My YouTube Videos

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.


Andromeda said...

That's a marvelous picture you took of Blue in flight. I can't believe the clarity! The picture is so incredibly sharp, especially considering how quickly Blue must have been moving when the picture was taken.

I've never seen a Western scrub jay, but I live in Florida and visit the Florida scrub jays very often. The birds are very similar in appearance, and I've always thought that the Florida scrub jay has such a regal appearance. Something about its face is reminiscent of a bird of prey. Its features are very sharply defined; it reminds me of a hawk or an eagle.

I don't think it's quite as prominent in the Western scrub jay, but I can still see it. I am very impressed with this particular picture of Blue as it perfectly captures that regal, "bird of prey" look that I see sometimes when I visit the Florida scrub jay.

Realist said...

Andromeda ,
I was wrong when I said the Florida Scrubs are basically the same. It ends up there are the Florida, the Santa Cruz Island, Western Scrub like Blue, and the European Scrub. They are all amazing animals. All nest robbers but greatly exaggerated. Mostly they steal eggs. The Florida Scrubs may be even more friendly in the wild than the Western, from then films I have seen. The brain of the western is the largest. Thanks for the props on the photo! I waited a long time to get the right one. I would love any pictures or video of your adventures with the Florida Scrubs.
Thanks for visiting and being aware of the plight of the Florida Scrub in your state. They are a bit paler and slightly smaller, and Blue has extra long tail feathers. Peace Tim

Andromeda said...

I don't know much about the Island scrub jay (other than seeing a few pictures) but I do know that the Western scrub jay and Florida scrub jay are similar enough that it was only in 1995 that the Florida scrub jay's taxonomic status was changed from a sub-species of the scrub jay to its own species!

You're right that their status as nest robbers is greatly exaggerated. Evey time I visit the scrub jays they're busy caching or digging up acorns. Sometimes I see them eating insects. The Florida scrub jay is found only in Florida, and there was a push a few years ago to make it our state bird. Sadly, it was quashed by a senator who got up and made this ridiculous speech 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.

I've never seen a Western scrub jay, so I'm not sure how they compare as far as friendliness is concerned, but the Florida scrub jay is very gregarious. They have a genuine interest in people and seem to completely lack a fear of humans. I know that people do feed them, but it's not that they're just after food, either. My fiancé and I don't feed them (it's illegal) and they still are perfectly content to come over and investigate us, and perch on our heads, shoulders, and hands. We've followed a single group around for hours; we just watch them go about their business. If they were only after food, they'd leave as soon as they decided you had no food for them.

My fiancé and I do volunteer work for Florida scrub jay conservation whenever we get the opportunity. We adore the birds. We have a lot of great pictures and video; I'll send a few your way!

I think Blue is very fortunate to have been rescued by someone who cares about him so much. :D

Realist said...

Thanks so much for such a thoughtful comment. The Scrubs in the wild here will befriend someone with peanuts, and with some time, but they are not as friendly as the footage I have seen of the Florida Scrubs, which I have never seen. I think it may have to do with the very small area they have. I just talked to a professor who is studying Scrubs, all of them. He found that a Florida Scrub can find a nut a year later after hiding 8,900 a year. The Western has even larger brains, the biggest of all Covids ahh (sp?) but they all have amazing memory abilities that far surpass what animals are supposed to be able to do. Blue is interested in everything I do to a extent that is almost... strange.

I look forward to hearing more and I would greatly appreciate the footage or stills or both.

Blue saved me as much as I saved him. But I think I have done my best to give him a good life.

Thanks for your very interesting, insightful and thoughtful comment.

Ohh... That Senator... Arg! Nasa is about to build there. I will be posting on it. They are going to wipe out a huge population of Scrub Jays and other birds there. If your here anything let me know. It will be my nest post.

Thanks! Peace

Realist said...

Hahaha, thats ironic I said "Nest Post" instead of "next post".
also I have seen Pictures and film of the Florida Jay, just not in person. Tired today... again thanks!

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