|Watch out, mice.|
I swore that I wouldn't write any bulletin articles this year. Having been our local editor for 2011, it's now Henny's turn to have fun reporting on the LA Branch's activites. That said, this week she asked me to photograph for her some recent clubhouse maintenance work so she could write a blurb on it. Knowing the wisdom of never disagreeing with Henny, I ran up Yucca Trail the very next morning and, upon arriving at the clubhouse, met with Bruce Anderson who directed me up the dormitory stairs where some plumbing was recently repaired. Not exactly the most exciting news story.
After snapping a few shots I decided to walk a little further up the old trail behind the dorms to get a view of LA from the canyonside. It was here, out of the corner of my eye, where I encountered a Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus). It was on the ground staring up at me from about five feet away. Realizing it unusual to encounter an owl at daytime (let alone at night), we shared glances for a few moments when I finally noticed it was injured. There was a tree branch, about five inches long, impaled in its left shoulder, rendering the poor fellow earthbound- becoming a predator vulnerable to predation (i.e. from coyote, mountain lion, bobcat, even domestic pets). Perhaps even worse, since a downed owl cannot hunt its eventual fate would be starvation. Immediately I called upon our caretaker, Ken Symington, who recalled that just two nights before he heard an owl very close by and sounding in distress. I wasn't sure what to do so I headed down the street to ask Shirley Moore, a fellow member who has has experience with wild animal rescue. Shirley called the Pasadena Humane Society and, after realizing they would not send anyone to help, took it upon herself (and me) to rescue the owl. I ran down and got a quilted packing blanket while Shirley got some heavy leather gloves, towels and a portable pet crate.
Returning to the trail we found the owl retreated down a slope but still flightless. Clearly it was in trouble. We slowly and calmly were able to surround it with the goal of throwing the blanket over it then transferring it into Shirley's crate. It was strong enough to evade our first attempt at capture and to coast further down the slope. Shirley successfully blanketed him the second time. Clearly the owl was already exhausted because there was no struggle as we softly coaxed him into the crate. He sat still in cautious calm as we headed downhill through a neighbor's yard and then on to to the Humane Society in Pasadena after safely placing our 'birdcage' in Shirley's car.
Amidst all the dogs and cats they receive on a weekly basis, the Humane Society staff seemed mildly surprised when we walked in with our little owl. They immediately took him to their medical personnel to examine the extend of its injury. We don't know yet what his fate will be but we think he has a good chance of survival. Whether he'll be able to fly again or not is another story to be told. Such unexpected excitement on a random Saturday. It all goes to show that it always pays to visit the clubhouse ... and to do Henny a favor.
(Mod: And now Shirley's description of the happy ending.)
In a burst of feathers accompanied by the cheers of a small group of onlookers, a diminutive male great horned owl made a triumphant return to the wilderness behind Nature Friends in Sierra Madre Canyon on Monday night. Rescued by canyon residents Paul Fisher and Shirley Moore late last May after Paul discovered the bird grounded and defenseless with a broken tree branch protruding from one of his shoulders, the owl resided in a 100-ft. flight cage at South Bay Wildlife Rehab in Palos Verdes (http://www.sbwr.org/) for several months, recovering from surgery and regaining the strength needed to fly the friendly skies of Sierra Madre again.
Once released, the owl gazed wide-eyed at his audience from atop an initial perch on a nearby post, getting his bearings and perhaps showing his gratitude before soaring away to freedom in the tall trees. We all wish our prodigal wild neighbor a hearty welcome home and offer thanks to Christina, Melissa, Kai and the SBWR staff for their successful efforts to restore this regal raptor to his native habitat.
Thanks for bringing this to me, Shirley.
More on the Nick Conway preliminary hearing
This from the Whittier Daily News (click here):
L.A. Judge postpones decision on whether ex-COG executive director Conway will stand trial - Saying she needed more time, Judge M.L. Villar de Longoria on Wednesday postponed a decision on whether to order the former executive director of the San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments to stand trial or throw out criminal charges brought by the District Attorney's Office. The unexpected delay reflects on the complexity of the case presented by the Los Angeles County District Attorney against Nick Conway, 60, of Pasadena.
Conway ran the regional planning agency for 17 years as part of his consulting company, Arroyo Associates, until he was charged with four felony counts of conflict of interest after DA investigators raided his residence last June.
De Longoria concluded the two-day preliminary hearing held in the Clara Foltz Criminal Courts Building after listening to impassioned final arguments from both sides. But while many expected a determination, the judge said she hadn't read the hundreds of pages of documents submitted as evidence. "It would be unfair to rule without having the opportunity to read each and every document," she announced. "I want to give it my full attention."
She ordered both sides back in court on Feb. 14, when she is expected to make her ruling.
Should be quite an interesting Valentine's Day. I received an e-mail yesterday from a friend who is watching this case very closely, and here is what she had to say:
The judge hearing Nick Conway's case is Antonio Villaraigosa's sister. She also has had the pleasure of dealing with other famous criminals - Bell's Robert Rizzo and former Irwindale City Manager Steve Blancarte and the cast of Irwindale criminals. Appears she's not real happy with public corruption. Not good news for Nick Conway but it couldn't happen to a more deserving person.
I hope that is the good news it was intended to be.
Two Sierra Madre Tattler Milestones
We went over the 1.3 million hits mark sometime last night. Which is not too bad from a little blog covering the politics and affairs of a small city of less than 11,000 folks. Equally exciting (to me at least) is that we set a new record for actual hits this month. Our previous best, 60,624, was set last November. For January we are now well over 63,000, and I figure by the end of business today we will be somewhere beyond 64,000. A number I could never have imagined us reaching a few years back.
A whole lot of folks reading this blog these days. Thank you.