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 This Week on Animal Radio

Animal Radio for September 2, 2023  

Birding In The Nude
Olaf Danielson, Naturist

Olaf Danielson Birding Behind a SignOlaf Danielson has made a hobby out of birding without any clothes. Olaf is an author, religious scholar, storyteller and adventurer. He will share some of his favorite stories of seeking out rare and exotic avian wildlife... while naked as a jaybird.

Olaf became a nude birder after a conversation with his publisher. While it wasn't a bet, it was an encouragement from her. They were sitting in her office one day when she asked him what he thought about the movie "The Big Year," that came out years ago. Olaf told her that it was all fine and dandy, but could he see 749 species naked? His publisher then took it upon herself and wrote out a draft contract for a book project. Olaf was confused at first, but then she explained that she wanted him to do a book on the subject and spend the next year seeing how many species of birds he could see while naked.

Olaf wasn't sure he should have said yes to the project, but admits it was fun and he met a lot of interesting people and had interesting adventures along the way, and that is what life's about! He spent about a year nude birding and saw 594 different species of birds. He went from North America to the Caribbean Islands north of 15 degrees, which was a sort of an arbitrary point, but excluded Cuba, because being an American you can't really travel affectively to Cuba, nor would he want to! Olaf wasn't sure how it would work if he didn't include a couple of Caribbean Islands where they have nude beaches.

Most people would be afraid to be out in nature in the buff, but the main concern Olaf had was from bugs, then the coldness, as well as the authorities like the police. He didn't worry about what his mother or wife thought, but there were a lot of things he worried about. So was he worried about what other people thought? Olaf states that it's interesting for what tolerance people have, especially those on the west coast, but it's different for people in the other parts of the country. People on the west coast are a little more tolerant of finding the odd chance encounter of a naked guy on a trail in a national forest.

BirdWhen Olaf started, he knew there were a lot of places in America where people already go naked. He started there, but to get a better birding total, he had to get out of the naturists clubs and go to more interesting venues, which involved some risk for him getting in trouble.

It all worked out and Olaf didn't get arrested in spite of some encounters where this could have happened. However, a bear did chase him one time on the 4th of July. This bear actually chased him into a photography session at a Hindu wedding. He claims this was a good thing, because while all of the people yelled, "bare, bear," the bear stopped and he snuck around to his car. He says when he first arrived; there were no other cars or people around. Another time, he was also almost shot at in South Texas with his friend. A guy was pointing a gun at them and Olaf thinks they may have accidentally stumbled upon a growing operation. They then spent the rest of the day hiding in the mesquite until dark.

While Olaf did most of his nude birding alone, some of the places required spousal participation, especially in the clothing optional clubs that he went to. Other times he would bring a friend, who is also a birder, who would sometimes take off his clothes too. His friend would stay back on the trail to alert Olaf if someone came bouncing up the trail behind him. He did this by having a coughing fit or even talking to the person who was approaching. This would give Olaf some time to whip out a sari that he carried to cover himself up with, which sometimes garnered him some strange looks.

So having no existing record to pursue, Olaf decided to set up his own rules for NUDE BIRDING. "Being tough but fair," is how he wants to describe his rules.

Here are the rules:

Olaf Danielson Sign 8271. You have to be nude to count the bird. Hats and footwear are fine but nothing else. From the knees to the neck, it must be uncovered.

2. You have to have left naked to go birding (or for another nude activity) to count the bird. Seeing a turkey vulture while playing nude volleyball is acceptable, while driving along in a car or walking textile, seeing a bird, and then slipping off your clothing does not count. In fact, being in car doesn't count ever. To count a bird, you will have to go back to car, or house, undress and then return unclothed. For legality reasons, leaving a car walking around a corner and disrobing is acceptable, as long as it wasn't because you saw a new bird.

3. You cannot be inside an enclosed boat, house, or car/truck for it to count. A bird blind must be open to a degree any birder would consider it open. Being naked on an ATV if you left naked on an ATV or even a snowmobile (burr!) is acceptable. If you see a bird and you are walking or driving or riding on an ATV, a boat, canoe, or something like it and you are forced to cover up afterwards for obvious reasons like to avoid arrest, the birds you saw before that count but no birds after that point even if you could take your clothing off again.

