Sunday, October 31, 2010


I know, they're not black cats but these are very special to me. Both are gone now, TRAMP (l) when he was 16 and TARGET (r) at 10 1/2 years old. There have been a couple in between them and the two females I have now but these will always be in my heart and on my mind.

Happy Halloween to everyone, don't eat too many goodies. Well, a lot of chocolate is okay, right?

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Recent photo of IBR

Thanks again to Dr. Lee Hermann I have an updated aerial photo of the Ironside Bird Rescue facility. This was taken just a few weeks ago and as you can see, the hay field and my lawn are still green. The former pond area is just weeds and dirt, I never did get around to mowing it when the weeds were short.

In this photo you can see the new mews that were added to the eagle and hawk flight barns. They have come in very handy when lots of birds arrived at the same time. Maybe one day I'll get a photo of the place when there's snow on the ground.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Finally found

If you look back to a post I did on August 1st you'll read that I went to the town of Burlington twice to look for an injured raptor. I never found him and was saddened to think he would not make it. Yesterday, late afternoon, I received a call from a gentleman I'd contacted during the original search saying he found a hawk with a broken wing and as he was coming to Cody would bring the bird to me.

My first comment, when I found out where he'd caught the bird was, "I certainly hope it's not the one I was looking for 12 weeks ago". Imagine my amazement when I saw the hawk and because of the healing that had taken place at the fracture site I decided that it's a good possibility it is that bird.

SUPERMAN is in amazing condition after all this time and is a quiet bird in his cage. I will take him in to Drs. Blessing and Pedersen tomorrow for x-rays that will tell us if the damage is repairable. Even if he can't fly again he would make an excellent ambassador for red-tailed hawks at another facility. He is only about six months old now and has a long life ahead of him if all works out in his favor.

Update: Good and bad news. Good; the birds wing was not broken. The bad is his elbow joint was pulled apart about 1/2" to 3/4". Both doctors were stunned at what they were seeing in the x-ray. As it was impossible to fix this damage, SUPERMAN was euthanized. And after examining him closer I decided he is the bird I couldn't find in August. It's a case of "if only" but the damage may not have been repairable even if he had been found that day.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Beautiful morning sky

Every morning when I first go outside it's pitch dark and I look up to the stars. I can only identify four of them; the big dipper, the little dipper, the North star and Orion's belt. The past week it's been so clear, absolutely beautiful and this morning there was a bonus. While I was watching there were four shooting stars overhead. Awesome ! ! ! !

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Not coming for dinner

Today I took in a Canada Goose, PILGRIM, that had somehow fractured his left wing. Luckily he came down in a fenced yard so was easy to catch. After x-rays showed that the radius and ulna are broken but possibly fixable, he was bandaged and brought to IBR until the surgery can be performed on Thursday.

This is one fat goose that WON'T be on anyones table come Thanksgiving. Hopefully the surgery will be a success but it will be many weeks before the outcome is known. If it's beyond the migration time for this goose I do have one place that may be willing to winter him over until they arrive back in the Spring. Fingers crossed everyone.

Update: The surgery went off today (Thursday) without a hitch, the bones are in perfect alignment and if all goes well this bird will be able to fly again in a couple months. Yay! ! ! !

Sunday, October 17, 2010

New resident hens

Today a friend and I drove about 30 miles to pick up some young pullets from a breeder just inside the MT line. As you've read in other posts, due to heavy predation by fox, I am down to 32 hens. These eight are not only nice but they gave me two eggs on the trip here. I'm not sure of the breed, I'll add that when I find out but they are bred just for laying eggs so my supply will be supplemented from now on.

Note: I found out these are Red Star Sex Link chickens. Not the largest eggs so far but they are just babies themselves so the size will increase.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Scotland the Brave

A few years ago I was able to make two trips to Scotland, the original home of my ancestors on my moms side. I went the first time with friends to ride horseback in the Highlands, second time on my own and stayed with a family I met on my first visit. I told everyone about the experiences and how much it meant to me. One of them is my friend, Morley Davidson, a distant cousin from Oshawa, ON, Canada. He said that one day he would get there too.

