My YouTube Videos

Friday, July 11, 2008

Blue Sleeps

Blue Sleeps soundly at night puffed up, sometimes with his head tucked making him into a perfect ball. Often he will fall asleep out of his cage and I can pick him up and he will stay asleep in my hand. I put him on his perch next to his beloved mop and he curls up next to it. I never thought a bird sleeping could be so beautiful. Here are a few photos to judge for yourself.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Blue Video

Elusive Suntrance and Meal in the wild

This Comes from From: kiaoragin on Youtube. She shot a wild young Scrub doing the Sun Trance and then getting fed from its parents. Enjoy this great footage.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Blue brings food and treats to me durring ilness. New Video!

Hi Folks,
There have been many new comments on the post "What do i do if I find a Scrub Jay?" There is a link on the left. There is much to learn from the many people who have saved and released many birds. Thanks to all who have left comments as we all learn from them. I have tried to answer all the emails and comments regarding people in need of help when they come across a distressed or abandoned Scrub Jay. If I missed someone during my illness, I apologize.

I have been very ill for the last 2 months, basically housebound. I am doing much better now. Blue began to bring me things throughout the day on the first day I became ill. It started with food. I was not eating much. He was care taking. He would bring me a piece of a nut or cat food and do what you see in the video below, grunting for me to take it. If its food, I pretend to eat it and then hide it quickly when he is not looking. Then the treats he had stolen throughout my illness began to come back to me as offerings. He has always brought me things occasionally but never many times a day and never food until my long down period. As soon as I got better, the food deliveries stopped. But we still trade little objects daily. Blue is doing well but getting all brand new feathers in. This is always a bit rough on him. They require more rest during this period. He now only has his tail feathers left to drop. He is doing great quietly sitting on my hand as I type this.

You may notice Blues beak is overgrown. Blues vet had told be not to worry and to leave it because it was too stressful on most birds to clip them. It got worse. I decided Blue could handle it if I did it. Not only did he handle it well, he sang to me and brought me a treat afterward. He loves his new very sharp normal beak. I cannot use sand paper on his perches as many people do to prevent this. He rubs his eyes on the perches. His mineral block etc. is not enough to keep his beak from overgrowth. He is blind in one eye from a cataract. This is the only health issue he has had in the ten years we have been together.

We have also moved into a new apartment right next door. Its the same exact layout, but backwards, which took some time for Blue to figure out... 1 day.

Beth Cataldo came yesterday to work on the documentary about Blue and I.
I would like to thank her for her endless patience during my illness.
Here is a link about her last movie, the Multimedia Company she manges, and her personal website. All are well worth the visit.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Eagle attacks goat - throws off cliff

This is amazing and hopefully real. Though its not a Scrub Jay I thought I would post it anyway. New Stuff coming soon from Blue who is doing well. were busy working on the Documentary.
clipped from
 blog it

Friday, April 25, 2008

Blue Plays in and out of his cage

Blue is doing great. I have been spending a great deal of time with him as I get better and adjust to my new seizure meds. Blue has been bringing me food, which is a brand new thing he does. Something that began when I became ill. We exchange objects on a nearly hourly basis, sometime much more. But even Blue needs time to himself. Blue is out of his cage most of the time. But he will ask when he wants in his cage. And when he does he organizes and plays and even softly sings to himself.

Here is a video of Blue playing in his cage. You may notice his beak is slightly over grown. I trimmed it yesterday and he is just fine and was not fazed in the least. I have been putting it off and now realize that even Blue knew it was for his best interest and trusts me to do such a thing. Five minutes later he did his dance and song with his wings spread, a show of affection to me. In the wild it is a mating dance. With Spring here Blue is dancing and singing 5 times a day.

During this time of recovery, Blue has saved me once again. I never get bored as Blue is always ready to play, to hide things and bring things to me. To play a simple game of tug of war or sit on my shoulder and take a nap or gently sing to me as I slumber. He sits on top of my laptop as I write, often leaving and coming back and forth with treats. If he gives me something, I give him something in return. Blue now has seven bowls, dishes and caches to hide his booty throughout the house.

When I am home he does demand one thing -- that I am nearby, within eye shot. This is fine, until I need a daytime nap. I have to move his cage near my bed, the only room he is not allowed in freely, as it is not bird proof. Katie makes jewelry and there are too many tempting things to steal for Blue while I sleep, shinny beads and silver strands a plenty for a flying pirate such as Blue. He is never allowed out without being watched. There are far too many things that can happen with such a curious bird. While the cage is at the door of my room where he can watch me snooze, he does so silently, aware I am sleeping. He never awakens me, but often sings the whisper song to me which is very conducive to sleep. He will also squeeze in a few winks with me at times. If he knows I am home, and in the other room ignoring him, he will make noise until I change my act. There are no breaking these rules.

I enjoy the fact Blue is so closely bonded with me. Scrub Jays mate for life. It shows me that all animals, as well as people need others around them to be truly happy. Were not so different, animals and humans -- we all need relationships, friendship and love -- as well as food, water and a warm safe environment.

Tim Rumford

Enjoy Blue in his cage playing.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Spring is here!


Spring is here and it came early. New birds are appearing at the feeder & Blue is getting very spunky as he does in the spring. Good news, my new seizure medicine worked and the neurological issues I was facing have quickly diminished. Blue can tell I feel better. Yesterday he danced and allowed me to pet him and then started flipping his wings and talking like a baby, just as he did when he was being hand fed as a little baby.

