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.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Injured youngster

Here's BULLY. Unfortunately he turned his head just as I snapped the photo. If his surgery goes well I'll have more chances for a better shot.
Right after I got home from taking the golden eagle in the previous post to the vet I got another call about another eagle. I was told that it was a golden with a broken wing. Off to the George Farms I went and met six very nice young men who then took me to where they'd seen the bird.

By the time I got there it had turned into a coming two year old bald eagle who was not thrilled having someone coming towards him with a large net. He does have a broken humerus but at this point I'm not sure it will be fixable. The fracture is very near his shoulder joint, a tricky place to repair something. He goes in on Wednesday to see if surgery is possible and if his wing can be fixed. Fingers crossed everyone.

UPDATE: His surgery went pretty well but only time will tell if it's a success. He has a typical bald eagle temperament, feisty, that should help. I started his pain meds today and have him in my warm rodent room as it's only in the 20s right now. More updates later.

Couldn't save her

Today I got a call from a wildlife consultant in Laramie about a downed golden eagle near Lysite. That's through the canyon, take a left at Shoshone, another left at Moneta and through Lysite, about a 3.5 hour drive from here. This outstanding bird had been hit by a vehicle and couldn't fly. Luckily a person from ConocoPhillips saw her and called the consultants for their fields. Chad Olson from Haden-Wing Assoc. spent at least four hours trying to find someone to take her, finally calling me around noon.

I was fortunate in that Warden Jessica Beecham of WGF in Riverton was willing to make the almost 60 mile drive to pick her up and then another hour or so drive to meet me south of Meeteetse. The eagle wasn't doing well but I'd called ahead for an appointment at my vet so she could be seen right away.

Her injuries appeared to be only internal, no broken bones were found. She died in my arms just shortly after arriving at the Lifetime Small Animal Hospital in Cody. There was just too much damage done to her by a very large vehicle.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Mum to be

Her name is EVA and she's just finished laying 20 eggs. Reticulated pythons are very large and extremely beautiful. Now for the wait; 80 days before they hatch. This is her first clutch, hopefully all will go well and there will be 20 pretty babies arriving on time. My friends Sara and Mike are the proud grandparents to be.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

First gold of the year

I got a call on Saturday from the WGF biologist, Dan Thiele, in Buffalo about two Golden Eagles found near town and unable or unwilling to fly. As Buffalo is about three hours from here, I was not looking forward to that drive in this weather. Luckily Brad Rogers, the Buffalo USFWS agent offered to bring the birds here. He and his wife arrived around noon.

These eagles are both about 9-10 months old, I believe they're both males, and are just stunning. The one shown above, JANUS, has what appears as a fractured right radius or ulna but I don't think both bones are broken. It is in excellent position so xrays will show just what is needed to help him.
The other eagle, DEUX, doesn't show any damage but refused to fly when approached for capture. I will have some tests run on him to see if we can pinpoint what's keeping him grounded.

These two babies are the first to come in this year, hopefully they will also be released within a few months.

UPDATE: JANUS does have a fractured ulna but it is in excellent position and even has a callus started at the fracture line. That means the injury happened a couple weeks ago. He must have been very good a catching food as he is in relatively good weight.

DEUX has roundworms so he's on medicine for three days and then that's repeated in 18 days. He is already feeling better and sitting on the shoulder high wall perch in his pen.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Brothers forever

Little SAMSQUATCH and his "brother", DIGGLESBY, have become inseparable. As you can see, SAM has a lot of catching up to do in size but he more than makes up for that in spirit. He's now 2.75 pounds and gaining. I feel he'll always be smaller but his big heart and mind will make him the equal to any cat.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Close encounter

front view (top) back view (bottom)

By that I mean that the hawk landed really close to my bedroom windows so I was able to take his photo. At this point I believe this is either an immature Harlan's Red-tailed Hawk or an immature dark phase Red-tailed Hawk. I had tossed out the remains of my bald eagles meal for whatever wild bird would like it and quite a few took me up on the offer.

There was this bird, about a half dozen ravens and at least that number of magpies. And the most exciting, a baby Bald Eagle soared over to check things out. I never saw him land, probably was scared off when I drove down to my gate. The others just flew off a ways and waited til I cleared the area.

