Recently in Critters Category

All grown up - barn swallows

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The three chicks are a lot bigger now - they were lined up when I came in this afternoon.  Since the nest is on the screen door to my main entrance, I am in and out of there a couple times/day.  Mom and Dad still squawk at me and fly away - these little guys have grown up with me so they are like: meh...


As soon as they are fully fledged and have migrated south for the fall, that nest is coming down and some nest boxes are going up for next spring. Did not notice the nest being built until it was already occupied. DOH!

One of these is not like the other

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My new pup Truffle is very mouth-oriented. Found one of these in her mouth yesterday:


Guess which one.

It was all a mistake - a simple misunderstanding. A mere bagatelle.  From Barstool Sports:

Bob Baffert Claims A Man Taking Cough Medicine Peed On The Hay In Medina Spirit's Stall And The Horse Ate The Hay, Causing A Positive Test
Well that adds up! It all makes sense now! Give the Derby back to Medina Spirit, it was all one big understanding. It's like when you get a positive drug test because you were in your friend's car who happened to do 1 (one) marijuana cigarette, it's all wrong place at the wrong time.

Medina's handler was feeling a little under the weather, allergies and what not, and was taking copious amounts of DayQuil and drinking a ton of water. And when you're a horse guy, you pee wherever you want. It's all nature. So one thing led to another and the horse ate the contaminated hay, and that's where we're at now. If not for that extra pollen in the air, none of this would have happened.

So I'm glad Baffert cleared this all up. Medina was just tripping on some of the 'Quil, no harm, no foul. And I buy it. Go test that hay, ASAP, and we can put the end to story once and for all. Triple Crown, back on!

Believe that?  I happen to have an historic bridge for sale.  Located in downtown New York City.  It is in use but the city is putting it up for sale to raise money for diversity training. Contact me if you are interested - terms are available with a suitable initial down payment.

A little reminder - polar bears

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Polar Bears are doing just fine.  What caused their downfall was hunting, not climate "change".  Now that hunting has been restricted to subsistence hunting by natives, they are doing fine.

So true - information

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Prefer my dogs over many people I meet:


This has me chuckling - so true

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Clever corvids in the news

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I love corvids.  The name of my Blacksmithing business is Crow Island Forge which is the old name for my little island. Some fun news from the Anchorage, AK Costco - from the Anchorage Daily News:

Anchorage Costco customers say ravens are stealing their groceries in the parking lot
Marnie Jones and her husband made it all the way home from the South Anchorage Costco before they realized they’d been robbed.

“We had bought a four-pack of filet mignon steak,” Jones said. “It was on the bottom of the cart, and he was pushing it through the bumpy snow.”

When they reached their vehicle, the meat slid onto the ground. Her husband turned his back to load groceries before realizing the pack had slipped. When they got home and put everything away, he noticed he was one steak short.

Then, it clicked.

“He said, ‘Oh my God, after I picked up that pack of steaks, I saw a raven in the parking lot with a steak in his mouth,’ " Jones said.

This is organized:

Last month, Matt Lewallen was packing his purchases into his car and lost a single short rib from his cart.

“They know what they’re doing; it’s not their first time,” Lewallen said. “They’re very fat so I think they’ve got a whole system there.”

I love it - they use tools.  They can identify individual people and are very friendly if treated right.  Treat them wrong and you will be dive-bombed whenever they see you.  Like I said, I love corvids. I would be feeding them here at home but the @#$% sky rats seagulls eat the same kinds of food from the same kind of feeder so I stopped.  Planning to have a station at my shop when it gets built.

Heh - I have this problem too

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Got my new rescue dog trained to stay off the furniture but every so often, I'll get up in the night and come back to find her on the bed.  This hit home:


Mostly, she and Bear will go outside while I am in the bathroom and when we come come back into the bedroom, Truffle will walk over and plop herself down in Bear's bed. Bear sighs and curls up on the throw-rug (Truffle's bed is a lot smaller).  Later, Truffle will move but this is just one part of her trying to claim Alpha of this pack. Not gonna happen but she still tries - had her for about four months.  Turning into a really great little pup otherwise...

