Saturday, May 30, 2015

New nest

My baby golden, TUMBLER, is now outside in a nest site in the eagle flight barn. She is now old enough and because there is an adult female in the barn I wanted her to have a role model.

The nest site is where my JULIE always stayed when laying eggs, altho they were never fertile. It's inside the tower which is made up of discarded sculpture boxes from the museum. I didn't want to take a chance on TUMBLER being injured by the adult so thanks to Nathan Horton there are doors on it.
We repurposed all the wood and wire in the construction but the hardest part was getting the box square. After sitting in the barn for almost two decades it had racked to one side a bit. Between the two of us asking each other, "what about doing this?", "do you think this would work?" "let's try ths", we finally got everything to work. Nathan is a very gifted builder and has lots of tools to get the job done.

She also now has two mirrors for company.
TUMBLER is growing quickly, now weighs 6#14oz, almost the weight of an adult male. She's also quickly getting her dark feathers as you can see in this photo. The next addition to this box is a large branch that will allow her to come out and flap those very large wings prior to flying.

Friday, May 29, 2015

She's up high now

I decided to place GRUMPY in to a larger area so she could practice flying. She's found out she could make it up to the highest wall perch, about 15' above ground. Now that all is fixed with her left foot/leg, and she's flying circles in the mew, she's going back to Leiter, WY for release next Tuesday, weather permitting. I was hoping for today but a large storm is predicted for that area. I didn't want to drive over the mountain in that plus I want good weather for her release back to the wild.

Monday, May 25, 2015

And another......

Yes, another 25 mile drive to Powell to pick up another baby songbird. And again, I have no idea what species this is, it's quite young, perhaps only 2-3 days old and weak. It was found in the middle of a tennis court in Lovell so finding the nest was impossible. Perhaps a predator bird took it from the nest and then dropped it as it flew. We'll never know but hopefully this little baby will live.

Bountiful harvest

I decided to have scrambled eggs and corn for lunch today. I hadn't made my first gather yet so used some in my frig. One was extremely large and wouldn't fit in a carton so I chose that one and one other jumbo egg. Both were from my Aracauna hens, the huge one from the youngsters who started laying a month ago, The other from my old ladies.

Here is the result of just two eggs!!!! I've had doubles before but never a triple. Needless to say my meal was wonderful, my hens outdid themselves.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

More wee babies

Four days ago I was called about some baby birds found after a tree had been cut down. I still don't know exactly what species they are but believe they're some kind of finch. They're eating wonderfully and growing feathers.

Then this morning I got a call from a gentleman up the Southfork saying his dog found another baby bird. This time I'm about 100% sure it's a baby horned lark. Unfortunately it's not old enough to be on its own so is now snuggled down with the three finches. As they are all seed eaters they're also sharing the same food.

The lark is the one on the left with all the teeny spots. A bit older but still quickly opened its beak when the syringe came near. When these babies are ready to go I'll take the finches to the Neal's yard for release, the most perfect place for any bird to live. The lark will be released here as they prefer more open habitat.

Growing fast

This is a photo of TUMBLER taken today. She's about five weeks old and getting to look more and more like a golden eagle. Her dark back feathers are coming as are the primary feathers. She can now stand for a while and is eating everything I hand her. She still seems to favor both the t-shirt image and the life sized bird on the poster. I'll keep posting new photos as she ages.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Nest site

I just received a photo of where TUMBLER's nest was originally located. As you can see, the original site (top arrow), then half the nest fell down (middle arrow) after the horrible storms taking the baby with it. She didn't stop there but continued falling until reaching the bottom (lower arrow). This makes her survival even more extraordinary. She's now standing for a bit, eating a lot and gaining weight. It's surprising how quickly they grow.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Feeding attire

It is very important to keep a baby bird, of any species, from becoming a human imprint. TUMBLER is not quite four weeks old, right at the edge of learning she's an eagle. Now, besides the t-shirt with the golden head on it, there's a poster of a life sized adult behind her. This way when she looks into the mirror she can see it. Thanks to Chuck Preston and the graphics department of the historical center, she has a "mom".

To that end I've made a mask to wear when I'm feeding TUMBLER. Now don't laugh too hard but it's the best I could come up with at the moment. I know, four eyes, and I should probably put a dark cap over my ears. This is a work in progress, I'll tweak it as I go along.

She's eating lots of cut up mice and is now strong enough to sit up on her hocks. It's just a matter of time before she can actually stand. I'll keep posting photos so you can see just how she's growing and growing.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Newest patient


I don't often receive downy baby raptors and this is the youngest golden eagle I've ever gotten in. She is about 23-25 days old and is here because she was blown out of the nest on a cliff near the Antelope Coal Mine south of Gillette. Luckily the mine consultants were monitoring the nest quite often and found her the morning after a horrific thunderstorm hit the area.

I met one of their people, Roy, in Tensleep and brought her right back here for care. As I was leaving for CO for three days she immediately went to stay with my subpermittee and master falconer, Chris Pfister. I got back this afternoon, picked her up and she's now in her protected "nest" with a mirror for company. I also placed one of my t-shirts on a board next to her. It has a large painting of a golden eagle head on it so she will know what her parents would look like.

At this point the object is to get her all grown up without becoming an imprint to humans. I'm also getting a poster done up by Chuck Preston of an adult bird as yet another sample for her to identify with.

As you can see, she's trying to figure out who that other baby eagle is.

Awesome party

I just got back from Loveland and Boulder, CO where I attended a wonderful birthday party for a friend who turned 90 years old. Dolores Besson and her family moved next door to my family almost 40 years ago in Downers Grove, IL, just before their youngest daughter was born. Most everyone, including grandchildren, were able to be there so it was a great time.

