May 26th - West Nile Protection...
Though much of the news lately has concentrated on plague and hantavirus, we need to remember that the threat of West Nile Virus is still with us.
“There aren’t many mosquitoes out yet, but there is still a possibility of being bitten and infected,” said Dr. Adrienne LeBailly, director of the Larimer County Department of Health and Environment. “It’s important to start wearing mosquito repellent now as we start spending more time outdoors.”
West Nile Virus is transmitted to people through the bite of an infected mosquito. The numbers of the type of mosquito that carries West Nile Virus have been highest during mid-summer, when the majority of West Nile infection has occurred. However, infected mosquitoes may be circulating and May and June as well.
“With this beautiful spring weather and long holiday weekends, people will be out camping, hiking and doing yard work,” said LeBailly. It’s a great time to start getting in the habit of applying an effective mosquito repellent before spending time outdoors at times when mosquitoes are active.”
Of most concern are the Culex mosquitoes, which are the main transmitters of West Nile Virus.
“Some Culex mosquitoes can make it through the winter carrying the virus, which means some that were infected last summer could be biting now,” LeBailly warned.
“This is a perfect time for Larimer County residents to begin taking steps to minimize their contact with mosquitoes, now and later in the summer, when the risk is higher.”
To help minimize contact with mosquitoes as you take part in early summer outdoor activities, the Department of Health and Environment recommends the following:
Wear an insect repellent containing DEET, following instructions carefully, whenever you are outside, hiking in the foothills or in the backwoods, fishing, camping, or even when relaxing in the backyard. Be sure to apply repellent on children and elderly, following instructions on the label or container.
Avoid outdoor activities at dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active.
Wear long pants and long sleeves to protect against mosquito bites
Drain standing water around the house at least weekly. Change birdbath water weekly, more often in very hot weather. Receptacles such as buckets, clogged rain gutters, and rain barrels are very attractive spots for a mosquito to lay its eggs.
Stay clear of places where mosquitoes are known to be found (tall grasses, wetlands, shrubs and grassy shores).
Repair all house screens and screen doors now. A blood-seeking mosquito needs only a fraction of an inch gap to enter your home.
Trim your bushes up to approximately 2 feet from the ground so you can “see the knees of the trees.” This allows air flow and reduces dampness, thus making your bushes a poor hiding place for mosquitoes.
Plant low-water-use lawns and gardens now while mosquito populations are low.
“There is no way we can predict how serious of a West Nile season we will have,” LeBailly said. “2003 was our worst season, but 2006 was more severe than 2004 or 2005. The measure of severity will unfold as the summer unfolds.
“But what’s most important at this point is protecting yourself and your family from begin infected, starting now.”
For more information on West Nile Virus, call the Larimer County Department of Health and Environment at 498-6700 or
visit the sites below:
May 23rd - Profit Margins Skyrocket...
Oil monopolies' profit margins
continue to skyrocket as the price gouging and
rape of consumers at the gas pump increases to
ridiculous levels across the area.
With some parts of the state now
reporting prices above the $4.00 a gallon mark,
consumers are being forced to decide between fuel
and food as the oil monopolies stuff their bank
accounts with money.
With no oversight, regulation or
competition to hinder them, the oil monopolies
have again manipulated oil supplies to create a
false shortage in attempts to justify the price
gouging of American consumers. This is a yearly
ploy by the oil monopolies to milk as much money
as possible out of the working class economy. The
greed based manipulation of oil supplies has been
very successful to date with oil monopolies
reporting record profits quarter after quarter,
year after year.
Many consumers are now fighting
back in various ways such as car-pooling,
consolidating trips and canceling vacation travel
plans. Congress, as usual, is doing nothing to
stop this abusive fraud upon Americans.
May 20th - Photo Of The Week...
This week's photo, taken by
Donald Spangler in a field near Estes Park Lumber
on Monday afternoon, features a Prairie Falcon
standing over a fresh kill.
The Prairie Falcon (Falco
mexicanus) is a medium-sized falcon of western
North America. It breeds from southern Manitoba,
Saskatchewan, Alberta & south-central British
Columbia south through the western United
States—roughly between the eastern edge of the
Mountain Time Zone and the Cascade Mountains, as
well as the Central Valley of California—to the
Mexican states of Baja California, Durango, and
northern San Luis Potosí. It is much less
migratory than the other North American falcons,
but in winter it does withdraw somewhat from the
northernmost and highest-elevation parts of its
breeding range and spreads west to the deserts and
Pacific coast of California, east to about the
100th meridian, and south to Baja California Sur,
Jalisco, and Hidalgo.
Prairie Falcon plumage is warm
gray-brown (sometimes called "sandy")
above and pale with more or less dark mottling
below. The darkest part of the upper side is the
primary wing feathers; the lightest is the rump
and tail, particularly the outer tail feathers.
The head has a mustache mark like a Peregrine's
but narrower, and a white line over the eye. A
conspicuous mark is that the wingpits and
underwing coverts are black, except along the
leading edge of the wing. This creates an effect
of "struts" from the body along each
wing. Juveniles resemble adults except that they
have dark streaks on the breast and belly and
darker, less grayish upperparts
The Prairie Falcon eats mostly small mammals
(especially in summer) and birds caught in flight.
Like the Merlin, it often hunts by flying fast and
low, at a height of only a meter or so, hoping to
find surprised prey as it comes over the terrain
or around a bush. Its cruising speed is estimated
at 45 mph and it accelerates in the
chase. It also pursues prey sighted from a perch,
again often flying very low. It typically catches
birds by pursuing them in level flight and
grasping them, less often knocking them down in
spectacular dives like the Peregrine.
Prairie Falcons are often used in falconry.
Although it's considered hard to train and
unpredictable, it's the most popular falcon in the
United States, due to its abundance and relative
ease to acquire. It is also valued for its
aggressiveness. Observers of wild birds and
veterinarians agree with falconers that it's one
of the most aggressive raptors.