Sunday, February 28, 2010
Saturday, February 27, 2010
Today a rare visitor came to this facility, perhaps to pick out his next meal. This is DAVID, a coming four year old red-tailed boa. His owners usually come by themselves to pick up some mice for his meal but this time DAVID came along for the ride. He's an absolutely handsome snake and was very well behaved the whole time he was inside the rodent room.
I have eight people who come to IBR to buy meals for their snakes but DAVID is only the second one to come in person. Most of them are ball pythons, there are two red-tailed boas one king snake and one bull snake.
Today the last of my releasable owls flew away. GHOST came to IBR from near Ft. Washakie, brought up by Ken Smith, Shoshone & Arapaho Fish & Game Department warden. Ken has made the long drive from down south a few times and even returned to take an adult redtail back where it was found as it probably had a mate in the area. This very handsome Great Horned Owl was found caught in a barbwire fence. That usually means a torn up wing but in this case there were only some wounds that healed with time. As you can see in this photo, both wings stretch to their full length as he quickly headed for the trees.
Friday, February 26, 2010
I now have two more golden eagles here at the facility. This photo is what appears to be a very old fellow, BURL, who had trouble standing when he arrived on the 19th of this month. I have no idea what is wrong but it almost appears as if he's had a stroke. He's much stronger now after being hand fed elk steak two or three times a day until yesterday. When I offered him some steak in a container he ate it on his own. Now he's able to stand and walk around, eat on a rabbit and still eating some straight meat too. I have high hopes of his being returned to the territory where he was found so he can live out the rest of his life with his mate, if he has one. At his age he may be a bachelor or between mates.
The second golden is a baby of last year, SKINNY MINNIE, (I don't have a photo of her yet) who arrived on the 23rd with what appears to be electrocution burns on her right foot and left wing. She is very thin weighing only seven pounds. Female goldens should be between 12 and 13 pounds so she's almost half what she should be. Right now she can't hold her wing up in its normal position. With her swollen right foot she wasn't able to be accurate in catching prey and without that ability her strength went down. Sort of a Catch 22 because without the strength she just misses more often until she dies of starvation. Luckily this baby was seen on the road about dark and 40 miles from me. A wonderful lady called me and sat in her car until I arrived. I don't think I've climbed over as many large boulders as I did trying to find the bird on a hillside in the dark but eventually I did. The fun part was coming down that same path holding a very large squirmy bird and a flashlight.
It will take a few weeks to know if this is actuallly an electrocution and if so for the wounds to become worse. It may also kill her right foot. Electrocution is a horrible thing to happen as it kills from within. She is eating altho not as much as I'd like. Hers is a day by day process with my fingers crossed for a good outcome.
Sunday, February 21, 2010
This has been an outstanding 10 days. In earlier posts you saw that two golden eagles and one rough-legged hawk had been released back to the wild. Today another golden eagle, an immature named MISSY, took to the sky. I didn't have my camera so the photo accompanying this post was taken by Stacey Huston, photographer extrordinaire. She did a time lapse on this one, it's awesome. Go to her site, staceyhuston.com (see links) to see examples of her work. We drove this uniquely marked baby back to near where she had been hit by a vehicle and watched as she flew to the top of a tall hill to reconoiter. She then flew away out of our sight.
I thought I'd include this photo from the eagle release shown below. My maternal grand-parents are from near Toronto and thanks to a friend over there, Morley Davidson, I have some of the paraphenalia that the Canadian Olympic athletes wear. The hat I have on is from the winter games a few years ago. The mittens are from this year and are very sought after. I also have three of the 2010 pins plus another hat from before. All in all I have enjoyed showing off my heritage and wish both the U.S. and Canada the best in all their individual sports.
Saturday, February 20, 2010
Wow, another super eagle release today. Joyce and I drove DITTO back to almost where she had been RUN OVER BY A SEMI !!!!. I opened the crate door and she immediately jumped out and started flying away (bottom photo) and landed in a distant tree to check out the area. Probably 20 seconds later another golden eagle landed on the same branch next to her (top photo). They seemed to chat for a minute then that eagle took off and joined a third one soaring just above them. I don't know if it was her mate but there was no aggression shown by either bird. It was an amazing sight, one I've never experienced before.
Sunday, February 14, 2010
HAPPY VALENTINE"S DAY ! ! ! ! !
There was another great release today but for some reason my camera says there aren't any photos on the card. I took some but luckily Joyce Patrick did too and hers came out beautifully. She emailed them to me so I can add them to this post. They show Nic Patrick doing the honors of tossing her into the air. Nic and Joyce are the ones who originally found her wounded alongside the road and brought her to IBR. They are avid supporters of all wildlife as well as Nic being on the board of this facility.
CARTER is shown in a previous post sitting up high on her perch in one of the new mews. When she took off she actually stayed above us for the count of four then headed out. She made a couple short flights to various trees but just before I left we spotted her cruising over the landscape enjoying flying without having to stop after 20 feet. Unfortunately by the time I got the lens cap off my camera she was below the horizon and not visible.
