Monday, January 30, 2012


I very rarely receive Merlins as patients but right now there are two living here. HOLLY came in on 12/22 with a broken wing. She goes in tomorrow for a re-xray to see if it's healed enough to remove the pins.

The other Merlin is an immature male, RANCHER, who was found hiding in a crack between bales in a haystack outside of Powell. Luckily the owners spotted him running along the ground and diving into the safe place. I can find nothing wrong with him and as you can see in the top photo, he's just about the handsomest young bird I've seen. He's alert, in great weight so I find no reason why he wouldn't fly. Of course the hurricane force, cold wind, blowing may have had something to do with his trying to find a protective hole. I'll keep him for a while to see if he gets strong enough for release.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Saying Goodbye

This is a very sad day for me. I just received a phone call from the Beartooth Nature Center in Red Lodge telling me that my very old friend, BUSTER, was found dead this morning. I got him as a six month old baby with a broken wing. Altho it was repaired he was never able to fly so became one of my first school birds. He died at the age of 21.

After I gave up my possession permit I asked Ruth at the BNC to take him and she agreed to do so. That was back in 2005 and he was joined by PARKER shortly afterwards. They became devoted to each other and altho they produced many eggs, none of them were fertile. I'm sure she's having a hard time trying to figure out just where her loyal mate has gone. We will mourn him for a long time.

The above photos show BUSTER as a young bird on my fist. Second is at the annual BBHC Indian Powwow showing this wonderful bird to the kids gathered around. The third is just a week before he left for his new home in Red Lodge. And last is a painting done of him by famous artist, Scott Weir, in 1999 after he visited here for material to use in his work. This is as BUSTER should have looked, both wings working and scanning the horizon. I know that he's exactly that now, his body whole, flying in the clouds, vibrant and enjoying his new freedom.

Thursday, March 8, BUSTER came home today for the last time.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Another golden moment

I got another call yesterday about a downed Golden Eagle on the Belfry Hiway near the Chief Joseph turnoff. The brother of a friend was traveling to Cody for a visit when he spotted the bird. He called his brother Jerry who called me. Before I could get out the door he called back to say that a State Trooper stopped to see if he was having car trouble and volunteered to stand guard until I got there. Unfortunately I didn't learn her name but she was great.

Because of the symptoms, JOSEPHINE may be in either an acute stage of lead poisoning or an advanced case. She is unable to stand or open her feet. That is a classic sign of lead in the birds system. I immediately took her to Dr. Blessing for a blood draw so it could be sent to the state lab for a diagnosis. I won't know the outcome of the test until tomorrow but it is imperative she start on Calcium EDTA at once to counteract the lead. That means she receives six shots a day, three in the morning and three 12 hours later. And because she can't tear her food as she can't stand on it, I am cutting it up for her and feeding her.

She has a super attitude and because of her age, an adult, she will hopefully recover in time to rejoin her mate, if she has one, for this upcoming breeding season. They mate for life and at this time of the year they are courting before preparing their nest for egg laying.

NOTE: The results of her blood test are in and are alarming. Normal lead level is .05ppm. Her level is 1.59ppm. She appears to be improving and trying to stand. She's also feeding herself from a bowl I put down with the cut up food in it.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

First of the year

I got a call yesterday from a lady who was following a truck and stock trailer when they passed a dead deer on the side of the road. As the trailer came abreast of the body a golden eagle lifted off and unfortunately couldn't get high enough to miss hitting the side of the trailer. She hit the trailer, it didn't hit her. Luckily Terry, who was driving a big rig for a Powell trucking company, called me. When she said the bird had slowly walked off the road I asked her to see if it could fly by walking towards it. This amazing lady "turned her rig around" and did just that.

The bird couldn't fly but Terry was fully loaded and had to get to Powell so I called Benje Brown in Thermopolis, the nearest WGF warden to where the accident happened. Benje agreed to try and find the bird and he did. I met him at the gas station in Meeteetse and brought the eagle back here.

I'll name her JANUS, which I was told is the word that the month of January is named after. There are no broken bones but she's a bit frazzled. She had a full crop from eating on the deer and during the night tossed part of that meal up. As it was -6 this morning I moved her into the cage room. Then by noon it was up to 45 so she went back to the 8'x 8' outside pen. She wasn't standing much when I got her but she's fine now altho still hadn't gotten up on a perch when the sun went down. As she is in good weight I won't offer her any food until tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

They're off !

Last Friday night was one for the dogs. The corgis and jack russells that is. The 2nd annual races were held at the Cody Cattle Company building and were a delight to see and participate in. I was a handler of JADA, the little dog in the pink number cloth. Her brother, BUSTER is in the lead, TARZAN is #2, BENNY is #5 and OSCAR is bringing up the rear. JADA went on to win three races that night but not the calcutta, BENNY came in first in that huge race. Not large in numbers of dogs but in money for the winning dog. JADA actually had the most backing but didn't make it four in a row. Oh well, there's always next year.