When Spring comes so do many people searching for help from me when they find a Scrub Jay in distress. I will be updating diets, and creating lists of native animal rescue centers. I firmly believe you should not keep a wild bird unless there is no alternative. Last year out of about sixty rescues, only three people had to keep there birds. My next post will be an updated version of what to do should you find a scrub jay in distress. Until then enjoy this movie of Blue and some of the nature nearby as spring awakens.

Monday, March 17, 2008

The Comfort of Animals in an insane world

The Comfort of Animals in an insane world
by Tim Rumford
This has been one of the roughest months I have had in many years. My epilepsy returned, something that I have had since my recovery from encephalitis. I used to be so sensitive to light I could not read, watch a movie in a theater or use the computer without having a seizure. That was during the first three years of recovery starting in 1997. During this time I also had spinal surgery which left me in chronic pain.
I was told any symptoms left after that 3 years would remain permanent. This proved to be largely correct. But my seizures and light sensitivity have returned again, nearly 7 years later. Epilepsy never goes away, but the medicine keeps it at bay, like a lurking monster, you always know its there and may return to haunt you.
My seizure medicine stopped working. After a few weeks of getting sicker and sicker from trying to use the computer, read, film and just be. I had three seizures in a week. I had to stop everything. No more reading, driving, or even answering simple e-mails. I saw my new neurologist. He was concerned and has ordered several tests, MRI's, EEG, blood work and... and new seizure meds... My seizures changed. There are different types - Grand Mall Seizures, Petite Seizures, Partial Seizers etc. One things stayed the same -- the trigger is light sensitivity, stress, and illness.

For those that have never had to take a seizure medicine, they can take a very long time to get used to, and often, they must try different ones to see which work for best for your seizures. The side effects can be horrible and sometimes it takes a full month to get used to them.

The first one I tried made me more than groggy, worse, after only a few days, it amplified my light sensitivity, sending me into a whirlwind nausea, illness, isolation and more seizures. I feel like I am moving backwards in time, going back to the state I have worked so hard to get out of. Of Course I have Blue, and this is sometimes the only thing to keep me going.

This is very depressing. Not being able to do anything is also very hard to deal with. Slowly, like right now -- I am able to do small things. This is the first time I have used the computer in weeks. I wear sunglasses and use a filter on my monitor. Still , I now have to write in fifteen minute spurts. I may only get one or two in a day, or none at all.

I stopped the new medicine. The side effects were too much for this humble writer to take. Four days later, still tired to the bone, my eyes returned to the same level of light sensitivity we were trying to fix. I was back at square one. I began to become very depressed. Then just to top it off, I got the flu, again. With a fever of 103.5, vomiting, headache and sore throat, I could stand no light at all. My days were spent in bed with covers over my eyes, or crawling on the floor to the bathroom. There is something else going on the doctors have not been able to pinpoint, some autoimmune disorder not yet diagnosed. So I have been sick on and off for about 6 months. Mostly it was small viral illnesses or flus. This was a short lived flu, but a veracious stomach flu, and as the norm its was again viral, so there is not much they can do.

I have learned to live within a world of many limitations. But every creative outlet I have relies on my ability to read, write, and use the computer – except playing music, and of course hanging out with my pal Blue. Even playing music is out of the question if I am feeling ill. Everybody needs to have creative outlets, and mine were all taken away, or at least it seems from my perspective at this time. I will feel better.
Blue, as many of you have read in my first posts, rescued me as much as I rescued him -- maybe more. He gave me something to care for, to love, and to live for during a time I was seriously ready to give up. Cash in my chips per say.

When I rescued Blue, he was just a little baby, fresh out of the egg, still wet to the touch. I was in the beginning of my so called three year recovery. I was living in a small dingy trailer that was depressing in itself. I could have stayed with my family whom is loving and endlessly supportive. I needed to be alone through that period. I was dead broke fighting for my Social Security Disability. My medicine alone was costing me $1200 a month. I was un-insurable through any corporate insurance company. I now had a “preexisting condition”. This is one of the great sins of our Country, to tell someone they cannot get insurance or medical care, because they are too ill. It happens everyday.

When I found Blue I decided if I could keep him alive, I could do the same for myself. He was the best medicine I have ever received. I made a pledge to Blue in my trailer that night, and I meant to keep it.

Now ten years later I am entering another test in my life, a low point in my health reminiscent of days I thought had long passed. I am not complaining. Everyone suffers in this world. No one is immune. Comparing suffering is a game I try not to play. No one persons suffering is diminished because someone else's suffering is worse or better. I am blessed to be alive, to have a roof and a warm bed, and friends and family that love me. Still, life can get very hard, for anyone. Society demands from us certain things I believe to be very suicidal in nature. Disabled, sick or healthy, these demands can become too much for anyone. Yet these things are always there and at least for me, I cant seem to escape them completely.

This last few months have just gotten worse and worse progressively. At the height of illness, I had three nervous breakdowns in one day. I was a mess. Blue again has saved me. With the neurological issues comes extreme agitation I try to keep at bay.

