Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Walking With Dinosaurs !

I am so excited tonight. By tomorrow afternoon I will be "walking with dinosaurs". The show is up in Billings at the Metra and weeks ago I bought a ticket for it. They won't allow photographs during the show but I'm sure they will sell t-shirts so I'll get one and have someone take my picture wearing it. And the best part, I have a front row seat! Of course I'm hoping one will actually come close enough for me to touch but if not I'll just enjoy the whole experience.

This show follows my learning "How to Train My Dragon". That happened last Saturday at the local movie theater. I'm really into herps this week. More in a later post.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Say what?????

Today when I gathered the eggs I found a slight discrepancy in the sizes. I have no idea if this is a delayed reaction from the horrible trauma my hens suffered at the hands of the fox but as you can see, two of them are not producing the proper sized eggs. This has happened only once before, last year sometime, and when I broke the shell the only thing inside was the whites. Perhaps this will become the egg of the future for those who are watching their cholesterol.

Great grandchildren

It's early morning. I'm all finished with chores and wanted to share the latest additions to the cavy families. ELVIS is again a great grandfather. This photo shows the newest babies born last night. Her last litter consisted of just one baby so she outdid herself this time. I now have 32 baby cavys with 9 moms and every one of them are beautiful. I do sell a lot of these animals for pets. Congrats, great grandpa !

Just so they aren't forgotten, I also have two new litters of rabbits in the bunny barn. Three more to kindle, assuming they are pregnant. They are due on Sunday and Tuesday.

Thursday, March 25, 2010


The TV spot finally aired tonight on the KULR8 six o'clock evening news. For all the film used the piece was only about two minutes long, if that. It did cover all the important aspects of eagle electrocutions as told by my myself, Chuck Preston and Tim Eicher. I was pleased with the whole thing.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Ragmop ???

Here's a photo that takes some looking at to decide just what it is. The before and after show ELVIS with his hair groomed and then moved aside so you can see his beautiful eyes. He is a Peruvian Cavy (guinea pig) that has been a dad many, many times but is now just living out his life as he's not producing babies anymore. He does have a handsome son, STRAUSS, (he's a longhair, get it...) and dozens of grandchildren also living at IBR.

The top photo shows ELVIS's granddaughter in front with three other sows and their babies. The granddaughter has yet to have her babies but she's due anytime now.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

No news is bad news

Well, the program about eagle electrocutions that was supposed to air in many TV stations apparently did with the exception of the KULR8 station in Billings. It was on last Friday and Saturday everywhere else. Penny said it would be on Monday night and Tuesday morning. NOT ! I watched both the 5 and 6 o'clock reports tonight and still nothing. I tried to play a video of the program on my computer at the museum from channel 13 in Casper but the video and sound were horrible. When I tried on my home computer it wouldn't even play the video at all. Guess if I want to see it I'll have to purchase a copy of the program from the TV station. Thanks to those who tried to watch it.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

And then there were none.........

This morning I caught the male fox in a trap. Unless another pair decides to move into the now empty den I should have no more problems with fox in the near future. I would think that most pairs have already set up a den and are either nursing kits or about to produce them. But there's always next year unfortunately.

My ladies are recovering nicely and producing more than a dozen eggs a day so my egg buyers won't be shorted at all. This has been hard on all of us as altho I am a hunter of deer for my freezer, I don't go out of my way to kill for the sake of killing. These were special circumstances and I wish there could have been another way to solve the problem. I tried to use a live trap but the fox wouldn't be fooled. It called for drastic measures and that's what I took.

Friday, March 19, 2010

It's Show Time ! ! !

Wow, today was pretty exciting. Penny Preston, a KULR8 TV (Billings, MT) reporter came by this morning to do an interview for possible airing this evening. In the state of Wyoming there have been a lot of raptors electrocuted by power lines. Because of that, Rocky Mountain Power received a 10.2 million dollar fine, part of which was sent to the Murie Audubon Society in Casper for distribution to rehabbers in the state. We all put in a quarterly expense voucher and are then reimbursed for the cost of food, feeder animals and in my case, construction of our new mews.

