Monday, September 29, 2014

Sucessful trap

His name is BLAZE and he's an adult male Eastern Rosella. The species come from Australia but this handsome bird has been with his present owner for three years. Almost a month ago, when moving into a new place, BLAZE escaped. I only found out about it last week when a guy here in town called to say he had "an exotic bird in his tree" and he didn't know what to do. When I got there I was dumbfounded as I'd never seen one of these birds.

I tried my spray-them-with-water trick because when they get too wet they can't fly. Then they fall down so I can catch them before they hit the ground. Well.....the minute one drop hit him old BLAZE flew off. The tree he'd been coming back to is a crab apple, he apparently loves them. After our first attempt he just left the minute we came into view.

The next try involved a parrot cage I had but he didn't like that one, wouldn't come near it. I finally got his own personal cage from the owner and put that out. The next morning, sure enough, he was inside it. But the minute he saw me he took off. On to plan X. I bought some red dish towels and put all around the bottom of the cage with clothes pins so he couldn't see me. I lowered the perch inside and went away.

This morning Mike called me to say that "BLAZE is behind bars". The first time Mike tried to toss the towel over the opening he failed as the bird was peeking under the towel, it didn't go all the way to the bottom. Mike went away but kept watch and when he saw the bird go back inside the cage he "quick-like-a-bunny" dashed around and got the towel over the opening in time.

I really appreciate the Riley's sticking with this mission and am happy the bird is now safe. Our weather had turned very chilly, in the low 40s, with rain so I know it would only have been a matter of time before BLAZE was sick.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Absolutely amazing!

CHARLIE, 1989
CHARLIE, 2014
Back in 1984 I was looking for a Harlequin Duck to photograph to use in my entry to the Federal Duck Stamp contest that year. In a roundabout way I found Bill Hancock in Billings, MT who had a facility breeding rare and endangered waterfowl of all species. I went up in July and altho most of the ducks were in eclipse (molting) the Harlequin males were still looking great. At the time it was at his home but then moved to a much larger facility between Billings and Laurel.

On subsequent visits to the new place I was given a tour and came upon one of my favorite birds, a Canada Goose. His name is CHARLIE and he's a Giant Canada Goose, very large as the name indicates. All of you who get my newsletter will recognize him from the cover of every issue for the past 25 years. The top photo is that bird way back then.

Just this past week I took my baby squirrel, Ms. PIGGY, up to that same facility for a soft release in their tree laden property where other squirrels live. Sheila had raised a baby squirrel and released it there so Ms. PIGGY will have company of others of her kind. Sheila also gave me a tour and when I showed her copies of my newsletter I was in for a huge surprise. She walked me over to one of the pens and there he was, CHARLIE is still alive! That's him in the lower photo, still as handsome as ever but just like me, a bit grey around the edges and hanging in there.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

New home bound

Tomorrow I'm taking Ms. PIGGY up to Billings to her new home. Thanks to Dave Pauli of the USHS and Sheila at WJH Bird Resources, she will be living with other squirrels in a wonderful habitat. She is now almost eight weeks old and is very active. She still likes her formula but is also eating various nuts. I've offered zucchini, banana, apple and avocado but don't know how much she's eating of those.

I will miss her terribly, she's been such a fun animal to raise and has taught me a lot about such an amazing species. I grew up in Illinois for my first 25 years and just took squirrels for granted. Now I know there is much more to them than just pests on a bird feeder.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Mystery death

Yesterday afternoon I received a call about a downed Golden Eagle near the Powell airport. James gave me excellent directions so I found her as soon as I arrived at mile post 23. She couldn't fly so I easily walked faster and caught her. There didn't appear to be any fractures but her crop was very extended. It felt as if it was air and fluids with some meat pieces.

That does happen from time to time, usually when they dine on a carcass that's a bit "ripe". One method to overcome the problem is to introduce fluids and then massage the crop to get things moving. I did that but after a few hours it hadn't helped. Then my volunteers, Sara and Mike, helped me to physically remove meat from her crop. Not a pleasant job at all but they were super.

What very much surprised me was that the meat pieces were small and very fresh. Not rotten at all. I rechecked her again before bed and she'd vomited more meat but was sitting on her perch and seemed bright and alert. Unfortunately when I went out at 6:15 this morning to see about how she was doing I found her dead.

At this point the only thing I can think caused her death is poison of some kind. Even with sour crop the birds are able to fly and she couldn't. I'm getting together with our USFWS person on Monday to see about having both her body and the meat pieces tested at their Washington state office. As this is probably the female of a pair nesting near the airport James said he'd be on the lookout for any other eagles who appear distressed.