Blues behavior is changing in ways as he gets older. However, instead of acting...old, he acts more young. He plays more now than ever, he invents new games and new ways of getting the attention he needs and wants and we shower him with it. He dances and sings more. He goes in to a mood where he acts like a baby, flapping his wings as he did when he needed food as a baby, and making baby sounds. His bond with me changes and grows. There are things he does I am not sure people would even believe, but believe this, he has once again rescued me from myself. He has shown me there is joy everywhere.

I am am very much a realist, a rational person. I believe and have witnessed things I cant explain in life. Not only with Blue but many other things. The world is full of mysterious and beautiful things far from our grasp of knowledge, but I also believe all these things have explanations.

Somehow, Blue knows when I am sick. He also knows if either Katie or I are stressed. I figure the knowing about the stress is from the changes in the inflections in our voices. Blue is very much aware by the tone of my voice, what kind of mood I am in. If I cry, Blue will immediately land on me and sit on my shoulder as close to my head as he can. If I get sick with something like the flu, which amplifies my other problems, Blue goes into care mode. He will not leave my side, sometimes for weeks. I just got better this morning from the flu that hit me right after the medication fiasco. A huge bottle of a yet another new seizure medicine awaits me, and it makes me sick just looking at it. But in a few days, I have to try again.

When I got the flu, I was throwing up, having small seizures, and had the worse case of restless leg syndrome I have ever encountered. I was so tired I could not function, but could not rest or even sit down -- for 12 hours due to RLS. My agitation grew worse as I got sicker and could not settle my legs down enough to simply rest, sleep or just... be. My fever got to 103.5. It got so bad I was slithering around on the floor. I felt like I just wanted to crawl out of my skin. I was slithering down the hallway, wearing sunglasses to keep th light out of my eyes. Blue fluttered above me worried like a medical helicopter trying to find a place to land on me that was still.

I tried to calm Blue down, but I was so sick I could barley speak to Blue. Then I noticed he has something in his beak. Blue will often give me something when I am not well. Normally he will return a stolen object, like a guitar pick, coin, or key. Mostly he coughs up a peanut to give me, which I accept and pretend to eat. I am not sure he buys it but I make a good attempt. Sometimes I will show him that I have hid it in my own spot. If I do this, Blue will not return and take it.

As I tried to focus on what he had, I realized it was exactly what I needed and was planning on finding as soon as I could get up off the floor, get to the bathroom, vomit, and be able to speak to a doctor. Blue had my new Neurophysiology Doctors business card in his beak. . I was in trouble. I was alone and I needed to call him. My neurological problems were so bad coupled with the flu and a high fever, I was very scared. Blue had been trying to give it to me for ten minutes.

It would not had been so strange if this card had been something Blue had shown previous interest in, but he had not. It had been sitting on the coffee table for three weeks. Blue often steals from here, and checks out the area daily. He had passed up stealing that card 100 times since I placed it there. I am not saying blue knew this card was my doctors. But he sees me use the card, many times when I am sick.

I accepted the card from Blue. I gave him a guitar pick in return, the only thing I had with me which we now give back to each other ever so often. He also took the card back when I was done, and hid it in his bowl, where it still sits. He takes it out now and then. I have let him keep it.

Still today Blue will not leave my side. He is sitting 4 inches away now. If I get up he will follow. This is what Blue does when I am in distress. If I am well, he flies all over hiding things, getting into trouble, plays, and although we interact allot, he entertains himself very well. He can spend hours investigating something new or hiding and re-hiding his many cache's of treats and treasure and stolen objects. As long as I am in eyesight, I can keep him out of trouble and he is happy.

If Blue is alone in the house he is content and will sing softly to himself. We put a camera on him when we left for several hours to see how he was alone. He was fine and I was very happy to discover this. Everyone needs time alone, even a bird. Although he is not alright for any long lengths of time in our absence. I we leave him alone for more than 5-6 hours, he will become sad. So Blue is never alone for that long. Its part of the promise I made. It's also the reason I try and tell people to think very hard before you keep such a bird as a rescue. The commitment is huge -- one I am happy I took. Unlike a dog, I cant give Blue to someone else should I become tired of caring for him, he would never be the same. I know this will never happen. Should something happen to me, Katie has bonded enough with Blue that he would remain happy.

When I am home, Blue demands one thing from me, sick or well; I must always be in view of him unless I am just getting up to go to the bathroom or get something quickly out of another room.

Every day I have needed to take a nap at 2:00. My body sort of shuts down. If I am not watching Blue, I put him in his cage. He is so interested in getting into EVERYTHING, that I do have to watch him when he is out. When I went to take my naps I would put him in his cage. Recently, he refuses. When I start to dose off, he will scream at me from his cage.. This the only time he ever screams or acts loud. Its like, “Come get me NOW!” It has nothing to do with being in the cage. Its not a cage to him, its his house, and 95% of the time, the door is always open. He demands time in his cage to hide and arrange his nuts and to rest.

I could not figure out how to solve this problem. I needed my rest too. Blue needs contentment. I am responsible for Blue including his contentment. I raised him, I opted not to let him die but to remove him from the wild. If he is unhappy, its my doing, end of story. It is my responsibility to fix it. The bedroom is one place Blue is not allowed to fly free. Katie does her arts and crafts in there, and too many things that are dangerous to Blue and readily available for him to steal. He used to just sleep on my head, or a perch nearby my bed. But I worry too much he will get into trouble as I sleep. A few weeks ago, dying for sleep. I placed the cage right up to the door of the bedroom so Blue had a clear view of me sleeping. This not only worked, but Blue enjoys it and sings softly to me as I slumber and eventually will take his own nap. He now looks forward to this time. He expects it, and thank goodness.
Had I not been so sick, I would have figured this out long ago.

