Pruning 101: Correct Palm Pruning

Pruning 101: Correct Palm Pruning

There are major problems in the land of pruning, according to arborists certified by the internationally recognized organization, the International Society of Aboriculture (ISA).

Many tree pruners remove excessive live parts only to be doing paid work, says San Bernardino certified arborist Paul Chaney.  “This is unethical, and it damages the tree — the customer’s property.  Many large, mature, and valuable trees are being severely damaged [in Southern California] because of ignorant and unethical tree cutters,” Chaney says.

Severely overpruned Washington fan palms – aka ‘rooster-tailing’ Notice the trunk narrowing.

In this article, we will address palm pruning [Read more…]

Salton Sea Tour highlights… burrowing owls, sandhill cranes, shorebirds aplenty

Salton Sea Tour highlights… burrowing owls, sandhill cranes, shorebirds aplenty

Last weekend my husband and I did a Salton Sea tour through the Living Desert Museum in Palm Desert, led by College of the Desert professor Kurt Leuschner. For those who don’t know Kurt, he is a birding, wildlife and ecologist extraordinaire. We saw so many birds, and learned so much –including debunked myths about this amazing place.

Below are some photos and takeaways.  [Read more…]

Does this Baby Bird Need Rescue?

Does this Baby Bird Need Rescue?

This is a reprint from the May/June issue of the San Bernardino Valley Audubon Society’s Western Meadowlark – Thank you!

by Ruth Greyraven

Do everything you can to reunite an uninjured baby bird with its parents.

If the chick is a cotton-ball on legs… you have a quail, killdeer, or other precocial species. These tiny fluffballs open their eyes and start running after their parents on Day One after hatching. If needed, move the chick from a dangerous location to a safer nearby location.

IMG_4848If the chick is feathered… with a short tail and short wings, but it is fluttering and hopping around rather than flying, then you have a fledgling of an altricial species. It isn’t injured. It is normal for altricial chicks to pop out of the nest before they are ready to fly. This awkward stage will pass in a few days. The fledgling’s parents are nearby, feeding it regularly. The fledgling needs its parents to teach it the ropes of birdness for weeks or even months to come. Move the chick only when needed to get it to a safer nearby location.

If the chick is extremely naked and its eyes aren’t open… you have a hatchling. It is only a day or two old. After its eyes open and tube-like sheaths (pinfeathers) begin grow- ing on the wings and back, we call it a nestling. In either case, the best resolution is to get the baby back in its nest, if you can find the nest and if the nest is within reach. When a nest has fallen, support the nest appropriately and affix it up as close to its orig- inal location as possible. You can create an artificial nest cup, lined with dry grass, and put it somewhere safe or as close to the real nest as possible. Most birds are great parents, if given a little help.

If there is an obvious injury or no way to reconnect the baby bird with its parents, contact a licensed wildlife rehabilitator. Some veterinarians or humane societies may be able to help, but only a licensed wildlife rehabili- tator can legally provide long-term care. Reha- bilitators are likely to be unpaid volunteers. Don’t expect that somebody will be available to answer your phone call 24/7 and rush to your home. In most instances, you’ll need to bring the baby bird to the rehabilitator. Some of these groups will take every type of injured or orphaned wildlife. Others have specialties.

If you need to provide short-term care to a baby bird … the internet offers many excellent sites with advice on how to care for various species of birds. Hummingbirds need different care than finches. Crows need different care than pigeons.

Wildlife Aplenty on an Hour Walk at Wildwood Canyon State Park

Wildlife Aplenty on an Hour Walk at Wildwood Canyon State Park

A rattlesnake, numerous species of butterflies, cliff swallows bathing…….  I’m so glad I went, even though I had only an hour for a quick walk while my husband was at an art class. I chose Wildwood Canyon State Park in Yucaipa CA, which I wrote about in this initial March visit and this other March hike to Hunt Ranch.

Great place – no one there on a Monday late morning.

It had rained a couple nights prior so parts of the trails were moist – which attracted many butterflies getting minerals. I previously wrote about butterflies and puddle parties.

Lesson learned…. if you’re thinking about a short trek to a wild area – do it!

[Read more…]

A Potpourri Post: Lizard Update, Beetles and Frustrating Grasses

A Potpourri Post: Lizard Update, Beetles and Frustrating Grasses

With summer in full force in our yard, there’s a variety of subjects on my mind, including missing lizards, mating beetles and even something for plant lovers – so I thought I would provide an update on previous subjects I’ve written about. [Read more…]

Continuing Rat Poison Concerns (and Update)

Continuing Rat Poison Concerns (and Update)

We’ve encountered two dead mature rats in our yard the last month. Neither had marks, indicating they were not killed by a critter or injury. So we conjecture they succumbed to rat poison put out by neighbors or more likely, the pest companies they have employed. I’ve written a series on the rodent issues, including problems with secondary poisoning (see Our Ailing Wildlife ) but it seems a reminder is warranted. [Read more…]

A Feel Good Bird Walk

A Feel Good Bird Walk

The daylight’s savings time change made it harder but I’m so glad I attended the Redlands Conservancy birdwatching event this morning at San Timoteo Nature Sanctuary (click here for previous article on  this special preserve in Redlands CA). Allyson Beckman, who helps monitor endangered species as a field biologist with the Santa Ana Watershed Association, shared her significant knowledge.  She’s also helped usher in a success story at the preserve with the endangered Least Bell’s Vireo, a small bird whose appearance is more gray than yellow in the West. Numbers tell it best: fifteen years ago a colleague of hers documented 5 males. Last year: 151.

Here are my takeaways from Beckman’s walking talk about the local and migrant birds found in San Timoteo Canyon. [Read more…]