Monday, May 2, 2016

Four and five

Last year I only got in one baby GHO, this year is way different. As you saw in previous posts, I made a new nest for two babies and then fostered in another when mom was offside chewing me out. Everyone settled in just fine.

Today I got a call from a G&F Biologist, Erika Peckham. She had to go and pick up two more babies, these about three weeks old. The nest was so buried in a large evergreen that she couldn't get them back to it. Even with a tall ladder, the nest was about 25' high, it was another 10' to the center of the tree to the nest.

I now have the fourth and fifth baby GHO but at this point they'll have to stay here. I don't have any other nests available with only one or two chicks and the adults would have a hard time raising more than three.

They were found in the Mt. Pisgah Cemetery in down town Gillette. Now to think up some names.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

All together now

Human Spencer, Susan with feathered SPENCER, Tyler and Ryan before the big event.

Mom heading out.

Up the ladder one more time. Both parents were doing a lot of hooting the whole time I was near the nest.

Another first for me. Today I took little SPENCER out to where I'd replaced a horrible nest with a large basket. The goal was to put this new baby owl in with the two already at home there. I'd checked with the experts at The Owl Foundation in Vineland, ON, Canada to see if they thought it would work and got a green light.

Mom was on the nest when we got there so I wasn't sure if I'd have to do a lot of ducking but she did fly off when I'd reached about half way up the ladder. I popped SPENCER into the nest and about two seconds later he'd hopped out the other side and pin balled his way down to the ground. He was caught up again, put back in the nest along with a half of a rabbit for mom to feed the kids.

I got a call from Betsy that just minutes after we all left the area the mom was back on the nest and all three chicks were there too. As of now it looks like this will work. Keep your fingers crossed.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Number four

Nathan holding little SPENCER after his rescue.

YUM! Mouse pieces are great food for the baby.
Nathan called me this evening to tell me that a friend called him with yet another baby GHO on the ground under the nest. We drove out there and picked up a four week old owlet. Again, the nest was an old magpie nest and it was in horrible shape. The baby apparently rolled out of it and fell about 20 feet.

Because we couldn't put this little fellow back, he's now in a cage with a mirror for a "sibling". I'll keep him until he's ready for release and he'll be mentored by my foster GHO, SMIDGE.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

It worked!

Steve and Betsy sent me these photos of our successful nest transfer.

Putting one of the babies into the nest nest.

You have to look very closely but mom is in the new nest on the right side. You can barely see her ears sticking up over the rim.

First time ever

Yesterday was so exciting. Betsy and Steve called to say that there wasn't a third baby GHO in the nest and the adults were very upset. I had recovered the second one on Friday after it too fell from the nest.

We all decided to try something that's been done before but not by me. I took my extension ladder and a large wicker basket to the nest site. It was only about 25' up and in a good spot to reach with the ladder. With Steve holding the bottom I made the climb up and found out why the babies had fallen. It was a very old magpie nest, totally flat on top and leaning at an angle. So much so I don't see how the eggs stayed there for brooding.

I removed the old one and then wired the basket right next to the site. Betsy had gathered various sized sticks and twigs so the babies would have something to hold on to when in the nest. Then came the babies. I put both of them in the basket along with the remains of a baby rabbit that the adult had been feeding them.

This photo shows me hauling the nest wicker nest to the site. I got word this morning that an adult is in the new nest with the other one sitting in a nearby tree. So far so good.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Foster babies

Today I picked up two kittens at our animal shelter. Mom had been killed and I had told the shelter that if they ever got in any wee baby puppies or kittens that I would foster them. The two little orange kittens are one female and one male. The little one is the boy. I believe they're about three to three and a half weeks old. They aren't nursing very well so I'll start them on some baby solid food. Now for some names.............

Friday, April 22, 2016

Oh my, now there are two

I had to drive out the Southfork to pick up a second baby GHO. I was afraid this would happen as the nest is so small and with three babies and an adult there just isn't room to move around.

That's RYAN on the left and TYLER on the right. I haven't introduced them to my foster mom yet, I want to make sure they're eating first. These two babies are about three weeks old.

