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 Fliens 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.

Strange bedfellows

Today I received a baby brancher Black-billed Magpie. Unfortunately the nest is very high up in an evergreen and I'll try to get him back to it tomorrow. For tonight he has a "foster mom" in the form of a stuffed bald eagle toy. He seems to like snuggling down with it and it gives him some reassurance. He's also liking the pinky mice I've been feeding him.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Very thin baby

His name is ECHO but this very young Red-tailed Hawk should be in his nest and not on the ground where he was found as he's just over four weeks old. The Forest Service was removing dead and live trees along Elk Creek up in Sunlight and had apparently not realized there was a hawk nest in one of them.

Elk Creek Ranch kids found the baby yesterday and immediately told Susan Ridgway, the owner of the ranch. I was called and gave them directions on what to do until their neighbor, Leslie, could transport him down this morning.

He's very starved, only weighs 22 ounces and should be at least 32+. As I've mentioned a few times, 80% of baby birds don't make it to their first winter and this fellow would never have survived til this weekend if he hadn't been rescued. It is by no means a given that he will live through this trauma but I have high hopes he will do so.

He's doing a lot of food begging so I think his parents abandoned him and the nest when humans started their tree cutting without checking for residents first. I've gotten some mouse pieces down him but he's still begging. This photo also shows the mirror beside him so he can see others of his kind.

I do have a foster redtail, BONNIE 3, but at this point he's much too weak to go in with her.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Six more mouths to feed

I got a call two days ago from a family in Douglas which is about a five hour drive from Cody. They had just bought a house was built in 1913 and had been empty for two years. When they went down to the basement they discovered a bunch of baby bats on the floor under the chimney opening.

Unfortunately the three story fall had been fatal for some but these six have survived for a week so far. The most amazing thing is that Sarah and Anthony have five children including four month old daughter, Olive, who is breast feeding. Instead of making up the bat food formula she just pumped her milk and fed that to them. They're were all still alive when I wrote this post.

As mentioned in a much earlier post, I did raise YODETTE until she suddenly died at five weeks old. Hopefully these babies will make it to be released.

UPDATE: I found two of the babies dead at their midnight feeding. Perhaps it was the change in diet, I'll never know, but the others seem to being doing just fine and getting the hang of sucking on a foam sponge for their milk.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Floating away

This morning, around 7 o'clock, my six baby mallards were released on Alkali Lake near Cody. The top photo shows them right after being put in the water. The other is them heading for the large body of water and hopefully getting acquainted with the resident adult ducks living there.

These babies came here about a day old after their mother picked a very bad spot to lay her eggs. She decamped and luckily the babies were found at the apartment complex and I was called. They've been growing like weeds and now that their preen glands are working they are waterproof enough for release.

Saturday, June 28, 2014


That is the best word to describe these amazing birds. Cedar Waxwings are such beautiful songbirds, I love them. This poor young bird was found on the ground with a wound to his left wrist. I don't know if it will eventually be okay for release but in the meantime he's eating lots of fruit, their main diet, and behaving in his cage.

Unfortunately I had to take this photo through the cage bars so it's not in good focus but you can see just how pretty he is.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Baby geese update

The three Canada Geese goslings are now at a release site near a wonderful pond. Until they are ready to fly they have some surrogate parents in the form of a couple decoys. As they had mine near them when tiny they readily took to the new pair. When they're old enough they will naturally go towards real geese and migrate at the appropriate time.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Whoa! ! ! !

This isn't a gigantic tornado but it is a storm sitting over Cody. Sara took this on her cellphone when in Powell. In a matter of a half hour the rain stopped and now the sun is out so we're steaming. And the weeds are growing taller and stronger as I watch them.

The bad news is that I had five bags of cavy food in the back of my truck so they were a bit damp. Luckily only a couple handfuls of feed were slightly soggy, the rest I poured into many buckets to get them out of the paper bags.

He now has a BFF

Here's RUFUS with is new best friend. After his trip to Ogden he was introduced to their orphan heron who is about a week younger. There was a short squabble about 10 minutes into the meeting but then the younger one stood up for his rights and now all is okay.

You'll note in the photo that RUFUS, on the left, still hasn't shut his mouth.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Dry and together

The last little female kestrel is now dry and sharing the cage with the other two females. They were all on the perch when I opened the door but naturally didn't stay together.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Three little girls

It seems not long ago all I was doing was driving to or through Thermopolis for birds. This year it's Powell. And the worst part is having to drive over four miles of road under construction. They seem to feel the roadbed must be at least four feet higher and then the left over dirt in piles on the side of the road has to be trucked along the road behind my place so they can dump it over the hill. Of course then they have to have a front loader spent every day smoothing out the dumped dirt. Must be costing hundreds of thousands of dollars. Too bad someone didn't think of selling the dirt, would have made some money to help cover the $4 million per mile they're now spending. But I digress.....

So far in the past couple weeks I've driven 12 times to Powell to pick up eight baby great horned owls and four kestrels. I still have five of the GHOs and three kestrels. The owls are just waiting until they're ready for release.

The same for the kestrels but in the case of two of them it's because their dad was hit by a car a couple weeks ago and had to be euthanized. Because kestrel litters can be up to six babies, it's very hard for the one remaining parent to keep them in food. I have no idea how many were in this clutch but I believe that all but these two have probably died. These little girls are quite thin but are scarfing down their mice so that will soon correct itself.

This single little female also came from Powell but when she came out of the nest she apparently went right into the ditch. She got herself out but was caked with dirt. That's why she's all wet, had to give her a bath to remove it. Talk about an attitude, she's quite feisty so should do well when ready to fledge.

Thursday, June 19, 2014


Baby RUFUS is leaving tomorrow to begin the rest of his journey. After such a shaky start, literally when his nest tree fell down, he is now joining another Great Blue Heron orphan at the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in Ogden, UT. Thanks to Debbie Pappas of Second Chance Wildlife Rehabilitation in Price, UT for telling me about the facility in Ogden. And to DaLyn Erickson there who agreed to accept my baby heron.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

My own Field of Honor

I put the new flags up today. They are in honor of my cousin, Pete and in memory of my uncles, Roy and Tom and cousins Mickey and Michael. Between the five they've served in three wars in every branch but the Marines. You'll note that the first flag is a bit faded and ragged. That was for uncle Roy last year, his new flag is the next one in line.

Sad tears

Baby HUIT died today