I'm a herpetologist by training but a naturalist at heart. My masters thesis is looking into the Panamint alligator lizard, Elgaria panamintina. In particular I'm focusing on identifying its range and testing out a variety of novel techniques which may benefit the field of herpetology as a whole. I post things that interest me and often post updates on what I'm doing in the vertebrate museum, in the field, or in the lab.

 

SACRAMENTO – Wildlife Care Association (WCA) is a non-profit association in Sacramento that cares for sick, orphaned and injured animals. Sadly, after more than three decades, the facility will be forced to close its doors in August without badly needed funding, and thousands of animals will be turned away, with nowhere to go.

We already have many mouths to feed so feed costs have added to the increase in operating expenses. Currently, our budget shortfall for 2014 is upwards of $60,000.

We are still in jeopardy of closing our doors mid-season. This means at least half of the animals brought to WCA for help would have to go to animal control to be euthanized. As expected, the current drought condition is affecting local wildlife. WCA is currently taking in 25-40 animals per day, many of which are severely dehydrated. This is more than double the normal intake numbers for this time of year.

—————————————————————-

This is a really important rehab facility for the Sacramento region- they rehabilitate a lot of wildlife and are really good at what they do. They’re short a lot of money and while they really need monetary donations to keep open, any donation (time, items, etc) would be super helpful:

To learn more & donate: http://www.wildlifecareassociation.com/help/

avianawareness:

As they grow, young birds subsisting on white bread and other inappropriate food sources can develop issues preventing their bones from forming normally, resulting in angel wing. (via Feeding White Bread to Wild Birds is Killing Them | One Green Planet)

In general feeding wildlife is bad, and that includes birds, if you’re going to feed wildlife make sure what you’re doing is not hurting the animal, and be sure it is legal where you are located as many parks ban the feeding of waterfowl/pigeons to try to avoid negative human/bird interactions and keep the park cleaner.
The article has great suggestions for better alternatives:
“Nutritious waterfowl feed or duck pellets are inexpensive, easy to carry, and can be purchased at most feed stores. Seedless grapes cut in half, shredded kale, Swiss chard or romaine lettuce, and grains, including wheat, barley and oats, are all healthy food sources that will appeal to most waterfowl. Make sure anything you feed is bite-sized to avoid choking hazards.”

avianawareness:

As they grow, young birds subsisting on white bread and other inappropriate food sources can develop issues preventing their bones from forming normally, resulting in angel wing. (via Feeding White Bread to Wild Birds is Killing Them | One Green Planet)

In general feeding wildlife is bad, and that includes birds, if you’re going to feed wildlife make sure what you’re doing is not hurting the animal, and be sure it is legal where you are located as many parks ban the feeding of waterfowl/pigeons to try to avoid negative human/bird interactions and keep the park cleaner.

The article has great suggestions for better alternatives:

Nutritious waterfowl feed or duck pellets are inexpensive, easy to carry, and can be purchased at most feed stores. Seedless grapes cut in half, shredded kale, Swiss chard or romaine lettuce, and grains, including wheat, barley and oats, are all healthy food sources that will appeal to most waterfowl. Make sure anything you feed is bite-sized to avoid choking hazards.”

I made a gif!
I should be writing my research paper that’s due by 8am tomorrow… but instead I made a badly-looping, noisy gif of my lifer painted bunting male (I think I still have to figure out some settings, the video’s nice and sharp).
He and a few other painted buntings were hanging out at the bird feeding station at the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge visitor center in Florida.

I made a gif!

I should be writing my research paper that’s due by 8am tomorrow… but instead I made a badly-looping, noisy gif of my lifer painted bunting male (I think I still have to figure out some settings, the video’s nice and sharp).

He and a few other painted buntings were hanging out at the bird feeding station at the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge visitor center in Florida.

Crocodile Lake NWR takes action against cats caught trespassing

A research project on endangered species in the hammocks of North Key Largo uncovered an unwanted cast of video stars: Cats perched atop manmade woodrat nests.
"It’s not the fault of the cats," Dixon said. "It’s the fault of owners who allow their cats to trespass into the refuge, or people who dump cats on North Key Largo."
To protect the endangered Key Largo woodrat and the Key Largo cotton mouse, refuge staff will soon step up efforts to identify and possibly fine owners of cats trapped in protected lands.
"We will return the cats when possible," Dixon said this week. "This is not about killing cats. It’s about getting cats out of the refuge."
(read more)

Crocodile Lake NWR takes action against cats caught trespassing

A research project on endangered species in the hammocks of North Key Largo uncovered an unwanted cast of video stars: Cats perched atop manmade woodrat nests.

"It’s not the fault of the cats," Dixon said. "It’s the fault of owners who allow their cats to trespass into the refuge, or people who dump cats on North Key Largo."

To protect the endangered Key Largo woodrat and the Key Largo cotton mouse, refuge staff will soon step up efforts to identify and possibly fine owners of cats trapped in protected lands.

"We will return the cats when possible," Dixon said this week. "This is not about killing cats. It’s about getting cats out of the refuge."

(read more)

lotsofbirds:

Common Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs)
This songbird is found throughout Europe, western Asia and northern Africa. It is listed as “least concern” by the IUCN. Learn more.
(Photo by Greeeny)

lotsofbirds:

Common Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs)

This songbird is found throughout Europe, western Asia and northern Africa. It is listed as “least concern” by the IUCN. Learn more.

(Photo by Greeeny)

lotsofbirds:

Silver Gull (Chroicocephalus novaehollandiae)
This gull is found throughout Australia. It is classified as “least concern” by the IUCN. Learn more.
(Photo by 0ystercatcher)

lotsofbirds:

Silver Gull (Chroicocephalus novaehollandiae)

This gull is found throughout Australia. It is classified as “least concern” by the IUCN. Learn more.