Happy Earth Day, 2016

Nathan came by this morning on his way to Sheridan. He was wearing one of my favorite t-shirts and I had on my yearly Earth Day shirt so he took a selfie.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

First baby

This little three week old cutie, TYLER, fell out of his nest late this afternoon. It was a bit crowded up there with three babies and mom. Because owls don't build their own nests, they borrow, the one they choose may not be large enough when the babies are growing. That was the case here as mom chose an old magpie nest. GHO's usually have a couple babies, this mom outdid herself with three.

Luckily the home owner has been keeping a good watch on the family and found the baby right away. Because there wasn't a way to get the chick back to the nest I brought him home and will hand him over to SMIDGE, my GHO foster mom. For now he can see his "sibling" in the mirror.

I am honored

Last February I was told by Zach Hutchinson, the President of the Murie Audubon Society in Casper, that I had won an award given by them. Because I was unable to attend their banquet, Zach said he would bring it to me. That happened last Thursday. Today I received his photo of that event.

It is for their 2016 Conservation Award "In Appreciation Of Your Contribution To The Protection and Conservation of Wyoming's Wildlife". I hadn't even known I was nominated and am so honored to have won.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Three are gone


Today is the start of a new life for three of my baby Swainson's Hawks. They've been here all winter because they weren't ready to handle a 12,000 mile migration to Argentina for the winter. They required a leader, even better, a large group of swainson's to lead them to their wintering grounds. Because the adults had already left it was necessary to keep them here until the older birds returned to the area.

That happened this past week so my friend, Julie, and I drove them to a wonderful release site and opened crate doors. The most exciting part was getting to that area. With all the rain we've been having, the two track alongside the canal was extremely muddy. And the side road to the area I wanted was so bad that I parked the truck and we walked downhill for a bit carrying the crates. I only fell twice when my feet slipped out from under me. So much for my clean jeans.

HUDSON took off wonderfully, heading left, and landed in a far tree. That was after WILSON finally decided to leave her crate. She also flew left to a far tree. Then it was PATTISON's turn. She walked out of the crate, stood for a couple moments and then flew off to the right and flew and flew. She finally landed on a far rock outcrop where some small birds let her know they weren't pleased at her choice of perches.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Surprise, surprise!

I woke up to this lovely sight this morning at 6 o'clock. I knew it was trying to snow when I went to bed but it managed to figure it out. We're lucky compared to the southeast corner of the state and the Denver area. And we, of course, need the moisture for the upcoming harvest seasons, but it was still a shock.

Most of the trees and bushes are already leafed out so don't know what they're thinking. I don't think this will last long as the ground is very warm.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Amazing news!

I had some wonderful news today. Yes, I'm being extremely sarcastic. Last Thursday I wasn't feeling all that perky and started coughing more than usual. Then on Saturday morning, about 2 o'clock a.m., my heart started bouncing around. Thinking I was having another minor afib attack, my first thoughtwas "gee, I wonder if Sara and Julie are in town". They're the helpers who do chores if I'm not here.

Then when I got up at 6 o'clock a.m., my heart was behaving normally. Monday I had to deliver eggs and pick up some feed, 750 pounds of it. Because I was still leery I asked Nathan to help move the 50 pound feed bags. I don't know what I'd do without that young man.

Well, Sunday and Monday nights my coughing was horrible so I decided to go into the walk in at Cody Clinic this morning to be checked over. They asked lots of questions and listened to my heart and lungs and finally decided to do a chest xray.

Back on March 19th I had my pneumonia 23 shot. Supposed to keep you from getting problem. NOT! I now have pneumonia and am on antibiotics for seven days. I'm not feeling all that bad, a bit tired, but it's not stopping me from doing my chores. Such fun.....

Friday, April 8, 2016

Harrowing trip

Yesterday morning I sent my one year old male Rough-legged Hawk, KING, to his new forever home. He is now living at the 5th oldest zoo in the US, the Binghamton Zoo at Ross Park, in Binghamton, NY.

Unfortunately, because we're so small, we have to go somewhere to get somewhere. And his trip involved stops in SLC, then Detroit and finally Binghamton. All went well until the plane was heading for the last stop. It was scheduled to arrive in Binghamton at 11:09pm, Nancy was going to call me to let me know he made it okay. I got a call about 11:20 but not with good news.

