After an ailing California gull was rescued and taken to the Wildlife Center of Silicon Valley on Aug. 10, officials there discovered the bird is perhaps the oldest gull ever known.
A band on the bird's leg shows that he was tagged by the San Francisco Bay Bird Observatory in 1985, making the gull a little more than 28 years old -- a record for California gulls, which are known to live up to 25 years.
The bird was rescued by Silicon Valley Animal Control Authority. He was found lying immobile on the ground with leg injuries and what rescuers described as compromised mobility. He also was emaciated, dehydrated and suffering from anemia.
While treating him at the Wildlife Center, caregivers checked the band on his leg and the federal identification number. The bands help researchers track migratory and nesting patterns, and the overall health of bird populations.
The gull has been improving. He was given hydrating fluids and anti-inflammatory medications, and he was placed in a low-stimulus environment to recuperate. On Aug. 19, nine days after his rescue, he was able to stand and forage for food on his own. He has been moved to an enclosed outdoor flight area. Once he has regains his strength, he will be released back into the wild to continue his amazing journey.
The native California gulls lay up to three eggs a year, tended by both parents. Their longevity and growing population have put the gull at odds with humans as well as the endangered least terns, a favorite food of the gulls.
Gulls are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918, which makes it illegal to harm the birds or disturb nests without a permit from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Despite their rather negative reputation, it's great to see the gull's strong will to survive.
Charges have been filed against Crystal Kisicki, a woman suspected of operating a rescue-for-profit organization called the St. Francis All Creature Rescue and Sanctuary. Ten of the neglected pets taken from her in Monterey County are now available for adoption.
Kisicki was charged with five counts of animal neglect and one charge of driving on a suspended license. She is scheduled to make her first court appearance on Sept. 25.
The SPCA for Monterey County rescued 17 animals -- 14 dogs and puppies, one kitten and two birds -- on June 15. The animals were sick, thin and suffering from flea infestations and skin infections. The Central California SPCA later rescued 61 additional animals from Kisicki's property in rural Fresno County.
The available pets include a 1-year-old female cocker spaniel/poodle mix, a 3-year-old female Yorkie, a 5-month-old male Yorkie puppy, a 2-year-old female Pomeranian, a 4-year-old male Chihuahua mix, a 5-year old female Chihuahua mix, a 3-month-old female Chihuahua puppy, a 5-month-old male terrier mix puppy and two young cockatiels.
If you can provide a home for these rescued animals, go to the SPCA for Monterey County, 1002 Monterey-Salinas Highway across from Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Adopters will need to agree to return to the SPCA at any time upon request if the pets need to be re-examined during the course of the cruelty case.
This also is a reminder to report animal cruelty and neglect if you see something that does not look right, even if the person claims to be working with a rescue group.
Joan Morris' column runs five days a week in print and online. Contact her at email@example.com.