4. Birds can count if you see it while located in all states except Hawaii, plus Canada. All Caribbean islands north of fifteen degrees north latitude and the French Islands in the Gulf of St. Lawrence count as long as the bird species is considered free breeding and with an established population and not domestic. For honesty sake, barrier islands such as Roatan, Cozumel, and Ambergris Key, only count for a kilometer from shore on the mainland side of the islands, or until you can see the mainland, or on close islands, halfway to the mainland, which ever is a shorter distance. Otherwise, you can go out from land to continental shelf. Bermuda does not count, but the Bahamas do. Since he was an American citizen at the time of writing this, he could not legally visit Cuba, so for fairness, Cuba was excluded as well.

A wild Rock Pigeon is fine, even if it is feral. Chickens are not a species. Visiting Barnacle Geese from Greenland are fine as are Skylarks on Vancouver Island, which are established. He didn't think there were any peacock communities that would qualify. Birds in zoos are not free in the sense, so they don't count either. He deferred to the birding associations for determinations.

Boobies, Peckers & Tits Boob CoverSo why did Olaf alter the territory from the movie? Initially, he wasn't sure how this would work and since it would be hard to bird naked up north for six months, he needed to expand the southern boundaries. Since nudity on the French islands is generally more tolerated than in the USA, he needed to go far enough south to include St. Barths and St Martin. In reality, he only added about one hundred to one hundred and fifty species to the mix, since even the barrier islands of Central America don't have all of the species that the mainland has and fifteen degrees cuts below Honduras and doesn't include Trinidad or Costa Rica.

5. Species now lumped together with another species will require a loss of a species, even in future. Flickers and Juncos have been split then lumped back together. The rules are set by the various birding associations and scientists over the years, so my total may fluctuate. Things happen and that is just the way it goes.

Olaf is not a big fan of rules but for something like this, you need a little guidance to you going. This is, like all bird counts, on the honor system as in many of the places you will go birding, cameras are forbidden. Since there is no record for this that he could find, he got to make the rules.

So would Olaf recommend nude birding to everyone? He says it's interesting in that it makes you feel one with nature and something you can easily start in your backyard, depending upon where you live. Olaf says he has a bit of a following of some people who will email him their list of birds they have seen - clothing optional. Olaf thinks that it is interesting that there are some people out they who are doing this now!

In his autobiography, Olaf also chronicles his own real-life adventure in "Boobies, Peckers, and Tits," one man's naked perspective, which proves the adage that sometimes truth is stranger than fiction.

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Training Pit Bulls for Good
Jeff Jenkins, Midnight Circus

Jeff with Circus DogJeff Jenkins is the ringleader for the Midnight Circus, a pit bull agility performance that shows the often misunderstood dogs in a positive light. He's helping youngsters train their Pit Bulls to do tricks instead of fighting. It brings together acrobats and although it's not an animal circus, the unsung stars of the show are Jeff's two wonderful rescued Pit Bulls, Junebug and Rosie Rae.

Junebug and Rosie Rae are very talented dogs. They jump rope, they jump through hoops and do backflips, as well as comedy bits where the run in and out of their doghouse, opening and closing the doors. They also take Jeff's hat and steal the show!

Unfortunately Pit Bulls are misunderstood and when most people see them, they freak out. But Jeff explains that his show is very theatrical and very contemporary and that his Pit Bulls in his show are a conduit to the community. People usually have those preconceived notions about Pit Bulls, so when they see these dogs in a different light, well-behaved and friendly, and know their back story that they came from a difficult rescue situation, it tends to build that bridge.

Many years ago, Midnight Circus decided they wanted to transform their show into a much more community oriented event. So they partnered with the Park District's "Night Out In The Parks" in the City of Chicago.

Since 2007, Circus In The Parks has played to thousands of attendees. This one of a kind event has raised over $850,000 for local park improvements. Celebrating community, raising funds and rebuilding parks one circus at a time. This allows the parks to do playground renovation and programming.

Midnight Circus isn't the only thing Jeff does. For many years, Jeff ran a program to end dog fighting with the Humane Society of the United States. He primarily worked with young men in Chicago who were at risk, or were involved with dog fighting, engaging them in a positive way.

