URGENT: Latest rosy report and bad news; CAUTION: Ice Hazard
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From: Fran Lusso
Date: December 28, 2012 01:54 AM
I'm just home from the hospital at almost midnight having been there since 11am. Dave went up to the Crest this morning where it was 9 degrees and windy. Snow and ice in the parking lots and on the road in the shade. He saw a group of about 40 mixed rosies and a few loners.
Now for the bad news. On his way back to the truck after filling the feeders, he slipped on the ice in the parking lot. He didn't think he had done anything serious and managed to get back to the truck and drive home where he discovered that he could not put any weight on his leg or move once he had pulled himself out of the drivers seat. It was clear something was broken and I called an ambulance. Turns out he fractured the proximal end of the femur and is scheduled for a hip replacement tomorrow morning.
Obviously he will not be going back to the Crest and, given the conditions up there and the locations of the feeders, neither will I. In fact, I believe we are not going to be able to fulfill our role any longer. So there will need to be other arrangements made for the feeders from here on out. Sorry to dump this on you but I hope you will understand.
Best to you and Mary Lou!
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Fran, we are so sorry to hear about Dave's accident. We hope and pray that his surgery will be successful.
Obviously, his recovery and well-being are all that really matters. Mary Lou and I can't fully express our gratitude to you and Dave for your devotion to the rosy-finch feeding project.
We took care of the feeders before moving to Florida in 2004. You guys stepped in and have been doing this for twice as long a time as we did it, so we know how much dedication and sacrifice this has required. You and Dave have driven up to the Crest over 100 times in all kinds of weather, at your own expense and without asking for anything in return except to enhance the experience of the thousands of visitors-- mostly non-birders-- who have been inspired by the sight and the story of the colorful and hardy little finches, juncos, jays, nuthatches, squirrels and chipmunks that visit the feeders. We think about all people who have been brought to a greater understanding and appreciation of nature through this experience, all because of the service you have rendered.
We are confident that the project will continue, just as you stepped up and took it over when it seemed there was no one to continue the work after we moved away. So don't worry, please concentrate on Dave getting better and being able to return as a spectator after his new hip is broken in-- oops, poor choice of words!
Dave, it is safe to say that everyone who visits this FORUM is so grateful for your enormous contribution to the success of the feeding, educational and research efforts that are the result of your hard work. We join them in wishing and praying for your speedy and full recovery.
Ken & Mary Lou Schneider
Miramar, Florida and North Aurora, Illinois
Copy of e-mail from Nancy Cox to Fran Lusso. It contains an important warning about the danger of ice on the parking lots and walkways at Sandia Crest. Even though it may stay below freezing, the strong sun may melt the snow nearest the pavement. The water then freezes during the cold night and the ice may not be visible. Please use extreme caution!
I am so sorry to hear about Dave's hip. I am glad he is able to have surgery so soon. We have been concerned about the ice there in the parking lot and on the stairs. We took a shovel with us on Sunday and had cleared a lot of the snow off the steps hoping to prevent just such an accident. I meant to post something through Ken about the icy conditions even after clearing the steps.
Last year Lee hurt herself badly on ice up at the Crest House rest rooms on black ice. There was only one small spot but she found it.
Michael is in Amsterdam right now but the rest of us will work out a schedule so that the rosy-finches (and viewing of them) won't suffer.
As Ken stated, Fran should concentrate on Dave. We also want to thank you both for your many years of contributing so much to the Rosy-Finch phenomenon. It has been much appreciated.
Give Dave our best.
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Fran Lusso wrote:
Thanks for the kind words Ken. I will be sure that Dave sees them. We'll keep you posted and at some point after we get Dave home we can work out inventorying and transferring the various materials for the project to the next 'keeper'!
I would add that, because the Crest House is closed and there often are no other visitors up there, folks should try not to go alone. Or at least make sure someone knows you are going and arrange to call them periodically. Take a walking stick and keep a cell phone on your person. If you have a mishap your cell phone or companion may be your only source of help. Hypothermia can happen quickly at that altitude and temperatures. Be safe.
This is indeed sad news - we all wish you well on your road to recovery, and thank you for the work you have done thus far, Fran & Dave!
I will be visiting the Sandia Crest for the first time next week myself - should I bring my own seed for the feeders, or is someone else going to be keeping the feeders full? I am happy to bring seed either way, but will the finches abandon the feeders if they are not filled regularly? I hope that during my one time in the area I will not miss the rosies, and if bringing my own seed will help lure them in, I will be happy to do so.
Any feedback on this topic would be great, and thank you, all, for providing so much great info and keeping all of us out-of-town folks up to date!
Raymond and Jason were up at the crest to fill the feeders yesterday. The finches were in full force!!!! They saw 60+ rosy-finches of all three species. There were about 45 Blacks, 10 Brown-capped, and 5 Gray-crowned (including one Hepburn's)!
Other good news... One of the Brown-capped Rosy-Finches was color-banded!! The researchers are working to figure out who this little guy might be.
The feeders ARE filled and we have a system in place to keep them full. We are still looking for volunteers who would like to pitch-in and help out! If you want to get involved please send an email to Raymond: firstname.lastname@example.org or Michael: Leucosticte@gmail.com.
Thanks again, to Fran and Dave for their enthusiasm and help with this project over the years. It wouldn't have been possible without you guys!
Thank you so much for the feedback! It looks like the chances of seeing rosies are very good, and I am happy about that.
I have a few more quick questions (this is the last of it, I promise!), if anyone can provide some feedback. I did read somewhere that 2-wheel drive vehicles should be fine making it up to the Crest House (barring any hazardous weather, of course) - is this true? I have a tiny 2-wheel drive car, and if my chances of making it to the top of the crest are slim and the drive dangerous, I would consider renting a 4-wheel drive vehicle for the day to make it to the top. Anything to see the birds!
Lastly, this is concerning the weather. at 10k feet elevation in the winter, I expect it to be cold up there. I know temperatures fluctuate and change all the time, but does anyone have an average temperature of what to expect during this time of year - early to mid-January (we plan to come out early next week)?
That is all, and thank you again for everyone's help and patience!
Tomorrow is the big day for me to finally head up to the crest & see the finches. My original plan was to go today, but it's too windy, & tomorrow should be sunnier & more folks should be heading up the mountain, being the weekend.
Does anyone else plan on heading up to see the rosies tomorrow? I look forward to possibly seeing some of you folks up there - and, of course, seeing the finches!
PS - Might I ask again what kind of seed I should take up there with me for the rosies?
Note from Elizabeth Hurst-Waitz, President of Central New Mexico Audubon Society
Hi everybody --
I've been following the e-mails and frankly didn't know what in the world
I could say after Ken's eloquent and heartfelt message to Fran and Dave.
All I could do would be a copycat and echo his sentiment and his words --
and what beautiful words they are. Thank you so much, Ken.
I've written to Fran and Dave tonight, just a brief message from me as a
person who cares and tangentially as a person from Audubon...
First time on this forum and I see there may be a problem in getting feed to the finches. I'm a retired 62 year old male in good health with a 4 wheel drive truck, live in the east mountains and will be glad to help out. Get a hold of me (phone call the best, 281-3471) and let me know what needs to be done.