I started this blog last week and had every intention on finishing it by Friday. Not the case. Now it's done.
7 days ago I did my last blog, and in this past week, it's been a crazy bunch of days with the animals.
It first started on April 23rd with a Brown Creeper ending up in the warehouse. I had almost ran him over with my forklift as he sat on the floor in one of the aisles. A co-worker was nearby on his truck and it caught his eye too. We followed the bird as he maneuvered through the warehouse, eventually coming down along the walkway near one of the entrances. He couldn't get more than a foot off the ground through his flights. When he landed, he foraged through dead bugs and debris behind one of the pillars, desperate to find something to eat (my guess). No idea how long the bird was in our building. With the help of my buddy keeping the bird blocked, I got my light jacket and covered the bird, then taking him out to the truck and putting him in a box (the truck is loaded with boxes, gloves, towels, cat carrier these days). It was easy to see the bird was exhausted, and I thought this would be best for him since it was almost dark now, the temp was going down to -7c with the wind chill and it was snowing. I was going to take him up to Toronto Wildlife in the morning. I got the bird home, he was resting quietly in the shredded newspaper. Sadly, just a few hours later when I got up to start my Friday, I found the Creeper had died in his sleep. I felt bad. But in the end, I hope this was a better passing for him, in a warm dark quiet place compared to the loud bright constant pace of the warehouse which runs almost 24/7 or being put outside on such a cold night. I really tried to help this bird. Creepers are always a treat to see and watch do their thing up the tree trunks.
I was getting ready to leave the house when a buddy of mine texted me upon his discovery an Eastern Screech Owl in a nearby park that morning. Sure we've seen a number of them in the last few years but it's always amazing to spot an Owl, especially one close to home. I was actually just on my way to pick up some FLAP survivors, being a couple Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers, driving them north of the city for release. It's always a pleasure to be able to set some migratory birds free again, and away from the dangers of our city skyscrapers. I had checked for the Owl on route to pick up the Sapsuckers but no Owl was to be seen, neither was my buddy. He had seen the Owl an hour earlier. Oh well, something to look out for and Sapsuckers were waiting. I got the Sapsuckers, went up into the Vaughan area and released them in a woodlot. Both birds jetted away, far away, and no photo ops were given to me. It was nice to see them go like that. I did spot one high up a tree, going to work on it... back to business as usual. I'm heading home now, free time is running out for me as it's almost time for work. I decided to have another quick peek where the Owl was seen and sure enough, there he was, enjoying the sun.
I enjoyed the view for a couple minutes. No sense hanging around because he isn't going to do anything.
I get ready for work, and off I go. It turned out to be a quiet night at the pop shop and there was the opportunity to leave early. Hmmmmm? Leave early on a Friday night and start my weekend? Hell's to the yes! I get home, Angie is heading out for a bit with some friends, it's almost 8pm and we have just a bit of daylight left, so I go for a peek at the Owl again. He's out and this time he is trilling. How awesome! I don't hear Owl calls very often, and it's almost as good as seeing them. I got into a better position this time, following a path down below where the box is situated. Once again, a couple minutes of viewing, snap some photos and I'm out of there.
Saturday Angie and I were out monitoring some nest boxes. We came across a small family of humans (oh my gosh, we were around other people, strangers at that... LoL!) and we got them hand feeding Black-capped Chickadees along the path with us. Their son, who wasn't more than 5 years old, really got into the moment. It would be great if this was a spark moment for the kid and he turns into a naturalist one day.
