Friday, April 24, 2015

Brilliant colors

I got a call today from a lady in town who has an injured pet bird. I don't usually work on anything but wild birds but said I would help PETER if I could. This is one of the most beautiful finches in the world, a Lady Gouldian. He and his brother were perched for the night when they were suddenly scared. Their dashing around the cage resulted in this bird losing a lot of the flight feathers on his left wing and causing damage to his left foot. I put a small bandage on it in hopes he will regain use of the toes.

He's growing up

Little PETER is becoming bolder with age. I couldn't open the bird cage door so this photo has bars in front of him but he's now able to spring up to the top of his box/den. He's very active and altho I'm still giving him milk he's now munching on greens. He'll soon be ready for release in the back of my property where there are lots of rabbits living.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Hanging in there

But in this case it's a horrible thing to have happen. This photo shows the guys from Powder River Energy rescuing an adult female osprey from one of their power poles. GRUMPY had been building a nest, had a half dozen sticks in place, when she apparently stepped the wrong direction and got her left leg caught in a strand of baling twine.

Osprey tend to use a lot of non-nest material in the construction, plastic bags, twine, rags, etc. I'm amazed that more young birds aren't caught just before they fledge.

Thank you to Dan Thiele, WGF and Brad Rogers, USFWS, for making the arrangements to get the bird out of this sticky situation and driving her here from Buffalo. That's about a three hour drive over the mountains to the east.

Right now it's wait and see time. It may take many weeks for the damage to repair itself. The really bad thing is that osprey are very difficult to keep in captivity as they don't self feed very well. That means force feeding which is not fun for either of us. Hopefully she'll get into eating trout by herself.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Nest repurposing

This cutie is DAVIS, a baby GHO now sitting in the rescued raven nest. Sitting next to him is his foster mom, SMIDGE. She is a super foster and didn't waste a minute getting up to his level. I don't know if she'll feed him but I have lots of mice thawing.

Little DAVIS was found on the ground in Manderson after some horrific winds over the weekend. The nest is about 70' up in an old cottonwood, way too far to replace him in it. There is one more chick in the nest and will hopefully stay there. It's an old hawk nest, they're usually large enough for GHO's to use.

Thanks to Sabra and Johnny Davis for noticing the chick on the ground and agreeing to meet me in Greybull for the hand off. Last year was a record for baby GHOs coming to IBR, hopefully this year doesn't come close to that number (12).

Friday, April 17, 2015

Wee baby

I got a call yesterday from The Barn here in Cody about a baby rabbit they found in their parking lot. I figured it was just a youngster out of the nest going about its business. NOT! This little one is only about as long as my first finger. The eyes are open so it's almost two weeks old but should not be out of the nest this young. I wasn't sure if it would live through the night but so far so good.

Female rabbits feed their babies at night but I'm doing it three times a day. He's stronger and more lively, perhaps he will grow up to be released at the back of my property. I have lots of rabbits around here, I'm very protective of them. Of course I can't save them from marauding raptors, fox or coyotes, they have to take their chances in life.

Necessary removal

This awesome nest was built by a pair of local ravens. The removal was necessary due to the fact that they chose one of my power poles for its location. Because the chance of any chicks, or even the parents, being electrocuted, I called Rocky Mountain Power to come and take it down. Mark did a wonderful job as it came off in one piece and fell to the ground.

My plan is to place it on a corner of my eagle flight barn in hopes that the adults, or another raven pair, will use it. Maybe even a GHO as they borrow nests. This one is full of large and small twigs plus what looks like pillow stuffing and deer hair. Possibly even cow or horse hair too. It's well made and will be available for whatever bird wants to use it.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Ahhhhhhhhhhh Spring

At least in Wyoming. This is what I woke up to this morning, about six inches on the flat ground. It's also only 30 degrees out there plus windy, not a pleasant day so far. By tomorrow we'll be much nicer, this white stuff should be gone, or mostly gone. then the poor bushes and trees that are budding will be able to recover.....I hope.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Not done yet

Right now, 4 o'clock on Tuesday afternoon, it is 73 degrees outside. Tonight the prediction is in the 20's with 70% chance of snow. Tomorrow in the 30s with the same percent of snow. My poor bushes and trees, they're starting to leaf out. I hope this doesn't cause too much damage.

Jurassic Park in WY?

When I got the call about this bird and saw it for the first time I was baffled. It looked to me sort of like a turken which is another name for a bare-necked chicken. But the feathers were not at all like normal chickens. And the knob on top of his beak???? He was tame and probably someone's pet but whose????
He arrived at the Coca Cola office on the Husky Road this morning. Mike McCarthy, the gentleman who called me, said he'd seen it on Sunday around his yard but didn't give it a thought other than wondering what it was. He lives in Wapiti, 20+ miles west of here, and when he stopped his truck at work this strange looking bird jumped down from underneath it.
I stopped by Linda and Elijah's to ask their opinion and to have them foster it until the mystery was solved. They're the ones who thought they knew what it was.....a turken crossed with a silkie. I Googled that and sure enough, that's what he is. We decided to name him C-REX (chickenasaurus rex), doesn't he look like a species of dinosaur? And those weird feet! Mike is going to ask around his neighborhood to see just where he came from so we can get him home.

