Sunday, February 7, 2016

Her Majesty

She thinks she's a queen and she's now on her throne. MADDIE loves to sleep on a pillow so when I got a new one for myself I tossed the old one on the couch. She immediately settled her royal fanny on it.

Friday, February 5, 2016

He's visiting

CLARK, aka. KRYPTON, came here on September 18th with a wound to his back. I think he hit a barbwire fence while chasing a bird. He went to my subpermitte and master falconer, Chris Pfister, for training to see if he's strong enough for release. He's now almost ready for that big step, we're just waiting for the migration back of small and medium songbirds, the main diet for a Peregrine Falcon. He's only here for a couple days as the Pfister's are on a skiing weekend in MT. Isn't he just so handsome!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016


Today I took FISHER back to where he was found caught in a barbwire fence and released him. I didn't get a photo, forgot to take my camera, but he flew off strong and never looked back. This is why I do what I do, to watch the rear end of a bird leaving as quickly as they can.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Sad news

HUB died this morning. I started him on his lead treatment shots yesterday after bringing him back inside. By that afternoon he was totally blind altho he did eat the meat I handed him when I tapped his beak. Then this morning he was barely able to stand and died shortly afterwards. I have no idea why his symptoms worsened so quickly as his lead count was going down. I will certainly miss this magnificent bird.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Two in just two hours

I got a call from a rancher out off Road 2AB this morning. He said he had a hawk with a broken wing next to his garage. I was surprised when I got there to see an adult Goshawk, a rare bird to come to IBR. Also not in a normal habitat as they are forest dwellers living on birds.

These birds are extraordinary flyers able to make quick turns among branches. They fold their wings into their bodies to squeeze through the smallest spaces then spread them out again and continue the chase.

This awesome bird has a broken humerus on his left wing that has been there for a while. I don't know if it can be fixed but as soon as he's stronger he will have surgery to repair the fracture. This is the largest accipiter altho as a male he's not that big. His name is TRAPPER.

UPDATE: I'm very sad to tell you that TRAPPER died this morning. He ate his quail yesterday and seemed stronger but some time this morning he lost most of his meal, got very weak and just gave up.

The second bird who arrived today is this beautiful dark phase Red-tailed Hawk. He was brought to me by Matt Lentsch, WGF warden from Worland. We met in Greybull so neither of us had to drive the full distance.

HERSHEY was hit by a car and altho no bones were broken, he does have a bad cut to the skin on his chest exposing muscle. That was sutured up and hopefully he'll make a full recovery. He also lost about half of his tail feathers so he'll have to stay here until they molt back in. He can't steer without a rudder.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

When they don't know......

.....what to do with a strange animal they call me. In this case it was my volunteer, Sara, who called this morning. She had heard from a friend who found this cute little prickly animal near town. And it didn't seem to be afraid, more like someone's pet. Her name, we think it's a female, is SIDNEY. Started out as Sid Vicious as there is apparently some sort of rock "music" person with that name and he has a very wild hairdo.

She only weighs eight pounds so is also possibly a young porcupine. She's been treated for external parasites and is being checked for internal ones. She's eaten corn and carrots from Sara's hand so she's used to humans. Right now she's in one of my mews and seems to be content. I'm trying to find a forever home for her but for now she'll stay here.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Major rearrangement

This past week I've had wonderful help in rearranging my cage and storage rooms. Julie helped me clean out two truck loads of stuff from the storage room. Then she and Mic took them to the city dump for me. After there was room, Nathan moved all my bags of wood pellets and shavings to that newly opened space. Previously they took up a lot of floor space in the cage room.

And because I have not been successful in ridding the building of mice, I bought a bunch of containers that have drawers. Now my bandaging material, meds, nuts, bolts, screws, etc. are contained so they won't have a lot of mouse pee and poop all over them.

A couple weeks ago Julie helped me cut up used carpet so that is all now on shelving. I use them for cages and crates so having such a good supply will make it much easier to clean. I have two more shelving units arriving on Tuesday which will go in the storage room to get the remaining stuff up off the floor.