The Documentary is continuing, but changing as my life spins somewhat uncontrollably around me. Its hard filming Blue, and will take time to capture all the little moments that shows who Blue really is. I am very glad Beth has been so easy to work with and understanding of what is happening in my life.

Tomorrow will be like Christmas for Blue. We just got him a slew of kids toys that do all kinds of things when you push a button, make a noise etc. Blue has a deep fascination with electronics, particularly if they have buttons, lights, and react to his actions. The TV remote, the phone, my computer, the camera, all these things fascinate Blue to no end. It was Katie that came up with the idea of trying these toys and its a great idea. I look forward to watching him learn how to make them interact.

It took seven sittings to write this. Blue is still 6 inches away watching me. I am much better today, but Blue is not convinced its over, and he is right. I have tests and new meds awaiting me.

I see Blue pave new paths to greater and greater happiness and enjoyment of life as he gets older. I often wonder which one is really the smart one here. I never trained Blue. I let him make his own rules. I never trained him to come to me on command, or let him think I was the master as you would with some animals, such as a dog. You cannot punish a bird. You cannot get mad at a bird. It serves no purpose and will only harm it. This freedom allows Blue to try things. It also makes him free in the sense that he is his own master, at least of his small realm. I may have to save him from himself at times, but its Blue that discovers happiness in the mundane items we give him.

Its Blue that seeks out joy, love and affection. It is Blue that can take a pare of chop sticks and find joy in them for an hour. Then show us they are much more than just sticks, but toys to play tug of war, sticks he can sit on and ride as we hold them and move them around as he enjoys the movement of being on such a bouncy unstable stick that barley holds his weight. That a chop stick can be chewed up, hidden, and best of all, can be used to gently pet him all over. He loves this. He finds joy in removing the paper, and the interaction of playing with the sticks and us. These joys are just a few of hundreds he has found in the simplest things. It reminds me of being a child and playing for hours in a cardboard box. When I was a young boy, my mom reminds me I would play for a day with a roll of tape and a huge cardboard box, building a fort, or whatever. We loose are childhoods. We grow up and we also loose the ability to find joy in something as simply as a cardboard box. Blue does the opposite. His mind seems to stay young, in spirit, as he grows old.

I hope to find that kind of peace, again.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008


This is Cheeky,
A commenter here and fellow Scrub Jay enthusiast caught this film of a wild, but befriended young scrub doing the Sun Trance. They named him Cheeky. Its rare to catch them doing this, as they really do trance out and are very vulnerable to attack. They must feel very safe, as this young bird did in their own yard.

I have seen other videos on you tube of Cheeky entering their house, checking out a few things and fearlessly leaving.

This shows you do not have to capture a bird to have relationship with it. It takes time, patience and peanuts ( In California) , but its worth the time.

Blues parents were friends. We feed them and they would land on us after months of work out in my mothers yard. Their first nest was in a very poorly chosen spot. A short tree in the front yard, which was odd, as we never fed them their or interacted with them there. It was also a tree kids climbed and the nest was in plain view. Crows came and killed every newborn but Blue, who dove or fell out of the nest at one day old -- still wet he survived the fall. Another bird fell with him and died on impact. No rescue center would take him at the time. The next year they moved the nest to a great spot and had a successful year and the same family continues on today, Blues relatives.
But things have changed since then. Now we have a great Native Animal Rescue Center that is VERY responsive.
Thanks for this great video of this youngster sun trancing. You can find more great videos of Cheeky and MANY other birds on there YouTube Channel -

Friday, February 29, 2008

NASA wants to clear Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge

In Florida, meetings have been attracting bird and nature enthusiasts over plans by NASA to clear a section of Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge in Florida for a launching pad. The meetings at there height drew about 300 people and none appeared to be in favor of the idea. Suggestions of using the old Canaveral Air Force Base property were proposed, which would be ideal because it would involve redevelopment of an existing site, which sounds like a better economic development project than clearing wildlife habitat and would serve NASA's needs just as well. I hope NASA listens.

Few other developers could get away with destroying a habitat that supports the only endemic bird in the State, the Florida Scrub Jay. As our new poster Andromeda pointed out, “There was a push a few years ago to make it our state bird. ( this humble writer thought it was the state bird...) Sadly, it was squashed claiming that the bird didn't represent "family values" since it has been known to rob nests. The senator, of course, conveniently left out the fact that they're co-operative breeders; they're so unique in that they live in little family groups and the young from years past stick around to help their parents rear future chicks.” Andromeda was right on the mark.

This has to be one of the most ignorant statements about nature I have heard spewed from the mouth of a politician in a long time. Although it does not surprise me in the least. Our own president called the Constitution “Just a God damned piece of paper!” when an aide mentioned portions of the Patriot Act were unconstitutional.

