Sunday, July 24, 2016

And again

Another long road trip today. This time to Sheridan to pick up a baby bald eagle. Her (I think it's a female) name is ROBIN and she's about three months old. Her history is not nice. She was seen on the ground under the nest tree a bit over a week ago. The game warden came out to check on her and said he didn't think there was anything wrong, she was just young. There was at least one sibling still in the nest.

A couple days later it was thought that ROBIN was flying but that turned out to be the sibling, ROBIN couldn't be seen. A couple more days and the land owner spotted her in the tall grass and called a few people, finally getting ahold of Teton Raptor Center. They told her to immediately call me. I gave the land owner instructions on care so she gathered the baby up, got some raw meat down her and settled her in for the night.

Now for the trip. Because she was in Buffalo, and because the road between Buffalo and Tensleep was closed due to a wildfire, Cody Schoonover of the Sheridan G&F office said he would make the almost 50 mile drive to the ranch east of Buffalo to pick up the baby eagle and take her back to their office. That was last night. He called me a little before midnight to say he had her and she was good.

I left my house around 7:30 this morning for the three hour drive to Sheridan. Then to add to that trip was another added 35 miles to Buffalo (I ended up going there after all) to pick up a very thin baby kestrel found on the ground under his nest. Thanks to the Buffalo Veterinary Hospital for keeping him overnight and feeding him some raw chicken. Back to Sheridan and then home. From 7:30am to 3:00pm in my truck.

Sad news is that the baby kestrel, a little male, died as I was driving over the mountain in the Big Horn National Forest. The eagle is doing okay but she'll go in tomorrow to have her left wing xrayed as I think it's broken. She's very thin, only 6#6oz. She's had fluids and elk steak so far and will get more food before I go to bed.

Big Day!

Yes it is, today is SISTER's 19th birthday. She's been with me for all but her first 3.5 weeks, along with her sister, MUFFIN. We lost MUFFIN in May but she's with both of us in our hearts and minds.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

DOVE update

I just received a letter from the federal office in Denver informing me that DOVE, who was taken from here on Saturday, the 16th, was expected to be delivered to the Navajo zoo sometime today. TODAY! I was originally told she would be getting there the day after she was taken. It's a 15 hour drive from here to the zoo. This is five days later. Oh, I've been told that she's doing fine and being cared for but in what manner? What type of mews has she been in? And in how many since leaving here? Being caught and crated is very stressful to any wild bird so if they had her moved even a couples times between being on the road, she's suffered.

There's a big difference between want and need. The Indians "want" golden eagles, not balds, for their feathers. I "needed" DOVE for what she provided to other eagles, babies especially. The Indians won't see her heart or mind, just the numbers of feathers she molts for them. Perhaps bragging about "how many golden eagles we have". I saw her beautiful soul and the energy she gave to the young birds.

I sure wish I would win one of those big lotteries so I would have the money to sue the DOI and USFWS to rescind that discriminatory ruling made in 2010 giving the Indians the right to take whatever eagles they want and to hell with the rest of the taxpayers whose money probably built a good percentage of their aviaries.

On the road again

And again, and again. Tuesday it was to the top of the mountain in the Big Horn National Forest to meet Bruce Scigliano, WGF warden and the long-eared owl in a previous post. Then to Tensleep to meet Charlene and her husband from north of Gillette with an adult female kestrel. Today it was back to Thermopolis to meet Dave with a baby redtail found on the ground at a uranium mine on a sheep ranch near Douglas.

The long-ear is doing fine. Not so with the last two. The kestrel's right wing radius and ulna were shattered, five breaks and not repairable so she was humanely euthanized. Today also bad news. Something got ahold of the baby redtail and destroyed both wings near his elbows. The muscles were shredded, bones were showing, there was not enough skin to cover them and there were large holes between the leading edge tendon and the elbow joint. He was also euthanized. I have not a clue as to the animal/bird who could have done this. He was found near a hog fence, perhaps he got caught in it and destroyed his wings fighting to get free. We'll never know.

I am so sad when these things happen altho I know that life is hard for young and old birds alike.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016


That's the only way to describe the look on this little owls face. This is GOLDIE, an adult male Long-eared Owl who came to IBR from Sheridan. Thanks to Cody Schoonover and Bruce Scigliano of the WGF I only had to drive about an hour and a half to meet them at Observation Point in the Big Horn National Forest.

I have no idea what caused the damage to his left wing. They are night hunters so he probably either hit an overhead wire or branch. His radius and ulna are broken but in very good alignment. He goes in tomorrow to see if surgery is necessary or if the cast will hold the wing secure enough for the bones to mend.

