Annual Release of Goats to Clear the Hill Next to the Reagan Library in Simi Valley

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Lucky to be at the Reagan Library in Simi Valley this morning to witness the annual release of grazing goats on the hillside west of the Library. What a sight! These seemingly endlessly hungry goats help mitigate fire danger by clearing the hill of dry vegetation.

More on the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum at THIS LINK.

New The World of da Vinci” exhibit at the Reagan Library May 24 to September 8, 2019.

Conejo Creek Park North in Thousand Oaks is a Perennial Family Favorite

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On a recent visit to Conejo Creek Park North, located at 1379 East Janss Road, Thousand Oaks, we were surprised when we found dozens and dozens of koi in the lower pond area, cohabitating with the ducks.

Where did they come from? We don't know, but there are sure fun to watch.

Where did they come from? We don't know, but there are sure fun to watch.

Conejo Creek Park North is one of the nicest, widest appealing parks throughout Ventura County. You get almost everything at this park. This 44 acre park has two ponds with a stream connecting them, two separate play areas, beach-style volleyball courts, a NEOS game, multiple large, shaded picnic areas. a fitness trail about 2/3rds of a mile that circles the park, plenty of shade trees and multiple large, grassy areas. Something for everyone.

Topping it off is the fact that the park is adjacent to the beautiful Grant R. Brimhall Library, Goebel Senior Center and Thousand Oaks Teen Center. We often park at the library, check out some books, then walk, scooter or ride across a bridge to the park. It is a great way to spend the day.

Conejo Creek Park North is extremely popular for larger events on the upper grass area adjacent to the largest picnic structure. There is plenty of parking available. And in the middle of the park is a jungle-like trail area that I enjoy exploring with the kids. We also see birthday party celebrations all the time.

To learn more about Conejo Creek Park North, visit the Conejo Recreation and Park District website at www.crpd.org. To learn about other parks we enjoy in and around Ventura County, click THIS LINK.

Reminder About How to Deal with Coyotes in the Conejo Valley and Surrounding Areas

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Living in the Conejo Valley, surrounded by thousands of acres of open space, most of us come into contact with coyotes from time to time. Coyotes are a vital component of rural and urban communities, deserving of respect for their adaptability, resilience and intelligence. Below are some tips on coyote awareness, courtesy of Project Coyote.

Facts:

  • Coyotes are members of the dog family; they are curious, adaptable, and learn quickly.
  • Coyotes often mate for life, are devoted parents, and are highly communicative (barks, yips, howls).
  • Coyotes weigh 18-35 pounds in the West.
  • Coyotes may be more protective of dens/territories during pup rearing (April-Aug).
  • Coyotes eat large numbers of rodents and rabbits, as well as fruit, vegetation, insects and carrion. They help keep ecosystems vital, healthy and clean.
  • Coyotes are naturally wary of people but can adapt to our presence and the reliable food sources that we provide.
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Safety:

  • DON’T FEED COYOTES. Their life and your safety depend on coyotes remaining wild and naturally wary of people.
  • Remove attractants; pick up trash, secure garbage, and feed pets inside. Don’t leave food or pets outside at night.
  • Walk dogs on leashes, especially during pup rearing season (April-Aug). Pick up your small dog if you see a coyote and don’t let pets roam.
  • If approached, don’t run. Wave arms, make noise and walk toward the coyote until he retreats. Be “Big, Bad and Loud.”
  • Avoid areas where coyotes may be denning or feeding/hiding pups.
  • Appreciate coyotes from a distance. Share this information with family and friends.
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Turtles Enjoying a Fine Spring Day at The Commons at Calabasas

There must be hundreds of turtles hanging out at the pond area of The Commons at Calabasas, enjoying the spring weather, swimming, sunning and bantering with their koi friends. Quite amusing!

The only other place that comes to mind with this many turtles is Alice Keck Park Memorial Gardens in Santa Barbara.

Let us hope the teenage turtles in this bunch do not become mutant and ninja-like in nature.

All this talk about turtles makes me think about tortoises too, including the 90+ year old Galapagos Tortoise, "Clarence," at America's Teaching Zoo at Moorpark College.

How to Be Coyote Aware in the Conejo Valley and Greater Ventura County

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Living in the Conejo Valley, surrounded by thousands of acres of open space, most of us come into contact with coyotes from time to time. Coyotes are a vital component of rural and urban communities, deserving of respect for their adaptability, resilience and intelligence. Below are some tips on coyote awareness, courtesy of Project Coyote.

Facts:

  • Coyotes are members of the dog family; they are curious, adaptable, and learn quickly.
  • Coyotes often mate for life, are devoted parents, and are highly communicative (barks, yips, howls).
  • Coyotes weigh 18-35 pounds in the West.
  • Coyotes may be more protective of dens/territories during pup rearing (April-Aug).
  • Coyotes eat large numbers of rodents and rabbits, as well as fruit, vegetation, insects and carrion. They help keep ecosystems vital, healthy and clean.
  • Coyotes are naturally wary of people but can habituate to our presence and the reliable food sources that we provide.

