Saturday, March 28, 2015

First time visitor

I went out to put the chickens to bed and gather eggs when I caught a small movement out near the redtails pen. I couldn't believe it, for the first time ever a male Ring-necked Pheasant visited the property. Well, at least it's the first time I'd seen one. He's a handsome fellow and let me get quite close for this photo. Hopefully this means more of them will take up residence in the area.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Ouch, ouch

I know this happens to humans but I was unprepared to find an adult female Mallard with a fish hook in her right cheek. Thanks to a sharp eyed Eric Holdren and his children, she is now floating free in Beck Lake. He and the kids spotted her during a walk around the lake. Eric couldn't figure out why she didn't fly off when they got close. The long fishing line, with an attached bobber, was caught up in a tree branch.

Here I am after wading out to where she was snagged and cutting the line. Luckily the water depth was blow the top of my irrigation boots. It was also very chilly and windy this morning. I managed to push the hook the rest of the way through her cheek and had Eric cut the barb off with my wire cutters.

We then walked back to the edge of the lake and gave her a gentle toss. She flew off a ways and landed, very happy to be free of the tree, fish line and humans.

Friday, March 20, 2015

First day of Spring

And this is the first day of the rest of their lives. Today, with the help of Chuck Preston and Nathan Horton, my two baby Golden Eagles flew free. Chuck found the perfect place near Oregon Basin. The two men carried the heavy crates to a large flat rock as a takeoff point.

DEUX was the first to make a break for freedom and wasted no time heading for a higher hill.

This is JANUS, he came in with a broken wing that had partially healed by the time he'd been found over in Buffalo. As the fracture was in excellent alignment, no surgery was needed, just a support bandage for a couple weeks. He was the second into the air and immediately headed for the top of the same hill.

This photo shows both birds on the hill but DEUX landed lower. I could just imagine her saying "crap, now I have to climb the hill". She did and the last photo shows them together looking off to the east and wide open skies. They both left this temporary perch and flew out of sight in a matter of moments. There is a prairie dog town nearby so they shouldn't want for a meal.

Even tho they both came from Buffalo they aren't siblings so I hope they will stay together and perhaps become a bonded pair.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Happy St. Patrick's Day !

And may the luck of the Irish be with you. These two photos are of my great grandparents who immigrated to Canada in the early 1800s from County Cork in Ireland. Their son, Tom Stanton was born in Canada but then moved to Illinois where my mom and I were born.

Great grandmother Lucy McDermott, as a middle aged lady and in her older years.

Great grandfather, Loren Stanton

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Rare sight

Normally golden eagles nest on cliffs in this area of the country because there are lots of them to choose from. This photo, taken today, is a female golden sitting in her tree nest. This is only the third one in a tree that I've seen. I have no idea how long she's been setting and will monitor her often to make sure all is okay.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Dark chocolate

Her name is DOVE (my favorite brand of dark chocolate). She's an adult female Golden Eagle, I think about 5-6 years old. She was found on the ground in the town of Casper only able to fly a few feet and not very high off the ground. Thanks to WGF personnel, Heather O'Brien, Cody Bish and Aaron Kerr, I didn't have to make that 3.5 hour drive, we met each other in Shoshoni.

I took her to Dr. Malcolm Blessing this morning for xrays as her right wing seemed a bit weak. She does have a partial dislocation of her right ulna at the elbow and a fracture of the radius. Those are the two bones between her wrist and elbow. Dr. Blessing did what he could to reduce the dislocation but only time will prove if it's enough for her to fly well enough for release.

She arrived in very good condition and ate a whole cavy the next morning. Today she's dining on a half a rabbit. As you can see from the photo, I caught her just as she was removing the hair. It's all over the ground and there's a big clump in her beak. I've no doubt she'll gain the two to three pounds she needs.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Famous name

Not the bird, just the name. This beautiful adult male Prairie Falcon was found on his back in a yard on McCullough Dr. east of Cody. Of course his name is DAVID. He doesn't write books either. He doesn't have any fractures but does have a small cut in the underside of his right wing. That area is bruised too.

He also wasn't able to stand when I picked him up but now he's getting closer to doing so. With a temperature of only +1 this morning it's no wonder he was a bit stiff. I have no idea what caused the wound, possibly hit a window when chasing a meal. He's in my warm rodent house for now and will be moved to a larger pen when he's ready.