Heh - so so true

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Kind of glad that none of my critters can see the monitor right now.  They would be laughing:


Puppy energy

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Been a lot of fun working with Truffle.  New dog and she is less than one year old.  Firmly in puppy territory.

She will be dead to the world for a while and then it is Warp Factor 7 Mr. Sulu - no middle ground.

Cute little bugger - love her to bits. Smart when she wants to be.

One more before I go

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From Woodsterman:


So true - my Bear is a gentle giant.

Now this is cute

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Bats roosting - the camera is upside down. Set to some disco music. From Das Kraftfuttermischwerk

And off to the Tube of You

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That is it for me for tonight. 

Pecos Hank as well as being a great storm chaser is a good friend of animals - they feature in his videos from time to time and today, he uploaded a collection of ones that he has seen on his travels. Check it out - great photography and some fun critters:

In the Southwest. From the Arizona Department of Agriculture:

On March 25, the Arizona State Veterinarian's Office received Information from the State Veterinarian in New Mexico that they had a confirmed case of RHDV2 in a domestic rabbit and were seeing a die off of wild rabbits as well.  On April 2, New Mexico reported that since the March 24, 2020 diagnosis of RHDV2 in pet rabbits was confirmed at Foreign Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory (FADDL), 5 additional detections on premises in 5 counties have been confirmed, and this investigation is ongoing. On April 2, they confirmed RHDV2 in a wild black-tailed jackrabbit and wild cottontails, representing the first detection of this virus in wild rabbits in the United States.


Origin of the disease
The RHD virus was first diagnosed in 1984 in China. It spread widely throughout the world and is well established in some countries.

Just wonderful - Ebola is a hemorrhagic disease. Nasty stuff. Problems in Colorado too.

So so true

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Run into people like this every so often - toxic. Make a good case for retroactive birth control.


You are not the apex predator in this neighborhood:


Tip of the hat to Daily Timewaster which is anything but. (guessing a small grizz or large brown)

Bird migration

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I knew that weather radar was also used for plotting seasonal bird migration - did not know that weather forecasting models could be used to forecast bird numbers. Makes perfect sense. From Cliff Mass:

Forecasting Bird Migration with Weather Radar and Models
We are now in the midst of the big bird migration time of the year and weather radar can help documents the huge flux of birds overhead.

But even more fascinating, we can skillfully predict bird migration using numerical weather prediction.

One of my favorite sites to check out bird migration is BirdCast, run by the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology. I really appreciate this group and as an undergrad at Cornell I frequently visited their Sapsucker Woods Wildlife Sanctuary.

One of the wonderful things they have on their website is real-time bird migration maps based on the clever use of weather radar (see below). Turns out that weather radar is a very effective tool for tracking birds, particularly when there is not much precipitation (when the National Weather Radars are in clear air mode).

The map below provides an example: a real-time snapshot of bird migration at 12:50 AM PDT early this (Saturday) morning. The colors shows the intensity of bird migration and the orange arrows provide the direction of migration (which can be determined from the Doppler weather radar signal!). Not surprisingly, most birds are moving northward and the Pacific Northwest is an active migration route. The largest migration is from Texas to Wisconsin. By the way, the units of this map is THOUSANDS of bird per km line per hour. That is a lot of birds!

Much more at the site. Fascinating and now, it adds a new dimension to watching their comings and goings.

I think I found my spirit animal

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Not a bear after all - this guy:


Today's guest of honor

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Was outside at the BBQ and heard a very familiar chuff sound. Looked around and didn't see anything. Heard it again 30 seconds later and looked out to see a Gray Whale diving in the bay about 200 meters offshore from me.

I feel their presence from time to time - nice to actually see one.

Good dog Ryker

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Service dog training:

He actually did quite well in his tests - folded the wheelchair for transport, the tennis ball on the walker was a tripping hazard, he washed the floor with the water bottle and maybe they needed to clean behind the fridge? What is their question?

Good boy!!!

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UPDATE: Issue with video - looking into it...

Sniffing out some 'black market' hand sanitizer:

I love the way that dogs turn around when they are on a scent. Kilo looks like a really sweet dog - very happy to be working for his best friend. From Fargo, ND and yes, there was a bit of pot in the same bag.