Sunday morning there was a need for a volunteer to pick up an injured female Mallard Duck not far from home. Crazy story really and I'm still unsure how it all came to be. As far as I know the bird actually came into the patio area of an Italian restaurant sometime late Saturday afternoon. It was unable to fly at this point. How the heck did it get there to begin with? The workers caught and contained the Duck. Someone was supposed to be taking it home that night and wanted someone to come pick it up and take it to TWC. Why they did not just take it there themselves Saturday, since it was contained, is beyond me. The restaurant is approx 15 mins from the centre. Then things changed, they left the Duck at the restaurant in the outside patio area overnight. I called in about the Duck Sunday morning, went through the confusing twist of things, TWC was just as confused about what was going on too. They have countless stories of "what the fuckery" when it comes to the general public and wildlife situations. Remember, TWC relies heavily on volunteers and some days there just aren't enough people to help out, situations happen any given time of day, and when it's late like this, unfortunately help is not available immediately. It's worse for the animal when advice is given on what to do and the people decide to do something entirely differnt.
So, here I am on Sunday morning, arriving at this restaurant. I knew the Duck was not in a box. But where was it? No idea to me at the time. I had envisioned it sitting in the kitchen voicing it's displeasure at the staff. But it's a food establishment, they aren't supposed to do something like that due to health regulations. Okay imagination, time to stop, and let's get with reality here. I enter the restaurant, tell them who I am, why I am here and they point me to the Duck sitting outside in the patio area, just staring in the restaurant at us. I explained as well that I am a volunteer driver, catching wildlife is not exactly my expertise and my tools for such things are quite limited. I do have care and concern for the Duck on my side, plus the courage and determination to ensure this ends well for the Duck, getting her to the hospital.
For a moment I am taken back to something I saw on YouTube about TWC and a Mallard Duck situation in someone's backyard. Andrew is on scene and has people help him corner this Duck, slowly approaching it from all sides, giving her no where to go. So much patio furniture outside, I thought this would help me. Not the case. It was more of an obstacle course for me and lots of escape routes for the Duck. Of course I don't want to make a fool of myself, jumping over couches and chairs after this bird. I had the Duck cornered at one point, and just as I was about to towel her, she ran under the towel and out into the open again. I can see the few patrons in the restaurant standing at the window watching. It's the age of instant sharing. That's all I need. Me fumbling around like a fool and someone capturing something on their phone, sharing it, and probably giving a different telling of the story. Not something I need to be thinking of right now. I stand there and assess the situation, thinking it's probably a good idea to ask for some help in cornering this girl.
And just like that, suddenly an employee of the restaurant comes out. A sharp dressed man, all in black, with some real shiny shoes. He had caught the Duck the night before and was willing to help out. I wish I was able to video record this guy. The man in black grabs a milk crate, which is what he used the day before, and he does this fancy foot work through the patio area. Both myself and the Duck are stunned at the tap work of his feet in those shiny shoes. He has the Duck backed in the corner in seconds and on his third attempt to contain her, gets her under the crate. Now time for me to step in. I ask the man to lift the one side of the crate just enough for me to work my hands under with the towel. He does. I manage to get it over her head, then over her body, and she submits. I pull her out and put her in a carrier. Hooray! Restaurant patrons cheer from inside, thank you's are made and away I go. It was a nice afternoon at home relaxing with Angie after that. She was actually going to come with me, which would have been something, and quite memorable as we'd team up to help this bird but much was happening at home... someone has to hold the Mueller fort. As always I'm very grateful to have her as my partner in life. If she can't be with me, she supports me in these adventures, and makes sure I'm fed. :)
Monday is a quiet morning at home. I just get to work, having my last bit of Tim's coffee in the truck, enjoying some music before the start of the work shift, when my cell rings. I look at the phone and it's The Owl Foundation. I answer it and was surprised at the volunteer request. See, normally it's to pick up an Owl in need of getting to them down in Vineland. This time, they were bringing a couple Owls up to Toronto, one had to go to one place and they wanted to know if I could take another to another place for something else Tuesday morning. Hell's to yes! Didn't know what or where exactly, just pick up in south Etobicoke and go somewhere along Yonge Street (they would send all the info by email). It turned out to be a young female Snowy Owl.
