citylog
The E-
Edition:
CW
page
by page

Tumblr.jpg Google_Plus.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Home / Articles / · Archive / News & Columns /  Feature | Ruffled Feathers: In Tracy Aviary?s ballot battle for funding, its injured bird rehab program gets the boot Page 4
News & Columns

Feature | Ruffled Feathers: In Tracy Aviary?s ballot battle for funding, its injured bird rehab program gets the boot Page 4

By Katharine Biele
Posted // October 22,2008 - Generally, the public has no real knowledge about the finer points of bird rehab. After 9-11, for instance, Carlson was asked to document suspicious bird deaths around reservoirs. Homeland Security was monitoring water supplies for possible contamination, and birds often are the first to show signs of poisoning. Also, companies that may do unintentional damage to birds through their work, like Chevron or Union Pacific, are required to have access to rehabbers because of birds’ protected status.

n

Late last year, Carlson began to prepare to renew her state permit through the aviary. At first, she was told she’d need to get a master rehabilitation certification—something not offered or required in Utah. Last December 4, Carlson opened an e-mail from a veterinary technician and intern coordinator at the aviary.

n

“Sorry for the delay in responding to the e-mail you sent regarding the ‘master rehabber’ test. After much discussion among the senior staff, I think at this point we are looking to no longer carry sub-permits. …It sounds like you should have no problem passing the exam and with all the years experience you have it shouldn’t be a problem. We will maintain you on the Federal permit until 2010 so you don’t have to worry about that for a few years. …”

n

Carlson saw an immediate problem. Federal and state permits have to be in sync. She couldn’t operate with only a state permit if the aviary held the federal permit separately. It can take six months or more to process a federal permit. She’d also thought that the aviary had obligated itself to the program until the federal permit ran out.

n

“When they gave us two weeks’ notice to be done, we were done,” Carlson says. “There was nothing I could do in that short a time to be up and running.” Besides the permits, she says she’d need to get nonprofit designation and do fund-raising on her own.

n

“It was a very low blow,” Carlson says. And it wasn’t until she had her lawyer in tow that she first talked to Brown.

n

/Carlson was acting on the belief that aviary staff told people she refused to take the nonexistent test, among other things. Worried about her reputation, she warned Brown that he was slandering her. Carlson also believes the implication is that the rehab program was a casualty of poor finances that could be helped with the bond passage.

n

Brown, however, holds the line that the rehab program was simply too risky to continue—even though there had never been a complaint. “Being the permit-holder, we have a responsibility to provide a level of oversight, which we haven’t been doing,” he says. “They invest their souls; they’ve spent time and money to go to remote houses to accommodate injured birds. I’m saddened by where we’ve arrived, but if we are responsible for them, you should have some institutional procedures. We have so much to do here that we have to prioritize our time, and spending time with rehabbers doesn’t meet our top priorities.”

n

The aviary has been 70 percent complete for years, and Brown is firm that piecemeal reconstruction won’t happen. Bad for the birds; bad for the visitors.

n

Meanwhile, birds are still hitting widows, being shot, landing in sludge ponds and being electrocuted in Salt Lake County. The Ogden Nature Center is taking most of the cases, as the nearest facility with a permit to care for injured birds.

n

“Now we have a massive influx of people from the Salt Lake Valley, says DaLyn Erickson, the center’s wildlife specialist. “It’s about doubled our numbers. We’re a small nonprofit rehab facility, and there’s not a lot of funding for that.”

n

Volunteers are trying to step in, she says. Still, it is illegal to transport even a little finch without a permit. Owen Hogle, owner of the Wild Bird Center in Holladay, called Brown at the aviary to make a personal appeal for the terminated rehabbers. “I felt this decision was handled very poorly,” Hogle says. “If they had set a timeline so Candy and Tazia could prepare, they could have handled this so much better.”

n

The Wild Bird Center gets 10 to 12 calls a week from people with injured birds, Hogle says. That’s just a fraction of the total number of bird injuries, however: Multiplied throughout the valley, that number would be huge.

n

Hogle himself has been trying to come up with some alternatives, as have other organizations.

n

An emotional meeting that Brown arranged ended disastrously in mid-October. Brown offered to work toward a solution outside the aviary—to write rules and standards, address recruiting new rehabbers and coordinate training—and still plans a Nov. 10 meeting. Carlson feels he just wants to delay resolution until after the bond election, and that he fundamentally misunderstands the program. The two rehabbers had been working under federal standards, recruiting and training for years, although few newcomers stuck with the demanding program.

n

And while Brown has now determined that AZA frowns on rehab activities, the original decision—made by a staffer—was simply to terminate without transition.

n

Meantime, Brown has been getting calls in “strong opposition” to the bond based on the bird rehab controversy. And he’s incensed at the connectivity of the two otherwise unrelated issues.

n

“It’s about the need for us to have more indoor space … so the revenue stream doesn’t drop between September and May,” Brown says of the bond. “It’s a business plan. It’s not about rehab.”

n

Carlson—a bird with an injured wing—can agree with that now. tttt

Continue reading: Page 1 | Page 2 | Page 3 | Page 4 | Read All
 
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Post a comment
REPLY TO THIS COMMENT
Posted // October 28,2008 at 11:44 Yes I am an outsider. I am not a resident of the state of Utah, but I have visited SLC many times and have observed firsthand the dedicated efforts of my sister - Candy Carlson in taking care of injured birds. Things come and go, but injured birds will be with us for some time. According to the SLWeekly article, the Ogden Nature Center which is a small, nonprofit rehab facility with limited funding is already swapped with injured birds. And the Wild Bird Center of Holladay is also swapped with calls from people with injured birds. The volunteer rehab program appears to fill a needed niche. According to this article, the Tracy Aviary, which is a park, not a sanctuary or a clinic made a decision years ago to establish a unique and long-standing, off-site collaboration with bird rehabbers such as Candy Carlson to support the rescue and care of injured birds. I assume that the AZA was aware of this arrangement and yet continued to grant accreditation to the Tracy Aviary. So, what has changed? Politics? Money? You still have the problem of injured birds in need of help. I would hope that the valuable resource of bird rehabbers who freely volunteer their time and give generously of their money in the rescue and care of injured birds is not lost over the issue of permits. Surely, something can be worked out to have both a fine Aviary facility and a worthwhile rehab program that the people of Utah can be proud of.

 

REPLY TO THIS COMMENT
Posted // October 28,2008 at 10:19 The only thing good about birds is they make make good sandwiches,

 

 
 
Close
Close
Close