Saturday, October 29, 2011

Size difference

Just to show everyone the difference in size between male and female golden is TROOPER ROCCO, the male, and PATCH, the female. As you can see, the male is much smaller only weighing around nine pounds. The female comes in at 13 pounds. These are the two birds just released and shown in the posts below.

Friday, October 28, 2011

He's back in the air

Yesterday I drove back to north of Clark and released TROOPER ROCCO. He didn't stay here very long but after proving to me that he could fly strong he was ready to return to where he was found. He made three long flights as we watched and amazingly enough was soon being followed by an adult golden we'd spotted sitting on a hilltop when we stopped the car.

Thanks to Susan Osborne and Sammi Bray for joining in the release. Susan has taken videos of the past three releases and you can see them in one of the videos shown in the upper right of this blog. Just click on the one of me holding an eagle (it's TR) and you can see it unfold. Also included is a redtail release and the start of one for PATCH, the golden shown below. Unfortunately the only thing we got was me holding her just before I released her. Enjoy.

Another good one

Today I again went out to release a golden eagle, this one is PATCH, an adult female who was hit by a vehicle back in June. I was joined by Susan Osborne (photographer), Gretchen Wood (the lady who originally found the bird), Lynne Bama and Richard Gruber who live nearby and are very into birds.

Not the textbook release I was hoping for, she was caught in the wind and made a very short flight with a bad landing. She started climbing up the steep hill with me in pursuit to make sure she was okay. By the time we both got to the top she was fine and I was winded. She then gave me one more look and flew off to the top of another, farther hill.

The most amazing thing is that after about an hour another adult golden landed near her. They conversed for some time and when he flew off PATCH started to follow but decided not to fly at that time. She finally flew over the hill and landed again. At this time Gretchen, who had been keeping vigil on her to make sure she was okay, followed and moved towards the bird. Again, the look, and PATCH finally took to the air and started soaring above the valley. It was an amazing sight and altho it took a long time for her to leave the area she did it with strength and determination.

You can see just how huge this bird is when you notice she goes from my shoulder to my knees. She came in weighing almost 10 1/2 pounds and left at a bit over 13 pounds. A very big girl.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A different species

Today I got a call from our local oil field, Oregon Basin, about a couple of ducks they'd found near their gas plant. There were three but one of them fell to the ground, took a couple steps and then died. The other two were just there, not doing anything.

When I got there I easily gathered up the two live birds but they were acting very odd, never even tried to fly away. The dead bird was sent to the state lab for testing to see if it can be determined just what killed the bird.

Since the two survivors have been in the warmth of my cage room they've perked up considerably. We decided, after a lot of checking, that these are either all female Redhead Ducks or young of the year that, if drakes, won't get their colorful plumage until next year.

Now it's wait and see if these two survive and just what killed the third one.

On another note... I talked with the people doing a bird count on the lakes near the airport and they reported seeing an Oldsquaw, now called a Long-tailed Duck, which has only been documented a few times in Wyoming. A wonderful sighting.

Monday, October 24, 2011

First one of the year

Today, as I drove up to my house from taking HARVEY to vet for another exam, I saw a large raptor soaring around. Imagine my surprise when I realized it was a Rough-legged Hawk, the first one I've seen this season. They usually don't get down here from above the Artic Circle until sometime in November so either this one has very itchy feet or the weather and food supply is very bad up there.

Unfortunately I didn't have my camera along and by the time I drove the short distance to my house it had flown away. I wonder if this means we're going to have a hard winter too?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

I love trees

And today two more were planted here at my place. I went to Northern Gardens and found two beautiful maple trees on sale and decided I just had to have them. They are now planted outside two of the mews and will eventually provide needed shade in the summer. Of course it won't be for a few years but everyone/thing has to start someplace.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

SWAN is singing again

I just got this photo of the beautiful golden eagle, SWAN, the one shown in an earlier post hanging by one leg in a tree. Thanks to Keith Cauley for spotting her, the UT DNR for freeing her and Debbie Pappas of Second Chance Wildlife Rehabilitation for making her ready for release. Good job everyone.

Saying hello or seeking revenge.......

A couple days ago I came out to find this mess on my truck hood. It's not in the bed of the truck, just on the hood and windshield. I did clean the glass so I could see out of it but before that it was covered with bird poop.

