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 turned 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

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

Her name is MUNCHIE and she'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 her over so neither of us had to make the whole drive.

She only weighs five pounds, about half what she should be. And after an exam I found out why. She has a problem called "frounce" which is a bacterial infection in her 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 she can't eat normal food she'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 her in a large towel so she can't foot me and then pass the tube down into her crop and push the plunger. She will have the medicine twice a day for 14 days. Hopefully this will work and she'll be able to eat on her own after that.

Her attitude is very good, hence her name as she want's a piece of me every time I enter her 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.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Happy Birthday !

I have two cats in my family, MUFFIN and SISTER. They came to me after being found stuffed into a paper bag and left next to a car at our local ball fields. That car belonged to my neighbor who brought them to me as she said her cats would kill them. It was estimated the kittens were about 3 1/2 weeks old. They knew nothing about solid food or what kitty litter was used for. They joined the two resident cats, TARGET and CRAYOLA.

They are 17 years old today and I don't know what my life would be like without my "bag ladies". They have brought such joy into this house.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Not again!

This job does have it's ups and downs. And Sunday was both. The up was releasing five birds, four young GHOs and one young magpie. The down was what happened when one of the baby great horned owls decided to leave me with a memento. I'm definitely NOT ready for my close up Mr. DeMille......

Friday, July 18, 2014

Another golden moment

Yesterday was a very busy day what with trying to foster one of my osprey to a nest. As that failure was coming to a close I got a call from the Yellowstone Wildlife Center in Red Lodge. They had a call from a gentleman who said he'd seen a golden eagle on road 1AF just north of Clark.

I headed up that direction as soon as I got the osprey back in his pen and found the road right away. I drove the half mile in from the highway and got out to search. Heading back towards the east I walked about a quarter mile. Then went through the sage brush lining the road and walked west for about a half mile. Then back to the road and towards my truck without seeing any eagle.

Murphy's law, if I'd headed west first I would have just about tripped over the little fellow. He was about 20' from where I was parked.

His name is CARMEL and this years hatch. I can't see anything wrong with him, he can make the short flight from one corner to the other in his mew. And today he finished most of his rabbit altho he isn't starving. Perhaps the really hot weather had gotten him down. I'll place him in the flight barn as soon as I feel he is ready for larger quarters.

PS: My Nikon camera is sick so I'm back to using my small Casio so this photo isn't quite as sharp as I'd like.

Wounded dad

Yet another Great Horned Owl has come to IBR for help. This one, from 13 miles up the Southfork Road, appears to have been hit by a vehicle. He is the proud dad of three fledged chicks who, along with their mom, are patiently waiting for his return. He can fly but his landings are a bit off, he falls over and I think it's due to a concussion. He's eating and is getting better so he should soon be back with the family. Oh yes, the Flinns named him OWLBERT.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Didn't work

At least this time. Steve and John from Rocky Mountain Power met Dee and me at the nest site where I was going to foster one of the orphan osprey babies. We went through all the safety measures, I had to wear a safety harness and hard hat as did John, and away we sailed up into the blue sky.

Both parents were very upset to see this giant truck under their nest so constantly screamed at us. Little did we know, but was seen by those on the ground, the male was dive bombing us. He never made contact but was just a few feet from our heads.

The sad news is that my orphan is about two weeks older than the chick in the nest so s/he couldn't be put there. As s/he is older s/he would have garnered most of the food making it likely their chick wouldn't survive.

We are still holding out hope for another nest just west of town. That one also has one or two chicks but the deciding factor will again be their ages compared to mine. We'll keep trying until something works right.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Awesome rescue

Mark bringing down the first of the chicks. Awkward but it worked and you can see how high up the nest was.
Getting much needed fluids.

Now for some groceries, Atlantic caught salmon.

You talking to ME! ! ! !

Mark Preston and Lonny Owen, RMTN Power guys who saved these babies.

Last Saturday I got a call from a friend, Dee Oudin, about the osprey nest she and her husband Jim have on their property just a few miles from here. She noticed the male had disappeared on the 3rd or 4th but the female was still taking care of the two chicks. Then after seeing the female on that morning, she disappeared. It is believed that they were murdered but of course we'll never know. These birds eat only fish and there are people out there with ponds who don't want any of their stocked fish taken by a bird of prey so they resort to shooting them.

Of course this all happened on the weekend so nothing could be done until today. I called the Rocky Mountain Power company this morning and left a message about having them come out with their bucket truck to retrieve the chicks. Then Dee also called them and got a confirmation that they would be there shortly. We all met and discussed just what to do but the hang up is that the field under the nest was flood irrigated and the huge truck wouldn't have made it through the mud.

Luckily Dennis Reed, of Reed Farms, gave us permission to drive across his hay field then over a dropped electric fence to the nest area. Thanks to the amazing work of Mark Preston and Lonny Owen, the truck was eventually in the perfect place. Mark went up with a fish net and scooped one of the babies up, came down and handed it off. Did the same for the second one. It all went off without a hitch.

Because they had been under a blazing sun and without food for at least three days, I sat in the shade of the power truck and tubed them with electrolytes and dextrose. I also gave them some small pieces of Atlantic salmon I'd purchased at Albertson's. At their age they aren't strong enough to stand for long anyway. They are weak but are now in a tire nest inside my mews and have been given more salmon from my forceps.

The projected ending will be fostering them into a nearby nest with only one chick and two parents. Hopefully these two will be strong enough for that to happen by this weekend.

In their new tire nest, weeds, carpet and all.

Sad news

Baby Red-tailed Hawk, ECHO, was put to sleep today. His eye exam revealed a retina that wasn't working at all and in the other eye the pupil was opening and closing without a light being shined toward it. Apparently the trauma of hitting the ground was just too much. He did have some sight but not enough to feed himself. It was very crushing to lose such a marvelous young bird. He never even got a chance to fly.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Major cuteness

I received another Cedar Waxwing this afternoon. This very adorable baby was found sitting in the middle of the road and was rescued by my friend Paula. As it's in with the older young bird it's doing just fine altho the baby thinks the other one is a mom. He's readily taking pieces of strawberry from me and will hopefully be returned to where he came from and given back to his parents.


ECHO: He is not calling as much now that he's figured out how to take the food from my forceps. The disturbing news is that he appears to be partially blind. His eye/beak coordination is not what it should be and altho he does grab for the food he misses a lot of the time. And then the next grab is right on the money. He's going in on Monday to have his eyes checked.

BATS: I am down to only one left alive. I don't know why they are dying as they eat their formula just fine. The remaining little male is also a very good eater so I hope he makes it. I get up a couple times a night to feed him and he's always done well.