Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Hi to an old friend

Today I deliverd a Rough-legged Hawk and a Saw-whet Owl to the Beartooth Nature Center in Red Lodge, MT. They are permanent residents now and will be used for educational programs or as static birds for visitors to see.

I also stopped by to say hello to a very old friend who came to me originally back in 1991 as a six month old baby. BUSTER was one of my first school birds and when I decided to give up my possession permit I placed him at BNC. He will be 21 years old in a few months and is looking just great. Red-tailed Hawks live about 10-15 years in the wild but usually much longer in captivity. He has a mate, PARKER, who also came from me but is just a young bird, probably only about six or seven years old.

The above photos show Buster when he and I were at our annual Powwow and just today in his mews. He was one of the best school birds and I miss not having him on my fist. He's totally retired now to a life with PARKER.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


First of all for PRISCILLA, the baby bald eagle. She had a few x-rays this morning which show no lead anywhere in her body which is good. She does have a swollen right foot but x-rays show no damage there either so that may be just a poor landing on her part. We also took blood and have sent it to the state vet lab for testing to see if she does have lead or mercury in her system and to do a CBC and tox screen for anything else. She's now eating much better too.

Okay, on to DAISY, the duck. Her x-rays show a broken bone near her foot which will be put in a splint and hopefully healing will take place so she can be released in a local lake. If attitude means anything she will be back in the wild very soon.

Number three, so far

Last Saturday I received a call from Dr. Dave Pendray. He and a friend were up pheasant hunting near Lovell when they discovered a Rough-legged Hawk that was unable to fly. At first I couldn't see anything wrong with the bird but his right wing was obviously the weaker of the two. I settled him in and was able to take him to Dr. Pedersen this morning.

We were surprised that his right wing is broken, there is one section of his ulna that is in many small pieces. The good news is that they are all pretty much in the correct position so there will not be a surgical repair of this damage. The only other strange thing is the very small amount of shrapnel in his right wrist.

DAVE is a great eater and with time he will be ready to fly back to his northern home when the roughies migrate this coming March.

Friday, November 25, 2011


I got a call this morning about an injured duck up near Bridger, MT, luckily Sean was willing to drive and meet me near Clark. I left Cody under sort of clear skys and dry pavement, got to the meeting place and chatted for a few minutes before heading back home. Imagine my surprise when I drove into a blizzard with visability to only a few hundred feet. It was, however, my favorite snow, large flakes gently falling to earth. I'm so glad that my 4WD was fixed three days ago as I needed it on the slippery roads.

Back to the duck....I think it's a female Redhead and she has some sort of wound to the joint of her right foot. She can move the leg just fine but the toes don't work right. Naturally it's a holiday weekend so I can't get her into the vet until Monday but this is not life threatening so she'll be fine til then. I suppose the logical name for her is DAISY.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving baby

I just got back from gathering up what I was told was a golden eagle. By the time I got out the Southfork near Castle Rock it turned into an immature bald eagle. As with all of that species, PRISCILLA has an attitude. She can't fly altho I don't see anything broken. She tries but her left wing isn't up to the task. And of course it's a holiday weekend so for now she's in an 8'x 8' pen until she can get to see Drs. Blessing or Pedersen the beginning of the week. Luckily I also just got in a shipment of whole trout from Albertson's so she won't lack for food.

She's not sure where she is so her pose in the photo is a bit defensive.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Sometimes it works....

And sometimes it doesn't. My handsome adult male red-tailed hawk, HARVEY, was euthanized today after a gallant fight against the odds. As mentioned in a previous post, he was found after being shot, probably with a shotgun. Some of the pellets were still in his body and his left wing was broken in many places.

Two weeks ago the pin in his ulna was removed and everything looked just fine, the breaks appeared to have healed beautifully. Today we removed the pin in his radius and that's when the new problem was noticed. He had, at some point in the intervening two weeks, rebroken his ulna at a previous site. Because the chances of those bones reattaching was very slim, and he would be hard to place as an educational bird, I made the horribly hard decision to put him to sleep.

He was a wonderful bird and I will miss seeing his alert expression greeting me every morning.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Sad news

Today I lost my beautiful immature dark phase Red-tailed Hawk, MOLLY BROWN. I have no idea what happened but for the past three days she'd been going downhill, refusing to eat and generally getting weaker. I was surprised as she started out eating everything I gave her and was active. I decided not to send her body in for an autopsy as it won't bring her back. I will remember her bright eyes and wonderful disposition. Sleep well my MOLLY.

