29 May 2011

June 2011 Update - rehab newsletter

This is my first attempt to post an e-mail, hope it works! Bear with us if not...
(Posted due to cute-fuzzy-mammal drought impacts, but not posted to the other blog because it's not regionally relevant!)


The drought has brought to the Wildlife Center greater and greater numbers of wildlife that are dehydrated and undernourished. It is estimated that the drought will bring over 1000 more animals to our doors than in prior years.

The drought is also bringing species to the Wildlife Center that are either rarely seen or in the case of the North American River Otter never seen. More information about the North American River Otter can be found in our new blog. To see these interesting animals in action, enjoy the Otter video

The next Volunteer Orientation is June 11th contact the Wildlife Center at 713-861-WILD (9453) or volunteer@wrande.org

Blog postings since the last update include

Pileated Woodpecker

Pileated Woodpecker video

North American River Otter

Otter video

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25 May 2011

Midweek laughs: Donut vs. Rock

Donut is the most well known dog in Marathon, a dear little creature with a heart of gold and a coat of white fluff to hide the ferocious beast within. She's also the owner of a fellow named Tim. The video below is by Noble Baker, who was inspired by Donut's approach to chasing/attacking rocks. Clearly! The video is about three minutes long, so please put down your beverages while Donut shows you how to properly deal with the vicious threat of a large rock:

Happy Wednesday!

21 May 2011

what the world needs now

...is love, sweet love. Or marmosets.

Times like these call for a hug. Or a nice roll on the porch. Or a stuffed pig. Maybe something to gnaw on.

17 May 2011

Bike Tire Flip Flops

Back in 2004 I fell in love with a pair of flip flops, $20 from the REI in St. Louis. By the following summer, they were pretty well worn through. So another $20 and voila, another pair (sadly, the store was out of black, so they weren't an exact replacement). By the following summer, the new pair was almost worn through. The first pair - by then house flops - were REALLY worn through. So, knowing that Teva would re-sole some of their models, I dropped an e-mail to see if their flops were among the re-soleable shoes... the predecessor of this is what I have. No luck. No love for the cushy foam-soles. I was out of luck.

Now, add 8 hrs of a drive to the nearest REI. Ignore that; pretend shipping was free. How to face the guilt of retiring a perfectly reasonable TWO PAIRS of some of the fondest foot-memories I have ('flopping 2 months in CA, 'flopping through streams in IL, 'flopping across two college campuses and countless birding trips, the list goes on!) ...when only the soles were a problem? Every walking-of-the-dogs was a new thorn poking through the soles, a new bur jabbing up from the heel, a fresh reminder of what, unfortunately, needed to be replaced.

How do you re-sole a flip flop? Easy. You admit defeat and call yourself a waste of resources and wish that shoe repair places actually existed or maybe that things were made to last (good-old-days syndrome).

But then, a glimmer of hope: Bike Man is a friend of ours. Matt's bike is from Bike Man (can we call him John yet?) and I have a new set of tires from him and I thought, just maybe, if WWII era 'flops were made out of stamped tires, where could I find a lighter, thinner substitute? Perhaps an old bike tire? John had a pile out back, and soon I was merrily chopping a tire into Heidi-foot long segments. Two pairs of flops, 6 or 7 Heidi-foot-lengths in one tire, plenty of room to experiment!

You can see where this is going:

For those interested in flops with awesome tread*:

1) Cut up tires
2) Trim off wire-reinforced edge of tire (thankfully I have narrow feet, so it worked nicely)
3) Clean inside of tire, bottom of flop
4) Apply Goop with abandon; smush together for ~48 hrs
5) Trim excess tire
6) Run around like a madman and brag about it all over the internet ;-)

* These treads are GRIPPY, it's awesome! Because the tread on a bike tire is only in the middle, though, it's taking a bit of adjusting - there's less support under my big toe. For less grippy tires, or really worn treads, I think it'd work out more smoothly. Just depends on how/where you want to use them.

So go forth and don't give up on your beloved flops! Reduce, reuse, re-flop!

15 May 2011

The Yard List that keeps going...

I know I posted about yard lists a while back, but the last few weeks have been quite something! The Jan/Feb lull was a time of complacency (and frozen pipes) but spring seems to have hit right along with the 90+ degree days. Thankfully it's been cooling off nicely in the evenings, but for those of y'all not following our other blog, you may not have realized that most of the three counties out here have pretty much been, at least in part, on fire since early March. The fire just to our north, Iron Mountain, is about 8 miles out and has been going for around a week. Somewhere in the vicinity of 50,000 acres have burned and it's still only about 80% contained. On the bright side, the Rock House Fire is FINALLY out (after a bit over a month!) as of a few days ago. Oof!

Right, back to the bird list, starting where we left off:

Zone-tailed Hawk 4/5/11
Scott's Oriole 4/10/11
Harris's Hawk 4/10/11
Broad-winged Hawk 4/16/11
Yellow-headed Blackbird 4/20/11
Pine Siskin 4/23/11
Swainson's Thrush 4/23/11
Ruby-throated Hummingbird 4/26/11
Green-tailed Towhee 4/26/11
Painted Bunting 5/9/11
Gray Flycatcher 5/10/11
Willow Flycatcher 5/11/11
Black-throated Sparrow 5/11/11
Orchard Oriole 5/11/11
Western Wood-Pewee 5/12/11
MacGillivray's Warbler 5/13/11
Vermilion Flycatcher 5/15/11
Common Yellowthroat 5/15/11
Yellow Warbler 5/15/11
American Redstart 5/15/11


I should also throw in this gem of trivia: 95 bird species are on my tentative 'expanded' freezer list (to include wildlife work and rehab, but not captive zoo work nor pets). Most seem to be roadkill, but windows overlap a good bit (I knew I had 47 or 48 spp from Illinois, and now there are a few more window critters to add...)

Really, though, it's either impressive or depressing that roughly 20% of the bird species I've ever seen in the US have at one time or another been in a freezer that I've been associated with. Can't believe I didn't make/start the list sooner, it seems like something I'd do. At this rate, I'll have filled up a few chest freezers over the course of my rather short lifetime; every one of them 'salvaged' (not actively 'collected' with gun or trap).

To avoid ending on such a strange note, here's a Painted Bunting! She's alive, stunned, but otherwise uninjured. Found her in the middle of the road to Fort Stockton on my way to Houston earlier in the month. Houston? I guess that trip needs a post one of these days, too!