So it's Tuesday now. The weather is just beautiful. One would think there'd be no traffic issues. Hah! Nobody knows why there was. Even on 680News, they were talking about how bad it was everywhere, and it really was horrific everywhere, just jam ups. It took Stacy from TOF over 2 hours to get from Vineland to Etobicoke, and she left by 7am! From there it took me almost an hour to get to Yonge and 401. I had thought the roads would be better than they were since it is after rush hour. What the hell? Yonge and 401 area was a total shit show, construction all over the place. Argh! I get to the clinic, there was some misinformation about what was going on. I could have left the bird right then and there if need be, and someone else would take over later. I offered to wait the next hour or two if it meant bringing the bird back. After an hour, it was obvious there'd be a lot more waiting, so I left. It still was a rather unique way to spend my Tuesday morning.
Quick crap cell pic of the bird in the clinic. Her carrier was covered with a large towel.
Wednesday was just crazy. First was this Raccoon came out about 9:30am to feed on a peanut pile I had out for the Squirrels and Jays. He ate all the peanuts in the pile, had a drink and then went for a nap in a tree behind the shed.
Unusual to see one out and about in the day like this but not impossible. I worry about the ones that do venture out because so many fear or loathe these animals.
10am there comes a shout out to pick up an injured Pigeon at Islington/Dundas in Etobicoke. That's minutes from home so I offered to do the drive. The bird was already contained so it was just a matter of driving him up to Toronto Wildlife. I'm home an hour later.
I get inside, pass our Gecko Norbert's tank and take notice to what looks like him wearing a turtle neck sweater. Holy crap! He's shedding his skin. This is something I've never witnessed before. The whole ordeal was over in less than 20 minutes. He used his water dish and then the rock house to help him work the skin off, and he ate every last bit of it. I was so happy to catch this with the camera and share with everyone, especially Angie since she wasn't home. Here's a couple pics...
A couple hours later I'm around the corner from work at Tim Horton's when I get a text from a co-worker asking if I am there yet. I replied "soon" and wondered what was up. 5 minutes later I am on company property and buddy has me come over to get a look at some cat hiding in a corner spot of the building, just outside the west entrance doors. Word was he'd been in this spot for some 14 hours already and wouldn't leave. A big cat he was, kinda dirty, but overall seemed to be in decent health, no obvious signs of sickness or injury. He did get the attention of many, and a few people came up to me about the cat while I was working (everyone knows I'm for the animals).
The cat was a distraction to some. He was very docile and affectionate, which meant he most likely was not a feral. He's either lost or was abandoned. How he ended up in this industrial area is a mystery. Why he chose the Pepsi plant is another mystery; although to some it was a sign for me to help him. Unfortunately some saw it as a sign for me to just take him home. I couldn't. Meadow wasn't gone 3 weeks yet. Angie and I need some time. Plus everyone seems to forget we have some rescue Budgies that may not exactly be safe anymore with a new cat in the house. Someone even suggested that we lock the birds up in a bedroom and keep the cat. NO! They are family. Birds are very social creatures. NO NO NO!
I went to human resources about the cat situation. Prior I was told everyone was aware of him but it turned out to be not true. One thing led to another, others got involved, calls were made, I was trying to get some of my west end friends to come and take the cat even temporarily (either got no replies or refusal). I had to get back to work but told those dealing with the situation now that if I can help any further I would, and that I had a cat carrier in the truck. In the end the city of Mississauga was called, which led to Mississauga Animal Services being contacted. They certainly would come and take the cat IF it was contained. I was called to the front office now, and asked if I could help catch and contain the cat. Of course. One of my co-workers, the one who initially told me about the cat, who was also the one who helped me with the Brown Creeper came out with me. We had the cat in the carrier without too much hassle. The cat never hissed or snarled, just gave a little push back with us trying to get him inside. But once inside, he chilled out, submitting to the situation and pretty much was like "whatever". He was smart enough to know we weren't out to hurt him. I put him in the back of the truck, parked in a shady spot and went back to work, waiting for the call to come up front again when the city showed up.