As mentioned in an earlier post, there are hundreds of starlings soaring around while they gather for whatever trip they're planning on making for the winter. We have lots stay here all year, don't know where these came from or are going.

It's supposed to rain this evening so I'll get out there in my raincoat and clean the truck thanks to Mother Nature.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Wow ! ! ! !

I just got back from picking up a goose. Not an ordinary goose but a very amazing breed. I was answering a call from some fishermen who had this bird join their float trip and followed them to the pull out near the Corbett bridge. It wouldn't let them touch it but when I came right up to it and sort of "honked" I was able to reach out and gather it up.

This is a very beautiful and very expensive Sebastopol Goose, a breed that was developed in Europe in the middle 1800s. They are not flighted because the feathers are so curly there's no lift when they flap their wings.

I will try to find the owner but if not I guess I'll have a permanent large white bird at IBR.

Well Pooh! The owner turned out to be a neighbor about a mile from me as the crow flys. She'd been out of town when something got into the pasture and apparently scared the geese and they somehow got through the fence. She's still missing three more of these amazing birds. I hope she finds them and not just a pile of feathers.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Birds ! ! ! !

You have to be old enough to remember the Hitchcock film, The Birds, but it seems that way at my place these days. The starlings are gathering and appear almost like a school of fish in their weaving around in the air in a large mass. I tried to get a photo of them today but there was just a fraction in this flock. Of course when the large group shows itself my camera will be in he house.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

New temporary residents

Today I met fellow rehabber, Diane Morse of NEW Bird Raptor Rehabilitation in Gillete to trade birds. She's taking my SQUEEK to winter over with her adult and two immature Swainson's Hawks. She gave me ROSY, an adult female Rough-legged Hawk that is fully flighted but blind in her right eye. And ELF, an adult Saw-whet Owl that has a left wing that won't fully extend. As they are both non-relesable Diane made arrangements to place them at a facility for use in educational programs.

They are both here to save Diane from the very long, over six hour, drive to Red Lodge, MT as they are supposed to go live at the Beartooth Nature Center. Because their director suddenly left to work elsewhere it now appears as if he hadn't even started the transfer request. BNC is not contacting the USFWS and the state of MT to find out just what needs to be done so these wonderful birds can go north.

He's okay so far

He pouted and refused to stand up after the surgery. That was all yesterday evening, all night and part of early this morning but HARVEY is finally standing and eating on his own. He's already had three mice and this yummy looking rat is for supper tonight. I'll include his "after" xray when I get it from Dr. Blessing.

Note: Here's the after xray, it worked a treat.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Time will tell

Today, for over two and a half hours, Dr. Blessing and Deanna Baker worked to repair the damage to HARVEY's left wing. And at this point it was a success but as the title said, time will tell. The two bones between his wrist and elbow were broken. The largest one (ulna) was in four pieces as you can see in the xray below. The smaller (radius) in two. HARVEY is now sporting two pieces of steel in his wing holding the pieces in alignment. I'll have a new xray of the "after" shot for you to see in a couple days. By the way, there are other pellets showing in his body on the "after" xray.

As with any surgery, there are risks and the first to overcome is making it through the night as that was a long time for such a small bird to be under anesthesia. If all goes well this spunky bird will be staying in a small cage for about six weeks. Then we'll re-xray the wing to see how it's doing and if we can remove the pins.

Friday, October 7, 2011

The Scream?

Well, not really. This is HARVEY, an adult male Red-tailed Hawk found in Riverton with a broken left wing. The top photo shows him with his mouth wide open but he's not saying a thing, he's threatening me. It's a redtail thing. He was originally seen sitting on a fence but wasn't caught until the next day, yesterday. I drove down to Riverton this morning and brought him back for repair surgery. That will take place tomorrow afternoon at Dr. Blessing's here in Cody.

The bottom photo shows just why his wing was fractured. The three pellets you can see caused all the damage. The ulna is in four pieces, the radius in two but they are in pretty good position so they should be fixable and make this bird flighted again. He's in good shape, good weight, and has a good attitude. Fingers crossed that all goes well.