That happened this past September when he went with a tour group for 12 days. I just received his photos and they are wonderful. Morley is a runner having participated in many marathons over the decades he's been doing that sport. He took his running gear along and was rewarded in being able to run on the same beach where the movie Chariots of Fire was filmed. As you can see, he certainly enjoyed himself.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Another rare bird for me

Yesterday I got a call from a gentleman out on the Southfork Hiway, about 15 miles from Cody. He found a bird after it hit one of his windows and said it was a red-headed woodpecker. I've never had one of those as a patient so I told him to take it to Dr. Blessing for an exam and I would pick it up there. The x-rays showed no damage and when I got there I found out he'd had it since Saturday.

I gave it a few simple tests to see if the wings were working and they were. He was also very good at grabbing with his feet. I also had no clue as to what kind of bird I had altho knew it's of the woodpecker variety with the stiff tail and toe configuration but not a red-headed.

I took the bird to a local expert on songbirds, Chuck Neal, and found out it's an immature Red Naped Sapsucker. I know that sounds like a joke name but it's not, they do exist. Isn't he beautiful? I released him in the Neal backyard and thanked him for letting me see yet another unknown species on my life list.

Thursday, October 7, 2010


Every summer from July thru most of October there's a farmer's market in Cody in the Albertson's parking lot. I am able to sell my free-range eggs there thanks to some good friends who grow organic produce in Burlington. They are BJ and Mike Carlson of the Wayfaring Traveler Ranch (see links). Besides having the produce they also offer llama treking and guest ranch stays. I usually sell out of eggs quickly, especially after the salmonella scare, but stay there to help sell their goodies. Thanks you two for all the years I've known you and your generous souls.

Note: Neither of the ladies in front of the stand is me. I'm running the camera.

Free at last.....

At 11:40am this morning I released TRISTAN, a rough-legged hawk born last year above the Artic Circle in Northern Canada. Because they have no concept of what humans or vehicles are they frequently find out the hard way when they come this far south for the winter. This beautiful female was hit by a car back in December 2009 and suffered a severely broken wing.

Altho she was flying when the birds started their migration north in March of this year, she wasn't strong enough to make the distance. For that reason the Wyoming G&F gave me permission to keep her over until they came back. On my way to Cody from Powell yesterday I saw one sitting on a power pole alongside the road. That was enough for me to take this bird to a wonderful habitat south of town and release her.

As you can see, she's in excellent condition and never hesitated a moment when I opened the door to her travel crate.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Damage report

Yesterday I drove about 40 miles to pick up yet another victim of someone driving down the highway and not noticing a very large bird sitting on a dead deer in the middle of the road. This person had to have known he/she hit the bird but never stopped, never took the time to help him. Luckily a young couple on the way home from church did just that. After securing the eagle in a crate I dragged the deer carcass way off the road so hopefully this won't happen again.

This is BUCK, an adult male golden eagle sitting in a container of shredded paper because he can't stand up. X-rays show he has a fractured humerus (elbow to shoulder) in his left wing and a fractured femur (knee to hip) in his left leg. The wing break is in excellent position even tho there are a couple pieces in the fracture. That is being stabilized with a figure 8 bandage. The bad news is his leg, that fracture is very close to his hip joint. Right now we are waiting on a consultation with the MN Raptor Center on the probabilities that his leg can be repaired. Dr. Blessing is willing to try but so we don't put the bird thru any unnecessary trauma has asked a colleague for his opinion. Fingers crossed but the prognosis isn't good.

Wednesday, 6:00am. Sad news, BUCK died during the night.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Come into my parlor...

Well, the "great room" such as it is. The top photo is what you see when you come to my front door. The bottom is what you see when you open that door. Needless to say I'm about ready for winter to arrive. My sunroom is 10'x20' and can hold four cords of wood leaving room to use the door. I call it the most expensive woodbox in the state.

I obviously heat with wood and in years past I went to the mountain with a friend, cut down the trees, cut it to length, hand split it with a 16 lb. maul, stacked it and then brought it inside to burn. My wood heated me five times. Now that I'm considered elderly (altho I don't feel that way) I have the wood delivered already split. I only have to stack it as you see in the photos. I've been in this house for 26 years and love my wood stove, I wouldn't have any other heating system.