Saturday, March 27, 2010

Pine Grosbeaks

This important information about Pine Grosbeaks is from Bev Lorimer and Edel Mattfeld.
In the past week there have been a number of deaths of pine grosbeaks. They are the male red/gray birds and the mustard/gray coloured females. I have been quite concerned as I have been feeding them all winter and feel some responsibility as to their well being. At first I wondered if it had something to do with the cleanliness of the feeders but Ross and I are very careful about that. We use only black oiled sunflower seeds from Purity Feeds. I feed a large population of common redpolls, chickadees, evening grosbeaks and pine grosbeaks. They remain healthy.

Today I called a local veterinary clinic and spoke to one of the technicians. We reviewed the situation and she wondered if anyone in the neighbourhood had put out poison to control rodents (squirrels). If you have, please do it safely so that other species are not affected. I then called the Conservation Officer Service and reviewed the problem with Francis at the CO office. After a long discussion he wondered if the birds might be eating food not intended for bird consumption. This would include table scraps, especially bread.

The symptoms of the sick birds include bloating, especially in their abdominal area, lethargy, very slow and sleepy. They do not react to other birds flying around them, as if they do not see them or are too tired to care. They still come to feed and drink but seem to have trouble swallowing. They die within 3-5 days of the symptoms being noticed.

The CO suggested that we DO NOT FEED BREAD or other food not intended for the bird population. Please alert your neighbours and friends. Hopefully this will be a starting point for solving the problem. If the deaths continue to occur the CO or Wildlife services will come out to investigate.

If you notice birds with the symptoms mentioned above, or deaths, please call me at (250) 828-2160 or email (I am unavailable after April 3) or call Edel at (250) 374-7838 or email her at If you are unable to reach one of us please call Ministry of Environment, General Inquiries at (250) 371-6281 and leave a detailed message for Francis.

More information about our grosbeak population from Bev Lorimer:

Today I spoke with a veterinarian who specializes in wild birds and he gave me a couple of suggestions as to what might be happening.
  • Poisoning unlikely as only 1 species involved.
  • Bread will not kill the birds, it just does not provide any nutrition.
  • More likely to be a digestive upset…leading to enteritis…possibly leading to “salmonellosis”. Birds have salmonella bacteria as normal flora in their digestive gut. If for some reason it increases, as it would with enteritis, it becomes a big problem (as it does in humans). If this is indeed the problem please be very careful handling sick or dead birds. Wash hands very well when cleaning out feeders.
Now reasons possibly explaining what has happened:
  • STRESS environmental or otherwise
  • OVEREATING. As the temperature increases the birds increase their activity resulting in overeating especially if there is an abundance of food easily available( as in our feeders).It is important to decrease intake of carbohydrates as the weather and activity change. This overeating leads to digestive upset….as noted above.
The plan would be to feed the birds good nutritious food in the cold of the winter…start to slow down as the temperature goes up. Keep feeders very clean. Do not stop suddenly but if you are still using your feeders gradually stop over the next week.

This is likely what has happened as the distended belly kind of matches the disease. Please keep in mind the vet has not seen the birds he has just listened to me via a phone conversation. The next bird that dies I will take into the vet clinic.

Please let Edel or me know when you find sick or dying birds. No need to call Francis at Min of Environment.

Friday, March 19, 2010

A Thank You from the Heart & Stroke Foundation

Jenny Perry and Pat Burton would like to thank all the generous members of the Lac Le Jeune community who helped to make the 2010 House to House Campaign for Heart and Stroke so successful. Once again we raised almost $700.00. Your response has always been very warm and welcoming, despite our inundation with so many needs worldwide. If anyone is interested in joining us in canvassing next year, particularly from Park Drive East, please let us know, as it is a large community and the two of us can't always visit everyone.

Again, thanks very much! Jenny Perry ~ Pat Burton

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Congratulations to local speed skater!

Congratulations to Gillian Michell, age 9, of the River City Racers Speed Skating Club for winning a gold medal in the bantam girls category at the WorkSafeBC Southern Regional speed skating championships held in Kamloops this past weekend. Gillian also skated personal best times in all four of her distances. She skated to 2 first place finishes and 2 second place finishes. Gillian took off up to 5 1/2 seconds off of her previous times.

Update on Community Wildfire Plan

This is an update prepared by Tim Cole on the Community Wildfire Plan.

Hello everyone at Lac le Jeune and Walloper Lake. I want to let everybody know we have started operational work on the wildfire plan for our community and to be aware of our activities.

Ground work has started on the Park Drive West Road and the first 800 meters of the Ridge Mountain FSR. This area consists mainly of Douglas fir and the focus is cleaning up ground fuels and latter fuels. We have also started heavy equipment work on either end of the fire guard and this work should take 10-14 days.

We had to plough out the Rossmore road today to gain access to the east end of Lac le Jeune for pickups and heavy equipment. If you have been using this route for snowmobiling, please be aware that snowmobiling is always prohibited on ploughed forestry roads. If you have to use it, please use caution and reduce your speed. If you are going to access Rossmore Lake via the trail from the east end of Lac Le Jeune, a portion of this trail has also been cleared. You will only be on it for a short period of time, but please use caution if you have to use it. This road will be maintained for approximately 2 weeks and hopefully we will get some more snow after we are done. If you use the ski trails at Stake Lake, the crossings have been maintained but use caution when crossing as there may be traffic or exposed gravel. Sorry for any inconvenience opening up this road may cause.

The areas that have been logged in the past three years and adjacent to roadways will be treated after the snow melts as most of the fuel in on the ground and under snow.

There have been some inquiries about the availability of firewood from this activity and the answer is yes. Cutting firewood for residents saves us time and money and allows us to do more work. The fire wood will be bucked and stacked adjacent to the roads and everybody is welcome to it. Please do not cut any logs on the ground within our treated areas as many of these are to be left for wildlife and soil conservation purposes. All the firewood will be bucked so you will not need your saw.

We have started burning at 2.5km on the Ridge Mountain Road and will continue to burn as long as it is safe to do so. You will see smoke on the ridge to south on and off for the next 5-6 weeks. We will also start burning our smaller piles within the next week.

Thank you for the tremendous support for this project, everything has been very positive.

Once again, please feel free to email me if you have questions or concerns and I will try to get back to you as soon as possible. I will be sending out periodic updates to keep everybody informed.

Tim Cole, RPF
Lonely Mountain Consulting Co.
3776 Pineridge Drive, LLJ
250-318-3196 cell