Friday, December 31, 2010

Eagles looking for a meal

Now that the salmon are gone from the rivers (but are still being caught in the ocean) , the eagles are coming to town to look for a little food.

Here is a short video of a few in early December. I have seen quite few more on the trees around the city.

By the way, those white dots on the trees are indeed eagles. Sometimes there are a hundred near the canneries.

Maybe I'll "shoot" a few for you to see en mass.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Where are Santa's reindeer from?

Where do those reindeer that helped Santa deliver your presents come from? Are they local? Of course not, they are from the North Pole you say. Maybe. But, maybe not.

I did not know we had any till today's Kodiak Daily Mirror article... but there are actual reindeer in parts of Kodiak island!

Apparently 32 were brought to Ahiok in the 1920s. From my reading on the subject, in those days the government thought it would be smart to have the natives herd those animals like they do cattle in the Southwest. But herding reindeer never caught on anywhere in Alaska. The natives preferred to let them go loose and hunt only the ones they needed for their personal food.

They let the ones in Kodiak go free also. And so they wander through those parts of the island. Mainlanders, on the other hand, have decided it is a sport to hunt them from a plane or helicopter. And that has been allowed. I must tell you, that if hunting a moving deer while you are standing on firm ground it must be a lot harder to shoot one form the air.

They estimate that 25 - 30 are taken every year. Anyway, estimates are that the population has been stable for the last 10 years despite the hunt...up to about 300 from those original 32. And who knows, I too might "shoot" a few (with my camera) some day soon when I take a sightseeing plane ride around the island.

The season runs between Aug 1 and Jan 31. So Dasher, Dancer, Comet, Cupid et al might want to wait another month before flying down to enjoy our near 30 degree warm weather, compared to that in their frigid northern lands.

In case you are interested: While we have temps about +30, Wasila is -10 and Fairbanks is about -30! What a wonderful world this island is!!!

If you want to read the paper's article, go to

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A Christmas song from Alaska

A village's song for you, from the west coast of the Alaska mainland.

Sorry the right of the screen gets cut off. If you go to the YouTube, you'll be able to see all the words.

Where are they are from?

View Larger Map

Merry Christmas from AK !

Saturday, December 18, 2010

As you've read, Kodiak people do more than enjoy bears and salmon and eagles and sea lions. We even send rockets into space.
But did you also know that we have cowboys?

Check it out at:

Monday, December 13, 2010

A happy ending story, just in time for Christmas

Last Friday, the Kodiak Mirror newspaper told a heart warming story for the animal lovers of Kodiak.

A 50 pound bear cub started to show up near the Wall Mart store for 2 consecutive days. On the third it crossed the street and was seen at the Mill Bay Coffee, just one block from our house (sorry I didn't get a picture!).

The day after that it was found walking around the trailer park across another "major" street.

We do have an official "bear specialist" on the island who is called whenever a bear is repeatedly seen in city.

In most cities they would probably immediately call out the SWAT team. But not in Kodiak. The bear guy says he kept getting hourly reports about the location of the bear. Not because they feared for their own lives, but because most people were concerned that she might be hit by a car.

So after 2 days around the trailer park, she was finally found under a trailer. She might be only be a 50 pounder, but that is probably enough to inflict a lot of injury if you get her scared. But, she was easily tranquilized (while the State Troopers stood by)....). And then to the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center (AWCC) it was, just across the Portage Glacier park headquarters, only one hour south of Anchorage. This is the second young brown bear cub they get this year.

Why such a young cub was wandering the streets in December is any one's guess. Was it a bad mother who didn't take her into hibernation? Was the mom killed and 11 month old had no idea of what to do? Who knows.

There is no way she can be trained to return to the wild. We just know that you will be able to see her for years to come at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center (AWCC).

By the way, that is a great place to visit on a trip to Anchorage....and a great place to send a year-end tax deductible contribution, since it provides a valuable service to our injured wildlife!

P.S. As a follow up on Kaladi, the 3 pound, 2 day old sea otter they found stranded across the street form the beach last June....according to people at the Alaska SeaLife Center in Seward, by July she was off to the Tacoma, Washington Zoo. It is easy to find a place to adopt those young and cute animals. And while you have your wallet out, send some money to the Alaska SeaLife Center also!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

First snow of December

It was the first week of December, 9 o'clock in the morning.

Isn't this the perfect Christmas village?

Merry Christmas !!

(By February we won't be feeling so "cheery"!)

Waterproofing your shoes

In Kodiak it is important to keep snow, ice, and water out of your shoes.

We have discovered that if you place the shoes by the side of the wood stove for just a few minutes, the beeswax spreads a lot easier, as it melts into the shoes.

One treatment and they are nice and dry for nearly 2 years. Really.

But if they have a suede knap surface, realize that they will lose their texture as the wax coats it. They are not as pretty, but they will stay dry.

P.S. If you don't have a wood stove, put them in the oven on aluminum foil at 200 degrees for a few minutes (but, be sure your spouse is out of the house when you do that).

Give either method a try. But I think you will find beeswax much better than the silicon aerosol spray they sell you.