A couple of weeks ago I answered a letter from Greg Thornbury, who thought he was seeing a peregrine falcon flying around high-rise building where he works in Concord.
I checked with Glenn Stewart at the Santa Cruz Predatory Bird Research Group, who said he wasn’t aware of any peregrines in that area, but that it was very possible.
Stewart says peregrines can thrive in developed areas because of the plentiful supply of pigeons. The tall buildings also mimic the cliffs that peregrines prefer for nesting sites. There are pergrines on Mount Diablo that often are seen in Lime Ridge Open Space that stretches from the base of the mountain in Walnut Creek into Concord.
Thornbury was able to get a photo of the bird and Stewart identified it as an adult peregrine falcon.
“It is a wonderful thing that a person can take a picture like this from a downtown office building,” Stewart says. “Gives a whole new meaning to urban wildlife.”
The Concord peregrine may nest on Mount Diablo, but come into the city to feed during the winter.
DEAR JOAN: I thoroughly enjoyed reading the letters about the foods some animals crave. As the wife of a veterinarian and a veterinary hospital owner for over 30 years, I have answered many emergency calls concerning ingested items.
With the holiday season coming, I would like to add some non-food items that we personally come across this time of year.
Never leave rubberbands, plastic foam peanuts, ribbon (especially the curling type), pieces of plastic or tinsel lying around. Once we treated a dog, a Lab, that had eaten a string of Christmas tree lights. All of these and much more can cause serious harm to pets, and frequently the lodged item will require emergency surgery, not a very merry event this time of year.
In addition, on the days after Thanksgiving and Christmas, we see turkey, ham and garbage overdoses. Please hide your leftovers!
May I add a few words in defense of veterinarians and their “exorbitant” bills? Nothing frustrates a veterinarian more than the Sunday afternoon emergency call when the owner says the animal has been sick since Friday and it may have eaten something bad. All a vet can offer at this point, without support staff, is a recommendation to the best emergency clinic in the area. It takes several employees to help x-ray and assist an emergency surgery. Veterinary emergency clinic services are life-saving, but expensive.
A veterinarian completes the same amount of schooling as an M.D., but unlike R.D.s (real doctors, as we jokingly call them), a veterinarian also must have the skills of a surgeon, a radiologist, a pharmacist and a pediatrician, just to name a few.
They must be able to diagnose and treat many different species, and that explains why a veterinary hospital, unlike a doctors’ office, is a full-service hospital, complete with a surgical suite, in-house lab, x-ray, pharmacy, and specialty pet food store. No one wants to drive their unhappy pets around to specialists, and my personal co-pay on my health insurance is just about the same as our office call.
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