Scrub Jays are not the nest robbers people often claim they are. They do rarely take eggs, more so with the Western Scrub. Still this is very rare. Even if they were true, it would be meaningless to me in how I perceive these birds. Do we think less of the Bald Eagle because it kills to survive and robs nests. It's nature and how nature works. Were the only animal that kills for fun, and even our own species. If it was the state bird, this development plan would face more opposition.

So they may not be the state bird, but they are in great danger from development and on the endangered list. The complex NASA is proposing would cost more than half a billion dollars to build, and would take a toll on fragile wildlife and wetlands in the refuge and surrounding area. And it could close down some of the choice spots for bird-watching, kayaking, fishing and beach combing.

"There are just a lot of unknowns," said Dorn Whitmore, supervising ranger at the refuge. "It could close most of the refuge to visitors. Half of Mosquito Lagoon could be closed all or part of the time, and parts of Playalinda Beach could be shut down."

“About 500 families of endangered scrub-jays and other wildlife such as bald eagles, gopher tortoises and marsh rabbits also could be threatened and their habitat destroyed,” Whitmore said.

Because of the concerns, NASA is meeting with residents during four public hearings in TitusvilleNew Smyrna Beach this week.

"We're looking for issues, concerns and information that would help us," said Mario Busacca, the director of planning and special projects in the Environmental Program Office at KSC.

"But if people come expecting answers to all their questions, they will be disappointed."

NASA officials said the idea of a private launchpad is in its infancy.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Blue has done this dance for me solely, until yesterday when he suddenly did it for Katie. Blue has been with me since he was only a few hours or maybe a day old. So I always assumed it was because he thought I was his father or something. We have a great bond. I know its a sign of affection, most likely used as a mating dance in the wild. However for the last two and a half years, Katie has been the real hero in the house. She tends to the cages and spoils Blue silly with every conceivable nut and vegetable available in the western hemisphere. So I was very happy when he did the dance for her. I did film it but you will have to wait for the documentary to see that part. Until then, here is Blue dancing for me, just as he did for Katie.

I would like to thank Professor Clayton from the UK. He is studying the memory and capabilities of Scrub Jays and other related birds. He sent me a plethora of information on the current studies they have performed. I will make the PDF files available here soon. His work is fascinating and he has been more than helpful. I always knew they were smart and his work has only shown me they are even more intelligent in ways I was previously unaware.

Also we have a new poster,
Andromeda who has sent in some very intelligent and thoughtful comments and some video that has proved to be very illuminating. Andromeda lives in Florida and is very knowledgeable about the Florida Scrub Jay. I look forward to hearing more and thank her for her time. The video shows activity in the wild Western Scrubs don't often do unless domesticated. I am learning more about the subtle and not so subtle differences.

Although I do post videos to YouTube, due to the
size restrictions I post many videos directly to my Blog. I can give you better quality videos without limitations. I will be posting a link list to all the videos hosted here with descriptions for easy access soon.

Over 130 Wild Buffalo Slaughtered in Yellowstone: up to 275 total wil be sent to slaughter

Although this has little to do with Scrub Jays, it has everything to do with animal rights. This issue needs the most attention it can receive. This is absolutely deplorable. In this article you will find both video and audio links if you wish to become more informed on this issue. Click on the "Clipped From " link for the entire article. Warning, the video is very disturbing. I could barley watch it. If I had the money I would go and join with protesters as this is just so very wrong. If your unsure I ask you to watch the video and tell me why this is necessary. These animals have already been nearly wiped from the face of the earth once, and now we treat them like this! There is no reason that makes this OK. I don't care if the Buffalo were trampling tourists. (there not) They have more right to that land then we do.

Everyone who participated in this should be put in prison.

clipped from
Over 130 Wild Buffalo Slaughtered in Yellowstone: up to 275 total wil be sent to slaughter
Over 130 wild buffalo have been slaughtered by the National Park Service in Yellowstone. They have captured a total of 275 and plan to slaughter all of them. George Cadman of Free Radio Santa Cruz 101.1 FM spoke with Stephany Seay of the Buffalo Field Campaign about the real reasons behind the slaughter, what they are doing to fight this and how people can get involved.
Since Friday, February 8, 169 American bison (or buffalo) have been captured from within Yellowstone National Park. The National Park Service, under pressure from Montana's livestock industry, has been running the capture operations at the Stephens Creek bison trap located inside Yellowstone's boundaries.
View video of Yellowstone bison in the Stephens Creek Capture Facility:
blog it

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Things have been interesting and busy here. With Spring on the way, new birds are showing up at the feeder, including two new Scrub Jays. Blue perks up when he sees them each morning. Blue also enjoys watching the other birds at the feeder, and their songs. The feeders are right behind his cage. Blue has been hiding more nuts and singing and dancing more as spring approaches.

Filming of the Documentary has begun. Beth has been great to work with and I look forward to working with her on this project.

Today it was raining. I decided to take a walk on the beach while it was drizzling. It amazes me how the birds love the rain. They play in it, bath in it and they bask in it. To birds rain is rain and sun is sun, and my guess is they are both equal in beauty.

I am busy filming Blues many antics on a professional camera. I shot this with a small hand held.
Seabright Beach is wonderful and one of the most polluted beaches we have. Normally the signs say not even to touch the water. Yet the birds bath, drink and eat from this water. Closed waters due to pollution is ramped in the United States. Its sad that our beaches are so polluted , we cant even swim in them.

