Sunday, August 29, 2010

Empty path finally

Anyone who has come to IBR in the past three years has noticed that to go from the house to the mews meant walking around some aspen trees that have been coming up in the wonderful wavy pathway in the yard. My 18 year old aspen started cloning and altho some have come up in the grass, most did so right in the middle of the path. Because I wanted to save them I decided to leave them there to grow for a couple years, then cut the umbilical cord root from the mother tree and let them stay put to grow their own roots.

After four years I finally decided they were strong and inde-pendent enough to make it on their own. Today I dug up all of them and moved them to a new place in the back/side yard where they can grow all they want and not block traffic. These photos show the before and after of the path and them in their new home. Now I have to get the curb guy out and put one around this new area. I love trees and certainly hope that this bunch will produce a wonderful aspen grove in the years to come.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Harvest moon almost

Tonight when I went out to open a window and turn out lights in the rodent house there was the most beautiful moon out. It was quite dark orange, sort of like what my folks called a harvest moon. It's full and wonderful to see. I know it's too early for Indian Summer but this was one photo I couldn't miss.

Amazingly enough it was almost dark but when I put my camera on the night mode it came out lighter. And when I asked Photoshop to use it's enhanced program it came out as if I'd taken it during the day with the sun on the mountains. Both photos were taken within seconds of each other but on different settings. I love being able to lay in bed at night and look out at such a wonderful sight as the full moon.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Really happy moment.

Benjamin Mark has arrived! As you've seen in earlier posts, Nicole and I spent many months monitoring a golden eagle nest together. She was pregnant at the time and we were hoping the feathered babies fledged before Nicole did and that's what happened but not by much. Yesterday Benjamin, weighing just what a male golden eagle should weigh, 8#4oz, came into the world and is a very beautiful baby. I got to visit with the proud parents and one grandmother today in the hospital but all are hoping to go home today. Nicole promised to send some photos, I'll add one to this post when they arrive. Congratulations to Nicole and Matt for having such a beautiful baby boy.

Top photo: Here's a family photo with Nicole, Matt and Benjamin plus, of course, Ginger and Savanah.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Basket full of eggs

Here's a photo of my new chicken basket full of today's gathering of eggs. Aren't they beautiful and isn't the basket the perfect thing to carry them in?

I looooooove presents !

Today the maillady brought me the most wonderful box. Inside it were three super presents from Nate Mathews and his dad Roger. In the middle of June, Nate and his sister, Elizabeth, drove to Cody from Cheney, KS to pick up a baby golden eagle, CHOOY. She was joining the educational birds at Eagle Valley Raptor Center. Because it was too hot for the airlines to ship her they decided to make the 15 hour drive here and then drive back. They stayed long enough to go to the BBHC and watch some of the Powwow being held that weekend.

Okay, to the presents....First thing is a most beautiful hood for a male golden eagle. Nate did all the work and as you can see it's gorgeous. The eye patches are made of red (my very favorite color) lizard skin. It will NOT be hung with my other hoods, this one will have a special storage place.

Second is a pair of stunning silver earrings with red coral and silver feathers hanging down. Roger Mathews makes not only silver and gold jewelry but stained & beveled glass for doors and panels and also makes pottery. The whole family appears to be very artistic. (see links)

Lastly is something I'll always treasure. It's a hand woven basket that belonged to Nate's grandmother and as you can see, is in the shape of a chicken. I will use this for gathering the beautiful multicolored eggs from my 35 hens. This has been a stupendous day, thanks Nate and Roger.

Sad moment

Today I learned that PUNCH, the father of my dog, SOPHIE, has died. He wasn't a very old fellow but he had worked very hard all his life on his owners ranch in Pinedale. He is half Border Collie and half Bearded Collie and all dog. SOPHIE's mom, MADDIE, is a purebred Pembroke Welsh Corgi, a tri-color. My dog got everything from her mom but her nose and hair, those came straight from her dad.

Two of the photos were taken a few years ago but you can see just what a handcome fellow he is and his sense of humor. The top two were taken during his "last roundup", literally. It was at the May branding and he was busy doing his job as always. Everyone will miss you.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

All gone

My last three baby GHOs have now flown away. These photos show HAIRY, BUSHY and DITCH right after they jumped out of the transport crate and headed for the forest. All three of these babies came in before they could fly but learned quickly and after proving they could make live kills were ready for release to the wild.

Thanks to my friend Joyce who came along and ran the camera. A couple of them are a bit fuzzy because these young birds wasted no time in leaving. The one of BUSHY in the tree proves that great horned owls are well camoflaged when sitting in the right kind of tree. Can you see me now?

Saturday, August 14, 2010

It's a small, small world

This is an amazing story. Back in 1991 I received a phone call from Al Cecere of the American Eagle Foundation in Pigeon Forge, TN. Yep, that's Dollywood. He was looking for a non-releasable young bald eagle to be sent to GA Southern Univ to replace one that they had and he wanted. It was a trade off, Al wanted the bird for educational work but so did GA Southern. I had a baby bald, FRENCHIE, that had a wound to one wing making her non-releasable so all the paperwork was completed and my bird went to GA so SPIRIT could go to TN.

Jump ahead to a few months ago. I got a call from Balsam Mountain Trust in Sylva, NC about a golden eagle I have that is non-releasable due to an eye injury. In the ongoing conversations Michael mentioned that they had a bald eagle and were having this golden added to their permit but it was taking the state of NC some time in issuing the permit. Finally the okay came through so yesterday he sent me copies of the permit. Lo and behold it included a letter from Al Cecere. I emailed Michael that I had sent a bald eagle to GA as a favor to Al way back when.