Be sure to remember to mark your calendars for about this time in 2013 so you can have fun, eat food, participate in a silent auction and support the Park County Animal Shelter.

She's flown away

Last Thursday PRISCILLA was released in an amazing area just east of Lovell with Susan and Rick along to video the event. The video is on YouTube and in the video section of this blog. Unfortunately my camera said NO when I tried to take some still photos of her flying off. Susan was able to isolate this photo from the video so we have a photo to add to this post.

I haven't received the final report on her mercury poisoning levels but it is obvious that she somehow overcame that terrible condition and was able to be released after being found unable to fly on Thanksgiving Day. Thanks to everyone for their help in making that happen.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Ahhhhhh, a dogs life

What could be better, a warm place in the sun, a Kong toy nearby and a full tummy. MADDIE found her perfect place one bright day and took advantage of it.

Unusual visitor

As I was heading out to start cleaning my rodents I happened to spot this visitor sitting on the top of the closest power pole to my house. This is a Prairie Falcon just scouting out what's for lunch. As I have loads of sparrows around, and they love them, this falcon may just catch one.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Intruder ! ! ! !

All right, what's wrong with this picture? Can't see the interloper? Look in the far right corner next to the fence post. That is NOT a chicken....that is an adult Cooper's Hawk. Thank goodness this 20 ounce bird was either not tough enough to take down one of my eight pound "ladies" or I arrived in time to stop the killing. I got my long handled net and tried to catch it but the fence wire is far enough apart to allow him to squeeze through when I got too close.

Hopefully this beautiful bird will spend its time chasing and catching the bazillion sparrows I have stealing my chicken feed. Perhaps that's how he got into the pen, followed one of the sparrows when it headed inside for lunch.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

New magazine

A wonderful friend, licensed falconer and subpermitee, Stacey Huston, has started up a new magazine and I'm sure you will all love it. Here is how Stacey describes this exciting publication...

"This is a wildlife photography magazine about our passions, family, nature and our place in it. This is a first "trial issue" of A "Focus" in the Wild to see what kind of response I get from the public. If it is well received I would like to publish a quarterly magazine, one to highlight each of our magnificent and ever changing seasons. Each issue will feature a person, group, or organization (note that IBR is in featured in this premier issue) that not only loves nature and what it has to offer but also gives back in one way or another. Also, this world is full of talented people and the Spotlight section is dedicated to them be it another wildlife or nature photographer, writer, or artist. A " Focus" in the Wild is about sharing and doing our part to insure that the beautiful natural world we live in is there to nurture future generations. I published a magazine not only because it is affordable but because I wanted it to be accessible to children so people of all ages would feel comfortable looking through it, reading the stories and wrinkling the pages without guilt".

Cost is $5.99 plus shipping and handling from her website (see links section of this blog) (paypal link in right column on her site). Anyone interested in purchasing limited and selective advertising space for future issues can contact her at

Above photo is the cover of this first of hopefully many exciting issues to come.

A new home

Today I sent REDDI off to a new home. He's actually in the air as I type heading for The Living Desert in Palm Desert, CA (, an awesome facility that is the home of many species of mammals, herps and birds. I've even seen them highlighted on PBS nature programs including one segment of Jarod Miller's Exploration just last Saturday.

This beautiful young bird came to IBR as a partially downy baby just recently fledged. Unfortunately he wasn't very good at steering or landing so ended up with a broken left wing. It was surgically repaired and healed but he was unable to fully extend that wing enough for flying more than short distances.

He is an amazing bird and will make a brilliant educational bird on a fist so they will be using him for their outreach school programs. With a life span, in captivity, of a few decades, he will be impressing audiences for a long time.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Giant step for PRISCILLA

As noted in an earlier post, the baby bald eagle, PRISCILLA, came to me on Thanksgiving Day suffering from severe mercury poisoning. She was unable to fly, wouldn't eat, was extremely aggressive and had a swollen right foot.

Since that time she's made steady progress altho her mercury levels have not gone down at all. I put her in a larger mew a couple weeks ago. For the first week or so I had to cut up her food into small pieces and line them up on top of the perch she was finally able to fly to. Then last week she started eating on her own, whole trout and parts of rabbits and rats.

This morning I put her into my eagle flight barn to see just how strong she has become. She surprised me by flying the entire 80' length and back again. These two photos show her on the tower, a bit higher than I can reach, and on the highest wall perch at the 20' high opposite end of the barn.

She will have her blood drawn one more time next week and then no matter what the test shows I'll take her to a great habitat and release her. As she came in here weighing 10 pounds, a super weight for a baby only 8 months old, she obvioulsy knows how to find and catch food. No training will be needed.