These photos aren't the best but I took them through my bedroom window and that's not the cleanest thing going.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Holiday cheer

I just want to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas. It's been a busy year at IBR with many highs and a few sad lows but all in all a good one. Thanks to many generous contributions from friends and supporters, the birds are in good shape for the coming year.

And especially to Pacific Power and Rocky Mountain Power for their amazing help in rescuing baby birds from nests or putting them back into them after the fell out. Their foundations awarded this facility two wonderful grants in 2014. They have been supporting the birds for a couple decades, not only with grant money but with poles and manpower.

Everyone also have a wonderful New Year. I hope all your hopes and dreams come true.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Update on redtail

Today I received the following information on the elderly Red-tailed hawk who had been found with severe injuries after being shot. He was banded on February 19, 1995 in Berthoud, CO by the Colorado Bird Observatory, now called the Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory. He was hatched in 1994, probably in that area which is near Denver.

That means when he was shot down with a shotgun he had made it to 20 years old. Altho hawks are routinely of that age in captivity, it is very rare for them to achieve it in the wild due to all the threats to them. First they have to make it through their first winter and 80% of them don't manage that. Then it's a day to day struggle to find a meal and survive predators.

This awesome hawk proves that where there's a will there's a way and I am so saddened by what happened to him. Hopefully someone will come forward and we'll find out who cut his life short. Probably not. My heart will take a while to recover from his loss.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Severe damage

On Friday I drove to Riverton to pick up an injured Red-tailed Hawk. The vets at The Stock Doc outside of town received the bird from just down the road. They x-rayed him and found a fractured radius and ulna in his left wing. There were also pellets in his body.

I took him into my vet the next day for follow up x-rays and found even more damage. The total number of pellets is seven, one shattered the left radius, one fractured the left ulna in two places with some damage to his wrist joint. A third fractured his right tibia. Even with all that the bird had a good attitude.

Unfortunately, because of the extreme damage to the radius it was not repairable. His wing would never be strong enough for him to fly again. It was with a very sad heart I made the decision to euthanize him. The information where he was shot was reported to the USFWS offices in Lander and here in Cody. A few years ago I got another redtail from next door to the vets office who had also been shot. He did not survive his injuries.

One other addition to his body is a federal band. The information on when and where he was banded is kept at the USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center in Maryland. I went on their website and filled out the forms but amazingly he was banded some time ago and they've changed the words printed on it. Because of that I still haven't found out how old he is. I guessed him at around ten but will have to wait for the labs response.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

New babies!

My new chicks arrived early today. Not only before 6:00am but also by at least a day. I ordered 55 of them from a hatchery in Ohio who said they would ship them on the 10th, yesterday. Usually it takes two or three days, luckily the babies can survive on their yolk sac for three days. After dipping each beak in their water pans I put them in their new home, a large metal water trough. With two shielded light bulbs for warmth and lots of food on the floor, they started eating right away.

I got 26 Araucana (they sent one extra), 15 Rhode Island Red and 15 Black Sex-link. All girls as I don't like bullies and most roosters are just that. This is the earliest I've gotten in chicks but I want them to start laying eggs early enough for when the farmer's markets start up and to fill orders from my regular egg buyers.

I kept a little over 40 of my older hens after giving 23 away a couple weeks ago. I'm not getting but a few eggs a day now, not a good percentage considering the number of hens, but they'll start up again in a couple months.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Montana eagle

Thanks to Eric this three year old male Bald Eagle is now safe and on the mend. He called me from outside of Bridger, MT after seeing the bird sitting on a downed branch. When he got out of his truck to check him out the bird ran off, didn't fly. Naturally by the time I got up there more than an hour later the eagle was nowhere to be seen.

We split up and in a short time I got a call from Eric that he'd found the bird. Because he was sitting on one of the rails his name is CASEY JONES. Luckily no trains were moving down the track. I managed to catch him quickly thanks to deep snow which made it hard for him to run.

Xrays showed no fractures so I'm hoping it's just bruising on his shoulder. He's been on pain meds for five days and he's now holding his right wing in a normal position. He's been a good bird to work with, eating well, and will be transferred to an outside mew so he can exercise. Because he's in excellent condition I'll take him back to where he was found as there's obviously plenty of food for him to find.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Mystery ???