Saturday, July 16, 2016


I AM SO ANGRY. This morning, with no advance warning, the USFWS agent showed up and told me he was there to take DOVE. He was meeting a G&F person in Thermop in a few hours to transfer her into another crate. Then she'll be handed off to a number of different people to shuttle her to AZ and the Indian zoo. I have no idea if the transport crate is large enough or has soft padding on the floor. Or if they cover it to make it dark so she'll calm down. All I know is that she'll be stuck in some crate for over 24 hours on her way to my idea of hell.

Now the two 10 week old baby goldens in her care will no longer have a mentor or role model. But gee, the damn Indians will have yet another bird to molt feathers for their costumes. DOVE leaves an amazingly, peaceful, calm home to go to a zoo, literally. And in 100 degree weather just to make it worse.

At her age, if she decides life over death, she could be forced to live there for possibly 20 years. Just for feathers, to hell with what's best for her or all the good she's done for the baby eagles in her care in the past and could have done in the future. I AM SO ANGRY!

Friday, July 15, 2016

Sad day

A very sad day as I had to put my beautiful adult female golden eagle, COTTON, to sleep. Her original injury was from what appeared to be an electrocution to her right wing. After treating the wound didn't work we amputated the wing at the elbow. She would then become an educational bird as she obviously would not fly again.

Also showing some damage was her right foot. We removed the outside toe as it was frozen, she couldn't straighten out the talon. She appeared to be doing just fine, ate everything she was given, and new feathers were coming in at the wing surgical site.

Unfortunately her foot swelling never completely went away and recently it appeared to be coming back. She was unable to make a fist (curl her toes) and the bottom of the foot was becoming bruised. Because that foot would never come back to normal, and the bruising would get worse and worse, I made the decision to humanely euthanize her today. She was an awesome lady and will be greatly missed.

And another baby

This is a species I don't get that often altho they aren't rare. His name is LANDON and he's a Prairie Falcon about three months old. He was found on Greg Anderson's ranch in Pavillion which is near Riverton. Thanks to Jessica Beecham of the WGF for meeting me at our usual place, the Quality Inn, in Thermopolis.

Xrays show he has a fractured radius in his left wing near his elbow joint. He's wearing a support bandage right now and for a couple weeks, to see if that will keep the bones in place. They are in good alignment right now so the prognosis is pretty great.

Now to explain the name. I have to stretch sometimes to come up with one. Okay.....Remember Michael Landon, Little House on the Prairie???? Told you it was a stretch. I believe this is a male and with his attitude he should do well. Unfortunately a majority of this species are insane, I can only hope he's not.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

New baby

And this time it's not a GHO. This is PELE, (not the famous soccer player) a Red-tailed Hawk about 25-30 days old. Unfortunately he came out of his nest high in a large tree. The worst part is the huge sand layer right under the nest which makes it impossible for a power company truck to get under it. Those trucks weight tens of thousands of pounds and it would probably be permanently stuck if it ventured onto the sand. The nest is also too high to reach with any ladder I know of.

There is another chick in the nest so the parents will still be kept busy finding and bringing back food. In the meantime, PELE, will be here in the care of my redtail foster mom, BONNIE 3.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Double trouble

(l-r) TAYLOR, DOVE and SEBASTIAN on top of the tower. She's a super mentor to these awesome babies.
Not really trouble but there are now two baby golden eagles in the flight barn with DOVE. The second one came today from a tree nest on a ranch south of Cody. For the past two years this pair has produced one chick each year and took care of them until they left the nest. Then it was as if the adults figured the kids could look after themselves. Unfortunately both years the babies died. Two years ago it was found dead on the property. Last year the chick was found alive but only four pounds and severely infested with lice. He did not live another day.

Last year Matt and I decided it wouldn't happen again so we've been keeping an eye on this years baby. He came out of his nest a few days ago, was seen on the ground and one adult seemed to be keeping tabs on him. Until yesterday. The baby, TAYLOR, was found on the ground again with the adult in the nest.

Today the chick was sitting on a fence post near the nest and when I approached him he flew off. But not very far and only a few feet off the ground. After watching him crash into a bush hedge I was concerned. Another short, low flight ended up in more bushes. Luckily I had two nets and there were a couple of the ranch people willing to help. I can't run very fast anymore but one of the men could and did.

The baby is now in the flight barn with SEBASTIAN and under the watchful eye of DOVE. He's pretty thin so he'll be given all the food he needs to get strong enough for high, long flights. He's approximately the same age, nine to ten weeks, as SEB so they should bond. I've been saying "he" but this may be a female.