UPDATE: I'm saddened to say that this beautiful young bird died during the night. He was found early in the morning but I have no idea when his injuries occurred. It was near zero degrees and he was found on his back. That, combined with the damage, probably contributed to his death. So sad.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Great improvements

I received these two beautiful baby Golden Eagles the first week of January. They're in an earlier post. JANUS came in with a broken wing, DEUX just refused to fly when they went to catch him. His problem turned out to be internal parasites.

I put DEUX in the eagle flight barn last week, JANUS went in there this morning. Both are flying now and will be released in a month or so when the weather is stable.

Even after having his wing in a support bandage for a few weeks, JANUS is able to fly the length of the barn, do a 180 and fly back part way. As you can see by the second photo, DEUX is on the highest wall perch, about 20' up. He had absolutely no problem making it up there.

JANUS on the left, DEUX on the right.

Monday, January 26, 2015

So beautiful !

Way back in another lifetime I decided I wanted to learn to play a violin. I found a teacher here in Cody, was given an old instrument by a cousin in SD and spent a year taking lessons. Unfortunately my bad hearing made it hard to know if I was playing the right note so I retired. The violin was relegated to a closet until last year when a friend, Dorothy Shippen, needed one. I figured it was better to have my old one played instead of hiding in the dark.

Today her dad, Gerald Anthony Shippen, presented me with this awesome sculpture of a falcon in full flight as a thank you. He is an extremely talented artist and I will treasure this piece forever.

If you want to see more of Gerald's work then go to

Sunday, January 25, 2015

I did it again

Yes, I spent 24 hours in the hospital with another session of irregular heartbeat. My heart had been funny for a couple days but I thought it was just the "palpitations" returning that I'd had in November. It wasn't. Luckily I'd planned ahead so when I presented myself at the emergency room entrance I'd already arranged for my dogs to go to a boarding place and someone to feed the other animals.

I had arrived at the hospital about 9:30am and hadn't eaten anything since very early so Dr. Rashkow was able to shock my heart that afternoon at 3:00pm. Having gone through that procedure in January, 2014, I knew what to expect. And this time I was in a regular room instead of ICU. My nurses, aides and doctors were all super.

Thanks to Sara, my volunteer, for hauling the dogs and doing chores. And to Nathan for putting my shipment of rats into the freezer when he came by to return some mice he'd borrowed for field work.

The only result this time is feeling rather tired, they changed meds and put me back on blood thinner but otherwise I can do whatever I want. Sara also came by this morning to help with cleaning all the rodents which was wonderful of her. As the head of UPS here in Cody she's very busy but never hesitated in immediately helping do what needed to be done.

And to my friend Susan who brought me a pizza. I was supposed to join the volunteers for the Jack Russell/Corgi races that evening at a local pizza place but obviously wasn't able to make it. It made the end of my day so much better than it started out.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Injured youngster

Right after I got home from taking the golden eagle in the previous post to the vet I got another call about another eagle. I was told that it was a golden with a broken wing. Off to the George Farms I went and met six very nice young men who then took me to where they'd seen the bird.

By the time I got there it had turned into a coming two year old bald eagle who was not thrilled having someone coming towards him with a large net. He does have a broken humerus but at this point I'm not sure it will be fixable. The fracture is very near his shoulder joint, a tricky place to repair something. He goes in on Wednesday to see if surgery is possible and if his wing can be fixed. Fingers crossed everyone.

UPDATE: His surgery went pretty well but only time will tell if it's a success. He has a typical bald eagle temperament, feisty, that should help. I started his pain meds today and have him in my warm rodent room as it's only in the 20s right now. More updates later.

Couldn't save her

Today I got a call from a wildlife consultant in Laramie about a downed golden eagle near Lysite. That's through the canyon, take a left at Shoshone, another left at Moneta and through Lysite, about a 3.5 hour drive from here. This outstanding bird had been hit by a vehicle and couldn't fly. Luckily a person from ConocoPhillips saw her and called the consultants for their fields. Chad Olson from Haden-Wing Assoc. spent at least four hours trying to find someone to take her, finally calling me around noon.

I was fortunate in that Warden Jessica Beecham of WGF in Riverton was willing to make the almost 60 mile drive to pick her up and then another hour or so drive to meet me south of Meeteetse. The eagle wasn't doing well but I'd called ahead for an appointment at my vet so she could be seen right away.