Friday, September 12, 2014

The first one

As it was only 27 this morning when I got up I started the first fire of the season in my wood stove. Yesterday it was six inches of snow and today it's going to be almost 60 degrees by this afternoon. Living in Wyoming certainly ensures a variety of weather and a large wardrobe.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Ahhhhhhhhhhh Fall

This is the view outside my front door this beautiful September morning here in Cody, Wyoming. I knew it was predicted but never thought we'd get this much snow on the ground. It's 32 degrees outside but by tomorrow a lot of this snow will be melted away as they say we will have sunny and bright weather again.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

More devastating injuries

Yesterday I drove an hour and a half to Worland to find an injured baby Golden Eagle. By the time I got there the bird had disappeared but the man who called me had a photo. It was of a baby Red-tailed Hawk and from the photos it appeared to be very weak and unable to stand. Unfortunately it was a very windy day and as this beautiful young bird was probably very thin and light, he managed to blow away. We spent an hour walking all over the place he was last seen but to no avail. I don't have a picture of him.

Then today I again drove an hour and a half but this time to Fromberg, MT to pick up an injured Cooper's or Swainson's Hawk. Again, it was a baby Red-tailed Hawk. He was still alongside the road where found. From the top he looks just gorgeous but when I turned him over I almost cried. His right humerus, altho not broken, is completely exposed elbow to shoulder. The front of both lower legs are open with bone and torn tendons showing. There appears to be a burn mark on his left wrist and both feet are dead. And he weighs 24 ounces (half normal weight). My guess is that he was was electrocuted days ago and because his wings were still functioning he managed to travel a bit.

Needless to say I immediately euthanized him.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Becoming more inquisitive

Little Ms. PIGGY has become quite adventuresome since her eyes opened just last week. She's about six weeks old now and trying new things. She ventures out from her coonskin cap nest, has even tried nibbling on a bit of sweet corn. She also has a chunk of zucchini and apple in case she wants to sample them too. I put her on top of her climbing log for the photo right after she finished her meal which is why she looks so full.

She has a few weeks to go before being old enough to return to the big wild world but until then she's been such a joy to watch grow up.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Mine, all mine

MUNCHIE has become much better so I gave him a small rabbit today. He quickly grabbed it up and when I checked him later he had his back to me, was partially mantleing the meal and looking at me as if he would take me apart if I tried to touch his food. He had no worries I would try that, he's so aggressive it would be foolish to even make the attempt.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Quick recovery

This is POTTER, an immature Swainson's Hawk found near death in Douglas. Thanks to Willow Hibbs, WGF, he was saved. Also thanks to Erika Peckham, another WGF biologist who volunteered to transport this baby to Diane Morse in Gillette. Diane performed her usual miracle and saved the young birds life. She not only gave him fluids every three hours, she took him along with her on a trip to Rapid City so he wouldn't miss his treatment.

I met Diane in Tensleep this morning to transfer POTTER to IBR for further treatment and a chance to be returned to the wild. He'll be here for some time just gaining needed weight and strength in my flight barn. In the meantime, he's eaten a half a skinned rat on his own and has a feisty attitude.

POTTER today after eating his rat, six days after the above photo. Note the glare in his eye, not sad any more.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

He's successfully flown away

I got SWITCH in on July 19th after he and a sibling were probably hit by a vehicle at the north end of the Wind River Canyon. The other hawk was killed but not this handsome young male. He got his name because I was told they were bringing me a young golden eagle, a "really young golden eagle". Because of the many times that phrase was used I began to think it meant it was a "really small eagle" so I took a hawk hood along.

Sure enough, by the time the officer and I met in Meeteetse the bird switched into a young Red-tailed Hawk. He must have had a slight concussion as he wasn't quite right but he recovered quickly and began eating his rats the next day.

He proved he could make live kills so it was time for him to be released. I opted to take him to where another baby redtail had been found up in Sunlight at the Elk Creek Ranch. ECHO didn't make it but the area is excellent habitat for these hawks so SWITCH is filling the niche made vacant by ECHO's dying.

Thanks to Susan and Hap Ridgway and other family members, SWITCH had quite an audience for his return to the wild.