Houston we have a problem.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Crash returns! Better, Faster Stronger.

Last Tuesday (Super Tuesday) Katie brought a sick bird to the Native Animal Rescue Center here in Santa Cruz. This center is by far the best I have seen. Run completely from donation boxes, they are a full service hospital for native birds. They do not take sea birds.

On Super Tuesday I was super sick with the flu. Crash, a small Brewers Blackbird was taking refuge on our porch. He was blind, but could fly. I thought he may have crashed, thus his name, Crash Helmet Lou.

As the post below describes, Katie my girlfriend carefully packed up Crash and took him to the rescuer center. He was already eating ad drinking when she dropped him off. So we had high hopes for his survival. Video in the post below this one shows his health status compared to the pictures here. There is a vast difference thanks to the folks at Native Animal Rescue.

Today I looked out on the porch and who did I see but Crash! I could tell it was him by his face, and his mannerisms despite the fact the 50 of these birds come each morning. He likes to sit right in the middle of the bowl. He was back and looking much better. Still a bit slower than the other birds, but his color had returned, his eyes open and no longer sunken. He could see. His Color was back. He was able to battle for his rightful turn at the feeder.

Although we were 99.9% sure it was Crash, we called just to make sure. We were right. Crash had been released 24 hours prior.

It ends up we named him aptly. He had hit his head, likely hitting a window in a mid flight crash.
He was given steroids to stop the swelling in his brain and released when he could see and fly just a few days later.

Crash found his way back, after a severe head injury, from 3 miles away. Having had encephalitis myself, which is swelling of the brain. I can tell you that it took me three years to read again or remember much, let alone navigate my way home from the hospital.

Here are some photos. Some are a bit fuzzy as I had to shot from inside through the screen and glass. But you can see, Crash is much better. He seems to like hanging out on the porch all day now, and is unafraid of us. These birds are normally easily spooked, although there is always one or two in a bunch that will be less scared of humans. I think Crash will be using the deck for a long time. A new companion bird. Native birds are important. Find the number to your local animal rescue centers now, so you have the number when you need it.

A Scrub Jay also ventured into the yard today. H returned a few times and brought his mate. Blue was very excited. I hope they continue to come back.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

The rescue of Crash Helmet Lou

Above is Blue flying to land on my head, at 6:30am, before I had a sip of Coffee. He is a chipper bird in the morning as soon as he wakes.

Katie and I have both had the flu and its been a rough week. Blue is always there to cheer us up though, particularly when I am ill. H seems to notice and becomes more playful and attentive to me instead of demanding he be the center of the universe. I gladdy let him have the role of being the center of everything in the house in the Winter, when he can fly, but remains inside.

The Movie is still a go and we are starting some filming next week!

The other day a young sickly Black Bird took refuge on our porch where they feed and bath. The first day he seemed just a little slow, and very friendly. By the second day I knew he was sick. He was unafraid and took water and food by hand with ease. But I can't bring a sick bird into the house. They can infect the other birds.

Katie was the real hero as I was unable to drive, being at the height of my flu. She boxed up the bird and took it to a very busy, unadvertised rescue center that is nothing less than amazing. Run by donations only, it looks like a house from the outside. Once inside you see it is a full blown sterile hospital for native non sea bird rescues. They were glad to take Crash and if he regains his sight will be released here.

We named him Crash Helmet Lou, as he is blind but can fly, although not well. He is eating and drinking and will recover thanks to Kate having the will to go despite her also having the Flu.

Below is a short movie of Crash, Blue, and a glimpse into our super Tuesday. Yes I did vote, not saying for who. Thanks to the volunteers, voting was easy, quick and close by.

Blue has started some new things. When he sings to himself or for me, he sometimes lets me join in with him. I bob my head up and down with him while we both whistle songs to each other. I think he knows I am not as good as him, but he puts up with my lack of bird songs anyway.

Much more to come as I have lots of new equipment as I ready for the Spring. New improved diets and rescue suggestions will be updated soon. Better photos and video as I have new cameras.

For those that are not aware, this site turns into a rescue information center for Scrub Jays in distress in California during the spring. I try and explain to people that you can't keep a young Scrub and feed it every 30 min as the need as baby's without it bonding to you, and after that it can never be released. It is a 12-20 year commitment to keep such a bird and they need lots of attention, love and care daily. So we have found and discovered new ways to get these birds back to their parents quickly or released if not injured badly. One thing we learned is there are exceptions to all the rules.

The Florida Scrub Jay is endangered and it's a crime to keep one. If you find one in Florida and its in need of a rescue you must call animal rescue. It is also their state bird, although a sub species to the Western Scrub, they are in essence the same bird. We simply have the trees and forests to keep a healthy population. If a rescue center like the one I described existed when I found Blue, I would have given him up so he could be released. At that time no such agency existed. The ones that did told me to let him die. He was only a day or two old.

Food for thought --
A Scrub Jay can remember where he hid a nut a full year ago, and they hide on average 89,000 nuts a year. I can't remember where my keys are. They are also a great contributer to reforestation.