When the plane was not quite half way to the final stop it developed some sort of problem so it turned back to Detroit. Poor KING had spent 10 hours in his crate being moved from here to there so I was concerned. Nancy called me about 20 minutes later saying that Delta was sending another plane out and it should arrived in Binghamton in a couple hours.

I got an email from her at 1:00 this morning telling me he made it and was doing just fine. This is the first time for a plane problem to happen when I've sent a bird out. As I have two more leaving IBR, one to KS and one to AK, I certainly hope it's the last.

Saturday, April 2, 2016


I have lots of rabbits living on my property and this is nesting season. I also have a bunny barn where I raise domestic rabbits. Usually the two never meet but yesterday I found a wild cottontail inside the bunny barn digging a nest hole. The screen door had swung open so the animal decided to take advantage of the soft dirt. Needless to say I'll fill it in but she certainly made progress in a short amount of time.

Badly wounded

This amazing Peregrine Falcon, JIMMY, was probably hit by a vehicle or possibly hit something as he was chasing a meal. His left wing was torn off between his elbow and wrist. I'm hoping he'll survive this ordeal and be a candidate for surgery to clean up the tip of his wing so he can be an educational bird on a fist. Right now he's fighting hard and I'll be with him the whole way.

UPDATE: He did not make it.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Deer update

Remember DANCER? She's the fawn I got in when she was only a couple weeks old, if that? She's now a real deer and is spending more nights away from her foster home barn. Here she in on another walkabout. She had been gone a couple days but returned. She decided to head out again but picked the wrong night, a storm came through and dumped a lot of snow. She was back again a couple days later ready for a square meal and warm bed.

Eventually she'll just leave and only show up from time to time but not forever. She's done really well thanks to her foster parents and their excellent care of her during transition to a "real deer".

Sunday, March 27, 2016


That's his name according to the kids on the Annis Ranch in Alcova (pop. 76). They found him sitting on a fence post unable to fly. That's because he has a broken left wing. You can't see it but the wing is now bandaged so he won't do more damage by moving it around.

This Long-eared Owl is quite the feisty bird so he should do well when he has his wing repaired. Hopefully that will happen after he goes in tomorrow for xrays and an exam. Thanks to Toni Annis and her gang for driving to meet me in Thermop with the bird.

UPDATE: Sad news. Surgery was attempted to repair the fracture but unseen in the xray was a crack in the large bone. It split open the entire length of the humerus which was not surgically fixable. He was humanely euthanized.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Superman is gone

Well, CLARK is now gone. This is a photo of my Peregrine Falcon being released after six months of recovery and training. Chris Pfister, a master falconer, and my subpermittee, spent that time helping this amazing falcon recover from a bad wound to the back of one wing after it was sutured closed.

Because these birds eat birds, and have to be very quick and able to switch directions instantly, he had to be at 100% for release. Thanks to his expertise, Chris brought this almost one year old male falcon to peak performance and ready for release.

As you can see, this is a beautiful habitat full of small birds, and even pigeons, the perfect food source for CLARK. Thanks to the Lichtendahl's for spotting him and calling me so he could make this awesome release.

Thursday, March 24, 2016


Yesterday I received the sixth bird who had been shot in the past year. Most of them had shotgun pellets in their bodies, the crow I got in yesterday was shot with a BB gun. I don't know what possesses people to shoot something just to say they can and did but it's very frustrating to know they'll probably never be caught doing so.

The oldest bird, that I know of, who had been shot was a 20 year old male redtail. He was hatched and banded in CO and was shot in Riverton. He managed to do what most wild birds can't do, he lived to a very old age. And that was ended by some #^$%@ person who wanted to kill something.

So far I've received a rough-legged hawk, a bald eagle, a raven, two crows and a mallard, all shot and with the exception of the roughie, all died. The roughie suffered a fractured wing but with surgery she has survived. She can't fly well enough for release so she's heading for Operation Wildlife in Linwood, KS as a school bird. One in six survived, that is not acceptable but there's nothing I can do other than try to help those injured by ignorant, uncaring individuals.