Furry, not feathers























The nest is actually my 50+ year old raccoon coat collar. Sure makes for a great foster mom.
As I was driving up to Sunlight to release a hawk I received a call from Powell about a baby squirrel they found in their front yard. There were no other babies and neither parent was seen. After driving an hour north of Cody I then drove a half hour east to pick up this little cutie. She's getting hair but her eyes aren't open yet. I've contacted my squirrel expert in CA to find out just what to do. So far she's okay.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Another first

Every time I think I've received most of the bird species found here I get a new one. This is a Common Poorwill, one of a group called nightjars. I have no idea why they're called that other than they feed just before dark and mostly when flying. We've had a chilly spell here and this is one of just a few birds capable of going into a torpor state to conserve energy when it's cold. In fact this species goes into what's almost a hibernation where the heartbeat and respiration drop dramatically for as long as it takes the weather to warm up.

I will be taking this young bird back to where it was found as I know I don't have any around here and it will need the mentoring and guidance of its peers and parents.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Hurt young falcon

Lynn George showed up at my door this afternoon saying he'd found a hawk on the side of the road near his home. My breath caught when I saw the bird, it's an adult male Peregrine Falcon and he's so awesome. Unfortunately he has a fractured left wing which is why he has it bandaged in the photo.

The bad news is that it's Saturday afternoon and I can't get him in for an xray until Monday morning. He's in good weight and certainly has an attitude that says "go ahead, try to touch me". I'll post an update when I get it.

UPDATE: Xrays show a fractured radius/ulna near his left elbow joint. It cannot be surgically repaired but as the bones are in good alignment he will be in a support bandage for some weeks to come to see if they will mend well enough for flight. Even if he doesn't fly strong for release he will make an awesome school bird.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Grand Ol' Osprey

That is the headline in the most recent issue of the Cody Enterprise. Now that the article has been printed, I'm able to share the photos of the baby osprey rescued after her parents were murdered. In a post over a month ago is the story of two baby osprey whose rescue was necessary after the loss of the adults.

Thanks to a lot of people the surviving chick was fostered into a nest with two resident chicks. That fostering has been a great success all around.

RMTN lineman, John Berry, and I tried to put the chick into one nest but the resident baby was a couple weeks younger so that wouldn't work as it might put the life of the younger bird in jeopardy. Our chick is wearing a hood to keep her quiet.






















The second try at fostering was a huge success. As you can see tho, it took some ingenuity to make it happen. Foreman Steve Lassiter suggested a 6" x 6' tube to help transfer the baby to the nest as the bucket was not quite close enough. Lineman John Berry and I talked it over while 55' up in the bucket and decided to go for it even tho this, as far as I know, has never been done before. John stretched out as far as he could holding the tube. I put the chick, head first, into the tube and then gently pushed her with a padded pole to the nest. She plopped easily into the nest just as planned.

Here is the final result, our chick standing in her new home with the other babies hunkered down as they'd been taught. Dee Oudin has checked the nest often and reports that all three babies are doing well, the adults are feeding them and they should fledge soon.
















Cody Enterprise story written by Buzzy Hassrick, photos by Dee Oudin, John Berry and Steve Lassiter. The rescue wouldn't have happened without the nest monitoring by Dee Oudin and her noting the loss of the parents.

Two more gone

OWLBERT
CLARK
As in they flew away. Both CLARK and OWLBERT were released this morning. It is the home territory for the older male, OWLBERT, so he had to be returned there. Because little CLARK has been sharing a flight area and they're always together on the perches, I decided to also release CLARK there too. Also, he's about the same age as the three chicks produced by OWLBERT and his mate this year so he should fit in nicely.

The two birds didn't read my plan as they left in two different directions. The older male flew off to a nearby tree and then, after scouting the area, flew off farther. CLARK was hesitant to come out of the crate but when he did he flew the opposite way, over a large shed and across a hay field. I never saw either of the land.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Unusual patient

This young Belted Kingfisher made one too many dives into a shallow pond. At least that's what I think happened. She was spotted in the water near our library by a young man who then waded out and rescued her. Right now her wings appear just fine but she's having trouble walking around. Their legs and feet are very tiny compared to the size of the bird but they do have to perch on branches above water. At this point she can't.

Just because they eat small fish, minnow sized, I went out and bought some small goldfish. Naturally I also had to buy the pump and tubing so their little container had enough air to maintain them. And then there's the goldfish flake food.

Hopefully she'll make it back to the wild and if so stay away from low water.

UPDATE: This wonderful little bird did not make it. Just too much trauma to overcome.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

R.I.P. beautiful YODA

He's gone and I don't know why. This amazing Big Brown Bat baby came to me about six weeks ago and has been doing so well. He was even eating solid food (mealworms) and starting to fly in his little two-man net tent. He ate twice this morning but then suddenly stopped moving much and died just a few minutes ago.