I couldn't use any of my eagles as they are in rehab but Penny got some archival footage from my old educational eagle, JULIE ANDREWS, to use in the piece. It might air this evening (Friday) on their 5, 6 and 10 o'clock news and again on the 6 o'clock morning program. The other interviewees are Dr. Charles Preston, Curator of the Draper Natural History Museum in Cody and Tim Eicher, U.S. Fish & Wildlife enforcement officer, also based in Cody. Tim is the person who gathered all the information to bring this case to court.

I hope you all can watch the show. Enjoy.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Getting closer to being done

This morning I had to go to town for some feed and left about 10:30. The weather had gotten bad, cold and windy, so I figured John wouldn't be here to help me put the jailbar windows into the owl barn. When I got back a couple hours later lo and behold, they were in place. I don't know how much trouble he had and assume that Alan came along to help. The barn is looking so great now, only the metal siding is left to put on and also replace the worn out door with one made for being outside in the elements. I found some great doors at a place in Billings called ReStore. It's a shop run by a group that builds Habitat for Humanity homes. Whenever anyone is remodeling their home and has "stuff" to replace they can donate the old cabinets, furniture, appliances, doors, etc. to this group. Then people like me find just what they need to complete a project or upgrade a room in a house for very low prices. Super people, go there and check it out.

No more captures of the elusive fox yet but I did trap a skunk yesterday. As there has been a history of rabies in skunks in this area this one was not allowed to live. That and they seem to dig into the mews and drag off anything the birds haven't finished eating. I know everything must eat but not with the cost of these feeder animals.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy St. Patrick's Day

As I am Irish on my mother's father's (did you follow that?) side of the family, I celebrate today with joy. I've done some geneology on Grampa but haven't gotten very far. I was told by another relative that his family came from County Cork. Can't get much more Irish than that. Hopefully I'll get back to the study of my distant family one of these days.

Enjoy the wearing of the green today and keep a lookout for a leprechan, they can hide anywhere. Perhaps that's why my grass is starting to turn green on this fine day.

Monday, March 15, 2010


Today I got started making the 10 windows with jailbars for the owl barn. I've made all the others with no problem but today, after finishing putting together all the frames I realized that I failed to adjust them for the 1/2 inch panel on the bottom to keep the bars from falling out when the window is lifted into position. Geez, did I feel like an idiot for not noticing until all of them were finished. Okay, necessity is the mother of invention. What in the world did we do before duct tape was invented. With very little wiggle room I decided to put a couple strips of tape along the bottom to take care of the problem. May have to staple it in places as the PVC pipe does weigh a bit but somehow I'll make it work. I'll add a photo of the finished windows when I'm through.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

One down, one to go.

This morning I found a female fox in one of my traps. I now have at least one half of the killers of my beautiful chickens. I will continue to try and capture the male so this won't happen again. As of yesterday all my hens are now behind a six foot fenced in area where they will be safe from predators. I loved seeing them wander all over my three acres but now know it's not possible. Their "yard" is very large with lots of places to scratch and take dust baths. I was concerned that the older hens would be aggressive to the youngsters but other than a bit of squabbling they are settled in nicely.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

New construction

An update to all the construc-tion going on here. As you've seen in earlier posts, the new mews are done and being used. Next on the agenda is metal siding on the bunny barn and the owl barn. Both these buildings have been in use for more than a decade and are showing it. The bottom photo shows the newly sided bunny barn, isn't it looking great? Of course I now have to redo the inside as some of the cages are also showing wear and tear and probably half the mice in Cody live in the ceiling.

The top photo is of the owl barn as a work in progress. As you can see, the plywood siding is deteriorating even tho it was painted not too long ago. The three owls are now in one of the new mews next door so we could work on this one. The netting is off the openings so I can now make the jail bar inserts for them. As soon as that is done, hopefully by the end of this weekend, then John and Alan will be back to put on the metal siding.

I am so thrilled to see all of this getting done. Sometimes it seems as if I march in place but then great workers like John McGee and Alan Becker come along and get the jobs done just the way I planned. I'll be sure to post a photo of the finished owl barn when that happens.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Chicken update

This morning I found one survivor of the slaughter. She is hurt but still alive. Also, the game warden came out to investigate and found the scrape where the fox came under one section of fence. He also found four more bodies. That brings it to nine live, 12 dead and 12 missing. Needless to say, this is war.......