Saturday, February 13, 2010
Today was a wonderful day. This is the day that ARLAND flew away. The bottom photo shows him just as he left my arms, my shadow is on the ground. The top picture is hard to make out but the dark spot way up in the sky is this maginificent bird soaring above the wide open plains near where he was found.
Thanks to my friend, Joyce Cicco, for coming along and taking the photos. It's so great to have a record of these happenings to share with others.
MISSY and DITTO are now in the large eagle flite barn getting needed exercise so they will be ready for release. They immediately flew to the lower and upper wall perches proving that they will soon be ready to also fly away.
Thursday, February 11, 2010
This Saturday one of my golden eagles will be flying away. I'm driving ARLAND back to his territory south of Cody for release as he probably has a mate in the area waiting for him. I'll include a photo of his release if my friend Joyce can get one with my camera. It doesn't always work as they either go faster than expected or the opposite direction from where you think they'll go.
I also now have five goldens, MISSY came in a few days ago with a concussion but thankfully nothing broken after being hit by a car. It took her a couple days to get her balance and not seem as if she was in a fog. The bottom photo shows DITTO after she'd flown to a corner perch and was busy eating her rabbit.
The other photo shows both MISSY (l) and DITTO(r) sharing the tallest perch in the mew. That's where most raptors like to be, at the highest point, but I was surprised to see both of them in the same small area. These beautiful ladies will be returned to the wild in the next two to three weeks. Again, that's what makes all this worthwhile.
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
This beautiful Great Horned Owl is named ESTHER. She seemed to love to swim in her water pan when I got her. You have to be old enough to know who Esther Williams is to see the connection.
She came here with a badly broken toe on her left foot which had to be amputated. ESTHER spent some time in this smaller cage while the surgery site healed and then out with the other GHOs getting her flight muscles strengthend. As you can see from her attitude in this photo, she certainly knows she's a big tough bird and nobody better mess with her. She is now out in the wild and hopefully will grow old where she belongs.
Sunday, February 7, 2010
Here's an update on a couple of eagles that are now at IBR. On top is ARLAND who came in suffering from a sour crop as mentioned in an earlier post. He is now flying just great as you can see from the photo showing him up on the highest wall perch. He will be heading back to his territory in a few days.
The second photo shows DITTO sitting on a lower tower in her pen. She came in after being hit by a car. She was a bit out of it for a while and not eating well but that has all changed. She scarfed down almost a whole rabbit yesterday and is much more alert. She will also go back to where she was found sometime in the next couple weeks. Both these birds are adults and have to be returned to their territory so they can hook up with their mates as breeding season will be upon us very soon.
The third photo is of DAVE, a baby golden eagle of last year who was also hit by a vehicle. He suffered a fracture of the two bones between his wrist and elbow (same as in humans). On Friday he spent four hours in surgery having the bones pinned. Thanks to Dr. Erin Pederson and Dr. Andy Hawkins for all their work. Only time will tell if the floating piece of ulna had enough blood supply after the accident to live. If that piece of bone dies then the wing cannot be saved. This beautiful baby has a super attitude and is now eating his rabbits. The white and pink around his chest is the bandage holding his wing in place. With the pink perhaps I should have named him FLOYD??? I have my fingers crossed for a positive outcome.
Friday, February 5, 2010
Anyone who has driven into IBR has not had a fun time of it as the road was very washboardy (is that a word?), enough to knock the fillings out of your teeth. No more thanks to Harris Trucking. As you can see in this photo it is almost a super highway now. There's a lot of frost on the ground as this was quite early in the day but the road is now two lanes wide. And when it's warm enough they will wet down the recycled asphalt and roll it so it will be smooth as glass. This is not of my doing, they are working on another section of their gravel pit and wanted a road wide enough that two of their big trucks could pass each other. I just happen to be lucky enough live on the same right-of-way. I wish I could have afforded to have it taken all the way to my front gate but this comes very close to that so I'm not going to complain. As it is they did run it towards my place for 50 feet. That's IBR in the distance behind the third power pole. Thanks guys.
As you can see by the dirty truck in the photo, living on a dirt road isn't easy on the vehicles. Now I won't have any excuse for the truck being so covered with dust and dirt.
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
Yesterday was a busy one. I got a call from a lady who spotted a golden eagle on the side of the road between Deaver and Frannie, about 50+ miles from Cody. She was great in that she parked nearby and waited for me to arrive. Lots of times by the time I get to the area the bird has disappeared. Just as I was almost to where she was parked I got a call from the Greybull WGF warden. He also had an eagle. Now Greybull is many more miles from where I was at the time but Bill Robertson is wonderful about sharing the driving. He asked if we could meet in Lovell, another 15 or so miles from where I was. I chased down the first eagle, an immature with a broken right wing, hooded him, got him into my large crate and headed for the meeting. Luckily Bill had another large crate to loan me.
The bird I got from Bill is also a golden eagle but an adult female. She had obviously been hit by a vehicle, there was dried blood in her nostrils, but there doesn't appear to be anything broken. If she's lucky she just has a slight concussion and will be ready for release where she was found in a couple weeks. Both birds have an appointment with Dr. Blessing this afternoon to do x-rays and exams.