The other day a friend was trying to catch an elusive mouse in her house so she put out a baited snap trap. As she has both a cat and dog she placed it where neither could accidentally get caught. Imagine her surprise when the next morning she found a very unusual creature in the trap. It's like nothing she'd seen before but apparently has a taste for peanut butter.

This is a completely new species of rodent, rarely seen by humans, very secretive in its habits so little is known about it.
Okay so it's not alive, certainly not after it was caught. Apparently MISS KITTY was pushing her mouse toy around and accidentally shoved it into that very same area where the trap had been set. One shove too many and it was caught. Thank goodness the snap must have scared her so she just left the toy where it was found the next morning. This is not a set up and no animals were hurt in the taking of this photo. Well, except for the rare zebra striped red eared mouse.

Sunday, November 30, 2014


She's not dead and this photo isn't upside down. But MADDIE is. I sometimes wonder just how she gets into these positions on the couch. As you can see, she's also made sure the pillow is in the right spot.

Sunday, November 16, 2014


Life can be harsh in the wild. I came across this scenario as I was doing chores this morning. It was -8 outside but very sunny. As you can clearly see the imprint of a large bird wing, you can also see the trail of a rabbit where they converge. The rabbit track is the thick line coming in from the top and ending at the wing print. Unfortunately I'd walked near before noticing it so don't know if the rabbit got away.

I've seen a very large Rough-legged Hawk in the area for a few weeks and there is also a Red-tailed Hawk pair who are local residents. Roughies don't usually go after such large prey but redtails most definitely have them on the menu.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Trojan horse ?????

Nope, Trojan Kitten. I hadn't seen SAM for a few minutes so called his name. He knows it and usually comes running. Imagine my surprise when this basket slowly made its way into the living room...... If you look close you'll see his face behind the end of it. I had cleaned out my old ice box and saved some things to take to the Bargain Box. This basket among them. He apparently couldn't resist trying to climb inside and it flipped over. I sure wish I had a video of the whole episode.

UPDATE: SAM is in his forever home thanks to Nicole and her husband. This rambunctious kitten now has a big brother too. DIGGLESBY is a year old and I've received photos of the two of them playing on their climbing pole. He's still the King of Cuteness and I miss his presence in the house. My old cats, not at all.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Ducks galore!

Our weather has had a dramatic change in the past few days. It went from 63 to -14 in one day. We did have some warning so full woodboxes and heavy clothing were in force. The horrible news is that all three lakes/ponds near Cody froze very quickly catching some waterfowl with their feathers down, so to speak.

I don't have any photos but in one day I took in two eared grebes, three coots, two shovelers, a pair of common goldeneyes and three lesser scaup. Thanks to Jeremy Gossert all but one coot, who died, were taken to the river and released. He is responsible for saving all but two of them, the two grebes came from different places. He found them partially frozen into Alkali Lake, three of them were also caked with alkali. He cleaned them up and kept them in his tub until I got there.

Unfortunately there are other ducks frozen into the lakes but there was no way for me to get them out as the ice wasn't thick enough to walk on. By the time I got there the ravens and one bald eagle had feasted. Life is just a bummer sometimes.

NOTE: Add one Lesser Scaup found on the ground at Stampede Trailer Sales near Cody. He was also taken to the river and released. He joined two Mallards and a Common Goldeneye male, probably not the one I released yesterday.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Small and large

SAM has found a way to keep his feet warm, shoot, his whole body. He's been fascinated with my fleece lined slippers once he found them. I ended up cutting off the leather ties, he wouldn't stop chewing on them.

And then came his thinking he's really a huge lion in a teeny kitten body. He also found one of the dogs bones and decided to taste it.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Uncommon disease

These photos are difficult to look at. This is an immature male Golden Eagle, about seven months old, with a disease I've rarely seen. And that was only in hawks.. It's called avian pox and is very contagious. He was found just outside of Cody and I originally thought it was pox but because it didn't look the same as other's I'd seen, I changed my mind to think they were some kind of chemical burns.

The first thing that came to mind was lime. It's very caustic and is sometimes used on a carcass to speed up decomposition. He was found on BLM land and as people tend to just dump whatever they don't want there, it was possible. I reported him to our local USFWS and BLM enforcement agents so they went out to scan the area but found nothing.

