Saturday, May 29, 2010


One of the first non-raptors to come to IBR this year. This baby black-billed magpie was one of a litter of four, all the others died for some reason. The person who brought the baby to me said that magpies have been nesting near her house for years but this time something happened. She hadn't seen the parents for a while when she found the dead young and this one survivor. I have lots of magpies living around my house so when he's old enough I'll just release him here or take him back to his home territory. I haven't thought of a name but then I don't know if this is a male or female. Any suggestions?


Very few bald eagles come to IBR. I don't know why, either they're lucky in not getting hurt or are injured in places where they're not found. This handsome male was found up in Crandall. Larry and Linda saw him for a day and he'd not moved so they called Chris Queen, the Powell WGF warden. He transported the bird to IBR and helped me administer fluids just in case the bird was a bit dehydrated. LARRY's (the bird, not the human) attitude is typical bald eagle, cranky at all times. I tossed him a fresh rabbit but by the time I got back out to take this photo he'd not touched it. He isn't starving altho I'd like him to be a couple pounds heavier.

There was another adult near him and soaring overhead so it's a good bet he has a mate. Now the only question is if they have a nest in the area and are there babies in it. One is not known in the immediate area but there are a lot of large trees that didn't get burned in the '88 fires that could hold one. Of course this all happened on a Saturday afternoon so I can't get him to the vet til Monday to see if there's something wrong with his left wing. In the meantime he won't lack for groceries. As soon as he's able to return to the wild he'll go back to Crandall and his home territory.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

That's better

Well, here's HAIRY after drying off and deciding he's the toughest baby owl on the planet. He's eating just great, scarfing down mice like popcorn.

The top photo is of another brancher, BOUNCE, who also fell out of a tree but unfortunately did some kind of damage. X-rays don't show a definitive answer but fractures in the spine and pelvis are difficult to see. He can move his legs back and forth, up and down and open and close his feet but he just can't seem to stand. He is improving but it's a very slow process. Hopefully he'll make a full recovery in time.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Eeeeeekk ! ! !

Wow, talk about a bad hair day. This is HAIRY, a baby Great Horned Owl that was found on the ground at the main office of the Oregon Basin oil field near Cody. I was told that they found an injured hawk but when I got there lo and behold this little fellow was there. As it's been raining for hours and the ground there is rather muddy he isn't looking his best. He's now in a dry cage where he can fluff out his head feathers and become the cutie that all baby owls are at this age.

He is what is called a brancher meaning he's old enough to be out of the nest but not strong enough to fly away. They spend some time going from branch to branch while practicing their flapping. Unfortunately this baby took one too many steps to the left and hit the ground. We looked around but didn't see any place where the nest could be so he came home with me. When he's dry enough and ready for it he'll go into the owl barn to be mentored by my old GHO, SEEDY. Then when he's ready for release I'll take him to a perfect habitat.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

I forgot one....

I can't believe I forgot to include a photo of this huge bird. This is TRONA, an adult female golden that came to IBR from Green River a few months ago after being found in a service yard at a trona field. We thought the injuries to her right wing might have been electrocution burns but after having her for a month it was decided they came from something else. The folicles in the tip of the wing that enables the body to produce needed feathers were apparently permanently injured so she cannot replace them. That makes her non-releasable so she's now waiting for placement at a facility for use as an educational bird. She's huge, she's very active, she's a great eater and will be an addition to any program.

More gold in them thar hills

Gold, gold and more gold. Yesterday I took in the 14th golden eagle of the year. Considering I've only had 22 birds since the first of January, that's a very large percentage of these magnificent birds. The bottom photo is of RIO. She came up from Green River in a very starved condition but nothing seems to be wrong with her. I was told that there is a very low rabbit population in that area and altho this is a three year old bird, she just couldn't apparently find enough to eat.

The other photo is CHOOY (she was found near the railroad tracks). I got a call from a very nice man whom I met a few years ago. Gus had found an injured golden eagle when he was 16 years old and decided to help her back to health. When I met both of them Gus had just celebrated his 56th birthday and the eagle was still with him. Before you get all upset about his keeping her, he got her before the law was passed making that illegal. He can never own another one but he was allowed to have her until she died. And she did a couple years after I met them. This time Gus had noticed an injured baby eagle when he was hiking near his home and called me the next morning. He climbed into my truck and directed me to the place he'd seen her. Good heavens, it was the muddiest drive I'd been on in a long time and was wondering if even with 4WD we'd make it out of there.