As all of you know, Ironside Bird Rescue is a 501(c)(3) non-profit facility. Our funding comes from various foundations who award grants to us so we can continue to help all wild birds. And from individuals who donate money to help defray costs.

Just to show you what it costs to run this place, I've totalled up the expenses for the past seven years. It comes as a shock to me too as this does not include any type of salary. I've never received one since I started IBR 29 years ago and I am a one person work force. I now have five volunteers to help if I'm out of town and with some construction. Otherwise it's just me.

2009: 16,368.01
2010: 13,638.98
2011: 14,645.26
2012: 30,912.00 This includes truck repairs and finally a new truck thanks to an anonymous donor for half the cost of it.
2013: 16,061.84
2014: 14,180.30
2015: 22,675.05 This jump is because I now have to pay for all veterinary care.

I couldn't do what I do without all the support from everyone. Thank you all.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Awesome eagle

photo from Moose Jaw Bravo Photography

Last week an amazing bird was brought to the Teton Raptor Center in Jackson. An adult female bald eagle was found near the elk refuge unable to fly. The TRC thought she had been hit by a vehicle, and are still not sure what happened to her. The most extraordinary thing is that she was wearing a federal band on her leg which was put on there in 1982. She is 34 years old! She's slowly recovering but with her age I doubt if she'll be released even if she can fly. She deserves to be in a facility where she won't have to worry about her next meal.

As of now she is the second oldest living banded bald eagle on record. There is another who is 35. And the oldest banded bald eagle on record, as far as I know, is one who lived to the age of 38 before dying.

Besides the 20 year old banded male redtail I got in a couple years ago, this eagle is the second oldest bird I've seen. The oldest is a golden eagle who was injured as an adult and taken in by a 16 year old man so he could help her. When I met the two of them, Gus had just celebrated his 56th birthday. The eagle was still with him making her at least 45 years old. Because he found her before the rules changed, he was allowed to keep her with him. Of course he could never have another one. When I met them the eagle was blind but doing really well. He fed her a good diet and she, in turn, was a companion to him as they grew old together. She's gone now and her body was returned to the mountain where she was found.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Solid gold

And he certainly is. This is an adult male golden eagle found up on the mountain off of Sunset Rim Road. He was spotted by three people while hiking and biking. Luckily Ward met me at the base of the road and led me to where this handsome fellow was laying. I don't know what caused his injury but his left wing is badly broken altho it is mid-shaft humerus, the easiest to fix. The bad news is that the wing had been twisted in a circle twice so I don't know how much the blood supply has been hurt.

More bad news, the pairs are now setting up to lay eggs and he probably has a mate in the area. There are a few nests nearby, anyone of which could be his home base. If his surgery does go well, it will be a couple months, at least, before he'd be ready to go back to the wild. That is way past breeding time so we've lost this season.

UPDATE: He's gone. I got up during the night to check on him and he was dead. Altho he didn't spend much time on the ground after he was injured, it was bad and just too much for his body to take in. Thanks so much to Peter, Buzzy and Ward for spotting him and calling for help.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

A sharp little girl

I got a call about nine o'clock last night from a Worland officer stating they'd found a hawk under a car there in town. The bird flew off about 50' where she landed and they were able to catch her. This is COPPER, a 10 month old female Sharp-shinned Hawk. She is starving to death and had she not been captured probably wouldn't live out the week.

Thanks to Officer Sean Duffy for caring enough to catch her and call me. The weight for female sharpies varies from 5-8 ounces, COPPER comes in at 4.5 ounces. I don't find anything else wrong with her so it's a matter of putting weight back on her and then training her for release.

UPDATE: This beautiful young bird is now flying free. Because they eat birds, and because I have bazillion sparrows and some starlings living all around my place, I released her here. She took off without a backward glance or thank you.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

For Robin's dad...

Here's an update on BUDDY, the great horned owl I received a few days ago. He's now in a much bigger mew so he can get some exercise for his injured right wing. The wound is still bad but his attitude is getting better by leaps and bounds. He's eating all his food which includes a mouse with his pain medication and antibiotic pill hidden inside.

It's going to take a long time for that bad wound to heal and only then will I know if he'll be strong enough for flight. In the meantime, he's getting feisty which is a good sign.