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Halloween Decorations are Scary

And not for the reasons you might think! This little Western Screech Owl was caught in artificial spider web decorations in front of a home in Marin County. Fortunately the homeowners were alert and called in the Marin Humane Society. The responding officer was able to cut the bird out from the life-threatening snare and transport him to our friends at WildCare in San Rafael for treatment.

Keep our feathered friends in mind as you decorate. Consider decorating only on the day of Halloween and use more natural things like pumpkins, corn stalks and hay bales

Photo Credit: Dave Stapp, Marin Humane Society

A Joint Effort to Harden Our Aviaries

Our aviaries here on the Chanate Campus are surrounded by an abundance of wildlife who frequently stop by to poke around and see what our birds are eating. Not wanting to be left out, they are intent on finding some free snacks for themselves!

Our aviaries, once new and impermeable, have with age developed some weaknesses that our local wildlife has been quick to take advantage of. So, in need of repair and reinforcement, we are arranging for some much-needed renovations to see us through until we move to our new facility.

The first step was to find out exactly what we were dealing with so we set up a wildlife cam. This is what we saw...

A snooping skunk, a rascally raccoon, and a party of mice were among first on the guest list! In order to keep the birds in our care as safe as possible, we needed to figure out a way to safely exclude these culprits.

We called our sister organization Sonoma County Wildlife Rescue (SCWR) for help. They provide an Animal Wildlife Exclusion Service (AWES), and are the experts in safely keeping unwanted critters out! With their guidance, these necessary renovations will see us through until we can move into our new facility.

Staff members from both organizations met earlier this month to develop a plan of action. SCWR expertly assessed potential issues and, knowing we will be moving, developed a cost-efficient and effective plan to seal the aviaries and protect them from unwanted guests. This is also knowledge we will take with us when we relocate to ensure our future aviaries are safe and secure!

The plan involves trenching the perimeters, adding reinforcing materials at the ground level and repairing entry points on the ceilings and roofs.

One of our dedicated volunteers has already jumped into action using a rototiller to take some the first steps!

We plan to begin trenching in earnest and purchase all necessary materials prior to a joint BRC/SCWR workday scheduled for November 1st with two shifts of 9-1 and 1-5.

We are so grateful to all our sister organizations throughout the Bay Area. Our collaborative efforts benefit each one of us tremendously and improve the care we collectively provide for all wildlife—whether they are in our care or simply trying to benefit from a free meal!

This project has $5,000 in projected costs. If you are able to support this effort with either materials or funding, please know that you are making an important investment in the care and safety of all creatures.

Here are ways you can help:

  • Donate Donate online by using this link or send your check to PO Box 475, Santa Rosa CA 95402

  • Provide materials Click here to access a list of materials

  • Shop Our Amazon and Home Depot wishlists are easy to use and and contain everything we will need

  • Volunteer your time and bring your own tools Call us at 707-523-2473 Monday through Friday to get more information about the skills and tools we will need to complete the project.

If you, too, have an issue with "nuisance" wildlife, please visit the AWES website for more information about Sonoma County Wildlife's Animal Wildlife Exclusion Services.

It's Time to Clean Your Owl Boxes

Owls can have more than one clutch of babies each year making it difficult to know when the coast is clear and it's safe to do some much-needed housecleaning.

As a rule of thumb, the period of time between Halloween and Thanksgiving is generally the best time to take on this project.

Keeping your owl boxes clean is important to the health and safety of the owl family who inhabits it. Urine and fecal matter build up and, in addition, pellets of undigestible fur and bones accumulate. This pellet material serves as natural bedding; however, the debris can build up to the point there is little room left for the babies. Too much debris can also increase temperatures inside the box (especially dangerous during hot summer months) and prevent good ventilation. And if the layers of debris place the babies too close to the entrance hole, they can actually fall out of the box before they are ready to fledge.

So forego spring cleaning when it comes to your owl boxes and make it an annual fall project. Just make sure you take a peek inside the box to make sure it's vacant before you start!


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