Sunday, June 26, 2016

New residents

Today I received two hawks from the Teton Raptor Center in Wilson, WY. Both these birds needed some more room to stretch their wings so they are now in my 17'x 20' flight mew. They have damaged some of their wing feathers, this will give them a chance to replace those and gain muscle strength for release. As they have only been flying on a creance (long line), the open area won't restrict where they go and how they get there. They'll go into my 32'x 48' hawk flight barn when ready.

Thanks to TRC for trusting me again with the care of their birds. The swainson's (bottom) will go back to ID where he came from when ready. The redtail (top) will be released in a good habitat around here. He is a baby of last year so doesn't have a home territory.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Accident victim

It happened this afternoon near Byron. Mom was killed on the road leaving this young buck deer alone in the world. Luckily Jennifer Massey was driving along when she saw the fawn on the side of the road. She called me to see if I handled anything other than birds. I do and drove to meet her in Powell to get the baby.

The bad news is that he was so bewildered he ran off. She followed him and when he finally laid down she thought she could catch him. Unfortunately he jumped up but was near the edge of a drop-off and went over the side for some distance ending up in a shallow creek. Jennifer quickly ran down the hill and gathered him up. She held him upside down while water ran out of his mouth.

He can't stand and has trouble holding his head steady but I did get some goat milk with lactated ringers down him a hour and a half ago. Right now he seems a bit better but only time will tell. The trauma of rolling down the hill and the sudden stop at the bottom may have caused enough damage he won't recover. I have my hopes up that he will make a full recovery and be released when ready. Oh yes, his name is BOY GEORGE.

UPDATE: Sad. Unfortunately his condition has deteriorated. He seems to be having seizures and cannot see. He was humanely euthanized.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

More on QUAD

You have to look very closely at this photo to see one hatched baby. Another egg behind it and the two easily seen.

Today I received a couple photos of the nest where baby QUAD was born. As you can see, it's at the top of the huge silo and mom is staring at Cameron, the photographer. She chose a wonderful location and when I stopped by this morning two of the babies had already left the nest, one just moved to a lower platform. One of the chicks is already hunting, it had a mouse in its beak while flying up to a power pole. Second baby was also on a power pole. I didn't see either adult.

Monday, June 20, 2016

From far away

Last night I received a call from Alcova, WY which is just west of Casper. It concerned what the person thought was a sick or injured baby magpie. She said it didn't have a tail and seemed to have balance problems. As she was worried about a predator taking it I told her to put the baby in a cat carrier for the night. Alcova is almost a four hour drive from Cody and when I told her that I was unable to make that trip she volunteered to drive the bird here.

Nina and Peter Morzenti arrived this afternoon and what I found when I opened the carrier is a half grown, perfectly normal, black billed magpie. His name is ALVIN and I can't find anything wrong with him other than he's just a youngster who should be branching in the nest tree. For some reason none of the adults would take over the care of this baby. Thanks to these good samaritans this baby has a chance of living life in the wild. He's not flighted yet but doesn't seem to have any problems walking around his cage. He's also eaten some of my corvid diet.

I don't believe there's anything wrong that time won't fix. When he's grown a bit more I'll put him in a flight area and then release him, possibly right here as I do have magpies living around the area.

Thanks to the Morzenti's for driving ALVIN up here so he can gain experience and be released back to the wild.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Honors and memories

This past week was the 5th annual Field of Honor held here in Cody in and around our city park. And each year I get a flag in the name of some family members who served in the military.

They are Uncle Roy, Uncle Tom, Cousin Pete, Cousin Mike, Cousin Micky and a friend, Nathan. It's an awesome sight to see 600 flags waving against the blue of the sky, makes anyone want to stop and enjoy the sight. After the closing ceremony we're allowed to take our flags home. I put them up, as always, along my picket fence for everyone to see when the come to my place.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

QUAD update

This morning I noticed that QUAD's left wing was a bit droopy. That can happen when all the large feathers are in the blood stage, they become very heavy and hard to keep up in a normal position. But in this case, it was only his left so I took him in for xrays. Good and bad news. His ulna is fractured mid-shaft but is in alignment and good position. The radius is fine. But......there is a fracture of his humerus right at the elbow. It too isn't in bad position but I don't know what will happen in the long run.

Because of his tender age, and because these baby hawks grow so fast, he'll have his bandage changed quite often. Before the vet office trip he did eat more than half of his mouse pieces on his own. Now he just has to get this darn standing up thing figured out without his left wing for balance.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Rescued baby

This is SEBASTIAN, a baby Golden Eagle found out of his nest near Upton, WY. He was seen for five days before Don decided his mom wasn't feeding him down there. He gathered him up last night, called the Teton Raptor Center in Jackson (didn't have my number) and settled him in a crate for the night.

Teton called me this morning about his plight so I started calling all the game wardens in the area. Luckily both Game Wardens Dustin Kirsch of Gillette and Troy Achterhof of Newcastle called me back. Troy volunteered to drive more than an hour to pick up the chick and meet me in Gillette this afternoon. It's a four hour drive for me but we met exactly on time. After a pit stop for some water I headed back to Cody.

