Sunday, May 26, 2013

Of turtlenecks and turtles

Only two days ago the sun was shining and I rashly decided I could safely start packing away the winter clothes and bring out the summer things. Thankfully, I hesitated because it's been cold and rainy ever since.

I am loathe to shed my turtlenecks shirts too soon. I have been wearing them every winter since 1980 when I started having trouble with chronic stiff neck pain. As long as I have my turtlenecks, I'm OK. Of course, this has seriously limited my wardrobe. Everything I wear must be compatible with a high necked shirt. I manage by having a wide assortment of turtleneck shirts that I turned into "shells" by cutting out the sleeves. I also have many long-sleeved turtlenecks in a variety of colors.

If I start wearing low-necked shirts too early in the year, I pay for it with neck pain. I do daily exercises to keep the neck muscles limber so I can pass the peripheral-vision test for my driver's license. 
                       ( Not one of the neck exercises that I do!)

The Wildlife Rehabilitation Center where I volunteer has an area for turtles (actually tortoises) that have been injured. Broken shells can be repaired with splints and adhesives. Many turtles are struck by cars when crossing the road.                                        
The really sad fact is that it is sometimes deliberate. A University researcher recently conducted a study by placing a fake tortoise on a busy road and counting the number of cars that ran over it. One out of fifty drivers went out of their way to hit it. But just having a broken shell doesn't kill a turtle and they may crawl off to die of infection or shock.

There is now an alarming decline in the number of tortoises and frogs. There is a corresponding increase in the number of people. It all makes me terribly sad.

Maybe some sunshine and summer shirts will improve my mood!

Friday, May 10, 2013

An offbeat salute to Mother's Day

I clipped this cartoon from the newspaper many years ago because it made me laugh. Dick Guindon's cartoons appeared regularly in the Minneapolis Star Tribune until he retired in 2005. I still miss them.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

The end of the story

Last spring, I posted about the widower Canadian goose who faithfully returned to the spot where his mate was killed by a car seven years ago.  This morning, I drove past that spot and saw he was lying dead beside the road near where she died.

There's really nothing uplifting that can be said about it except that millions of new little Canadian geese are being hatched at this time of year. It's still the sad ending to a sad story.
                     (Rock on, all you lovely geese parents!)

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Feeding Baby Birds

I had my first four-hour shift in the Avian Nursery last night at the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center. The nursery is in a large, very warm room lined with incubators for the smallest baby birds that are coming in every day.
In one of the artificial nests are four tiny house finches who were brought into the center last week. A family had been cleaning their yard and took down a Christmas wreath and threw it into a bonfire. Only then did they see that a mother bird had built a nest in it with the four baby birds. They were quickly rescued and brought into the center. If their enthusiastic cheeps and appetites are any indication, they will do very well.

They are kept in an incubator inside a plastic box half the size of a shoe box. Inside the box is a hand-knitted nest and inside that nest is very soft bathroom tissue rolled into a cone into which the birds are nestled. They are fed a special formula with a syringe every 15 minutes from morning until night.  The older birds are fed every half hour. When they are ready to fledge, they're moved to large outdoor cages before they're released.

The Avian Nursery is only 10% filled now, but in the coming weeks, it will be filled to capacity as more and more little birds are orphaned and abandoned--or mistakenly believed to be.
                                   (Beautiful, they ain't!)