All gone

As I mentioned earlier, today starts the new phase in my six baby GHOs lives. I drove them to the 2500 acre Crosby ranch in Cowley and found a most extraordinary release site. There are feedlots, water in the ditch, large variety of big trees and open hay fields. Perfect habitat for these young birds. They've already proven they are hunters of live prey so they should do well.

Even tho they were all released at the same place, they didn't all go the same direction when leaving the crates. I've no doubt that they may join up for a few days but then they'll naturally disperse into their own little worlds. Thanks to Brett Crosby for allowing me to use his family's awesome ranch for this momentous occasion.

And I wore my GHO t-shirt for the event.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Mom and me

Young SEBASTIAN came out of his tower nest two days ago but was back in it yesterday morning. This morning he's back down and in the back of the flight barn sharing a perch with his mentor, DOVE. I don't know how much he's flying now but he'll get better and better in the days and weeks to come. Then he'll be ready for prey training and eventually release. He's a very handsome baby.

PS: Yes, DOVE is still here as it's too hot to send her south and the feds have apparently not found anyone qualified to drive her there. I have one other person who will hopefully try to convince the Indians in AZ to leave her here but don't hold out much hope.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Home again

I just got home after releasing JULIUS, the adult male kestrel I've had for a few weeks. He was found in town with no reason for his not being able to fly. I still don't know what was wrong but when he left the crate in his own nest territory he never hesitated. As I drove up to the release site I saw three other kestrels in a very large dead tree. That's where he headed and all four of them flew off together. A great homecoming for him. Naturally it happened so fast I never got to take any photos.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Happy 4th everyone!

My mom always told everyone that we were "almost firecrackers". My twin brother and I were born on the 3rd so I celebrated yesterday by watching the parade, walking around the craft fair and buying myself a wee cake to eat. Yummy!

I hope everyone has a good time today on picnics or whatever and however you choose to celebrate. And enjoy the fireworks.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Graduation day

Sort of. Baby SEBASTIAN is now out of the nest box and up on top of the tower. See the white spot on his chest? That's the half a bunny he ate after I put him on the top. He did a lot of looking around before commencing to eat, it's a big world out there for a baby only about nine weeks old. That's his mentor, DOVE, on the ground below him.

Unfortunately I don't know how much longer she'll be able to help him as I'm being forced to send her to a Navajo zoo in AZ. I asked to have her remain here as a foster mom, she's excellent at that job. Because she is non-releasable the federal government made a ruling in 2010, not a law, that all non-releasable eagles have to be sent to the Indians "for religious purposes". In other words, she will spend the rest of her life in a zoo for the sole purpose of molting feathers. Here she's lived a life of peace and quiet. Not there. Screaming children, talking and confusion will be a daily happening.

For her remaining time here she is taking over the job of mentoring SEBASTIAN.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Something new!

As I was going about my chores just now I found a small caterpiller dashing across my cage room floor. I immediately took it outside and put it down but then wondered just what kind it was. It's beautiful, as you can see, with the red and blue coloration. I looked it up on Google and found out it's a Mourning Cloak caterpiller. They are found in North America and favor a variety of trees, none of which grows on my property let alone in my cage room.

One of the trees listed is the American Elm. I do have Siberian Elm here and luckily I put it down quite near them. I hope it makes it long enough to become a butterfly, they are quite stunning.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Two more

This time I got a call about some baby Northern Flickers that were found on the ground under the nest hole and they were dead. It was at YVI near Wapiti so I hauled my extension ladder there and climbed up to see how many of the others were alive. There were a total of six chicks and only these two were still alive. Both of them are red-shafted and probably only 2-3 weeks old.

Right now they're a bit traumatised and leery of me. I did get some mealworms down them and hopefully by tomorrow afternoon they'll start begging to be fed so I don't have to open their mouths to feed them. They are in a box with a piece of bark on the outside. There is a natural hole in it as you can see on the inside. This way they'll feel secure.

Flown the coop

Well, actually they sauntered. I released my seven baby pheasants on a place north of town. It's the most wonderful habitat for them as there are resident birds in the area and also at least one batch of chicks this year. Because they usually blast out of the crate I didn't take my camera along. Naturally they just slowly walked out and into the sagebrush and tall grass. I wish them well and may they never hear the sound of a shotgun.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Baby of another kind

Just as I was heading out to release my baby magpie I got a call from the G&F saying they'd found a young great blue heron near the river. He wasn't very strong so they gathered him up. His name is STICKS and I don't know what's wrong. His left wing droops a bit and his left leg seems weak too. He is also covered with dried mud as if he fell and took some time to get to his feet.

I tubed him with some critical care food for meat eaters and have some shrimp thawed for another meal. Hopefully he'll eat on his own and get strong enough for release.

