Sunday, July 31, 2011

Growing up

The latest photos of ZORRO and ZACK, the baby falcons pictured in an earlier post (see J. Bieber eat your heart out). They're a few months old now and very handsome. The third photo is of ZENA, another falcon owned by the same people. Right now her job is to act as a stabilizing force in the lives of these babies. I was surprised when the photo of ZORRO came out with his mouth shut, notice that ZACK's is wide open screaming for food.

These very striking babies will be hunting soon after some intense training by their master falconer owners.

Out and about.....finally

Today I drove the 30 miles to do my eagle nest monitoring. Three of us have been doing this for weeks now, never thinking this baby eagle would ever fledge. He's about three to four weeks behind the others being monitored.

Today when I got there I finally found him above the nest in a weedy area. He was eating and calling at the same time, did so for about a half hour. Over the next hour and a half he finished his meal and started walking. As you can see by the photo, he made it quite far to the highest point on the cliff. He's the bump on the top of the rock to the left in the picture. The nest is on the far right side of the photo.

I was hoping he'd fly while I was there but he just sat there preening and vocalizing. With his crop so full he may have just been looking for his parents.

They're gone...

Today I released both BUMP and DITTO, the GHOs I got in as two week old nestlings. They proved they were ready to go but in a dramatic way. Two days ago when I was in their pen I ducked under a perch just as a bird flew overhead. I didn't give it any thought until this morning. I was again in their pen and picking up a piece of a rat they didn't finish during the night. This time that same bird flew over but struck me in the back of the head. For a second I had his talons imbedded in my scalp, not a fun thing to have happen.

I've never had such an aggressive owl here so was taken completely by surprise by this attack. Needless to say, I drove them to a marvelous habitat full of large cottonwoods, evergreens and even a river in the area. I got a couple photos, don't know which is which, and they were quick so one is very blurry. Hopefully they will use that attitude and live long lives.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Trying to hide

This tiny baby is a cliff swallow and was brought to me by a very caring individual who was traveling from MA to CA and stopped in Lovell. When he found the little bird the nest was nearby but broken. As you know, they are made of dried mud so it doesn't take much to shatter them. The gentleman went on the internet, found my name and called me.

This young bird is trying to hide from view in my hand and altho he's a bit afraid of the big person, he is eating when I put the bugs in his mouth. Unfortunately it was the only survivor but I have lots of swallows working over the fields near the house so it won't lack for company when ready to fly away. And that won't be long as it's almost fully feathered. The bad thing is that I can't support the baby once it fledges as they only eat when they fly. Needless to say it won't be coming back for a snack so hopefully it will learn as it flys amongst the adults.

Don't you dare!

Or the caption could be "Just try it, come on, make my day". This is SQUIRREL, an adult female Cooper's Hawk brought in yesterday evening by Rick King, the Lovell WGF warden. She was found near the center of town unwilling to fly altho I can't find anything broken. There is some bruising on her left wing so perhaps she hit a window while chasing her favorite meal, a small bird.

She will be x-rayed as soon as possible and if nothing is wrong I'll put her in a flight area so she can prove to me she's able to fly strong enough to be taken back where she was found. As she may have a mate there she will be returned to that same area. Hopefully, if she does have chicks, they've already fledged and are well on their way to an independent life.

Note: The x-rays show no damage at all. She's a fiesty bird, punched through my leather glove as I was gathering her up for the trip to the vet. She is certainly quick with her feet. The good news is she also ate most of the half quail I put in her cage. This weekend she'll go into the flight area for some needed exercise.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Updated photo

OMG!, Jan and Lee Hermann came by today to buy some eggs and gave me a few photos he took while out flying his plane. It's outstanding! You can see all the new mews, the red additions to the blue buildings, plus the added chicken house attached to the left of the old one.

Unfortunately weather hasn't been a good friend in the past years so a lot of my original windbreak has died. And this year we had such a long wet Spring that the weeds took over. I had a great fellow, Mike, come over with his tractor and mower to get down the tall stuff near the house and drive but the fields are still waist high. My little lawnmower can only do so much but I keep at it.

Thanks to the Hermanns for taking these photos every so often so I can share with everyone the constantly changing face of IBR.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Wanna go on a snipe hunt?

Yes, there really is a bird called a snipe. Looking like something put together by a committee, this baby snipe was brought in by a cat but luckily not injured in any way. The gentleman who found it will return the baby to that same area because altho this bird is not an adult it is old enough to be on its own. That and that habitat is obvioulsy a place that snipes chose to live so there will be others of its kind there.


Well, not much to worry about here, this is a bull snake we saw as it ran across the drive where we released the baby magpies. Very long and quick so I only got the back half before he disappeared under the evergreen. It was quite hot out, he was seeking a cool place to stay.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Flying free

Today I released the two baby Black-billed Magpies with the help of Shig Yabu and Fern Bath. She found them in their nest after the parents weren't seen for two days and Shig raised a baby magpie while at the Heart Mountain Relocation Center during WWII. You can see their outstretched arms a moment after release. You'll also notice that each bird was heading a different direction. I hope they found each other later on so they would have company until they make their decision as to where to live. Thanks you two for the help.