So many people have never seen a Pit Bull, or a bully breed, in a positive light in a lot of these communities. Through the circus and the other work Jeff does, he has been able to shine that light on how great these dogs can be, to get folks involved in positive relationships with their dogs.

Pit Bulls are not for everyone and not everyone wants one in their neighborhood. If you do adopt one, you need to be a good neighbor and a good spokesperson for the breed. If you are active and engaged with your dog, then this could be the dog for you. But you have to put in the time, because they are very active dogs with a lot of drive. Also, you need to be a leader. So many of the bully breeds that are in shelters have been through the ringer. So, you will end up adopting a dog that might require a little more work up front than a Labrador or Golden Retriever. You need not only the time; you also need to be patient, firm and positive.

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Vegas Bats Positive for Rabies - What's the Risk? - Dr. Debbie

Dr. Debbie White Think your pet doesn't need a rabies vaccine because it lives indoors? Think again. Bats have been known to fly through open windows or chimneys. Dogs and cats that go outdoors are at risk for rabies exposure through wildlife. Felines that hunt and bring "presents" have added rabies risk.

Common questions about rabies:

What is Rabies?
Rabies is a viral disease causing encephalitis (brain inflammation) that affects all mammals including humans. The disease is almost always fatal. Over 59,000 people worldwide die of rabies every year, but fortunately U.S. human deaths are rare with 1 to 2 reported per year. Pet and farm animal rabies cases do occur in the U.S. though, usually after tangling with wildlife.

How is Rabies Passed?
Rabies is passed in saliva through the bite of a rabid animal. Less common exposures to rabies include aerosol transmission, mucous membrane contact or rare cases of organ transplant in humans.

What Are Symptoms of Rabies?
Excessive drooling, aggression, staggering and seizures are symptoms of rabies in animals. Wild carnivores, like coyotes, that avoid people are suspect if lacking fear and approaching humans. Nocturnal species like bats that are found out during daylight are also suspect for rabies.

What Kind of Animals Carry Rabies?
Although pet and human rabies cases in the U.S. are rare, the infection still abounds in wildlife reservoirs. In the Las Vegas area, bats are most commonly carriers, but other wildlife carriers include raccoons, skunks and foxes.

What Do You Do If You See a Sick or Dying Bat?
Avoid contact with sick or dying bats. Do not take sick bats to the veterinarian. Call Animal Control if any human or pet exposure to sick bat.Despite the rabies concern, bats do have an important role in our ecosystem by consuming insects and pollinating plants. Not every bat has rabies, and there are other reasons bats die

What Do I Do If a Person or Pet is Scratched or Bitten By a Bat or Other Wildlife?
If your pet gets into a fight with a skunk or raccoon, or plays with a dying or dead bat, there is potential for rabies exposure and a report should be made. Call animal control to have the bat or other wildlife picked up. Possible rabies exposure is evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Because rabies is fatal, any humans with suspect rabies exposure should make a report to the local health department. Fortunately post exposure treatment for people is very effective in preventing disease, and doesn't involve painful stomach injections reported of long ago.

What Happens to Pets After Exposure to Suspected or Known Rabies?
Ultimately local rabies ordinances dictate how each case is handled. Pets with current or late rabies vaccinations may be quarantined for 10 days. A pet that never has had a rabies vaccine may be promptly euthanized and tested for rabies. In other cases of unvaccinated pets, extended quarantine periods up to 6 months may arise.

What Can I Do to Protect My Pets and Family From Rabies?
Vaccinate animals for rabies - this includes dogs, cats, ferrets and select farm animals
Teach children never to handle bats
Do not keep wild animals as pets
Spay and neuter your pets to decrease the desire to roam
Maintain control of your pets when outdoors or hiking to avoid accidental exposure to wildlife
Bat-proof your home and garage to avoid nesting sites and close encounters with bats
Report human bites from pets or wildlife to public health and animal control authorities

Vaccination is key to protecting pets from rabies and offers peace of mind to pet owners and the Rabies vaccine is typically inexpensive.

Rabies vaccination…Just do it!