Heh - love the expression and the paws

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The American Kennel Club

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Swirling around the drain - an observation from Terrierman's Daily Dose:

The AKC Continues to Swirl Down the Bowl
In their 2018 annual report (the latest) the AKC doesn’t mention total registrations AT ALL. That’s called whistling past the grave yard.

If you read the AKC balance sheet, you will see that their pension liabilities exceed their total assets. They’re broke, but staying afloat on the cash flow of investment income (which was declining in 2018).

Bottom line: Though Americans have more dogs than ever before, the AKC continues to swirl down the toilet bowl, never looking at its core business model.

Though there are fewer vegetarians in the US than there were 20 years ago, we are told the AKC’s failure is due to the mysterious “Animal Rights” movement.

Terrierman offers this:

Maybe that’s a thing if you are located in downtown Manhattan (101 Park Avenue) where folks don’t mow lawns, own cars, or hunt and fish.

Which raises a question: Why is an organization that is going broke located in downtown Manhattan? Why are the paying New York salaries and rents to ... check notes... run a canine registry that cold just as well be run from Minnesota, Mississippi, or North Carolina?

So true. I have had pure-bred dogs before and share my life with two German Shepherds right now. Did I seek out a good breeder - absolutely. Zero hip problems, no cardiac or temperament issues. Perfect pups. Were their parents AKC registered? Yes. Did I bother to pay the bucks to the AKC and register them? Nope. No reason to.

It is a simple matter to follow the paperwork and see that the sire and dam have had their OFA hip x-rays (or the PennHip - this looks better) and to look at their breeding records and spot check other pups in the lineage. A lot of this stuff is now online. The AKC does nothing for me.

So sad - wolves

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We were talking about wolves the other night - this caught my eye:


Just because

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So true

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Found at Terrierman's


That is the one mistake that God made - giving dogs their 15 year lifespan.

Found on the web:


Heh - 74 pounds of CMUs and some zip ties. Pure genius.

Such a good boy!

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Quite the find - from the Beeb:

Siberia: 18,000-year-old frozen 'dog' stumps scientists
Researchers are trying to determine whether an 18,000-year-old puppy found in Siberia is a dog or a wolf.

The canine - which was two months old when it died - has been remarkably preserved in the permafrost of the Russian region, with its fur, nose and teeth all intact.

DNA sequencing has been unable to determine the species.

Scientists say that could mean the specimen represents an evolutionary link between wolves and modern dogs.

Photos at the site - cute lil' guy. Got two of it's great great great grandchildren sleeping at my feet right now.

Too cute

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From the internet:




A tale of two Coyotes

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Swiped form Grouchy Old Cripple:

The Governor of California is jogging with his dog along a nature trail. A coyote jumps out and attacks the Governor’s dog, then bites the Governor.

The Governor starts to intervene, but reflects upon the movie “Bambi” and then realizes he should stop because the coyote is only doing what is natural.

He calls animal control. Animal Control captures the coyote and bills the state $200 testing it for diseases and $500 for relocating it.

He calls a veterinarian. The vet collects the dead dog and bills the State $200 testing it for diseases.

The Governor goes to hospital and spends $3,500 getting checked for diseases from the coyote and on getting his bite wound bandaged.

The running trail gets shut down for 6 months while Fish & Game conducts a $100,000 survey to make sure the area is now free of dangerous animals.

The Governor spends $50,000 in state funds implementing a “coyote awareness program” for residents of the area.

The State Legislature spends $2 million to study how to better treat rabies and how to permanently eradicate the disease throughout the world.

The Governor’s security agent is fired for not stopping the attack. The state spends $150,000 to hire and train a new agent with additional special training for the nature of coyotes.

PETA protests the coyote’s relocation and files a $5 million suit against the state.

The Governor of Texas is jogging with his dog along a nature trail. A coyote jumps out and attacks his dog.

The Governor shoots the coyote with his state-issued pistol and keeps jogging. The Governor has spent $.50 on a .45 ACP hollow point cartridge.

The buzzards eat the dead coyote.

And that, my friends, is why California is broke and Texas is not.

Much more than a grain of truth there.