Monday, November 14, 2011


The day is about over for me, the birds are all put to bed and the lights ready to be turned out. I spent many minutes throughout this day remembering my mother as this would have been, actually it is, her 100th birthday. She died in 2003 and I think of her often and miss our phone calls to each other every Sunday evening. Altho small in stature she was a strong lady and one I will always admire. Love you Mother....

Friday, November 11, 2011

Unusual patient

At this time of year all the cranes and herons have migrated south from our area. With the exception of STILTS. I got a call about him this morning and was shocked to find him in the middle of Juby's trailer court just standing around. Luckily a caring lady called me and even helped round him up. He can't fly but he can run. Thank goodness he went to a small fenced area so I was able to net him.

The most amazing thing is that after being x-rayed it was shown his radius/ulna had been fractured in his right wing about 5-6 weeks ago. Somehow this bird did all the right things and the bones have healed in perfect alignment. The bad news is that he is short of groceries and not strong enough now to fly away.

I've found a wonderful place, Rogers Wildlife in Hutchins, TX, who have supplied the information I needed to feed him and keep him alive long enough to get permission to send him south to a much warmer winter area. Penny gave me a variety of foods that herons eat and altho I don't have the fish I do have all else. I've put out a message to my fishing friends to help, they usually do.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

First of the season

As noted in a few previous posts, Rough-legged Hawks are hatched above the Arctic Circle and then migrate south for the Winter. And because they have no concept of humans or vehicles, they become injured by one or the other after they arrive. This beautiful baby of this year was probably hit by a car just north of Cody. Luckily Teresa saw him and realized that all was not okay. She called me and I easily caught him with a net.

As you can see, his left wing doesn't sit quite right but the x-rays show nothing broken or dislocated. He does have, however, a wound to the back of his wing near his shoulder that may account for the slight droop. He will spend a while in this smaller inside cage until I feel he can go outside to a larger pen so he can exercise his wing. Hopefully all will go well and he'll fly again and make the return migration North next March.

Oh yes, his name is TEDDY because he's just had a rough ride.

Monday, November 7, 2011

New resident

Today I received a call from Bill Robertson, the Greybull WG&F warden, saying he had a hawk he'd picked up that day after it had been found just standing in an alley in the middle of town. He wasn't sure what it was and when I picked it up I was also not sure of the species.

After looking at books I've about decided it's an immature female dark phase Red-tailed Hawk. She's not starving but thin and quickly scarfed down the three mice I put near her feet on the perch. I can't seen anything wrong with her but perhaps she just gave up because she'd been finding it harder and harder to find food. Sort of a Catch-22 problem; she can't be strong unless she finds food and she can't find food unless she's strong.

She will stay here until she's fattened up and again ready for life in the wild. That may mean wintering over to insure she will be alive and well in the new year.

Oh yes, her name is MOLLY BROWN because this problem will not sink her. And the paper behind her is to make cage cleaning easier as they seem to make it a point to poop in the corners. That stuff is hard to get off that area.

Thursday, November 3, 2011


Shades of the old west. When we found a place to release the baby eagle shown below, I was amazed to find these super cattle standing and watching just what we were doing. I could only see one bull but the steers and cows were awesome.

My baby is gone

Today the last of my golden eagles flew away. SNOOPY came here back in the middle of July after being found on the ground. She was a couple weeks from flying and somehow fell out of her nest. Altho we searched the area we were never able to locate it so she came here and was put in the flight barn with an adult female, PATCH. (see previous posts on both birds)

Today my friend Susan and I drove back to near Byron and released this amazingly beautiful baby girl. She was reluctant to come out of the crate and her first flight wasn't long but short ones from one rock formation to another. The above photo shows her sitting on a point looking around and getting her bearings. Shortly afterwards she flew off and proved just how strong she's become in the past few months.

Her flight took her up, up and away in a large circle which Susan was able to video. I don't have it yet but when I get the tape I'll include it on the release tape shown above right in the video section of this blog.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

My heart is sad

In the past couple weeks I lost two very dear friends. ROSIE gave me such wonderful rides whenever I went back to Illinois to visit my friends, Jan and Shari, or stopped to see them when on the way somewhere else. I met her when she was just a three year old in 1999. Thanks to the great training by Jan I was treated to a joyful experience on every trailride. She will be missed by everyone.

My second loss was of RASPUTIN.. He was a teenage Jack Russell terrier owned by my friend Susan, and one of only two male dogs allowed on my place. He came here to stay whenever Susan was out of town because his housemates would pick on the "old man" if they were kenneled together. Because of two bad elbows, RAZZLE DAZZLE had muscles in his hind end that allowed him to jump over tall buildings in a single bound but he had to be helped down from steps and furniture. His attitude was amazing and I will miss his spirit.