It’s a small world in offbeat animal news

by Bethany M. Dunbar, May 21, 2010

This is the osprey Tanya Sousa rescued in Coventry. It only lived about a month. Photo courtesy of Tanya Sousa

The osprey died.  The moose wandering around in Barton was killed by a Fish and Wildlife warden because it seemed to have something wrong with it.

But there is some good news to report in Mutual of Barton’s Wild Kingdom (as Roland Lajoie of WLVB radio called it lately — thanks Roland).

Peter Lowry got his giant tortoise back.  And Pete the moose is going to get a pardon of sorts.

More on Pete the Moose later.

As for the tortoise, it turns out the person who had taken it had left it with someone else, and that person saw all the news stories and realized the creature was stolen.  She called Peter, and as a result the tortoise is home, safe and sound.

That’s a happy ending.

Not so for the moose wandering around in Barton Village.  I saw it (photos are posted elsewhere on this blog) trying to get into Dan McMaster’s garage and walk onto the front porch of his house.  So I knew the moose, which seemed to be a young female, was not thinking straight.  Still it did not look skinny, its fur was shiny and thick, it did not look sick.  When it did not go back to the woods for a number of days, a Fish and Wildlife warden decided, based on his experience, it was not healthy and shot it.  No tests were done.  It doesn’t seem right.

The other animal story I have written lately ended sadly as well.  Tanya Sousa rescued a stranded osprey that had been shot by some yahoo near her home in Coventry.

The bird lived for about a month after that, thanks to her action and the efforts of a rehabilitator named Craig Newman whose nonprofit organization took the bird in and tried to rehabilitate it.

His best efforts failed, and the bird died.

Tanya is trying to make something good out of something really sad right now.  She’s working on fund-raising to help Mr. Newman’s organization continue to do its good work rehabilitating birds when possible and releasing them back to the wild.  The organization, called Outreach for Earth Stewardship, cares for 13 birds at Shelburne Farms, including an American kestrel and owls.  Birds that can’t be released are kept for educational purposes, in hopes kids who see them close-up will grow up to be people who won’t shoot them.

I am very much a supporter of hunting, but good hunters don’t use a magnificent creature like an osprey for target practice.  Good hunters don’t shoot a bird like that by accident, either, because good hunters know what they are shooting at — always.  It is a federal crime to shoot an osprey, and if anyone knows who did it, they should report that person.

Here’s where the small world part comes in.  My daughter, Katie, a student at the University of New England in Biddeford, Maine, is studying bobolinks and other grassland birds this summer as part of her education in the major of psychobiology.

Her study takes her to Shelburne Farms — where the birds Mr. Newman cares for are housed.  Hopefully she will get to meet him and see the birds he’s taking care of there.

Back home at the Chronicle’s web site, we are starting to post some of the current week’s news stories, in an ongoing effort to collaborate with VTDigger.

This week we are featuring the news about the Town Meeting in Albany about the Lowell wind project, and a new brewery in Greensboro, Hill Farmstead. We got a chance to try it, and boy is it nice!

Hear, hear for great beer!


2 responses to “It’s a small world in offbeat animal news

  1. Thanks for mentioning me, but you forgot to add that Noah had told me that there was a raptor rehab place right next to one of the fields we were working in the same day that you told me that Craig’s place was on Shelburne Farms! I thought that was too funny. But Lindsay and I went up and checked it out today, it’s a really cool set-up with four out door aviaries tucked away in the woods and a couple outdoors next to one of the buildings on the farm. I’m headed up there again on Sunday to volunteer up there, I’m really looking forward to it!

  2. Indeed, Bethany, it is a federal crime to shoot ALL wild birds that are non-game species, with the very slim exception of those birds that belong to a nuisance (invasive) species, like starlings or certain sparrows, and it’s legal to shoot them only with permission granted based on the specific nature of their intrusion.

    Don Bredes

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