I've only had two baby bats and both have brought such fun into my life, I'm just sorry I failed them. YODA was doing so well that the plan was to release him in a local gated cave where BBB colonize. I will miss him terribly.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Another good day

After spending a few weeks in a smaller mew and then the eagle flight barn, I decided that CARMEL was ready for release. Sara and I drove him to the head of the Clarks Fork Canyon for the big event. He didn't disappoint us at all. I parked on the road above a drop of some distance, opened the crate door and off he went.

I left a bit more of the background so you could see just what an awesome site this is for a baby eagle to live in. Hopefully he'll live a long life and not suffer any more problems.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Oh my what big teeth you have

YODA had his first jaunt in the flight tent I bought for him. He hasn't actually flown yet but did do some stretching exercises while hanging from the top. In this photo he's showing off his super dental work. He's now chomping mealworm pieces as well as nursing on his foam tip full of formula.

He looks ferocious but he loses some of the threat when you realize he's only about as long as my thumb.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

In the eyes of the beholder....

And In my eyes vultures are really neat. This is my newest t-shirt promoting them. It is put out by the International Association of Animal Trainers and Educators. I didn't realize there were this many vultures in the world.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Successful capture

I just returned home from a hunt I've never been on before. A gentleman called me because he didn't know who else to contact. He'd seen a spotted mule deer fawn inside a fence and it couldn't get out. Mom easily jumped over but the baby was stuck.

The worst part is that it's around 90 degrees out and the baby had been trapped for at least a couple days. When I got there the fawn was laying down next to a building and looking at the eyes it was in dire straights. Both eyes appeared infected and one ear was hanging down lower than the other one. There also appeared to be damage under its tail as if perhaps a dog had caught it.

I called one of our WGF wardens who came right over and between the three of us and my long handled eagle catching net, it was caught. Craig did a great job snaring the baby. The fawn is now in a crate and on the way to the game & fish office for evaluation. At this point I don't know if it will make it, it's too old to tame down and the stress of having its eyes treated many times during the day will be very stressful.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

My baby boy is growing up

YODA is now almost 30 days old and has come a long way since he first arrived here. He's so smart that when I start making up his formula he comes out from under his blankie and hooks his way to the side of the reptarium closest to where I'm working. Then when it's all ready he hooks his way back to the other side, three feet away, so I can pick him up for his meal.

With my deafness I can't hear his clicks or squeeks but he's now purring when I start to feed him. I don't know what his future holds but for now he's a joy to work around even tho I have to feed him four times a day every six hours. That means one feeding at midnight but the whole process doesn't take but a few minutes so I don't lose much sleep.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Very sick baby


His name is MUNCHIE and he's about three months old. This beautiful Golden Eagle was found on the ground just outside of Riverton unable to fly very far. Stan Harter, WGF Biologist from Lander was willing to meet me in Meeteetse to hand him over so neither of us had to make the whole drive.

He only weighs five pounds, about half what he should be. And after an exam I found out why. He has a problem called "frounce" which is a bacterial infection in his throat and esophagus. Similar to "thrush" found in humans, it causes thick cheesy like substances to form which, given time, will completely close off the throat making it impossible to swallow.

MUNCHIE is now on medication twice a day to stop and reverse these growths but as he can't eat normal food he's now being tube fed with a high calorie critical care food made for meat eaters. That isn't very much fun for either of us as I have to wrap him in a large blanket so he can't foot me and then pass the tube down into his crop and push the plunger. He will have the medicine twice a day for 14 days. Hopefully this will work and he'll be able to eat on his own after that.

His attitude is very good, hence his name as he want's a piece of me every time I enter his mew.

Very illegal























As far as I can tell this is an adult Common Raven. You will notice, however, he is wearing some jewelry not normally found on wild birds. Unfortunately this bird was apparently raised from a baby by people who thought it cute to put different colored cable ties on his legs.

The very upsetting news is that some lady drove up to the Ponderosa Campground this morning, stopped, tossed the bird out and then drove off. Luckily the people there are smart and caring so they gathered him up and called me.

It is very illegal to keep this species in captivity without the proper permits. It's also very disturbing as this is probably an imprinted bird having been raised by humans and looks to them for care. Right now he's in one of my mews and has just finished a meal of mouse parts. I will remove the ties from his legs and then go about trying to find a perfect place to put him.