Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Home safe

Here are the latest photos of all my "ladies" in their safe haven. The new hen house is finished with the old girls living in it. The old house was refurbished so the new youngsters would have a home too. They aren't laying yet but should start in September. I am also planning on trying to add 20 more to their group but those should already be laying.

After so many deaths at the hands of predators, i.e. fox, raccoon and skunk, it feels good to have them all behind the fencing around their large yards. Of course there are now grasshoppers around the house which were never there when the hens were roaming near it but it's worth a few buzzing insects knowing the "ladies" are safe.

The dark roofing is the shade cloth now over the top as it's been so hot this summer.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Whisperers extrordinaire

This is a wonderful photo of two amazing people. Elijah Cobb with the rooster on his shoulder and Linda Raynolds holding the hen. These two people are chicken whisperers of the highest order. They have super hens and a few very handsome roosters living all together at their place on the edge of town.

Linda is also a very well known artist working in lots of mediums. And Elijah is a superior photographer of anything you can name. Including furniture, cups and saucers as he did for me, various subjects that most people would never consider as art and everything else in the world.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

What's on tonight?

My TV watching dog, MADDIE, is very interested in this program on wildlife. She actually watches a lot of television but is particular on what she observes. She especially loves AFV and their "going to the dog park" segment.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Flying high !

My two youngest raptors have learned the art of going up, up, and away! Well, not away yet but they're closer to being releasable. The top two photos show SNOOPY sitting on the highest wall perch and then flying across the top of the 80' flight barn to the tower at the opposite end.

The bottom photo is of DAVIS, my dark phase baby red-tailed hawk that arrived here severely starved and unable to do much of anything. She's now also on the highest perch in her mew and is making live kills. She will be released up the Northfork in a couple weeks.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Temporary guests

Yesterday I agreed to keep these banty roosters temporarily until a new home can be found for them. They are extordinarily handsome fellows and only about six months old. Luckily I have an empty pen for the time being but they will not stay here. Altho I love hearing the sound of a rooster crowing, I hate bullys and most roosters are just that to hens.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

He's gone

but not forgotten. I don't mean as in dead, I mean as in he flew away this morning. SPENSER started the rest of his life on the Northfork at about 8 o'clock with the sun shining off the mountain and tree tops. The top photo shows him sitting in a dead treetop (look closely for the dark lump under the high peak) just taking in all that breathtaking scenery.

The bottom photo is of Melissa Hill helping with the release. She's working with the raptor program that will be starting at the BBHC as soon as the birds arrive. Thanks Melissa for the help.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

First there were 10......

But only five of the pheasant eggs I received many weeks ago hatched. These five are now going to be released on the Curtis place north of town which is where they came from. Every year when Stan is out swathing his hay he usually comes across a pheasant nest full of eggs. This year it wasn't until he went back to bale the hay that he found it.

These babies will be in a very safe place where there are already pheasants living so it's apparently the right habitat for them. Hopefully they won't fall victim to hunters or predators and live a long life.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Happy campers

More than a year ago I transplanted some cloned aspen trees to a small section of my side yard. I was pleased that all but one made the transition to their new home so last spring I scattered some wildflower seeds around them. As the seeds had been living in my frig for years I wasn't sure if any would germinate but they did. Not a lot but enough to bring some color to the area.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Regal visitors

Today, when I returned from taking a crow to the vet, I found I had some rather large visitors sitting on the power poles leading to my front gate. If you'll look closely you'll see an adult golden eagle on top of two of them. I have no idea where they nest but it must be someplace nearby, I just can't find it. As there is no young bird with them they may not have had any this year or lost the chick(s).

Graduation day, sort of

Today little SQUEEK moved to an outside big boy pen. He's old enough now that he should be thinking about flying and hopefully his large mew, 8'x 8', will inspire him to do just that. I have no idea why this baby was such a late hatch but the bad news is that swainson's hawks are now gathering in huge numbers for their migration to South America. That means they will be starting the long journey soon and this baby won't be ready for it. It looks as if I'll have to winter him over here or send him somewhere south where he can wait until they return in the Spring.

In the meantime, he's becoming more aggressive to me, which is a good thing, and hopefully will become self sufficient in his mind and not think he needs a human for companionship. He now has a mirror in his pen so he can see another swainson's.

Monday, August 15, 2011


This is AHAB, a two month old male osprey who apparently didn't have a very good landing this morning. Instead of using his two feet he ended up hitting his chest on the ground. Because of the bruising he's unable to open and close his feet very vast. Nor can he stand at the moment.