Her injuries appeared to be only internal, no broken bones were found. She died in my arms just shortly after arriving at the Lifetime Small Animal Hospital in Cody. There was just too much damage done to her by a very large vehicle.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Mum to be

Her name is EVA and she's just finished laying 20 eggs. Reticulated pythons are very large and extremely beautiful. Now for the wait; 80 days before they hatch. This is her first clutch, hopefully all will go well and there will be 20 pretty babies arriving on time. My friends Sara and Mike are the proud grandparents to be.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

First gold of the year

I got a call on Saturday from the WGF biologist, Dan Thiele, in Buffalo about two Golden Eagles found near town and unable or unwilling to fly. As Buffalo is about three hours from here, I was not looking forward to that drive in this weather. Luckily Brad Rogers, the Buffalo USFWS agent offered to bring the birds here. He and his wife arrived around noon.

These eagles are both about 9-10 months old, I believe they're both males, and are just stunning. The one shown above, JANUS, has what appears as a fractured right radius or ulna but I don't think both bones are broken. It is in excellent position so xrays will show just what is needed to help him.
The other eagle, DEUX, doesn't show any damage but refused to fly when approached for capture. I will have some tests run on him to see if we can pinpoint what's keeping him grounded.

These two babies are the first to come in this year, hopefully they will also be released within a few months.

UPDATE: JANUS does have a fractured ulna but it is in excellent position and even has a callus started at the fracture line. That means the injury happened a couple weeks ago. He must have been very good a catching food as he is in relatively good weight.

DEUX has roundworms so he's on medicine for three days and then that's repeated in 18 days. He is already feeling better and sitting on the shoulder high wall perch in his pen.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Brothers forever

Little SAMSQUATCH and his "brother", DIGGLESBY, have become inseparable. As you can see, SAM has a lot of catching up to do in size but he more than makes up for that in spirit. He's now 2.75 pounds and gaining. I feel he'll always be smaller but his big heart and mind will make him the equal to any cat.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Close encounter

front view (top) back view (bottom)

By that I mean that the hawk landed really close to my bedroom windows so I was able to take his photo. At this point I believe this is either an immature Harlan's Red-tailed Hawk or an immature dark phase Red-tailed Hawk. I had tossed out the remains of my bald eagles meal for whatever wild bird would like it and quite a few took me up on the offer.

There was this bird, about a half dozen ravens and at least that number of magpies. And the most exciting, a baby Bald Eagle soared over to check things out. I never saw him land, probably was scared off when I drove down to my gate. The others just flew off a ways and waited til I cleared the area.

These photos aren't the best but I took them through my bedroom window and that's not the cleanest thing going.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Holiday cheer

I just want to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas. It's been a busy year at IBR with many highs and a few sad lows but all in all a good one. Thanks to many generous contributions from friends and supporters, the birds are in good shape for the coming year.

And especially to Pacific Power and Rocky Mountain Power for their amazing help in rescuing baby birds from nests or putting them back into them after the fell out. Their foundations awarded this facility two wonderful grants in 2014. They have been supporting the birds for a couple decades, not only with grant money but with poles and manpower.

Everyone also have a wonderful New Year. I hope all your hopes and dreams come true.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Update on redtail

Today I received the following information on the elderly Red-tailed hawk who had been found with severe injuries after being shot. He was banded on February 19, 1995 in Berthoud, CO by the Colorado Bird Observatory, now called the Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory. He was hatched in 1994, probably in that area which is near Denver.

That means when he was shot down with a shotgun he had made it to 20 years old. Altho hawks are routinely of that age in captivity, it is very rare for them to achieve it in the wild due to all the threats to them. First they have to make it through their first winter and 80% of them don't manage that. Then it's a day to day struggle to find a meal and survive predators.

This awesome hawk proves that where there's a will there's a way and I am so saddened by what happened to him. Hopefully someone will come forward and we'll find out who cut his life short. Probably not. My heart will take a while to recover from his loss.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Severe damage

On Friday I drove to Riverton to pick up an injured Red-tailed Hawk. The vets at The Stock Doc outside of town received the bird from just down the road. They x-rayed him and found a fractured radius and ulna in his left wing. There were also pellets in his body.

I took him into my vet the next day for follow up x-rays and found even more damage. The total number of pellets is seven, one shattered the left radius, one fractured the left ulna in two places with some damage to his wrist joint. A third fractured his right tibia. Even with all that the bird had a good attitude.

Unfortunately, because of the extreme damage to the radius it was not repairable. His wing would never be strong enough for him to fly again. It was with a very sad heart I made the decision to euthanize him. The information where he was shot was reported to the USFWS offices in Lander and here in Cody. A few years ago I got another redtail from next door to the vets office who had also been shot. He did not survive his injuries.