Featured veterinarian known as "Dr. Debbie" on national pet radio program, Animal Radio. Ebook author of "Yorkshire Terriers: How to Be Your Dog's Best Friend"; "Pugs: How to Be Your Dog's Best Friend"; "Mini Schnauzers: How to Be Your Dog's Best Friend"; and "Shih Tzu: How to Be Your Dog's Best Friend." Dr. Debbie's books.

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Animal Radio News - Lori Brooks

Lori and Flo BearWhat's The Key To A Good, Successful Marriage? (Puppies & Kittens!)
You're thinking love, communication, trust, common interests and that kind of stuff for a successful marriage, right? But, a study from the University of Florida says it could also be cute, cuddly puppies, kittens and bunnies. The team of psychological scientists found that to break the 'familiarity breeds contempt syndrome' or boredom that can happen in long-term relationships, couples can make better associations with their spouse through a positive stimulus like puppies and bunnies. The researchers showed one group of couples images of their spouse together with positive words or happy images of puppies and bunnies. The control group saw their partner's face paired with neutral images, like a button, a box or a shoestring. After a few weeks, couples who were exposed to positive images had more positive associations with them.

Katys Pet CemeteryPet Crematory Gave Back Wrong Ashes
A pet cemetery and crematory in Illinois was accused of deceiving clients by giving them ashes that were not be from their deceased pets. Police found three deceased animals inside an old freezer at the facility and fortunately one of the animals had been microchipped. Authorities contacted the owner who said they had already received their cat's ashes. The owners were then told that it couldn't have been their cat's ashes, because their cat was recently found. The owner believed the pet had been cremated years ago. In the end, investigators found the bodies of twenty-eight animals at Katy's Pet Cemetery and Crematory. The oldest case was one whose owners believed their pet had been cremated in 2001. But the only thing illegal in this case was misrepresenting ashes of an animal because pet crematories in Illinois are not regulated.

EddieRemember Eddie The Dog On The TV Series Frasier?
Eddie was a Jack Russell played by a dog named Moose beginning in 1993, but had to retire before the last four seasons of the show. A son of Moose then took over the role of Eddie. Apparently, there were other things the public didn't know about Eddie. TV Guide told the world after an interview with Frasier star Kelsey Grammer, who confessed that "Moose had gotten so old and gray that… the make-up department painted his faded markings back on and he just got to sit on the couch and take it easy, since he couldn't really perform anymore." However the big revelation from the interview was that Eddie's owner on the show played by actor John Mahoney, actually hated Eddie because he would bite Mahoney every time he had to sit on his lap.

Your Pet Purchases Are Being Tracked
With the pet industry growing so fast, any information that can be gained from your purchases for your pets is extrapolated every way possible for those companies which profit from your spending habits. Search data pulled by Hitwise from major pet supply websites showed the majority of both cat and dog owners, or at least those doing the buying for their pets, are women and that the women who own dogs make nearly twice as much as those who have cats. In the Pets & Animals industry, Hitwise says Chewy and PetSmart pull in more than 10-percent of pet industry website visits. Hitwise also analyzed the data from a lot of us that are online pet supply shoppers who start off on Chewy then head over to Amazon to compare prices and end up buying on Amazon instead.

Tiger SelfieSelfies With Tigers
Too many exotic animals are in sanctuaries because of misinformed or uncaring humans buying them as babies. But the huge population of captive tigers has gained a surprising new champion in Tinder after management at the dating app noticed the large number of profile pictures that featured men posing with captive tigers. There are only around 4,500 tigers left in the wild now, but it's estimated there are as many 8,000 in captivity now in the US alone. Tinder executives didn't like the tiger exploitation and posted on its blog that, "Posing next to a king of the jungle doesn't make you one. It's time for the tiger selfies to go." Tinder urged users to remove the selfies and said it would donate $10,000 to Project Cat, which hopes to double the number of tigers in the wild.

Road Kill Is Just Not Funny - But This Incident Is So Strange
You can only imagine the bizarre calls authorities get, like one in California where the Highway Patrol had to respond to a report of a dead kangaroo on Interstate 580, near the Oakland Zoo. The CHP later tweeted, "Reports of a kangaroo on I-580 were false. Said marsupial was actually an enormous raccoon." The officer who removed the animal from the roadway said he had truly never seen a raccoon that big.

Ear Listen to the entire Podcast of this show (#1239)

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