Bird-feeder bear sent back to the wild
—New Mexico Department of Game and Fish
Put out a bird feeder and you never know what you'll attract: nuthatches, juncos, adult black bears.
Conservation Officer John Martsh of the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish relocated an adult female black bear the night of June 28 after finding her resting in a ponderosa pine tree near this mountain community east of Albuquerque. Martsh was responding to several complaints about a bear destroying bird feeders in the area.
While investigating, Martsh saw the bear in the ponderosa, then searched surrounding trees for cubs. Finding none, he tranquilized the bear. She was packed up and sent to the wilder areas of Mount Taylor north of Grants.
Martsh said the bear weighed about 150 pounds and was in good condition.
Outside of the feeder destruction believed to involve this bear, the Department of Game and Fish has dealt with few complaints about black bears so far this year. Natural bear foods are believed to be plentiful, following good precipitation during the winter and early spring.
Mountain residents who enjoy watching birds at their feeders, however, should take down their feeders if bears start frequenting them.
Although the Department of Game and Fish can relocate so-called nuisance bears, it's not uncommon for these bears to die on highways while trying to return to their original homes.
Las Placitas Association charts birds on Open Space
On May 7, a birding hike on the Placitas Open Space sponsored by Las Placitas Association was led by Hart Swartz, a leading New Mexico bird specialist. The purpose of the hike was to study migratory and nesting birds of the Placitas Open Space. The result of counting birds that day revealed twice as many birds as a count in previous years surmised to be due to the flow of Las Huertas Creek through that area. Spring rain had also made the grass greener and more inviting for wildlife.
The bird count and species seen in 2003, 2004, and 2005 follows:
Will Scooby’s Law go national?
A federal proposal to mirror a newly enacted New Mexico law designed to protect pets and children from the poisonous effects of antifreeze was warmly received by a Senate subcommittee, said New Mexico State Representative Kathy A. McCoy (R-Cedar Crest), who testified on the issue.
McCoy, who sponsored the House version of the New Mexico legislation, testified Monday before the Senate Subcommittee on Consumer Affairs, Product Safety and Insurance, which is considering federal legislation to require that a bittering agent be mixed into all antifreeze so that its usually sweet taste will be distasteful to animals and children.
"I'm optimistic that the federal government will enact this legislation at the national level," McCoy said Tuesday upon returning from Washington.
In her testimony before the subcommittee, McCoy told federal lawmakers that passing the law will save the lives of animals and spare families agony.
"It's been said that the way we treat our animals is a measure of our society. We have an opportunity to raise the bar of compassion a little higher," said McCoy, who lost her family dog, Cujo, to antifreeze poisoning twenty years ago.
McCoy also told the subcommittee about the tragic fate of Scooby, the New Mexico dog that died from antifreeze poisoning while recovering from a gunshot wound.
"I'm pleased that Congress is considering adopting this measure at the federal level," McCoy said. "For the cost of just pennies per gallon of antifreeze, we know lives will be saved."
McCoy said she has been told that at least two other states—California and Oregon—have adopted similar laws.
Dogs wanted for beneficial visits
The Optimist Club de Sandoval people, who have been so supportive of the Kasey Says program, want to expand the benefit of warm, fuzzy bodies and wet noses to a larger group.
Victor Hernandez and “Miranda”
They are exploring creation of an Optimist Canine Care Corps (OCCC), which they hope will meet the needs of lonely shut-ins, youngsters at the library, anyone who would value a visit by a four-legged friend and two-legged Optimist.
The OCCC will be available to any Optimist who wants to use his/her dog to visit health care facilities, schools, and other venues where pet assisted activities can be utilized. Interested Sandoval Club members Liz Adkins, Diane Lee, Ellen Jardine, and Julie Dirksen are working on a plan to facilitate the process by which club members can obtain certification for their dogs.
They want the Optimist handlers and dogs to have passed the American Kennel Club Canine Good Citizen test and for the dogs to have a current health certificate. www.akc.org/events/cgc/program.cfm
The group is asking for help from all New Mexico Optimist Club members. They especially need members with graphic design skills to help design a pamphlet, the logo and ID patch and/or web site, and members who are willing to be the OCCC leaders in their areas and work coordinating OCCC activities throughout the state.
Their Wish List includes money for dog and travel expenses, experienced dog trainers willing to be evaluators and corporate sponsors willing to help underwrite this program. The Optimist Club is a non-profit, 501c3, which can receive tax-deductible contributions.
To see what they have been doing, join their Yahoo! site. Go to http://groups.yahoo.com/groups/optimistccc and join the group. Then look in “Files” for the protocol manual.
For further information about this program, please contact Liz Adkins at 839-9250 (firstname.lastname@example.org).