It seems that each weekend I get in a bird who has to go to the vet on Monday morning for an exam, xrays, etc. This weekend is no exception but for now at least this chubby Great Horned Owl doesn't seem to need that care. FISHER was found caught in a barbwire fence this morning at the Wyoming Trout Ranch. The person who rescued him said he had his wings and feet tangled up but the only wounds I can find are a minor one on his left foot and the leading edge of his left wing tip.

As you can see from this photo, he's not a happy camper. He's in excellent shape, weighs 51.5 ounces, and is very handsome. Hopefully his wounds will heal quickly and he can be taken back to where he was found. If he's old enough to have a mate then time is of the essence. GHO's are early nesters and will be starting to either look for an abandoned redtail or magpie nest, or going back to the one they used last year.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Getting stronger

Handsome HUB is now in a much larger mew. Yesterday afternoon he decided to try and fly to the window in his 6'x 6' area so I decided he needed more room. He's now in my 13'x 20' flight area so he can practice flying. I got the second blood test results and his lead level is going down. And his anemia is at the correct level.

At this point I will not be giving him any chelation treatments as it appears his body is eliminating the lead on its own. He has never shown any symptoms and has gone from 6.9# to 9.2# in two weeks. As you can see in this photo, he's getting ready to finish his meal.

Hopefully, when I do a third blood test in two weeks, the count will be completely normal and he'll be able to go into the flight barn to get strong enough for release.

Monday, January 11, 2016

HUB update

HUB went in for xrays this morning and I was again shocked when I found out he'd been shot. There is one shotgun pellet in his right chest. The worst things are the two fragments in his intestines. If they are lead they could kill him. Blood was drawn to send to the state lab to see if he is suffering from lead poisoning. And a PCV count was done showing he's severely anaemic with a count of 22, half what it should be.

He's eating good red meat now and keeping it down so that should help bring the count up. He can see, at least partially, so this will be a day-at-a-time process. Hopefully he will survive and conquer whatever it is that has him down.

Eagle count day

Saturday was the day to go on our annual Mid-Winter Bald Eagle Count. It's done all over the state along designated routes. I've done the Oregon Basin/HooDoo Ranch/Monster Lake Ranch route for a couple decades and this was an outstanding count year.

This time I was joined by Nathan Horton, a young man I've known for a few years now. He's one I can count on to fix anything and is very knowledgeable on raptors, especially golden eagles. We started out at 8:30 in the morning and ended at 2:00. Along the way we counted a total of 53 birds. That included 28 eagles, 21 rough-legged hawks, two redtails, one ferruginous hawk and one northern harrier. One of the roughies was a dark phase, not seen that much around this part of the country. The bird is shown on top of the power pole. Not the sharpest photo but you can see that he's absolutely chocolate brown all over.

This was also only the second time I've seen a ferrug and the first harrier in quite a few years. The other photo was a selfie that Nathan took as we were taking a lunch break. We stopped near the backside of the Monster Lake Ranch to enjoy the view. It was a super day made better with the company and the successful number of birds.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

So frustrating.....

Yesterday the annual Mid-winter Bald Eagle count took place all over WY. Nathan and I had the route that encompassed Oregon Basin, the HooDoo and Monster Lake Ranch. It was an awesome day with the second highest number of total birds seen since I started doing this a couple decades ago.

We were about 2/3s of the way through our routes when I got a call from Brad Gibbs, one of the game wardens in Riverton. An adult bald eagle was found near the border of the reservation and it was only able to fly a short distance. He gathered it up and met me in Thermopolis for the hand off.

His name is HUB and he's yet another adult raptor with problems that shouldn't be happening. He's very thin, weighs less than 6.5 pounds. And at this point I'm not sure if he sees very well. He's weak so last night I gave him fluids and this morning repeated that plus some small pieces of antelope steak.

He looks great in the photo doesn't he? The red on the top of his head is from the red heat lamp he's under. He has enough problems so I didn't want him trying too hard to produce warmth.

HUB will go into the doctor tomorrow for xrays and blood tests. Also test his fecal sample to see if he's suffering from any internal parasites.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Let it go, let it go......

