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Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Wild Life.

I became curiouser and curiouser the more I learned about deer collars and so I emailed the Wild Life Department with my questions and included a couple of pictures of the collar wearing deer. I didn't expect to hear back but I did. The guy that put the collars on wrote to me! He told me they collared 300 deer!

Here's part of his email;

To capture these deer, we used a net fired from a large net-gun as we flew over the deer in a helicopter. While we had the deer in hand, we collected blood samples, fecal samples, took standard biological body measurements, measured body fat and pregnancy status using a portable ultrasound, and fitted each deer with a radio collar. Each radio collar has its own unique frequency, which allows us to locate the deer by homing in on the radio signal using a special receiver; we do most of our monitoring from an airplane but sometimes we track from the ground using vehicles or on foot. Each radio collar has a mortality switch which allows us to determine if a deer has died; by getting to a deer shortly after it has died, we have a better chance of determining the cause of death. Using locations of radio marked deer, we can learn many things about how deer make a living across the landscape including seasonal movements and habitat use, survival rates, migration corridors, identifying critical areas important to deer, all of which help us do a better job of managing the mule deer herds. Unless we recapture a deer and remove the collar, the deer will wear the collar for the rest of its life.

If I had the frequency of the radio collar of the deer in your photo, I could produce a map showing the relocation and movement information over time for that deer. Without the frequency, I do not know which deer this one is.

He asked me if he could use the pictures I sent in a presentation he's doing and wanted to know if I had any more. I sent him many more. Here's one of them.

You can see where the collar has worn away her fluffy coat.

While I was poking around on the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife web page, I saw that a person can become a licensed wildlife rehabilitator. I think I will do that one day.

I have helped a lot of injured birds and returned them to the wild. Mostly birds of prey such as great horned owl, barn owl, screech owl, red tail hawk (which was put to sleep because I made the mistake of taking him to the vets) and a kestrel.

Here's me back in 1984 with a great horned owl.

Notice I'm not wearing gloves. The screech owl I saved would dig his talons in deeper if I moved my fingers. That was brutal. But this old boy was a gentleman.

I found him in the middle of the road one night, with his legs in the air and out cold. I took him home and he woke up after awhile. He was a bit dopey at first but soon got his wits back. He ate really good and was a real survivor. I remember I had to treat him for lice. I bet all owls have lice that they catch from their prey. Once he did a good job of flying across the room and landing on tricky spots with no problem, I let him go. I always sing Born Free when I let something go, lol.

I read the requirements and I saw the glaring problem I would have as a licensed rehabilitator, if a wild animal imprints on humans they have to put it to sleep. I can't see me bottle feeding an orphaned fawn and no bonding going on. I'd be a death sentence to any cute cuddly creature, so I'd have to be birds only.


Linda said...

That would be fun. I rehabilitated a hawk at one point, but he never could fly well again (broken wing). I'd take him out on hills and let him soar, hoping that would build back up his wing strength, but it never did. So, he was a pet for a long time, unfortunately. That was also in the 80's! I'd love to do it for the forest service. A friend of mine took in a baby deer--she'd drive around with it in her car!!

Unknown said...

OMG i would have the same problem if i rehab'd wildlife....i imprinted my wild foal luckily he dosnt have to go back to the wild otherwise he'd be getting the bullet...

maybe when i win the lotto later this year i will just buy a huge ranch and do wildlife relocation instead so the ones that impprint can just live on with can dream...