a week (or more) during the fall and spring, I walk the streets from the crack of dawn until 9 or 10, collecting injured, stunned, and dead birds.

The live birds go to Willowbrook Wildlife Center for rehab and release. The dead go to the Field Museum for documentation and research purposes.

CBCM records data from each bird found and works with building owners and management companies for LIGHTS OUT CHICAGO! a campaign to lower or turn off excess building lights during the spring and fall migrations. A few hours a year of no building lights can save lots of dollars and lots of avian lives.

How You Can Help

You can donate, volunteer, or work with your building staff to help birds navigate the Loop. Contact CBCM at 773-988-1867.

If you have an injured or dead bird, call 773-988-1867!

Penny the Quail: The Final Chapter


Penny the quail passed away suddenly, though not unexpectedly, on August 18, 2010.  I was in PA with my family, when Kat of My Paws and Claws petsitting called with the sad news. She had died suddenly between 7:00 and 7:30 AM.

Penny enjoys her dirt and sprouted seeds.

Sickness

Penny had a rough July. She developed watery diarrhea and stopped eating. The vet found she was anemic, and I hand fed her for over three weeks, syringefuls of food mixed with meds. She was a sick little bird.

When she finally got back to her normal self, we’d go for walks. I’d carry her to a nice grassy spot. We’d sit outside, and she’d dust, eat grass, and do other quail stuff while I kept a close eye on her. We’d find ants on the sidewalk, and she had great fun chasing them, in a very ADD fashion. She’d see one ant and go running after it. Another ant would come from another direction, and she’d head off after that one!

In August we (Penny, the parakeets, and I) took a road trip to Michigan to see an old high school friend and her family. The girls enjoyed Penny.

Penny and the Frost family

Penny was a cheerful little bird, and I miss her early-morning progressive alarm clock noises and her energetic, cheerful, and sometimes goofy personality.

Life Lessons from Penny the Quail

Penny was patient and gracious with children. She was very easy to handle and never really put up much of a fuss about anything, unless it was getting more romaine lettuce. She ate her vegetables without complaining. In fact, the first time I gave her chopped veggies, she started scratching happily in them, and they went all over the floor! (She later cleaned them up!)

Penny and her new friend Kara

Penny was unapologetically quail. She was always herself, even though that meant being goofy and offbeat sometimes. She was always very clear about what she wanted: greens, dirt, ants, a little more time in the grass. She gave back in big ways: 16 eggs to make an omelette. And she was always willing to snuggle. There is much to be learned there.

Penny and her eggs

RIP

Because Penny was a Japanese quail and because she greatly enjoyed hanging out under the ferns in the backyard of the folks who sold me her cage, I bought a Japanese fern for her grave at the Oak Park farmers market.  The purchase was also fitting because the guy who sold me the fern keeps quail. A coincidence? I think not. She is buried under the fern in a lovely garden plot. She is greatly missed.

Penny is buried under a Japanese fern.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 736 other followers