One other addition to his body is a federal band. The information on when and where he was banded is kept at the USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center in Maryland. I went on their website and filled out the forms but amazingly he was banded some time ago and they've changed the words printed on it. Because of that I still haven't found out how old he is. I guessed him at around ten but will have to wait for the labs response.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

New babies!

My new chicks arrived early today. Not only before 6:00am but also by at least a day. I ordered 55 of them from a hatchery in Ohio who said they would ship them on the 10th, yesterday. Usually it takes two or three days, luckily the babies can survive on their yolk sac for three days. After dipping each beak in their water pans I put them in their new home, a large metal water trough. With two shielded light bulbs for warmth and lots of food on the floor, they started eating right away.

I got 26 Araucana (they sent one extra), 15 Rhode Island Red and 15 Black Sex-link. All girls as I don't like bullies and most roosters are just that. This is the earliest I've gotten in chicks but I want them to start laying eggs early enough for when the farmer's markets start up and to fill orders from my regular egg buyers.

I kept a little over 40 of my older hens after giving 23 away a couple weeks ago. I'm not getting but a few eggs a day now, not a good percentage considering the number of hens, but they'll start up again in a couple months.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Montana eagle

Thanks to Eric this three year old male Bald Eagle is now safe and on the mend. He called me from outside of Bridger, MT after seeing the bird sitting on a downed branch. When he got out of his truck to check him out the bird ran off, didn't fly. Naturally by the time I got up there more than an hour later the eagle was nowhere to be seen.

We split up and in a short time I got a call from Eric that he'd found the bird. Because he was sitting on one of the rails his name is CASEY JONES. Luckily no trains were moving down the track. I managed to catch him quickly thanks to deep snow which made it hard for him to run.

Xrays showed no fractures so I'm hoping it's just bruising on his shoulder. He's been on pain meds for five days and he's now holding his right wing in a normal position. He's been a good bird to work with, eating well, and will be transferred to an outside mew so he can exercise. Because he's in excellent condition I'll take him back to where he was found as there's obviously plenty of food for him to find.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Mystery ???

The other day a friend was trying to catch an elusive mouse in her house so she put out a baited snap trap. As she has both a cat and dog she placed it where neither could accidentally get caught. Imagine her surprise when the next morning she found a very unusual creature in the trap. It's like nothing she'd seen before but apparently has a taste for peanut butter.

This is a completely new species of rodent, rarely seen by humans, very secretive in its habits so little is known about it.
Okay so it's not alive, certainly not after it was caught. Apparently MISS KITTY was pushing her mouse toy around and accidentally shoved it into that very same area where the trap had been set. One shove too many and it was caught. Thank goodness the snap must have scared her so she just left the toy where it was found the next morning. This is not a set up and no animals were hurt in the taking of this photo. Well, except for the rare zebra striped red eared mouse.

Sunday, November 30, 2014


She's not dead and this photo isn't upside down. But MADDIE is. I sometimes wonder just how she gets into these positions on the couch. As you can see, she's also made sure the pillow is in the right spot.

Sunday, November 16, 2014


Life can be harsh in the wild. I came across this scenario as I was doing chores this morning. It was -8 outside but very sunny. As you can clearly see the imprint of a large bird wing, you can also see the trail of a rabbit where they converge. The rabbit track is the thick line coming in from the top and ending at the wing print. Unfortunately I'd walked near before noticing it so don't know if the rabbit got away.

I've seen a very large Rough-legged Hawk in the area for a few weeks and there is also a Red-tailed Hawk pair who are local residents. Roughies don't usually go after such large prey but redtails most definitely have them on the menu.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Trojan horse ?????

Nope, Trojan Kitten. I hadn't seen SAM for a few minutes so called his name. He knows it and usually comes running. Imagine my surprise when this basket slowly made its way into the living room...... If you look close you'll see his face behind the end of it. I had cleaned out my old ice box and saved some things to take to the Bargain Box. This basket among them. He apparently couldn't resist trying to climb inside and it flipped over. I sure wish I had a video of the whole episode.

UPDATE: SAM is in his forever home thanks to Nicole and her husband. This rambunctious kitten now has a big brother too. DIGGLESBY is a year old and I've received photos of the two of them playing on their climbing pole. He's still the King of Cuteness and I miss his presence in the house. My old cats, not at all.