What a sweetie

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Such love! Just want to cuddle him and give him some wubbies. From President Trump's twitter feed:


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From National Public Radio:

'Not One Drop Of Blood': Cattle Mysteriously Mutilated In Oregon
In the early morning light, dust from hooves creates a fog at Silvies Valley Ranch in remote eastern Oregon. Cowboys whistle and talk low to their eager herding dogs. They're moving the cattle from one vast, sage-studded range to another.

Five young purebred bulls mysteriously showed up dead on the ranch this past summer, drained of blood and with body parts precisely removed.

The ranch's vice president, Colby Marshall, drives his truck down a U.S. Forest Service road.

"Then we'll get out and take a little walk to where one of the bulls was found. And the carcass is still there," Marshall says.

Coming upon one of the dead bulls is an eerie scene. The forest is hot and still, apart from a raven's repeating caw. The bull looks like a giant, deflated plush toy. It smells. Weirdly, there are no signs of buzzards, coyotes or other scavengers. His red coat is as shiny as if he were going to the fair, but he's bloodless and his tongue and genitals have been surgically cut out.

And not just this one instance:

Two years ago and 200 miles south, near New Princeton, Ore., one of Andie Davies' cows was also found cut up and bloodless.

She and her husband drove concentric circles around the corpse, but they never found any tracks.

And in this dusty country, "everything you do leaves tracks," Davies says.

Back in the 1980s, one of Terry Anderson's mother cows was mysteriously killed overnight. Standing at his ranch near Pendleton, Ore., Anderson points to the exact spot where he found her on top of a mountain.

He remembers his cow lying dead, her udder removed with something razor sharp.


Unintended consequences - mosquitos

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Two stories:

First - the concept. From

Brazil mutant mosquitoes to breed out diseases
Scientists in Brazil are preparing to release millions of factory-bred mosquitoes in an attempt to wipe out their distant cousins that carry tropical diseases. The insects' method: have sex and then die.

British firm Oxitec says its genetically modified mosquitoes will swarm in among ordinary species such as Aedes aegypti, the insect that carries feared diseases such as Zika, dengue, yellow fever and chikungunya.

They will mate with the females of the ordinary mosquitoes, spawning babies with a genetically inbuilt flaw that causes them to die quickly.

With their work done, the modified father mosquitoes will then give up the ghost themselves—as they are genetically programmed to do.

Nice idea but... From the New York Post:

Plan to kill off mosquitoes backfires, spawning mutant hybrid insects
In what sounds like the plot to a Syfy channel original movie, a plan to curb a mosquito population has backfired spectacularly, making the disease-carriers even more resilient to pest-control measures.

The plan involved genetically altering mosquitoes in Brazil so their babies would die instantly, reported Futurism.

And what actually happened?

For a time, the plan seemed to be going swimmingly. The genetically-modified mosquitoes bred with their wild counterparts, causing a dip in the wild population.

Unfortunately, the numbers came roaring back just 18 months later.

Researchers think that the wild female mosquitoes may have grown wise to the measure and began avoiding the genetically modified males, reported New Atlas.

And if that wasn’t Jurassic Park enough, the wild mosquitoes could have developed a resiliency to the measure, making their population even harder to quash. Now, the region has been left with a huge population of hybrids (combinations of the Brazilian native mosquitoes and the Cuban and Mexican breeds that were genetically altered in the lab) — an outcome that could make the entire population more resistant to the original mosquito control measures.

“The claim was that genes from the release strain would not get into the general population because offspring would die,” Yale researcher Jeffrey Powell, one of the authors of the study, told New Atlas. “That obviously was not what happened.”

Talk about unintended consequences. Time to bring back DDT. Yes, it is bad for the environment and caused problems with bird shells but at that time, we were marinating in it. Carefully used, it would greatly minimize our worst pest with little or no environmental problems.


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I love bears - would get one for a pet if it was legal. Ran into this photo of a proud mom and three bundles of trouble:


Too cute by far. Love the body language. Very distinct personalities.

Crap - dog dies in Nebraska

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Someone just did not understand basic air movement - from the Omaha World-Herald:

Dog dies in Omaha after being left in air-conditioned SUV for 3 hours
A German shepherd died Sunday after being left in an air-conditioned SUV for about three hours at a west Omaha restaurant, and animal control officials say the dog’s death is a reminder that heat kills.