UPDATE: I found out why he's limping, the left acetabulum is fractured. At this time I'm giving him a chance to heal altho he may always have a hitch in his getalong. They don't have to run down food, usually stroll in the water or shore and find something to catch.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

New residents

Today I received two hawks from the Teton Raptor Center in Wilson, WY. Both these birds needed some more room to stretch their wings so they are now in my 17'x 20' flight mew. They have damaged some of their wing feathers, this will give them a chance to replace those and gain muscle strength for release. As they have only been flying on a creance (long line), the open area won't restrict where they go and how they get there. They'll go into my 32'x 48' hawk flight barn when ready.

Thanks to TRC for trusting me again with the care of their birds. The swainson's (bottom) will go back to ID where he came from when ready. The redtail (top) will be released in a good habitat around here. He is a baby of last year so doesn't have a home territory.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Accident victim

It happened this afternoon near Byron. Mom was killed on the road leaving this young buck deer alone in the world. Luckily Jennifer Massey was driving along when she saw the fawn on the side of the road. She called me to see if I handled anything other than birds. I do and drove to meet her in Powell to get the baby.

The bad news is that he was so bewildered he ran off. She followed him and when he finally laid down she thought she could catch him. Unfortunately he jumped up but was near the edge of a drop-off and went over the side for some distance ending up in a shallow creek. Jennifer quickly ran down the hill and gathered him up. She held him upside down while water ran out of his mouth.

He can't stand and has trouble holding his head steady but I did get some goat milk with lactated ringers down him a hour and a half ago. Right now he seems a bit better but only time will tell. The trauma of rolling down the hill and the sudden stop at the bottom may have caused enough damage he won't recover. I have my hopes up that he will make a full recovery and be released when ready. Oh yes, his name is BOY GEORGE.

UPDATE: Sad. Unfortunately his condition has deteriorated. He seems to be having seizures and cannot see. He was humanely euthanized.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

More on QUAD

You have to look very closely at this photo to see one hatched baby. Another egg behind it and the two easily seen.

Today I received a couple photos of the nest where baby QUAD was born. As you can see, it's at the top of the huge silo and mom is staring at Cameron, the photographer. She chose a wonderful location and when I stopped by this morning two of the babies had already left the nest, one just moved to a lower platform. One of the chicks is already hunting, it had a mouse in its beak while flying up to a power pole. Second baby was also on a power pole. I didn't see either adult.

Monday, June 20, 2016

From far away

Last night I received a call from Alcova, WY which is just west of Casper. It concerned what the person thought was a sick or injured baby magpie. She said it didn't have a tail and seemed to have balance problems. As she was worried about a predator taking it I told her to put the baby in a cat carrier for the night. Alcova is almost a four hour drive from Cody and when I told her that I was unable to make that trip she volunteered to drive the bird here.

Nina and Peter Morzenti arrived this afternoon and what I found when I opened the carrier is a half grown, perfectly normal, black billed magpie. His name is ALVIN and I can't find anything wrong with him other than he's just a youngster who should be branching in the nest tree. For some reason none of the adults would take over the care of this baby. Thanks to these good samaritans this baby has a chance of living life in the wild. He's not flighted yet but doesn't seem to have any problems walking around his cage. He's also eaten some of my corvid diet.

I don't believe there's anything wrong that time won't fix. When he's grown a bit more I'll put him in a flight area and then release him, possibly right here as I do have magpies living around the area.

Thanks to the Morzenti's for driving ALVIN up here so he can gain experience and be released back to the wild.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Honors and memories

This past week was the 5th annual Field of Honor held here in Cody in and around our city park. And each year I get a flag in the name of some family members who served in the military.

They are Uncle Roy, Uncle Tom, Cousin Pete, Cousin Mike, Cousin Micky and a friend, Nathan. It's an awesome sight to see 600 flags waving against the blue of the sky, makes anyone want to stop and enjoy the sight. After the closing ceremony we're allowed to take our flags home. I put them up, as always, along my picket fence for everyone to see when the come to my place.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

QUAD update

This morning I noticed that QUAD's left wing was a bit droopy. That can happen when all the large feathers are in the blood stage, they become very heavy and hard to keep up in a normal position. But in this case, it was only his left so I took him in for xrays. Good and bad news. His ulna is fractured mid-shaft but is in alignment and good position. The radius is fine. But......there is a fracture of his humerus right at the elbow. It too isn't in bad position but I don't know what will happen in the long run.

Because of his tender age, and because these baby hawks grow so fast, he'll have his bandage changed quite often. Before the vet office trip he did eat more than half of his mouse pieces on his own. Now he just has to get this darn standing up thing figured out without his left wing for balance.