Thanks to Phyllis Baker, the land owner where the nest is located, he was quickly found and gathered up. Benj Brown, WGF biologist in Thermopolis, met me half way and transferred this baby to me this morning.

Now the problem is finding enough fish to fill him up. As that's the only thing they eat it will be a challenge but I have friends who love to fish and have said they'd help. I can also buy trout at the store but it's not the whole body. If all goes right this young bird will only be here for a couple weeks. He just has to be strong enough to use his feet as they were designed to catch and hold fish.

This photo shows him being weighed (2# 14oz) before being settled into his container of shredded paper which will support him while he's getting stronger.

Note: Today, Wednesday, I put AHAB down. He'd lost all movement in his feet so there was no hope of him every being able to stand and feed himself. Not a good week at IBR with the loss of both the old eagle and this beautifuly baby.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Baby boy is growing up

This most recent photo of SQUEEK shows just how much he's grown in the past 11 days. He can now get on a big boy perch and he's eating on his own. I still have to cut his mice into pieces but he's picking them up by himself and if hungry enough will rip and tear some if I leave a larger piece in the cage.

I'm not having the best of luck in keeping him from imprinting tho. I have photos of adult swainson's hawks taped to the front of his cage but will have to get more as he's now peeking under them and by standing on the perch he can see over them. As soon as possible he'll go outside to a mew that will allow him to see the world go by to stimulate him.

Fingers crossed

This is a very sick adult male golden eagle that was found up on the mountain outside of Thermopolis. Luckily the people up there spotted him and called Benj Brown, the WGF biologist there who then called me. This was a trip of about 110 miles with the last 6.2 miles on a very rocky, sandy, steep in places, dirt road. Luckily I have 4WD so it was a long crawl onward and upward.

I have no idea what ails this beautiful bird, he's severely starved, only weighing a bit over four pounds. He should be twice that and with his age there should be no reason for him to be unable to catch a meal. Because it was a Saturday afternoon I was unable to take him in for an exam but tomorrow he'll be seen and blood work done.

Thanks to his rescuers bringing him a large pan of water he at least had moisture. He was standing in it by the time I got there. Now we come to his name, TROUT. That's what the people gave him to eat not knowing that this species doesn't eat them. That's okay, their heart was in the right place.

Last night and today he's received some electrolytes in the form of Lactated Ringers solution and this morning I added a special carnivore diet to it. It's a very potent powder that's mixed with water and given through a tube to his crop or stomach. I was absolutely astounded to see him standing up this morning. As you can see, he's not strong enough to perch high, the folded towel is enough for the moment, thank you very much.

Note: He died this evening about 5 o'clock. Just too much to overcome.
8/18: Preliminary report back from vet lab. Lead and WNV tests are pending but at this point it appears that he has a tuburculosis or fungal lesion to the right shoulder joint. The mass made it almost impossible for him to fly and therefore to hunt food.


That's what the bandage says around LAURA, an adult female kestrel that was found a week ago with a broken wing. It has been repaired but the flight of this bird may be in question as it was an old fracture that had started healing. As these birds love grasshoppers I assume she lived on those she could catch on foot until she was found. If attitude has anything to do with it she will fly free again.

Awesome presentation

One of my great friends, Jonathan Wood, has an amazing job. He takes live birds of prey all over the United States and does programs for the public. You'll see in this photo, the stunning display he's now doing in NJ that he calls Extreme Raptors.

You'll notice the very beautiful golden eagle on the left side of the photo. Her name is MORIAH and she came from IBR. When the eagle he got from me in 1993 was failing a couple years ago he called to see if I had another he could acquire. MORIAH was only three that year so will be with him for a long time to come.

The others in the photo are his wife, Susan, and their daughter, Rachael. All three of them put on the best show and as you can see, include a huge variety of raptors. If they ever get to your area be sure to go see them, you won't be disappointed.

Note: See Links above right and click on it to see their website.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

She made it !

SNOOPY has now gained the third higest perch in the eagle barn. Next comes the two wall perches that are at approximately 10' and 20' above the ground. Once she makes those two goals she's officially a strong flyer.

The eagle lower down is PATCH who still hasn't made up her mind if she can fly. She suffered a concussion and swelling around her left eye after being hit by a car. The eye is just fine now but the concussion may keep her out of the air for a while. As an adult she doesn't need any training to make it in the wild but she will have to be able to fly well enough for release.

Friday, August 12, 2011

This is a ????????

