Tuesday, June 28, 2011

New home

My new hen house is now under con-struction. John McGee, the builder who has done extensive work on the place, is now putting up a new house for my younger hens. It's being attached to the existing building and then the whole thing will be covered in metal to match all the other mews. I found the windows at a garage sale and the door came from the Shippens. I'll never sell enough eggs to pay for this but that's okay, I love my chickens and everyone loves their eggs.

I'll post a photo of the finished combination hen house for all to see. I now have about 80 birds in two flocks.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Such beauty

Today I found the first of my yellow roses all open and incredibly beautiful. Back a lifetime ago I worked at the Cody Greenhouse, y'all remember that being out on the Powell Hiway next to the drive-in theater? A few times during the day, between customers and chores, I would walk back to where the rose bushes were kept just to smell the one called "Mr. Lincoln". The fragrance was awesome and my pretty little volunteer rose smells just as sweet. It's outside the large many paned window in my north room which is a great frame for this plant when all the buds are open. They are there by the hundreds, a brilliant sight to behold during the day.

The top photo is of the small purple flowers that just cover the area at my front gate. I don't know the exact name but they look like some kind of aster or daisy. They're just beautiful. The yellow ones behind these are some sort of weed that is all over everywhere this year with all the rain and then hot weather.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

More babies

A couple weeks ago I got a call from a gentleman south of Cody telling me that he had a nest of ferruginous hawks near his home. The largest of all hawk species, the adult female will weigh in at four pounds. They are a bird of special concern in this area so I was excited when I got there and saw them for myself. This series of photos shows just how quickly they grow up. The first one is when they were a bit over a week old with mom standing guard. The second a couple days older and the third at about 35 days old taken when they were being banded prior to their fledging.

The area where these birds are located has lots of prairie dogs so the food source is excellent. Altho the chances of all these young birds surviving to adulthood is not high I certainly hope they beat the odds and live long and healthy lives.

Thanks Clifford for documenting the lives of these amazing birds.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Justin Bieber eat your heart out.

These photos are of two Gyr/Peregrine hybrid falcons hatched at a facility in Sheridan but now living here in Cody at the home of two master falconers. Half brothers, one will end up dark and the other light in coloration. They are only 30 days old and just getting their hard feathers in. With hairdos such as these they could be singers on any stage in the country. Nameless for now but not for long.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Babies "R" Us

Feast or famine and right now the babies are arriving. The top photo is one of the two doves shown in an earlier post about grown and flying. They will be leaving in a week as they are eating under the supervision of their "mom".

Second photo is of a fledgling crow brought down from MT on Sunday after being found four weeks ago right in the middle of Billings. Unfortunately it's very easy to imprint a corvid and this one appears to be one. I'm just an interim stopping place on his way to live at the Beartooth Nature Center in Red Lodge. The finder was coming to Cody so dropped him off as I'm going to Red Lodge on Monday.

Number three is of two brancher black-billed magpies. Their parents were killed and after listening to these two cry for two days I was called to come rescue them. There were four babies in the nest, one had already died and another did so shortly after I gathered them up. These two are doing just fine so far but I'm hoping by living with the adult I have waiting to go to NC they will become wild again. As you can see from the one open mouth, they do beg for food from me.

And finally, five baby mallard ducklings that were found in a Cody backyard. Unfortunately the mom was scared off by a small child and left her ten babies behind. The people waited thinking she'd come back but she never did. By the time they went out to catch the ducklings only five were around. These babies don't need a parent to feed them but do need a mom for brooding at night and during the day from time to time. They're now under a warm light and doing well as I try to find an adult hen with babies the same age so I can foster these five.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Interspecies relationship

A week or so ago I received a call from some people who had found two baby birds after their nest tree fell down. When I got there I realized they were either Mourning or Eurasian Collared doves. These chicks are extremely hard to raise as their feeding is done much differently than most all other birds.

At the same time, in my free flight aviary, I have a white domestic dove who has been setting for, well, forever. Not laying eggs, just sitting in a corner. I decided to try an experiment and gave these two baby birds to her. She was a bit confused to begin with but she decided they were actually hers and has done a wonderful job in raising them so far.