As there were two other much larger chicks in the nest it was decided to bring him here as he might have just been pushed out again. SEBASTIAN is about 45-50 days old and is in better condition than I'd expected. This morning he packed away some venison that Don had thawed for him and I skinned a cavy for him this evening. He ate the whole thing!

Saturday UPDATE: I gave him a whole, skinned, cavy this morning and he's doing all the ripping and tearing on his own.

Finally away

He's scouting out the area before flying off.

And there he goes!!!
I thought this day would never come but this morning I drove PEABODY out to a great habitat east of Cody and released him. The other three Swainson's Hawks flew off a month ago but this little fellow had lots of trouble with his feather growth. He finally managed to replace all his broken primary and secondary feather on his right wing and spent the past month in the hawk barn building up his flying muscles. Now he'll hopefully be ready for the long migration this Fall.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Floating away

Today I went to a friends house and released the seven little ducklings I got in a few weeks ago. They were so quick when I got them out of the crate and into the water that I never got a photo. And one of them decided to go a different direction. We searched but couldn't find the little fellow. Julie went out again later and found all of them together but when she went to take a photo only these two were out in the water. The others were probably on short drying off and taking a rest.

Almost all on the hunt

This is an interesting photo in that five of the baby GHOs and their foster mom, SMIDGE, are sitting on the edge of the training pen. I had put some live mice in there and apparently no one wanted to be left out of the excitement. Mom is at the bottom looking away.

Rare occurence

This year the rabbit population all over the area is at a high. Because of that there are more raptor babies being produced and today I found a rare happening. Most raptors, other than some small falcons, have 1-2 chicks a year. As noted in previous posts, GHOs are here in great numbers.

This morning I got a call from Bob Olberding of Briess Co. near Ralston. You know them, the huge silos along the north side of the road. For three of the past four years a pair of Red-tailed Hawks have nested on a small platform at the top of one of the really big silos. Last year they weren't there but they made up for it this year.

His name is QUAD as he is one of four redtail chicks in that nest. He may or may not be the smallest of the litter but he did take a very nasty fall to the pavement 90' below the nest. Perhaps he just took one too many steps to the left, or perhaps he was pushed out by the others. It appears to be a very large area and a good nest so we'll never know.

He's a bit thin so I brought him here for feeding up. I will put him in with BONNIE 3, my foster redtail, but not for a few days. Bob said he would keep me informed as to when the other three chicks fledge so I can return QUAD to his parents. Remember, birds can't count and with his mirror and then foster mom, he'll know he's a hawk and fit right back in with the group.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Training continues

The new training pen in with the baby GHOs is working so well. Here's a couple photos of the babies inside trying, and in some cases, catching the live mice in there. One very interesting photo shows their foster mom, SMIDGE, also sitting on the side of the pen. What is so amazing is that she has a partial left wing amputation, I didn't realize she was so athletic as to be able to jump that high.

You'll also notice in one of the photos that she is glaring at the camera up on the post. Apparently it makes noise when taking photos. Even the baby glanced up at it.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Babies everywhere....

I haven't received many songbirds in the past years but this year changed all that. These photos show my kitchen counters filled with baby cages. And in my north room is the container holding the seven newly hatched pheasants.

On the counter, from left to right, in a small box, is a baby Brewer's Blackbird, about four days old. In the round cage there are four starlings who were found in the front end of a fifth wheel when the owners went to move it. Then comes the large blue crate. Those are the two kittens I'm fostering for our animal shelter. They were 3.5 weeks old when I got them, now are eight weeks and waiting for their forever home. A girl and boy, spayed and neutered, who will be wonderful pets for anyone.

Then on top of their crate is a cage with two Robins and three Brewer's Blackbirds. They will be ready for release possibly in this next week. Seems all I do is stuff bugs, worms, seed food and fruit into open mouths every time I turn around.

And of course there's the eight Mallard ducklings out in the rodent/cage room..........

They've arrived !

Back on May 21st a lady brought me 11 pheasant eggs. She said that she'd been monitoring the nest for some time but one day the female just left and didn't come back. I immediately put them in my incubator but didn't know if they were fertile or how long they'd been left to the elements.

In order for eggs to hatch the temperature must be at 99.5 degrees. Naturally when the female gets up to either adjust the eggs or change partners the temperature goes down but not for more than a minute or less.

Well, seven of them hatched yesterday and so far they are going just fine. I already have a baby mallard in my brooder so I borrowed this one from Greg Blessing at The Barn. They have lots of room, water and food and a non-slip surface so they won't fall. I already have a home for them when they get big enough for release. In the meantime, they're just about the cutest things on the planet.

Saturday, June 11, 2016


The baby GHO training pen is working. As you can see from this photo, three of them are on the edge, two are intent on the mice inside it. Thanks to a trail cam set up by Nathan, we've been able to document this event. Yesterday afternoon Nathan moved the camera to the upright post overlooking the pen so perhaps we'll get some photos of the babies having a successful "hunt".