About 45 minutes later someone from MAS arrives. He meets me at the truck, we talk about the cat, the situation and fill out some paper work. Next is transferring the cat from my carrier to theirs. I offered to let them take mine and I'd pick it up the next day but buddy said "let's try and move him first". He opened his carrier door as well as mine. He wanted to see if the cat would go in on his own. Nah, that wasn't happening. 3 or 4 minutes later he grabs the cat and moves him along. Not aggressive like but to get things happening. The cat went with the flow once again, very calm about things, and no signs of aggression. And it was over. I took all the info I needed as I want to check up on this cat, and what his outcome will be. I hope it's a story of a lost cat reuniting with his family. Next best case would be him going up for adoption in 10 days or so. Worst case would be euthanasia.
I bring up his temperment a lot because that will work for him in the animal shelter. There are many no kill shelters around but things aren't what they once were, or what many people are led to believe. Shelters just don't take animals in with ease anymore. Even the humane society does not have an open door policy like they once did. I learned the hard way with a cat a couple years ago, some of you may recall me trying to help a big lovey abandoned boy named Smudge. I did a few blogs as I tried to help this cat, here is the initial one. Not one single shelter or cat rescue place answered my calls, voice mails, or pleading emails about his situation. I asked for help, even just advice on what to do, who could take him in. It seems there is a filtering system in the city now. Cats go in through animal services and depending on such things like temperment either move along to adoption or face being put down. I've heard it from both Toronto and Mississauga Animal Services that bad tempered cats will be put down. I get that, well, sort of, because no potential adopter wants to be in the face of an aggressive cat. But all animals have their own personalities, and some react to such a situation out of fear, and just need some time and understanding, which they won't get with the city. They just don't have the time to work with animals for the most part. It's a steady flow of them coming. Sad really. People wonder why I am so against free roaming cats, not just because of how many birds and animals they kill, but situations like this. And how many people don't spay or neuter their cats. It is so irresponsible of some people to take in a cat, don't "fix" it and just let it do whatever it wants, go outside, kill, breed, and if it doesn't come home... oh well.
A quick visual of this cat lead us to believe it is a neutered male. He was someones cat at some point. If only they could talk.
I wish that cat the best outcome possible, and will promote his adoption page if that is where he goes. At least he is off the streets. An industrial area is no place for a cat.
It was a hard time for me emotionally with this cat. Of course the idea of bringing him home played through my mind. But I couldn't. I felt sorry for him but the timing just isn't right, and our birds, can't forget that. It just would not be fair to any of us. This paragraph, the emotions and thoughts, can be a carbon copy for Angie.
I wished I could go home and hug Meadow like I always did when I got involved in cat adventures. She certainly had a blessed life with us, a life I wish upon all cats out there. But of course that can't happen now. Not in this life. We just set up her "tribute" shelf of sorts around this time making things even a little harder to deal with.
Meadow's ashes in a wood urn and we can change the photo whenever we wish, probably seasonally. We also had a plack made with her actual paw print. *sigh*
The week ended quietly. I enjoyed the backyard critters and some local park sightings including my first of season Garter Snake and spotting that Screech Owl from a week earlier as well.
Yes, that is a traffic light behind. He is quite close to a main road but I will never say where.
So, what do ya think? Wild week or what?
I should add that Pierre and the gang are still showing up most days on top of a few migrants for some added spice.
Pierre chomping on Jesse as they squabble over breakfast.
White-throated Sparrow. We've had 3 or 4 coming in lately. Too bad they don't stay with us.
A couple White-crowns also popping in, and belting out their sweet little song.
A couple male Baltimore Orioles are back now. Woo hoo!
Angie and I have a 2 week vacation coming up very soon (last 2 weeks of May). We are so looking forward to it. While we don't have any big plans, and there never is a vacation from the animals (they are a part of our lives); it will be nice to not go to that thing we call "work". I'm sure I will blog again before the holiday and we can only imagine what I will share from our holiday.
Thanks to those who have sat through this lengthy blog. Being short is something I know nothing about.
Cheers on this Whiskey Wednesday!
A message from my buddy out back...