I think it's an immature rufous-morph red-tailed hawk but not sure. He's very thin, about a pound and a half, at least a half pound lighter than he should be. I say he but don't know if it's a male or female. Perhaps because of the size it is a female. There doesn't seem to be anything wrong but the starvation so he got fluids and mouse pieces this evening when I arrived back from gathering him about 17 miles up the Southfork Road near Cody. I'll let you know what I find out.

She's airborne

A couple days ago baby SNOOPY, the not quite four month old golden eagle, flew for the first time. Not an elegant process but she did make it the full 80' to the end of the flight barn. Today she flew to the top of the tower, the one you can see in the photo way in the back. Naturally I didn't have my camera with me at the time.

This time she only made it to the lower spot, the nest box that my old JULIE used whenever she laid eggs. It was still a great moment and one I was pleased to record. Now she just needs some air time and proof that she can make live kills and she'll be ready for release.

Good luck

Two wonderful young men, Nathan and Patrick, have finished their internship at the BBHC and are heading back to school at the University of Wyoming. They spent their time here doing lots of things which included monitoring an eagle nest, helping to build a new mews and working on projects related to birds of prey.

They also put in lots of hours here at IBR helping with some heavy work and also some construction in the new hen house. Thanks guys for all your help. I wish you both well, a great career in your chosen field and a long, healthy life. Be sure to stop by when you're in Cody.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

My ladies have a renovated home

Both my chicken houses are now occupied. The new one has the old ladies as there are more of them and a bigger yard. The renovated old house is home to the 26 young hens who will start laying next month if all goes as planned. And now they also have a sign to hang on the fence so everyone will know just what it is.

Thanks to my friend Jenny in CA who suggested the name and Tiffany for cutting out the sparkly silver vinyl. It's hard to tell but on each large starburst there's "diamond" inserted. Now when the sun hits it there will be sparkles galore.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

She flew !

Snoopy the beagle has nothing on SNOOPY the eagle. And she didn't even need a blimp to do it. My SNOOPY took her first flight yesterday in the eagle barn. If you check the earlier blogs in the "golden eagle" catagory you'll see her picture. Naturally I didn't have a camera at the big moment. Now that she's learned she can do such an amazing feat I hope she'll keep it up. And next time I'll try to be ready to record the event.

Monday, August 8, 2011

I am honored....

As many of you know, I volunteer at the Buffalo Bill Historical Center here in Cody. About 99% of my work is for the graphics department but when I started out 28 years ago I did a lot of things.

Today they asked me to come to their monthly staff meeting as they had a "special recognition" to give me. It turned out to be two awards, one a beautiful coin made in 2008 commemorating the bald eagle. It was for tying for the most miles driven in this years eagle monitoring project.

The second is a certificate giving me the Spirit of the American West Award. It states it's for my "contributions going above and beyond expectations". This was great to receive and I'm thrilled to have it. Thanks everyone at the BBHC for making this a very memorable day.

Note: the coin is on the bottom left side of the certificate. I wish I could have shown both sides.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Late hatch

This is SQUEEK, a baby Swainson's Hawk, about 30 days old and was hatched in a nest at about 8,000 feet near Alcova. He was blown out of his nest, about 100' above the ground two days ago and rescued by Buck Braten in Meeteetse.

Altho this baby bird was fed the wrong diet for two days, he managed to survive until he arrived today. He was barely able to sit on his hocks at 9:30 this morning but by 4:00 this afternoon, after eating six young mice and getting some fluids, he's up on his feet and begging for food. Hence the name, he squeeks after every bite so I don't forget to give him another one.

Swainson's Hawks make a very long migration to South America for the winter which causes a bit of a dilemma for this bird as he won't have an adult to show him the route. He will either have to be trained to hunt and then be released in time or wintered over until they arrive back in the Spring. Until decision time is here it's a good thing I have lots of mice on hand.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Young and old(er)

This photograph shows the difference in feather coloration between a Golden Eagle at three months old, SNOOPY on the left, and one that is probably 6-8 years old, PATCH on the right. These two females are destined for release when ready, the youngster still hasn't flown yet but will soon. The older bird is recovering from an eye injury and will go back where she came from when the time is right.

Aren't they just the most beautiful ladies!

She's flown away

I just got back from Lovell (50 miles from Cody) after releasing SQUIRREL back near where she came from. I stopped by the Lovell police department to let them know as they were the ones who originally rescued her. One of them came along to record the release but just to be on the safe side he used his video camera instead of the still one. Good thing as she blasted out of the crate and sped to the largest tree she could find. While we were trying to see if we could find her for a photo she dashed off again and finally flew out of sight.

That's the reason I do this, for the awesome thrill seeing them fly away, back where they belong.