Gathering before opening the crate.
John doing the door opening duty.
And she's away!
Or in this case, "Let her go". Today the beautiful adult bald eagle, ELSA, was released back where she was found near Sheridan College. These photos are from Bud Stewart, WGF office there in Sheridan. As you can see in the one photo, ELSA had a huge cheering section to watch the event. The middle photo shows John Woller, the one who originally saw her and called for help.

It was a bit of a cloudy day but the sun was shining on all the faces as they watched this awesome female take off. Bud said she made a short flight to a hillside but within five minutes there was another adult bald flying over her.

At this point I believe it is her mate as Bud said there was a noticeable difference in size in the two birds. ELSA is a huge female and, as you know, males are smaller in the raptor world.

I'll probably get more photos from the day and there will be an article written in the Sheridan Press. This is the first eagle release where I wasn't present so I've been on pins and needles all day. I felt better when John sent me an email saying it went exceptionally well and would send more later.

Thanks everyone. Also thanks to Dr. Ted Vlahos who hauled the eagle over to Sheridan. He's a renowned equine vet and also has an office there. As he was headed that direction yesterday he agreed to take her.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

First patients of the year

Didn't happen until the 4th but my first of 2016 is a GHO noted in the post below. The second is this wonderful little immature male Rough-legged Hawk. His name is KING and he has a broken right wing. Again, the Game & Fish came through. Chris Queen, warden in Powell, called me and drove the bird here.

He's not completely standing in this photo, just got back from his surgery with Dr. Blessing. There were a lot of small bone pieces so it's not known if he'll fly well enough for release. In the meantime, KING, will be here recovering. Hopefully all will go well as he has a date for an annual migration to above the Arctic Circle in March. Now he just has to be strong enough to keep it.
Some days it just doesn't pay to get up. This little Great Horned Owl, JACK, was hit by a vehicle while out looking for something to eat. Thanks to WGF Wildlife Biologist, Leslie Schreiber, he's now trying to recover. The problems are a lot including what I thought was complete blindness. And he can't stand up.

He got a cortisone shot yesterday and this morning he can see movement. Still can't stand so he's now resting in a hammock inside of a plastic container. That way he'll be upright in a normal position which will give his legs a chance to recover. There's nothing wrong with his ability to move his legs and open and close his feet, he just can't stand.

As you can see in the photo, his left eye is totally damaged, his lens is ruptured. He will never see out of that eye again. The good thing is that owls do a majority of their hunting with their ears, not their eyes. They can pinpoint the location of a small mouse even if they can't see it. Pretty amazing birds.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Ready to leave

ELSA on top of the tower in the eagle flight barn.

I put ELSA into the eagle barn today and then had to remove her within a short time. She kept flying up and hanging upside down from the roof netting and that wouldn't do at all. She's now back in the 13x20' mew and will soon be taken back to Sheridan for release. She's also eating most everything I give her altho for a bald eagle she's not fond of fish.

I'll get another photo of her flying away when that happens. I won't be there, she'll be taken back to Sheridan for release as she probably has a mate in that area.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Another baby bald

I don't get that many bald eagles here during the year but right now I have two that are about eight to nine months old. This one is PETUNIA and she came from near Manderson. Xrays show nothing broken but for some reason she can't stand. She can use her legs and feet tho, and is very fast at grabbing.

Her name comes from her being such a fat little girl (as in Petunia Pig). Right now she's on a flat perch and I'm hoping, given some time, she'll be able to stand normally. She was eating on a rabbit alongside the road so it's probable she was hit by a passing vehicle. Not enough to break anything but bruised enough to make standing difficult.

UPDATE: Baby PETUNIA died this morning. She was doing better for a while but then went downhill fast. She was unable to keep anything down including fluids.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Handsome bird

This is a Cooper's Hawk, the middle sized accipiter. I believe this is male, his name is BAKER, and he came from near Thermopolis. Found on a 500 acre ranch, it's unknown just what happened but he has a fractured left humerus. Xrays tomorrow will tell the story. As an adult, I think he's just a couple years old as his eyes aren't red yet.