We all went to the Boulder Dinner Theater and watched Mary Poppins after a wonderful meal. Then everyone went back to Dolores and Chuck's home for a birthday cake and a chance to catch up with our lives as we all live in different places.

L-R: Lisa, Susan, Dolores, Belinda. Front: Denise
There weren't candles so Lisa's husband, Jay, brought one up on his cell phone so we could all sing Happy Birthday. Granddaughter Brittany behind her dad.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

What is it?

I got a call a few days ago from Curt in Lusk, WY about a tiny bird he found upside down in the snow at his ranch. Lusk is over 300 miles east and south of me and they had gone from 80 degrees to two feet of snow. I was at a loss as to what species of bird this was so sent feelers out to friends who have a lot of bird knowledge.

Today I got the answer from my expert, Doug Faulkner, in Colorado. It's a juvenile Horned Lark! I rarely get these birds let alone a young one but should have figured it out myself. As the weather in Lusk was supposed to greatly improve the next day I told Curt to take the youngster outside when the sun was out and place him in one of his open sheds where other birds were congregating. Hopefully all went well.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Home sweet home

Today I took little DAVIS back to his home tree and released him to the care of his parents. Well, that was the plan but the little stinker didn't hear well and decided to just ad lib. I couldn't put him back in the nest as it was waaaaaaaaay up in the top of a cottonwood. However, the tree right next to it was perfect, tons of large branches for him to sit on and let his parents feed him.

That's where he didn't follow the plan. I put him in that tree four times. Each time he jumped/flew off in a different direction, once trying to grab me in the process. I finally decided to keep watch when he headed for a pile of old lumber from a fallen down shed. One of the walls was still standing so by the time he'd made his way almost to the top of that I decided he would be safe. And one of the adults was back on the nest with his sibling.

I asked the home owners to just keep an eye on him and let me know if he needed rescuing again. I just got a photo and note about the baby, he's up in their trees and one parent was with him. Now all he has to do is grow old and become a success in his life. You have to look close to see him in this well camoflaged position in the tree.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Great news

GRUMPY is doing so well and now she's completely free of any bandaging on her legs and left foot. As you can see in this photo taken just today, she's standing normally with her left leg and her foot is flat. She's also eating a whole rainbow trout every day on her own. I no longer have to force feed her.

When she first arrived I didn't think there was a chance of her recovering from her injuries after hanging upside down for hours. I was afraid the tendon or nerve damage to her left leg was permanent. She's fooled everyone, probably because she's such a fighter. Now she'll be put in a larger area so she can exercise her wings and prove she can "catch" fish in a baby pool.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

New roof netting

Before work started
Partway through, Julie, Sara, Mike and Mic hard at work.
After, shorter poles and tight fitting net...priceless. Pile of old netting in front.
Thanks to Gary Brown of American Netting here in Cody I now have a new one piece netting over my two hen yards. And special thanks to great friends, Sara, Julie, Mike and Mic for using their expertise and willingness to put it up. I spent a couple hours removing all the old netting as it was up for a long time and this last heavy snow did major damage.

It took a total of five hours to complete the job. I can now walk all around the two yards without having to duck once to go from one house to the other. The ladies stayed inside while the work was going on but now have a wonderful bright place to pick and scratch. Of course the next project is putting the shade cloth up on top of the netting so they can enjoy the hottest days in comfort.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

More wee babies

I just received two more baby bunnies. These are much younger than the one I recently raised and released. They were found under a pile of wood that the owners moved today. Unfortunately there was no way to replace the wood or the babies to a nest situation. I have new domestic bunny young and altho I could probably put them in one of those nests, in the long run it wouldn't work. So for now they're on KMR with a small pinch of Culturelle, the same diet I used on my last baby rabbit.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Some improvement

Some good words about GRUMPY, the female Osprey. I decided to try something different so put a hobble on her legs. It stops them from splaying out and has now allowed her to stand. She stands on her right leg just fine but still can't open her left foot. And it's a weaker leg.

Osprey are notorious for not eating on their own and so far she's typical. I've had to hand feed her since she got here but today I put her into a larger mew, with a flat floor perch and gave her a whole trout. I cut it into small strips hoping it would make it easier for her to pull off pieces. I hope it works.

UPDATE: She is now wearing "toe shoes", something I invented for use on a golden eagle suffering from lead poisoning. She couldn't keep her foot open so the individual splints allowed her to walk normally. GRUMPY is now wearing them on the four toes of her left foot and they seem to be working on her too. And the most wonderful news, today she ate a whole trout by herself. Osprey rarely do that in captivity and by doing so her stress level will be much less. Now if her left foot just comes back enough for release......

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Special visitors

Ian and me in 1978.






















Ian and me two days ago.
Ian and Annie two days ago.
I had a wonderful four days starting Thursday when my godchild, Ian and his wife came for a visit. I first met him when he was two days old. His parents and I were living in Boulder, CO at the time, meeting when we were keeping horses at the same stable. Unfortunately they moved back to TX when Ian was just a few weeks old but we kept in touch.

I spent a long weekend down there when he was eight but hadn't seen him since then. He and Annie are now living in Denver and he is now 37 years old. It was a super visit altho the weather certainly didn't cooperate. They stayed in a friends sheep wagon, she rents it out for travelers who want to stay in a non-typical place.

Ian and Annie tried to go to the Park through Cooke City but again, the weather said NO! They did get to see how beautiful the Chief Joseph trail is and I took them to the Historical Center here in Cody.

Now that they're only about nine hours away we should be able to see each other more often. The next visit will hopefully include his mom, Linda, so we can all go tour the Park.

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.