(Photo by 0ystercatcher)

lotsofbirds:

Pacific Black Duck (Anas superciliosa) 
This dabbling duck is found in much of Indonesia, New Guinea, Australia, New Zealand, and many islands in the southwestern Pacific. It is classified as “least concern” by the IUCN. Learn more.
(photo by Jim Bendon)

lotsofbirds:

Pacific Black Duck (Anas superciliosa)

This dabbling duck is found in much of Indonesia, New Guinea, Australia, New Zealand, and many islands in the southwestern Pacific. It is classified as “least concern” by the IUCN. Learn more.

(photo by Jim Bendon)

missjalesi asked
I thought fishers weren't that rare? Or are they one of those species that it strongly depends on where you live.

Fishers as a whole were once over-harvested to the point of being rare/extirpated throughout most of their range. Management practices have allowed them to return to some of their historic range (pdf file).

However I should’ve clarified, the fisher I’m talking about is the Pacific Fisher which is currently a Candidate species under the Endangered Species Act (the species assessment has a lot of really interesting information about this distinct population segment, it can be found midway down that page under the Candidate Information section). 

Some additional information about this species can be found at the Pacific Fisher Information Repository.

USFWS initiates commercial ivory ban

"Following today’s release of the Obama Administration’s National Strategy for Combating Wildlife Trafficking, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell announced that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (The Service) will implement a U.S. ban on commercial trade of elephant ivory. This unprecedented action is in response to the escalating and highly organized wildlife trafficking crime that threatens the survival of the African elephant, rhinoceros and a host of other species around the world.””The Service will:
Prohibit Commercial Import of African Elephant Ivory: All commercial imports of African elephant ivory, including antiques, will be prohibited.
Prohibit Commercial Export of Elephant Ivory: All commercial exports will be prohibited, except for bona fide antiques, certain noncommercial items, and in exceptional circumstances permitted under the Endangered Species Act.
Significantly Restrict Domestic Resale of Elephant Ivory: We will finalize a proposed rule that will reaffirm and clarify that sales across state lines are prohibited, except for bona fide antiques, and will prohibit sales within a state unless the seller can demonstrate an item was lawfully imported prior to 1990 for African elephants and 1975 for Asian elephants, or under an exemption document.
Clarify the Definition of “Antique”: To qualify as an antique, an item must be more than 100 years old and meet other requirements under the Endangered Species Act. The onus will now fall on the importer, exporter, or seller to demonstrate that an item meets these criteria.
Restore Endangered Species Act Protection for African Elephants: We will revoke a previous Fish and Wildlife Service special rule that had relaxed Endangered Species Act restrictions on African elephant ivory trade.
Support Limited Sport-hunting of African Elephants: We will limit the number of African elephant sport-hunted trophies that an individual can import to two per hunter per year.”
Read more (press release by DOI)

USFWS initiates commercial ivory ban

"Following today’s release of the Obama Administration’s National Strategy for Combating Wildlife Trafficking, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell announced that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (The Service) will implement a U.S. ban on commercial trade of elephant ivory. This unprecedented action is in response to the escalating and highly organized wildlife trafficking crime that threatens the survival of the African elephant, rhinoceros and a host of other species around the world.”
The Service will:

  • Prohibit Commercial Import of African Elephant Ivory: All commercial imports of African elephant ivory, including antiques, will be prohibited.
  • Prohibit Commercial Export of Elephant Ivory: All commercial exports will be prohibited, except for bona fide antiques, certain noncommercial items, and in exceptional circumstances permitted under the Endangered Species Act.
  • Significantly Restrict Domestic Resale of Elephant Ivory: We will finalize a proposed rule that will reaffirm and clarify that sales across state lines are prohibited, except for bona fide antiques, and will prohibit sales within a state unless the seller can demonstrate an item was lawfully imported prior to 1990 for African elephants and 1975 for Asian elephants, or under an exemption document.
  • Clarify the Definition of “Antique”: To qualify as an antique, an item must be more than 100 years old and meet other requirements under the Endangered Species Act. The onus will now fall on the importer, exporter, or seller to demonstrate that an item meets these criteria.
  • Restore Endangered Species Act Protection for African Elephants: We will revoke a previous Fish and Wildlife Service special rule that had relaxed Endangered Species Act restrictions on African elephant ivory trade.
  • Support Limited Sport-hunting of African Elephants: We will limit the number of African elephant sport-hunted trophies that an individual can import to two per hunter per year.”

Read more (press release by DOI)

One of two coyotes from yesterday. Neither were concerned about our presence and were content to just sit on the hillside.

One of two coyotes from yesterday. Neither were concerned about our presence and were content to just sit on the hillside.

American Bittern at Gray Lodge Wildlife Area, Butte County, California. December 22, 2013.
(horrible picture, but wasn’t expecting a bittern to pop out when my roommate’s non-birding boyfriend said that there was a weird looking bird head sticking out of the reeds)

American Bittern at Gray Lodge Wildlife Area, Butte County, California. December 22, 2013.

(horrible picture, but wasn’t expecting a bittern to pop out when my roommate’s non-birding boyfriend said that there was a weird looking bird head sticking out of the reeds)

Here’s more pictures of the weird sparrow (only color adjustment was shifting the levels to make the bird not horribly lit… colors aren’t reliable in the pics, breast-area was light tan, black-ish stripe through back of eye, and the two strong black chin stripes… no other distinguishing features)

What’s the bird guys (thanks to those who made a guess based on the one picture… hopefully these ones can help id him)?