UPDATE: His name is MARVIN and he'll be a year old next month. He was a learning project for a kindergarten class at Eastside School last year. Because of his personality and uniqueness he remains with his teacher and will do so forever. Yay, MARVIN!

This is a photo from the internet of a very beautiful female turken x silkie, isn't she something?

Fore ! ! ! !

Her name is NANCY LOPEZ as that's the name of a famous female golfer from many years ago. This beautiful, well fed adult female great horned owl was found just off the 15th green at the Powell Golf Club. At first I thought she had a broken wing but xrays show that's not the case. Perhaps it is a dislocated shoulder or possibly a fractured coracoid bone. Dr. Blessing will look at the xrays tomorrow.

The unfortunate thing is that this time of year there are already baby GHOs in the nest. If she only has one and it's old enough to rip and tear food on its own then the male can provide for it. His job is only to bring food to the nest, not pull off small pieces and hand them to the chicks. If more than one, it may require bringing them to IBR and letting their mum take care of them here.

In the meantime NANCY is in a small cage sitting beside a rabbit carcass. She certainly isn't starving at 3.75 pounds, but just in case it's there for her to snack on tonight.

UPDATE: Today, Monday 4/10, NANCY had her dislocated shoulder put back in place. Now we'll have to see if it worked and stays where it belongs after the support bandage comes off.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Free again

This morning little PIP, the screech owl who came in after being hit by a vehicle, flew free. I took him over to Dee and Jim's place off the Powell Hiway and found the perfect release site. When I opened the crate door he just walked to the opening and then scanned the area. He'd look at me and then look away almost as if he couldn't believe he was not surrounded by walls.

This photo is of his first stopping place after making the decision to leave me behind. I hope he does well and catches lots of the mice that Dee says are living around their barns.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

He's doing much better now

Here's a photo I just took of HEMINGWAY. He's now out in the cage room, standing up on a perch, and thinking about the meal sitting next to him. I don't know if he'll actually eat any of the rabbit but if not I'll cut up mice for him.

His right eye looks very bad but it has made great improvement in a short time. Hopefully this will continue improving in the next few weeks and he will be able to see out of it.

UPDATE: Sad news. Another examination of his eyes reveals total blindness so he was humanely euthanized. Such bad news for a grand old man.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Wee screech owl

His eyes don't quite match but only weighing 5.4 ounces isn't much when hit by a large vehicle. He has a concussion and couldn't see a thing when first brought in. This is PIP who was found north of Powell alongside a road where some construction was being done. These teeny owls are nocturnal hunters so he was probably hit during the night.

The bad news is that the head trauma has caused blindness. The good news is that his vision appears to be coming back somewhat. He hasn't eaten a mouse on his own yet so I do have to cut one up and hand feed him. He's not thrilled with that procedure nor am I.

Hopefully he will regain his sight enough for release, only time will answer that question.

UPDATE: Last night he found his mouse and ate most of it. That means he has enough sight coming back that the future is looking brighter.

UPDATED UPDATE: PIP is now out in the front room. It's 8'x 12' with window ledges to sit on. That's just where I put him and that's where he was when I checked before bedtime. He has two walls of widows, seems he just wanted to sit there and look at the world passing by. He also ate his mouse and this morning was up on an overhead beam watching as I came in the mew. Looks better and better for him.

Severely wounded

My newest patient was found by Chris and Ati during a bike ride on Heart Mountain yesterday. HEMINGWAY, and adult redtail, was found laying in a ditch unable to fly. When I met them at the corner of 294 and the Powell hiway I didn't believe he would live. He has suffered a severe blow to the right side of his head which unfortunately has caused damage to that eye. His left eye appears okay. There is also a small spot of skull showing on the top of his head.

He is now resting in a cage in my kitchen with a heating pad nearby. Altho he was standing at six o'clock this morning he isn't now. At this point I'm taking it one hour at a time. He's in good weight and I believe him to be well into his teens. His prognosis is very guarded but I have hopes he will survive.

This is the time of year when raptors are either sitting on eggs or in the process of spiffing up the nest in preparation of doing so. If HEMINGWAY has a mate we will have lost the babies but if, by some miracle he makes it back to the wild, they will probably find each other.

UPDATE: My old man has made some major improvement in the last 24 hours. He's standing most of the time, the eye ointment is helping him keep his right eye open and tonight he swallowed most of his mouse pieces when I put them in his mouth. He's still on pain meds and antibiotics but I believe he's strong enough to move to my cage room where he'll have a larger living space.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Spring is here ! ! !

Just as I got back from my walk down the road I heard what I feel is the best sign of Spring arriving. A meadowlark was on one of my fence posts singing his heart out to find a lady love. How sweet it is.

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.