Safety:

  • DON’T FEED COYOTES. Their life and your safety depend on coyotes remaining wild and naturally wary of people.
  • Remove attractants; pick up trash, secure garbage, and feed pets inside. Don’t leave food or pets outside at night.
  • Walk dogs on leashes, especially during pup rearing season (April-Aug). Pick up your small dog if you see a coyote and don’t let pets roam.
  • If approached, don’t run. Wave arms, make noise and walk toward the coyote until he retreats. Be “Big, Bad and Loud.”
  • Avoid areas where coyotes may be denning or feeding/hiding pups.
  • Appreciate coyotes from a distance. Share this information with family and friends.
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Squawkless in Summerland? No! Check Out the Santa Barbara Bird Sanctuary

It was not a planned visit.

My son and I were cycling from Carpinteria to Santa Barbara for the first time, enjoying a relaxing ride on Via Real/Lillie Ave, paralleling the 101 on the north side.

We passed a sign that said "McLeod Parrot Menagerie" and I heard birds, squawking birds. I said, let's check this out! 

Little did I know that co-located at the Menagerie is the Santa Barbara Bird Sanctuary.

Squawkless in Summerland!? Heck no! Lots of squawking and talking going on at this place!

The Sanctuary is a non-profit organization founded by Jamie McLeod that rescues and rehabilitates parrots that are unwanted, abused and orphaned. The organization also finds homes for these beautiful animals. 

The Sanctuary is home to over 60 of birds, some of which are ready for adoption; others may have conditions that prevent adoption.

We got the chance to chat with Jamie, who is 1984 graduate from the America's Teaching Zoo at Moorpark College. She showed us the Skylar Learning Center, where children can learn more about these interesting, long-lived, intelligent creatures.

And of course we visited with the birds and had meaningful conversations with many of them. We heard words and phrases like "hello," "knock knock," "how's it going," "I love you," and so on. Quite entertaining. And we caught a few cool head bobs too!

We also learned that the McLeod Parrot Menagerie provides grooming and boarding, toys and other parrot-related products and services.

The Santa Barbara Bird Sanctuary is a must see and less than an hour from central Thousand Oaks. Visiting hours are 10am to 4pm daily, except Tuesdays. Admission is $5 for adults and $2 for kids. Donations are welcomed (and tax deductible) as they help towards caring for and feeding the parrots.

These fellows were quite entertaining.

These fellows were quite entertaining.

To learn more, visit www.sbbird.org or visit their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/sbbsbirds or call 805.565.1807. The street address is 2340 Lillie Avenue, Summerland.

Ventura County Animal Services Promotes and Protects the Welfare of Animals

Ventura County Animal Services (VCAS) is a division of Ventura County Public Health and a department of the Ventura County Health Care Agency. Ventura County Animal Services is committed to promoting and protecting the health, safety and welfare of the people and animals living in Ventura County.

VCAS's main animal shelter and administrative offices is located near the Camarillo Airport at 600 Aviation Drive. The shelter houses up to 400 animals, including dogs, cats, rabbits, birds, livestock and exotic animals. The Simi Valley shelter at 670 West Los Angeles Avenue accepts strays from Simi Valley and Moorpark that can be reclaimed by local residents but due to space limitations are photographed and brought to Camarillo usually within 24 hours. Both shelters are currently open seven days a week. Visit www.vcas.us for operating hours.

To reach either shelter, call 805.388.4341 or 888.223.PETS, Monday through Friday 7:30 am to 5:30 pm and Saturday/Sunday 8 am to 4 pm. Field officers are on duty 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and can be reached through these numbers.

How to Adopt an Animal: Animals become available for adoption over varying periods, depending on if the animal has been given up for adoption or is a stray. All adopted animals must be spayed/neutered. In-county adoption costs $125, including certification of sterilization, preliminary vaccinations, first rabies vaccine, Ventura County license*, Trovan microchip for permanent identification, free obedience classes and a certificate for a free health exam at participating local veterinarians. You must be 18 or older with valid ID and commit to providing a "home" (not just a yard) for the animal.

*State law requires that dogs over four months of age be licensed and vaccinated against rabies. VCAS handles licensing for all of Ventura County except Thousand Oaks, Oxnard and Santa Paula, which have their own licensing programs. The City of Thousand Oaks contracts with the Los Angeles County Animal Shelter located at 29525 Agoura Road in Agoura Hills. The Agoura Hills shelter is open seven days a week and can be reached at 818.991.0071. City of Oxnard animal licensing information is covered at www.oxnardpd.org/bureaus/animalsafety/licensing.asp. Visit the Santa Paula Animal Rescue Center site at www.santapaulaarc.org for licensing information in that city.

Adopt a doggie and make his day!

Harder to place cats or dogs over five years old are placed for a reduced option fee of just $60! And if you are 65 or older, the adoption fee for any animal is reduced to $60.

VCAS offers low-cast vaccination clinics (for rabies, canine Distemper-Parvo, canine Bordetella, feline FVRCP and rattlesnake vaccine for dogs year-round, usually from 7-8 pm at various locations around Ventura County. Check the website for details.

In the most recent fiscal year 2012-2013, 6,621 dogs were taken in by the VCAS Shelter, including 27% relinquished by owners and 73% strays and others. 72% of these animals were adopted or reclaimed, but 28% of the dogs were, sadly, euthanized. This percentage is actually lower than in previous years, while local volunteers help find foster homes for shelter animals.  One such group is the Ventura County Canine Rescue Facebook page at www.facebook.com/VenturaCountyShelterDogs.

Now for something fun. The SPCA of Wake County, NC put together this great "Take a Chance on Me" pet adoption video that will bring a smile to your face.