The year old bird was right where he'd seen her and after a bit of a chase she was caught. We managed to drive out with no problem so I headed back to Cody after dropping Gus off at his home. A trip to the vet showed either a massive infection in her left wrist joint or a tumor. Today she went in for an exam under anesthesia and it turned out to be an infection. Now she's on antibiotics with the hopes it will clear up and she can fly again. She is also very thin but has a super appetite. She also had the largest lice infestation I've ever seen in a bird. After spraying her with something to kill them I wrapped her in a towel for a trip back to the vet. When I removed the towel I found many hundreds of dead lice on it and even more on her. She's been sprayed three times now and I can imagine how much better she's feeling now that those thousands of biting bugs aren't on her. The bad part is that she'll have to be resprayed weekly for a few weeks to take care of the eggs that will hatch.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

THOR is back in the air

Today one of the gods is back where he belongs. THOR, the God of Thunder according to Norse mythology, was released today about two weeks after he'd been hit by a car (see his story in an earlier post below). A great group of people came to send him off, the Eagle Posse from the Draper Museum of Natural History at the Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody. We are all working on monitoring eagle nests in various locations to document the birth and fledging of the resident babies. These people, myself included for the first time this year, spend hours just sitting and making notes on the happenings in the various nests every 15 minutes or whenever there's an interesting happening there. Most of the nests already have babies hatched, unfortunately some have already lost them to either predators or unforseen problems. So far my nest, one I'm sharing with other watchers, is doing just fine altho we don't know exactly how many have hatched. Golden eagles usually lay two eggs and in a good year both of them will fledge.

The lower photo was taken by Anne Hay at the place where THOR was released. My wildlife photographer friend, Matthew Riebel (see links) took the others. This magnificent bird flew away with great strength and will hopefully find a mate in the next couple of years and begin his own family.

New residents

It wasn't a Friday but the 13th was unlucky for these two birds. The Great Horned Owl, BEAKER, came in after being hit by a car. Not only were his eyes not working, his lower beak was broken in two pieces. Dr. Blessing anesthetized him, wired the pieces back together and then applied acrylic (think fake fingernails) over it to make a bond. After the eye exam it was questionable if he would be able to see again but today he is beginning to see me when I come to the front of his cage. He's not eating on his own yet but swallows the mice and rat pieces I put in his mouth. He's awfully thin too so he was probably on the ground for a while before being found. His ultimate release is questionable but I've not given up hope that it may happen.

The adult female Kestrel, BUNNY, was sort of lucky while also sort of unlucky. The bad part was having a broken wing. She was found in a window well, probably hit the window above. The lucky part, twice. She was found by some caring people who called me and drove her to the vet, (I was already there waiting for BEAKER to come out of surgery) And only the ulna of her left wing was fractured, the radius is just fine and is now acting as a splint while the other bone heals. She loves her mice and her wing should heal enough for release in about six weeks. I only hope she's not a mom right now as the male wouldn't be able to feed all of their offspring. They can have five or six at a time. The Morrell's are going to see if they can find a nest cavity near their home.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Official signage

Just as a lot of homes in the UK are named, this is the official sign for IBR. It was designed by a very talented graphics person, Kimber Swenson. The 14ga. steel was then cut out by John Cash of Cash Metals on his wonderful computer driven machine. Isn't it beautiful? I have to decide the best way to hang it from the front gate so took this photo of it laying on my cobblestone front walk. Thanks Kimber and John for such an awesome job.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010


His name is THOR and he's about the luckiest golden eagle on the planet. He is also the 12th golden that has arrived at IBR this year. The beginning of May, Wade Hoskin and his wife, Kellie, were driving along the Belfry Hiway behind a car and a semi. All of a sudden a large bird was hit by the car, tossed about 30' into the air and came down on the pavement. Wade stopped, gathered up the bird to move him to the side of the road and called the sheriffs office who contacted me to go out and see about picking up the pieces. When I got there, just about five miles north of Cody, they were standing beside a three year old male golden and had him covered with a jacket to keep him quiet. The most awesome part is that nothing was broken in the bird. Well, maybe his spirit a bit, but no bones, not even a feather.

It took two days for him to come back from the shock of it but in a couple days he finished the rabbit I gave him the day before and the cavy he got the next day. Thanks to these caring people this magnificent bird was back in the sky in about a week after he proved he could fly well and strong enough to go there. Thanks all for watching over THOR until I got there. Wade, Kellie, some of the Eagle Posse and wildlife photographer Matthew Riebel were there at the release.

Note: I’ve talked to the people in the front car who did stop but noted that Wade had also and conintued on their way with a completely smashed windsheild from contact with THOR. That makes it even more amazing that the bird wasn’t hurt.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

SARENE is serene

She's back where she belongs and doing fine. Lisa and Jen took SARENE back to the ranch where she was found and released her. You'll note in the photo that she wasn't taking any chances and got as far away as she could as quickly as she could. Lisa said she had a slight limp but her wing beats were strong. Hopefully she'll be a bit more careful when landing on or taking off from her roost spot. Thanks ladies for doing such an awesome job for this beautiful bird.