The photo is of eight of the survivors, the ninth is in a quiet place so I can deal with her injuries. Chickens being what they are I am afraid the others will pick on the hurt one. I now have five aracanas, three black astrolorps and one rhode island red.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Devastating loss

Tragedy came to Ironside in the form of a serial killer or killers. This afternoon I went out as usual about 2:30 to collect eggs and feed the raptors. All was okay so I returned to the house until time to do my final chores of the day. Approximately three hours later I headed out to put my young chickens to bed but was surprised to not see many as they usually run towards me knowing I was bringing their night snack of cracked corn. When I got closer I started seeing the bodies. I went around and gathered up eight bodies of my beautiful hens. I found eight still alive, three huddling in their house, the others wandering around seeming confused. Out of 33 hens I have eight survivors, eight dead and 17 missing. These are large chickens, well over five pounds each but something carried them off. Feathers were everywhere.

At this point I'm assuming it was a pair of fox although this took place in the middle of the day. I've had trouble in the past with one of my neighbors dogs getting in and killing a couple chickens but after my warning I've not seen them again. I am, naturally, heartbroken as I love my chickens. The older hens were also upset after hearing all that went on during the slaughter. They live behind a six foot covered fence so were okay but I would imagine my egg production will be down or non-existent in the days to come.

I have regular egg buyers but they may not get their usual delivery every week. Now I have to make the decision as to whether or not to replace the hens. If so, I will have to build another hen house for them and attach it to one of my chicken fenced in areas so this horrible crime won't happen again. They can't be put in with the older hens as they don't take to newcomers joining their flock.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Four legged family

I thought I'd show you some photos of my resident furry animals. SOPHIE was born in January, 2007 to a purebred Pembroke Welsh Corgi mom, MADDIE and a Border Collie/Bearded Collie cross male, PUNCH (he's the one in the dark glasses). She was one of nine babies that took a long time to come into the world. Poor mom was exhausted by the time they all arrived and only six survived that ordeal. All of them look just like mom but have their dads haircoat, longer and with whiskers around their face.

MADDIE lived here for about a year but is now back with her original owner. SOPHIE missed her in the beginning but has finally gotten used to being alone again. Now I have to entertain her instead of her mother as she likes to play tug of war with an old sock.

The cats are MUFFIN, the chubby looking shorthair and SISTER, the glowering-with-spooky-eyes medium hair. They came to me when only a bit over three weeks old, dumped in a paper bag at our local baseball field. Luckily it was next to my neighbors car so when they came back from the snack bar they found them. These two kittens were very much loved by someone as they were socialized but again, not loved enough to keep. I can't imagine my life without them, they will be teenagers in July of this year and bring such joy to my life.

And away she goes.......

Here's the photo of my latest Rough-legged Hawk release mentioned in an earlier post. This is TIMMY and she was certainly ready to fly away. My friend, and photographer, Joyce came along again to record the moment. We always time this so we can eat lunch after the release in a setting that's both inspiring and beautiful. This time was no exception as you can see the mountains behind the bird. About 20 minutes after we started eating we saw TIMMMY float over us as if to say thanks and goodbye. She seemed to be so thrilled to be free again that our spirits soared with her.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Pending release & catch-up news

Hi, everyone. Been a few days since I've posted a message so this is a catch-up on what's happening at IBR. This weekend I'll be releasing the last of my birds ready to go. It's a rough-legged hawk, TIMMY, who came up from Riverton last month. She only came for some flight conditioning and now she's strong enough. Roughies live half their life, the summer months, at the Arctic Circle so they have to make that long migration before breeding season. They leave Wyoming during the month of March. I'll add a photo if I can get one as she flys away.

The old golden eagle, BURL, is gaining strength every day. He still has some balance problems but is eating everything I give him, able to eat on his own without me having to cut up his meal. He was moved to the 20'x 25' pen today and is enjoying being able to hop up on a higher floor perch. He has also gone from 6.25 pounds to 7.50 pounds, Elk steak and bunnies are super for putting on weight.

TRONA, the adult female golden eagle from Green River, is in the flight barn and making short flights. Her right wing is still a bit weak but she too is coming along nicely.

My baby eagle, DAVE, is now in an outside 8'x 8' pen. He's been inside for so long I'm sure he's feeling better about seeing the blue sky through something other than a far window. He's a lovely baby and very easy to work around. He has also gained needed weight going from 7.50 pounds to 9.50 pounds, a very hefty weight for a male golden eagle.