Here's the small, small world part.....Michael has that 18 year old bald eagle that Al got from GA when mine arrived to take her place. This eagle was captive hatched in MI and was released and recaptured three times, each time found starving. She was grounded for good. She apparently was just enough of an imprint to be very aggressive but not a good hunter. Yes, it is a very small world after all.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Visitors on the ground

This morning when I was out doing chores a bit after 6 o'clock I heard the sound of sandhill cranes calling. Those who know me also know that I had MACALLA, a sandhill crane, living here for many years. He was an imprint so every morning we would dance with each other and we talked all the time.

Even tho this pair appears different they are the same species. The color difference comes from the minerals in the water they spend time in. It stains their feathers the rusty red color, some more than others. When they have their next molt the new feathers will come in the typical grey color.

There are no colts with them so I assume they either lost their babies or this is a newly mated pair and will produce offspring next season. It was great seeing these wonderful birds and I wish them well on their upcoming migration south.

Visitors from the sky

Last Sunday I was out doing chores when I heard my dogs barking and barking. I told them to hush but it didn't work so I went to see what it was all about. There, heading right over my house, were two hot air balloons coming to land in the pasture in front of me. The 15th annual balloon fest was taking place that weekend but due to bad weather they weren't able to fly on Saturday. I'd forgotten about checking the skies when I went out to do chores so never saw them until they stopped by.

I went over to say hello as I'd been going to these events since the first one. I've been on rides, helped chase crews or just enjoyed the spectacle of seeing these very beautiful pieces of art floating above me. This time I knew some of the pilots and helpers so got a couple of them to take photos of their balloons with IBR in the background. Unfortunately I forgot to take my camera to the field with me so had to wait until the photographers emailed me copies of their shots. Thanks to Scott Landwehr for these photos. It was his first balloon ride and he had a ball. One great thing, one of the pilots, in the tradition of ballooning, handed me a bottle of Brut champagne for landing on my property. I told her it wasn't but she said to keep it. Yum

Friday, August 6, 2010

Hawk Quest friend

This week, for three days, Kin Quitugua of Hawk Quest (see links) in Parker, CO is up in Cody doing live bird of prey programs at the BBHC. I've known Kin for a few years, he got a GHO and a saw-whet owl from me when we met and uses them in his programs. Altho he didn't bring the large owl this trip he did bring some amazing birds. The most amazing is his adult female bald eagle. She is the star of his show and is used in photographs with supporters of his organization. The photo above is me with Kin and his wonderful Harris Hawk. He uses her in free flying progams, she is a super bird and a great ambassador of her species. He also has with him this trip a barn owl, a female kestrel and a peregrine falcon. If you ever get a chance to see one of his programs I highly recommend them.

Away he goes.

Today my beautiful baby ferruginous hawk was released right where he was found outside of Meeteetse. I didn't take my camera so will be getting photos from the various people who were there. Amazingly enough the young male flew in the direction I wanted him to go in and went a good distance before coming down and landing.

This bird came in a few weeks ago at a young age and not able to fly yet. He started eating right away and in order to make sure he could make it on his own in the wild, he had to prove to me that he could make live kills. He did that after a couple weeks so was ready to go.

Thanks to Richard Jones for doing the driving today and taking video of the event. He also took some still photos just in case the release didn't go as planned. I wish I could include the video on this blog but am unable to do that. As soon as I get the photos I'll post them.

Here's the first photo from Richard. I hood these birds to calm them for the trip to the release site. More photos to come I hope.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Another kestrel in the air

This morning I released my last baby kestrel, PARKER, in a very good habitat for this species. There are lots of old dead snags with nest cavities and I know that there are kestrels in the area. Unfortunately for the baby there are also nesting kingbirds. I didn't know that until she had flown way high up in a large cottonwood. By then the family of five kingbirds started dive bombing her. She put up with it for a while, ducking in time to keep from being hit by a bird half her size, but then just decided to move on. I didn't see how far she made it but hopefully the upset family of birds wouldn't travel that far.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Egad ! ! ! !

My morning started out normally enough with chores beginning around 6:15 and ending about 45 minutes later. However I got a phone call at 9:30 telling me there was a large hawk or eagle sighted crossing the road near the town of Burlington and it had an obvious broken wing. I got things together and was on the road before 10:00. Unfortunately I forgot to ask one very important question of the lady who called..."which side of the road was it seen on?" As she was on the way to church she didn't stop and gather the bird up. By the time I got there and realized what I hadn't asked she had her phone turned off. I drove along the road and scanned both sides at the place she said the bird was seen. I also got out and walked the fenceline. To no avail. At noon I headed home as I have two dogs that needed to go outside.

Right after I got in the door this nice lady called after she turned her phone on and got all my messages. She gave me detailed information but unfortunately I couldn't act on it right away as I was a couple hours late going to Red Lodge, MT to pick up an immature Spotted Sandpiper (see photo above). I headed up to the Nature Center, got that bird and came back to Cody. I let the dogs out again and headed back to Burlington. Unfortunately the field the bird headed into is a grain field and it was flooded as it's still a bit green and not ready to be harvested. I walked all along the fence both inside and outside. Then drove along another permiter fence to the back of the field. I walked that whole thing without seeing any type of raptor. I assume that the bird was either still in the middle of the field or had already passed through it and was someplace I couldn't get to or spot it. I left my number with the people living there and hope that I'll hear from them in time to save the bird.

When I finally got home I had added 293 miles to my little dark blue Ford Ranger and it was 6:30pm. Thank goodness for air conditioning as it's been a really hot day.

New baby

Here's a photo of the newest kestrel baby here at IBR. She was found on the ground at the local City Park unwilling to fly. As you can see from this photo she is way, way above me and my camera. She is also eating her mice so she will be released in the next day or so as she was in very good weight when she arrived so obviously has learned her lessons well.