Unfortunately the shooter was never seen so he can't be punished for this very illegal act. Thanks to Dr. Miranda Townsend in Riverton for taking such good care of him overnight. He loved the antelope steak she fed him.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Awesome shooting

Some birds are just darn lucky that humans are around when needed. This series of photos were taken by Utah photographer Keith Cauley when he was out taking pictures of the eagles that frequent an area near where he lives. Many months ago he'd been responsible for saving the lives of two other golden eagles. He had been watching them on different days and realized that something just wasn't quite right. He called the UT DNR who came out, gathered the birds up and took them to Debbie Pappas at Second Chance Wildlife Rehabilitation (see links) in Price, UT.

In the case of this adult female it was outstanding luck she was spotted. As you can see, she's caught about 35' up in a tree by one leg. Again Keith called the UT DNR who came loaded for bear but the only thing this sharp shooter killed was the branch the eagle was trapped in. The guys holding the blanket caught the bird as she dropped. Off to Debbie for some TLC.

Wow, takes my breath away to see such a thing done and I'm glad to say there is a happy ending. I got a message from Debbie today that the eagle, SWAN, is doing just great and hopefully will be returned to that area and her mate, if she has one.

Super job everyone !

All finished

The DIVA DEN is all covered with metal now so it's maintenance free and matches all the other mews on the property. Thanks to John McGee for an awesome job. My baby hens are now laying eggs altho they're still "practice" sized but they should be "real" eggs soon. And with the protective fencing and netting above them they will be safe from ground and air predators.

Monday, October 3, 2011

She's gone

TINKERBELL made it almost to the top of a large bush/tree this afternoon on her second try. I tried for a photo but taking one of a small Cedar Waxwing sitting amongst lots of green leaves up high just didn't work. My camera decided it didn't like the shot and refused to take it. I hate when that happens. Anyway, she's back in the wild in a wonderful protected place with berries in all the yards around her release site. Thanks Melissa for bringing her to me.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Aching head

No, this isn't Mae West altho the area is very large. This is TROOPER ROCCO, a male adult golden eagle found along the Badger Basin Road about five miles east of the Belfry Hiway. He'd obviously been eating a meal when struck by a vehicle but there isn't anything broken. He does have a bit of a squinty left eye and a cut on his left foot but other than that no other damage that I can see.

Because this is an adult and in excellent condition, he weighs 7.5#, he will be returned to that area for release when he's ready. I certainly won't have to give him hunting lessons but will caution him not to look to the roads for his next meal.

Thanks to Highway Patrol Trooper Hardesty for standing guard over this injured bird until I got there.

Famous friend

Last weekend the annual Buffalo Bill Art Show and Sale took place here in Cody. One of the events is a Quick Draw where 30+ artists have one hour to produce something that will then be auctioned off at the end of that time. Over the years I've had my birds used as models and the person who used them the most is famous artist, Pati Stajcar from CO. The first was my amazing old redtail, BUSTER. Then she used IKE, a friends peregrine falcon. This year she used two of my bunnies, a fuzzy minilop and another crossbred.

Her piece came out just beautifully and was sold for many hundreds of dollars to three people in the audience. I mean that each person got their own bronze, they didn't split the one.

Thanks Pati for making that day such fun. I look forward to seeing you and Dave next year and hope to have another bird or animal for you to work your magic on.


This baby Cedar Waxwing may be young but she's already elegant. TINKERBELL was found after hitting a window at the Historical Center. Luckily someone saw her and called me. At first there didn't seem to be anything wrong but it turned out her right wing was hurt. Not broken but probably bruised. She, and I say she but don't know the actual sex, has been at IBR for over a week now and yesterday showed a great improvement when she tried to fly.

Waxwings have that name due to the red tips that show up on the ends of some wing feathers near their elbows. They are really wax and show up as they age, this baby has none yet as she was hatched this year. With their little black masks and overall muted color they seem to be rather dull looking but they are the most wonderful of birds.

TINKERBELL had taken a slight bath so her chest is wet. She should have also washed her face as you can see the strawberry residue on her beak. And she does love her berries. So far she's managed to scarf down about a quart of them every few days. Yesterday I found some ripe berries on my cotoneaster plant, she likes them too. Huckleberrys are also favored but I haven't found any of them yet.