County Watch |

County Watch

Compiled by Patrick Parkinson

Lots of baby birds are on the ground right now and it’s important to know how to help them, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources spokesman Mark Hadley said.

In most case baby birds on the ground are not orphans, according to Hadley, who added that "wild animal babies, including birds, should be left alone."

So-called fledgling birds, which have some feathers, shouldn’t be tampered with, Hadley said in a press release.

"Many of us automatically assume that the bird fell out of its nest and needs help," the press release states. "This is a period in their life when they’re learning to fly. It’s normal for them to jump out or fall out of their nest."

According to Hadley, the bird’s mother will continue to feed it on the ground until the young bird is able to fly.

"Try to keep cats, dogs and curious children away from the bird, so its mother can continue to feed it," Hadley said.

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Nestling birds, which are without feathers, can fall or be blown from nests by the wind. These birds should be gently placed back into their nests, Hadley said.

Should pets or children injure a bird, licensed bird rehabilitators can be reached by contacting the Division of Wildlife Resources at (801) 538-4700.

Construction in Uintas

Trail users near Clements Lake in the Brown Duck Basin in the Uinta Mountains could experience detours and delays as construction is performed from July to October.

"The [National Forest] is facilitating the transfer of water storage rights from aging reservoirs in the High Uintas wilderness to the newly expanded Big Sandwich reservoir, a more modern and accessible location outside of wilderness," U.S. Forest Service High Lakes Stabilization Coordinator R. Brian Paul said in a press release. "This project is a lot of work that has required careful, in-depth planning. Through continued support from our cooperators we anticipate fully successful stabilization of all 13 lakes by 2012."

Lakes in the Uinta Mountains including Farmers, White Miller, and Water Lily, were stabilized as part of the project in 2006. For current information about possible trail closures contact the Ashley National Forest at (435) 781-5200.

Eye doctors: Leave fireworks to the experts

The Eye Institute of Utah recommends that families avoid devastating eye injuries and celebrate Pioneer Day safely by attending a public fireworks display rather than lighting fireworks at home.

Fireworks were involved in about 10,800 injuries treated in emergency rooms during 2005 in the United States. A quarter of these injuries were to the eye. Of these eye injuries, one fourth led to blindness. Among injuries to kids under 5, sparklers accounted for a third of injuries.

Since 1996, there has been an upward trend in fireworks injuries. According to the Utah Department of Health, between 2000 and 2005, fireworks caused 316 injuries that were treated in Utah emergency rooms.

"Families should celebrate Pioneer Day by attending one of the many public fireworks displays across the state, rather than setting off fireworks at home," said Kevin Merkley, corneal surgeon at The Eye Institute of Utah. "Illegal fireworks like bottle rockets and Roman candles are especially dangerous, but, sparklers and party poppers cause many eye injuries, too."

Busiest travel week of the summer

It doesn’t appear a major holiday falling in the middle of the week will deter Utahns from traveling. This year, July 4 fell on a Wednesday, but many travelers are planning on taking off more days from work to enjoy the holiday, according to the latest report from the American Automobile Association.

AAA Utah estimates more than 411,000 Utahns will travel 50 miles or more this Fourth of July holiday weekend, a 1.5 percent increase from last year. Over 326,000, or just over 80 percent, are expected to travel by car. Air travel is expected to rise by 5.2 percent, with over 68,000 Utahns taking to the skies.

An average family of four will spend about $269.44 per day for lodging and meals this summer, according to AAA.

Tips for saving gas include:

— Be sure your tires are properly inflated. Keep your front suspension and steering in proper alignment.

— Make sure your brakes are functioning properly to minimize rolling resistance.

— Change your motor oil as recommended by the vehicle manufacturer.

— Observe the speed limit.

— Idling unnecessarily wastes fuel.

— Travel light. A loaded roof rack can decrease fuel economy by five percent.