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Next step to freedom

Over the weekend Sara and Mike helped me with some projects. One was building a training ground for the baby GHOs to learn how to hunt live prey. Because a baby wading pool has sides too low, the mice can jump or climb out, I decided to make taller sides with some of the poly panels I have.

That was the easy part. The rim is too thin and would hurt the babies feet when they landed on it. Sooooooooo, I used some old irrigation pipe that is quite large in diameter. Cutting 147" lengthwise was way too hard so we used metal screws and attached it along the top edge. And to protect those big feet I also covered the pipe and edge with very wide Gorilla tape. What would I do without that stuff. I'd already pained the outside with white primer and then a dirt/sandy color brown so it wasn't as brilliant. The inside I left white to reflect light and make the moving prey easier to see.

As you can notice in this photo, there are two babies up on the high perch to the left, one inside the box and three up on top of the tower. I did put food inside and all around the training ground but they're not live. I want them to get used to going into the space to find food. Hopefully this will work as all the babies are now flying and will be ready for release in a few weeks.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Ironside Facebook page

I am not on Facebook but thanks to my volunteer Sara, the birds now have an account on it. Click on the site in the Links section of this blog to see what an amazing job she did. Thank you Sara for all your help.

Success story

I got this photo today from Betsy and Steve. These are the first of the dozen baby GHOs who were rescued weeks ago. The ones where I tore down the old magpie nest and wired the basket into the tree. Feathered TYLER and RYAN are sitting together on the left. Feathered SPENCER is down lower right partially hidden by leaves. He's the one who was fostered to the nest and immediately accepted by both adults.

Betsy says they are all eating like little pigs and flying all over from tree to tree. This project has been a resounding success and shows just how adaptable wild birds are, even accepting help from humans.

Update :(

Baby SLICK died last night.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

SLICK update

I was thrilled this morning to find SLICK not only alive but standing in his crate daring me to come near him. He looks so much better but he's not out of the woods yet. He'll get another washing this afternoon, hopefully the last one he'll need. Because I don't know if he did swallow any oil, it's still a wait and see proposition. Fingers and toes crossed.

Different babies this time

At the same time as we were trying to remove oil from the baby GHO there was a call for other babies in a yard. This time it's seven newly hatched Mallard ducklings. No adult was found so Sara rounded them up. They're now in a brooder while I try to find a hen Mallard with babies to foster them.

Even dozen

This morning I got in yet another baby GHO, the sibling to the poor oil covered chick from yesterday. I believe this is a female, her name is STREAK. She was also in the shed but luckily only has oil on the bottoms of her feet and a small bit on her chest. She'll get a bath today too. As you can see, she has quite an attitude.

STREAK having her mani/pedi this afternoon. A toothbrush came in handy.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Really bad

Just starting the cleaning.
Partway through, you can see the feather colors now.
In his warm room.
I just got in number 11 baby GHO and this one is not the same pristine fluffy baby as the others. This one, SLICK, was found inside a small shed on a oil field near Worland. He and an adult were inside but this little fellow was inside a bucket partially filled with oil. The guys from the field drove him up here and stayed to help with the initial cleaning.

It took four of us, lots of Dawn soap and hot water to just get a start on what will be a long process. We got a lot off his head, wing and tail feathers but there's still a lot on his back and tummy. He'd had enough for one session, was shivering even with the warm water, so I called a halt.

He's now inside a crate in my north room. He has two heating pads around him and towels covering the crate. Also some insulation sheets to hold the heat inside. At first he wouldn't hold up his head but now, with a bit of help from a rolled up pad, he's almost standing on his own and is holding his head high.

This is an hour-by-hour process and if he's in good enough shape we'll do another washing tomorrow. His attitude and toughness will be the deciding factor. I just hope he makes it.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Pure gold

Her name is COTTON. This beautiful elderly female golden eagle came to me yesterday thanks to Bart Kroger, WGF Biologist from Worland. She was found in an oil field unable to fly. It is the same field where he'd found a dead golden under a transformer. I don't know if it was the male of this pair or not.

COTTON has a very severe wound to her right wing near her wrist. If it is from an electrocution there could be even more damage as time goes on because it kills from within. You'll note she's also wearing a sandal on her right foot as she doesn't have full use of it right now.

Thanks to help from Mike, and taking 20 minutes to remove them, all the maggots in the wound are gone. He held her while I picked, not a pleasant job for any of us but both bird and man came through with flying colors. I'm treating the wound with two meds and she's on antibiotics. Right now her attitude is excellent and she even ate a half of a rabbit yesterday after her wound treatment.

All together

So far this year I've received 16 great horned owls and 10 of them have been chicks under six weeks of age. After replacing some in their nests and fostering one to an existing nest, these are the last of them. They're being guarded by their foster mom SMIDGE. She's giving me that evil owl stare daring me to come close to her babies.

I have found excellent habitats for their release when the time comes. First they have to fly well and prove to me they can make live kills. The ranches where they will be going are huge, family owned and the those people treasure GHOs for their rodent control. This year there is an over abundance of rabbits everywhere, a great food source for these wonderful birds of prey.