Here is the latest. Watch this in full screen, it's in DVD quality.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Blues Afternoon, song, dance, food , stretches, yawns and bedtime

This is a video showing Blue's afternoon near the end of the day. After his morning with Katie, he spends 2 hours hiding nuts and checking his cache of stolen coins, keys, and nuts. He hides everything twice, always in full view of Katie and I. So who he hides them from -- I don't think either of us know. Perhaps it's still just instinct. Blue also rearranges his cache. He pounds his nuts into his tray and arranges everything to his liking. His many hiding spots include on top of the fridge, which is sort of a drag, but he is a free bird. So we clean it daily as we do his cage and fan and his other favorite places. Blue also hides nuts and arranges his goods in his cage too.

Blue does a song and dance when he is feeling affectionate. Often when I bring him a treat he will first do the song and dance without my hand signals. In this video I use my fingers to trigger the dance as well as the treat in my hand. He isn't begging, he is showing affection. He does this when there is no reward, often when I am sick or down, he will land on me and start singing and dancing. He does this only for me. Katie has a very strong bond with Blue, but because I fed him since a baby, I get some extra attention.

After that he takes a nap, he eats and heads to bed. He often puffs up and sits on one foot. S he does stretches and yawns. Sometimes he sleeps out of his cage and if he is really tired I can pick him up softly and carry him and he never wakes up.

Enjoy this -

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Scrub Jays and time plus a new video!

Although Blue, a California Scrub Jay is a very much domesticated he is also a free bird, in the sense that he has his own life, flies free most of the day and has his own territory and possessions, although most are stolen from me. :)

(FYI: The New Video is at the bottom of this post.)

He is dependent on me for both friendship love and care. He takes interest in anything I use, the remote, the telephone, a book, and my laptop where he sits on the top and watches me type. The other day he sang to the young bird doing the Sun trance at the post below as he watched the video. He also loves music and will land on me the minute I play my guitar. I think he enjoys the vibrations he feels through the neck where he sits.

The picture above is not Blue, but a Scrub from a lab where they are studying Scrub Jays and their unique ability to perceive time in a way traditional animals were thought unable. Some interesting articles on this and precognition in Scrubs are surfacing. This one on the perception of time can be found here.

"Scientists say scrub jays are not stuck in the present.

Mental time-travel, the ability to use memories of past experiences and plan for the future, has traditionally been considered a quality unique to humans. Now scientists at the University of Cambridge have identified the same ability in a bird - the Western scrub jay, [a US native]."

Although Florida Scrub Jays are considered a sub species, they act the same and look the same. Here is an interesting audio link to some talk about the memories of Scrub Jays being better then our own, and this has been tested. To download and listen to this 2 minute audio file, Click Here.
You can also visit the site at

Blue in the morning wakes up and spends two hours with Katie as she goes through her morning routine. He helps with the feeding of the other birds and sits on her shoulder as she does her morning stuff. They play phone and basket ball until she leaves for work. I let Blue sort of do his own thing for a bit. This is a normal hour of his antics during that alone time condensed. I am in the room but he just does his thing. Latter he will mellow, sit with me, follow me from room to room , sing and dance for me and let me know if he needs anything. When I first arise in the morning, he gets very happy and emits a small peep, which he only does when he is happy to see me and only for me.

Blue needs and gets 5-6 hours of solid attention each day. That is why I try to explain to folks who find these birds in distress what kind of commitment they are getting into should they try and keep the bird. The bond so fast, they cannot be released after just a few days of seeing you as their feeder. Rescue centers who have the time and ability to release these birds, have to keep the young ones in a box. Wearing gloves and a mask, they will feed the birds quickly and shut the door. These are not Scrubs but it works the same. They not only bond, but get their vocal sounds from you and your sent. So when sent free, one they will return if they survive, and two they sound and small wrong and will not be accepted by the Scrub Jay community.
See very short video.

Small Scrubs eat every half an hour and get their water from their food. This was not an option for me. Blue is nearly ten. He has adjusted very well and I have tried my best to give him a happy and healthy life. When I found Blue I had to carry him with me everywhere I went to feed him every 30 minutes for 3 months. He was the same age as the birds in the video being fed. Luckily they sleep throughout the night without the need of food and water.
Enjoy the Video! Send in your own stories of your birds, pictures and videos. I am interested in people who have had their lives altered in a good way due to the relationships they have formed with birds. Those that befriend wild birds, which happens allot can have profound experiences. In the post below at the end, is a short video of a young scrub doing the Sun trance. This is the first video that I know of , showing a wild scrub doing this. The reason, they only do it if they feel VERY safe. If you have the patience you can get to have a very rewarding relationship with a wild Scrub. Peanuts are pivotal to this relationship. Please get raw peanuts, from a pet store. I have several Scrubs that visit, and one will land on me and let me hand him nuts. Blues mother and father were my friends before they lost their nest to the attack of the Crows. They went on to have 3 birds the next year choosing a better tree.

Blue talks to be in small krk krk. If I am in another room and he does not know where I am he will squawk, but when I answer, he replies back with a few krk krk krk's to say, "'I'm ok your ok."

Since I am disabled I am home a great deal. Having a best friend here all the time is the best medicine I have ever received.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Is Blue going to Hollywood?

Is Blue going to Hollywood?

The unbelievable has happened. Blue is going to Hollywood! Ok, ok, well not exactly but stick with me. This is exciting! Blue is going to be in a documentary.