Too soon????

Maybe...This beautiful pristine baby Golden Eagle may have come out of the nest too soon as she was found on the ground unwilling to fly. There doesn't seem to be anything wrong altho she's a bit thin. There is a nest nearby where she was found near Byron but until we find adults in the exact area she won't be going back there. At this age she needs the support of the parents until she learns how to hunt for herself.

If her parents aren't seen at all in the area she will remain here for training so she will be able to make it in the wild. As you can see by her attitude, she's a bit confused with all that's been happening. Doesn't she look just like SNOOPY sitting on top of his dog house pretending to be a vulture?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Bad day for babies

Yesterday and today I drove many miles to retrieve two baby GHOs and one baby Cooper's Hawk. The first owl has a broken wing and will undergo surgery on Wednesday to see if we can fix it well enough for him to fly. His name is REDDI.

The second baby owl came from up the Southfork and unfortunately this looks as if it may be an electrocution. He's just about four months old and was found under a transformer. The wounds to his right wing and left foot are typical of this type of damage, I'll give him a week to see what developes.

The Cooper's Hawk baby was found under the nest tree alongside his dead sibling. The mom was very attentive and even tried to feed him while he waited in a bunny cage for me to arrive. I don't know if there are any other babies in the nest, hopefully there are. Unfortunately this baby suffered a very severely fractured left wing at his elbow joint and it was non-repairable. He was euthanized at about 3 1/2-4 months old. So sad.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Goodbye SPIRIT

Yesterday I learned of the death of a dear friend at age 13 years, 9 months. This one has four legs and is very hairy and her name is SPIRIT. I met her owner a few years ago when she received a Rough-legged Hawk from me for use in her educational programs in California. (see links, Native Bird Connections). Since then Jenny has also taken three other raptors and survived breast cancer. Now this latest blow is the most devastating.

SPIRIT was just that, a wonderful dog, never met a stranger, and brought such joy to all. As you can see in the above photos, Jenny and SPIRIT came here on a vacation and this amazing dog became a foster mom to Ms. FRIZZ, a banty hen. This loving dog will be sorely missed by all who knew her.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Howdy pardner !

Her name is CASSIDY, aka HOPALONG. Okay I know that one of the stars of my childhood is a man but as you can see from this photo, this American Crow has shoes on both feet and a cast on one leg. She came up to me from Laramie suffering from the broken leg and one foot that wouldn't work. She had surgery today and hopefully all will heal and she'll be releasable.

Thanks Cathryn and Melissa for transporting her up here, it's a long drive from the SE corner of WY to the NW corner.

She's doing it again!

My adult domestic mommy dove has come through again. After her foster Mourning Dove babies were released almost two weeks ago, I got in another baby. I didn't know if she would accept a second family but amazingly she has. Again, I don't know if this is the same species or a Eurasian Collared Dove but she doesn't care, she knows her job and she's doing it. Yay! ! !

Monday, July 4, 2011

Lucky baby

This baby Red-tailed Hawk was found yesterday after being blown out of his nest. The bad part is that the nest was about three stories high. Luckily he has enough wing feathers so his frantic flapping turned into a controled crash. He was found in the town of Cowley, about an hours drive from here. The family who found him, the Hedges, called me, gathered him up, put him in a box and met me in Byron.

His name is SPENSER and is very thin. Perhaps he was the last hatched and already being smaller due to the fact he's a male, he received less food. Last night he received fluids and mouse pieces which he readily ate.

When he's ready he'll be handed over to one of my sub-permittees, both are licensed master falconers, trained to hunt and be ready for life in the wild.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Now flying

Here's a photo of the baby magpies in their mew. The older bird (long tail) is non-releasable and waiting to go to NC as an educational bird. In the meantime she's being a great role model to show these babies just how to eat all the stuff they'll live on in the wild. Both of the little ones are now flying altho the larger is going farther and higher. They will be released in a couple weeks with the help of Shig Yabu, the gentleman shown in an earlier post who wrote a childrens book about the baby magpie he raised while interred at the Heart Mountain Relocation Center during WWII. (See earlier post)

Getting older and bolder

Here's the most recent photo of the baby ferruginous hawks. As you can see they have been venturing out of the nest. The one on top of the rock and the one straight below the nest are the boldest. The one in the nest is, I believe, one of the parents so I have no idea where the other two chicks are. Probably either laying down in the nest or in a hidey hole to the right of it.

I did have a heart stopping moment when I was looking at them. All of a sudden one bird took off and I was sure it was a baby. After banking around so I could see the underside I realized it was a parent I'd not seen, probably way back in the nest. As I was below them I couldn't see it.

Tomorrow is Independence Day, wonder if any of these chicks will decide that's the day to become just that, sort of.