UPDATE: Surgery was started today when the doctor discovered that the tendon in that wing was also damaged. He estimates he'd been on the ground for a couple weeks. He was strong so they went ahead and tried to fix his wing. His heart stopped a couple times but they got it started again. The third time they couldn't get him back. So sad.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

More shooting

Today, thanks to Missy and Joey, a beautiful American Crow was brought here from Riverton. The bird, NICK, was seen in their yard unable to fly. They graciously agreed to drive him here to be cared for.

I took NICK into the vet this afternoon and found out the devastating news. This wonderful bird has been the victim of a gunshot. This time it was a pellet gun with most of the pellet still in his wing. The long bone between his shoulder and elbow is broken in two pieces with the part nearest his elbow completely shattered. There is no way of repairing the damage so he was humanely euthanized.

So far this winter I've received three birds who have been shot. What drives people to just shoot something for the sake of killing? These birds are not causing problems, are not a threat to livestock, but someone felt compelled to try and end their lives. In this one case that is exactly what happened. Of the other two, one may fly again, one never will. I am so angry.

Thank you

The year is almost over and I want to thank each and every person and foundation who've donated to the care of the birds here at Ironside. As many of you know, Dr. Malcolm Blessing has done my bird work, pro bono, for the past 28 years until he sold the business this past Spring. That was a great donation on his part.

Since May the birds have been charged for all vet work totalling, up to today, about $5,600.00. I appreciate the fact that Dr. Prior has given IBR a 50% discount but these charges are still very hard on a budget. Naturally the birds require surgery from time to time, xrays and lab tests. The charges from the state vet lab for specialized tests have totalled another $575.00. We get no funding from the Wyoming Game & Fish Department or the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. As a 501(C)(3) non-profit organization, all donations are tax deductible.

I hope everyone has a very Merry Christmas and the new year is the best ever. Thanks again.

Saturday, December 19, 2015


Her name is LINNY and she's a victim of gunshot wounds. She still has three pellets in her chest, one in her right leg and three fragments in her right wing. That wing, because of the trauma, has a fractured ulna in two places. None of the pellets are in a place that will permanently harm or kill her. Her wing will be repaired on Monday so she has a very good chance of flying again.

The hangup is that Rough-legged Hawks are only in this area of the world from mid October to mid March. Then they migrate back to their breeding grounds above the Arctic Circle in Northern Canada. LINNY has her work cut out for her. As does Dr. Blessing who will be doing the repair surgery.

UPDATE: The surgery went well but it was discovered that the fracture closest to her wrist happened a few weeks ago, the other one is fresh. She now has a metal pin in the bone that will be in there for about six weeks.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

I'm speechless

Today I opened my latest copy of the Cody Enterprise and saw this in the Letters to the Editor section. I am overwhelmed at such wonderful things said here. I've known Nic and Joyce Patrick for, well, forever, since their kids were teeny. Now those kids are all grown up and have kids of their own. In fact Becky is due for her second child today.

Thanks to supporters like the Patrick's I'm able to take care of so many birds. And release them to the wild when they're ready. Those that aren't strong enough to fly away are then placed in educational facilities so millions of people are able to see these magnificent birds.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015


Today I moved ELSA into a larger mew as she was beginning to feel well enough to try flying. Not possible in a 6' x 6' space. Now she can sit on this corner perch and watch what's happening around her. She still has four more days of one of her meds. I hope she'll continue to let me hand her the steak pieces with the medicine inside it. Maybe she'll pick it up and eat it on her own.

Catch and release

I received a call from a young lady in Powell saying she had a large owl inside her pigeon coop. Apparently the bird was smart enough to follow them in their one-way door but naturally couldn't leave. The white pigeons were all pretty frantic by the time I got there as the owl had probably been catching them outside the coop for an easy meal.

Pigeons and doves are very fast flyers, owls are not, so I don't know just how many had been made into meals. I scooped up the owl, walked a ways from the coop and released it. I know, it may just return, but I told the owner to cover the one-way door to keep the pigeons in and the owl out. As an adult I couldn't take it away from the area as the mate was there. As long as a free meal is denied, the owl it will go elsewhere for food.