The owners of the dog told animal control officers that they had left their SUV running and the air conditioning on, said Mark Langan of the Nebraska Humane Society.

The problem:

The dog had been placed in a plastic kennel in the far back of the SUV, next to the rear window. The vehicle was not parked in the spot of shade available in the restaurant parking lot, according to a waitress.

The car was parked in direct sunlight and even though the air conditioning was running, the vents on the crate were not able to convey the cool air to the inside. The direct sunlight through the window heated the crate and killed the poor dog.

When I am on the road, I always make sure to park in the shade and leave the windows open. I love their company (and they love riding with me) but if the skies are clear and the temp is above 70, I always leave them at home. Sad story...

Aptly named - from Russia Today:

Flesh-eating ‘Obama worm’ invading Europe through Spain, threatens local ecosystem
A 7cm-long flatworm with hundreds of eyes along the length of its body has been accidentally imported from South America and is now threatening soil quality and local wildlife in Spain, with possibly more drastic consequences.

The Obama flatworm (Obama nungara) has been spotted thriving in the rice paddies of the Parc Natural de L’Albufera in Valencia. Conservationist group SEO/Birdlife raised the alarm earlier this week.

The name is a coincidence but...

The parasite, which is named after the Brazilian Tupi words for leaf (oba) and animal (ma) rather than the former US president, threatens to decimate the native earthworm population and, in doing so, disrupt the health and fertility of local soil, which will spark a domino effect for the entire regional food chain.

Nasty pest - bitter so birds do not eat it. It eats earthworms and other beneficials and has no known predator.

Great photo

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I love bears - this is downright cute. Just want to hang out with the older one and play with the cub:


From The Seattle Times:

Officials moved nearly 100 mountain goats from the Olympics last summer. How are they doing now?
Blindfolded, sedated mountain goats will soar over the Olympic Peninsula once again.

Beginning next week, a helicopter crew will capture mountain goats in Olympic National Park and the adjacent national forest. Captured animals will be taken across Puget Sound by refrigerator truck and released in the North Cascades mountain range.

The operation, now in its second year, is part of an ambitious, logistically complicated project that aims to correct historical wildlife-management mistakes, to eradicate mountain goats in a range where they’re not welcome and boost their numbers in another.

More than 100 goats were captured last summer and moved. Between 65 and 70 animals survived the winter, estimated Rich Harris, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife biologist leading the agency’s work to translocate goats. Five of 10 relocated kid goats survived, he said.

This summer, helicopters crews will again use net guns and immobilizing darts to down goats from the air, then sling them beneath the aircraft and fly them to a staging area, where the animals receive veterinary attention before traveling.

More at the site - here is a photo by Ramon Dompor / The Seattle Times:


Had goats when I was farming. Fun animals. I love the babies - talk about cute.

Finding a new home - a bear

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Back on May 1st of this year, I posted about a black bear that was sighted a couple miles from my house. It has since been seen all over this area. They caught it last Saturday. From the Stanwood-Camano News:

Wildlife officials capture island-hopping black bear in Mount Vernon
A black bear’s island tour is over.

The fuzzy tourist was captured early Saturday in Mount Vernon after a suspected journey throughout local waters.

“The bear is scheduled to be released, in the wild, on his own recognizance” Mount Vernon police wrote in a news release.

Distinctive markings on the bear prompted Fish and Wildlife officers to believe it was the same bear that had been spotted in Island, San Juan and Skagit counties, and that the bear has been swimming from location to location.

“The bear did, however, refuse to identify himself, so positive identification could not be verified” after Saturday’s capture, police wrote.

Officers with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife worked with Mount Vernon police and fire departments to keep the bear safe after a tranquilizer brought it down from a tree in the 400 block of North 17th Street, according to a news release from police. It was safely caught in a tarp as it slipped from the tree at about 4 a.m. The Mount Vernon Fire Department assisted in the capture.

He enjoyed quite the tour:

The male bear has been spotted on Camano, Whidbey, Fidalgo, Orcas, San Juan, Lopez, Decatur, Blakley, Shaw islands. Local residents, ferry workers and boaters have witnessed and filmed the bear swimming across channels.

Hitting all the tourist spots... I love bears - would have one for a pet if it was legal.

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