I have met a lot of people through this site documenting Blue and sometimes my own life. above is Blue playing today. If you start at the beginning of my posts, you will find that in truth, Blue saved me. When I found Blue I was at the lowest point in my life, and was not that interested in continuing. I was trying to recover from severe brain trauma caused from encephalitis and chronic pain from a severe back injury requiring surgery and two titanium implants. I lost everything, my business, my house, my wife, my car, and everything that did not fit in a suitcase. When i found Blue after Crows had killed all of his siblings, he was fresh out of the egg. The most and fragile creature I have every seen.

I tried to save Blue so he could be released but because these birds are numerous here, although that is not true all over the U.S. -- no agency would take him.

I had only hours to figure out how to care for him. Young birds eat every half an hour.

It was a birder in Florida where the Scrub Jays are endangered that told me exactly what to do. Because of his help, I learned I had a big job on my hands and also how to care for my young friend. I had a 12-20 year commitment. I was determined to keep Blue alive and thus myself. I remember telling myself if I could keep this sick tiny bird alive, I could keep myself alive.

I recovered, at least I am MUCH better. I am very lucky and very grateful.

Blue has become very much my closest friend. He still learns at age 10. He is protective even of the other small birds we have. He is devoted like a dog , he continues to learn unlike an older dog. He is feisty, serene, playful, a show off, an acrobat, very much needs attention. He likes to be involved in everything I do and finds great interest in everything around him. Blue has his own possessions and he knows it. Above is Sophia and Blue loves and protect Sophia and the other birds here.

But the news I want to tell you is

. There is going to be a documentary of Blue and our relationship! Were still in the very beginning stages but it I have been told I can announce it will happen.

Beth Cataldo found me and Blue on this site. She sent me her first film which was very impressive, and asked me if I was interested in her doing a film on Blue and a chronicling of our relationship. The Movie came and was very good, enough to make me really really nervous. I am very appreciative that Beth wants to do this. Check out her first Movie! Its very good. Watch the trailer!

Ray Bandar: A Life with Skulls

Buy the DVD It is worth it!

Cover of A Life with Skulls DVDHe’s been called Dr. Bones and Reptile Ray. Usually dressed in tattered “field-trip” clothes, Ray Bandar has been a fixture at the California Academy of Sciences and the beaches around the Bay Area for more than 50 years. “A Life with Skulls” captures Ray’s
obsession for collecting skulls from local beaches, road kill, zoo animals and on field trips to Mexico, Australia and in the United States. This humorous movie investigates Bandar’s history as a skull collector, showing many of the thousands of skulls he has accumulated over the years, talking to Alkmene, his resilient wife, and touring the awe-inspiring Bone Palace.

"A Life with Skulls" is an inspiring look at a man who has a special tie to the natural world. You will be motivated to go out and explore it for yourself.

DVD include extras, including:
  • Ray collecting a Harbor Porpoise skull
  • Tour of the Bone Palace
  • Photo gallery of historic images of Ray’s house full of skulls
  • Stories about the skulls in the exhibit
  • Ray's first-person adventure stories
  • Cost: $15 plus postage. Email

I watched the movie and it was very good. Ray is a devoted unique man whose work is pivotal to the understanding and the the evolution of Sea Mammals. How they died, how they evolve, how climate change effects them, it is all in the skull.

Beth is interested in relationships between animals and people, so I think she has come to the right apartment. She is coming to meet Blue and I on Monday. I look forward to the slow march forward. Blue seems interested too as he is up late and standing on my... skull.

This site and the people who shared their stories during the spring and summer helped save, release, and rescue many birds. A small few kept their bids when there was no alternative. I have many pictures but those of you still around, send in more. I am not sure how much of the movie if any will be about the site, but because we really did save many birds, I am sure it will have its place.

So a few photos could never hurt. I have some new ones I need to post. I will and thanks to everyone for sending them. I can always use more photos, video, and updates on how your bird is doing, or even better how you released it successfully.

These birds get attached, they bond in just a few days. In order to feed and release it, it can't see you, smell you, or it will not leave. You open the door feed it with gloves and shut it.

Thats how release centers do it. There is a small video clip of that here.

Most rescues are just stunned and quickly recover. One thing we learned, with these birds almost anything is possible. I know people who have a sort of shared custody where the bird leaves in the day and comes back in the afternoon, but it is free. Another couple built a protective housing around the fallen bird. The parents came and fed it. When it was healthy enough to fly, they released it to its happy parents. That was creative. I have been your student.

Blue is doing great and flying like he is a youngster. A new video camera coming soon will provide better video of Blue and some of the many new things he has learned will be posted! He has recovered from being bind in one eye. Considering his age and that

having cataract is the only time he needed a vet, Blue is one healthy bird, but more important he is truly happy which is the promise I made him.

Update: I received the following e-mail, video and, great photos I wanted to share from Lorcan who has been active on this site for a long time and has been touched by is birds in much the same way.

"I finally witnessed one of the jays doing the sun trance while lying on the bookshelf by my window today. I was amazed to watch it. Cheeky lay down three times to do it. What a treat it was. I took this video and posted it on YouTube taking the liberty to use your description of it. I also got these wonderful shots of a Red-shouldered Hawk late this evening outside Strybing Botanical Gardens.
I just read your news about the documentary to be produced about you and Blue. I myself feel that Cheeky & Shy gave me strength to get through some tough times too so I can really relate and I hope all goes great with the film. I would love to see it when it is ready."