When they arrived there was some fluffy down on the chicks but that's all. I guessed they were probably only a couple days old. As you can see from the above photo, they are looking very much like a wild dove and will consequently be released back outside when ready.

Much Better !

Here's an updated photo of PATCH. In just a few days with eye drops three times a day and a twice daily antibiotic her eye is looking much better. She will still need time and probably a visit to Dr. Barry Welch to see if there is any permanent damage to her left eye. In the meantime she's eating wonderfully which includes two mice a day, each with her medicine tucked inside. She's a marvelous patient.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

OMG ! ! ! !

Yesterday as I was driving towards town I saw what I thought was a small songbird in the middle of the road. When I got right up to it I realized it was a newly hatched Killdeer racing to catch up to mom and a sibling. Thinking I'd probably run the baby over I pulled over and walked back. Amazingly the tiny thing was moving as fast as it could and finally joined the group. I was glad the trio made it across the busy highway but cautioned the parent to find a better place to hatch her babies other than near such a dangerous place.

Baby Killdeer look like colored cottonballs on toothpicks and weigh not much more than a thought.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Ouch ! ! !

I headed west again to near the town of Wapiti on a call from a tourist and the Forest Service about a Peregrine Falcon that was found in the middle of the Wapiti Campground. Turns out it is an adult female and she has a very badly broken left wing. She, too, will be heading to the vet today for x-rays and a diagnosis on her chances.

Again, this is probably a mom and the same rules apply as to job description for the golden below and this amazingly beautiful falcon. The very bad news is that there is no way I can get this bird back in the air before the end of Summer, if at all. And Peregrine's have many more chicks than eagles so there are that many more sky hunters that won't be there.

SAD NOTE: MISSY died last night. She went through a long, arduous surgery the day before and it was just too much for her stressed system. She will be mourned.

Shoulda ducked

This is PATCH, an adult female Golden Eagle, and you'll notice that her left eye is closed. That dark spot on the bottom is NOT her eyeball, it's just some feathers. She was apparently hit by a vehicle near the Wapiti school west of Cody. Luckily Gretchen was going out for a run and spotted her alongside the road.

When I picked her up she had a droopy right wing too but today that seems to be okay. I couldn't feel anything broken in it so perhaps it was just bruised. She goes in to see Dr. Blessing today to find out if there is any damage to her eye altho I couldn't see any when I got her eyelids apart.

The very sad thing is that if this bird does have a nest with a chick or two then we've lost them. Because at this time of the year they are still mostly downy and require feeding by a parent. In the sexist raptor world, the male brings the food but the female tears it into small pieces and hands them to the babies. Without her there he will fill the nest with prey but the babies will probably starve to death by the time I get this awesome mom back home.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Yay, Summer !

After about a month of rain and cool temperatures Summer has apparently arrived. My apple tree is in full bloom, I've just cut my lawn for the second time in a week and the high today and tomorrow did and will hit in the 80s. I had to put some shade screens around my newly transplanted tomato plant, it was wilting in the heat!

Now I guess I'll have to start watering everything but that's okay, I love my yard and this year it's looking particularly great. Even all my little transplanted aspen trees are alive. One has no leaves yet but the branches are pliable so I assume it's just going to be a late bloomer.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

JAWS (not the shark)

Today I traveled to Byron and picked up what I was told was a Sharp-shinned Hawk. As is often the case, the bird changed species by the time I got there. This is a very beautiful adult female Peregrine Falcon. She has a broken left wing that's going to be a challenge to repair but she will be given a chance. She's also very, very thin so perhaps didn't the break didn't happen recently. Amazingly, the x-ray also showed an air pistol pellet in her left leg near her hock. That must have happened long ago as there is no wound but you can feel it below the skin.

Even as thin as she is she has an ATTITUDE ! ! ! ! Her name is MAXINE as in the cranky cartoon lady. When I was taking her out of the crate to be examined she clamped onto my hand and wouldn't let go. Luckily Jackie put the end of her pen in the corner of her beak and she opened wide enough for me to rescue my poor thumb.

Her surgery is not scheduled until this coming Tuesday because she's so thin she might not survive the anesthesia. She only weighs 17.28 ounces which is very light. She's already had some quail breast with the remaining bird in the frig waiting for her to make sure she can keep that down. Keep your fingers crossed.