I also sent photos to the University of MN Raptor Center for their opinion. The USFWS agent sent them to one of his pathologists for her opinion. Both of them came back saying that it is pox. Our state lab is now doing tests on some tissues to make a definitive answer but I'm sure it is avian pox. NOTE: the report came back as positive for avian pox.

Unfortunately, at only 4# 10oz, half of what he should weigh, he didn't make it, he died last night. Another problem is that if he had siblings in the nest then they too have the disease and will also probably die from it as they are too young to have built up an immunity to the virus. I have gone through a lot of bleach water on the area where this baby eagle stayed and will continue to disinfect for some time to come.

He's growing up

SAM is about three weeks old in this photo sitting on Susan's shoulder.
Here he is today on my lazyboy with MADDIE. He was just about to climb down off the chair, I was lucky to get this shot. MADDIE is recovering from foot surgery hence the pretty collar.
SAM is getting cuter by the day and becoming very adventuresome. He's now able to climb up and down to get on my lazyboy. He also made a climb up to my bedroom which is a good sized step. He made a huge leap, caught his claws on the moulding and kept coming.

As cute as he is I won't keep him forever as my two resident cats are quite elderly and don't need the competition for my attention. They are getting better about his tagging along behind them but two cats are enough. If anyone would like to adopt this beautiful baby boy he will be ready in a few weeks. He's already had his first worming and will get the second next week. He'll also have his first shot. He uses his kitty box too.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

A very sad loss

Lois and a Short-eared Owl in her care.

Back in 1987 I decided I wanted to become a bird rehabilitator. At the time there weren't any around so I went searching for anyone who would help me in my quest. I found a gem in the form of Lois Layton and her husband Frank. They lived in Casper which is almost a four hour drive from here. In my first years doing this work whenever I had a problem or question I could count on the Laytons for help and answers. Frank died a few years ago but Lois kept up with the birds even with failing eyesight.

I got a call this morning from friend Diane Morse telling me that Lois died last night. She had not been well but at age 92 was full of spunk. It's been many years since I saw her and now wish I'd made more of an effort to get to that part of the state. Lois was a mentor to me and also to Diane who lives in Gillette. Diane was with her when she died and right afterwards Diane walked to the front door of the house and stood there looking out. Amazingly enough the front gate of the yard quickly opened by itself. I have no doubt it was Lois leaving this physical world and joining Frank.

This amazing lady will be missed by all who knew her, especially Diane and myself who valued her friendship and guidance.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Different look

This is a photo of two pigeons (rock doves) who have decided to take up roosting in an odd place. The one on the left is sitting on top of an abandoned robins nest, way too small for her to fit in it. There isn't even enough room to share the space with the male.

These are unusually marked pigeons, aren't they pretty? I know, just another messy bird but I do have a variety of color patterns on my resident birds but rarely get photos of them.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

More successes

The past two weeks have been just amazing in that the three golden eagles who were patients for many months are now flying free. The first to go was DEUCE, his story is in a previous post. I've added his release photo to that post.

Second was MUNCHIE, the really mean baby I had in with the throat bacteria making it impossible for him to eat. His story is also in an earlier post along with a photo of the big event.

The third happened today when for only the second time I was able to release a golden eagle who had suffered from severe lead poisoning. Her name is ROSE and this photo shows her right after she left the crate and the great habitat where she came from back in April. As she is an adult she had to be taken back to the same territory.

I know, most of the pictures look alike but I can assure you each release was miles away from the others; Lander (DEUCE), Meeteetse (MUNCHIE) and Powell (ROSE).

Thursday, October 9, 2014

New family member......maybe

He arrived after a phone call from a neighbor. Gerald said that he found an injured deer in his place who had apparently been hit by a vehicle. She couldn't walk so he called the WGF to come and euthanize her. At the same time a feral mom cat ran by and left this kitten in the grass. Gerald didn't know if there were others but the mom didn't come back so he called me. Remember what I said about "if they don't know what to do....."

I am now feeding this approximately two week old boy kitten on about the same schedule I used for Ms. PIGGY, the squirrel. This time it's a diet for kittens but the feeding equipment is the same. His eyes are open but he's very small. Oh yes, his name is SAM and he's sleeping in one of Ms. PIGGY's coonskin caps.