Sunday, February 26, 2012

Seeing double

Not really but there are now two Saw-whet Owls here at IBR. This is JENNA, an adult female found on the ground hiding behind a bush at a local trailer park. I have no idea what made her go there as they are totally nocturnal and favor coniferous forests. There are some large evergreen trees not too far away so maybe she just zigged when she should have zagged. I can find nothing wrong at this point but will have her examined and xrayed, if necessary, to see if there is some damage.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

What else ?????

Wow, probably shouldn't say that. I just got my truck back with new leaf springs, new sparkplug wires and a repaired tailgate. That was on Thursday. Today, as I was heading home from town the gears refused to change. Add the towing bill plus another whopping one for whatever is wrong this time.

Luckily my friend Susan has two vehicles and she is loaning me the use of her Subaru wagon until I get the truck back. Hopefully that will be only a couple days into the new week. Of course the garage doesn't know they have that ahead of them so I doubt they have the parts on hand and will have to order them.

The super young man driving the tow rig took me to the garage and we left the truck to save yet another charge. Then he brought me home and helped unload the grain sacks we'd transferred to his truck. Thanks Eagle Recovery.

BIG brother is watching you !

Well, maybe not BIG brother. Okay, maybe teeny brother. Especially as ROSIE is only four inches tall from the bottom of his feet to the top of his head. This little Saw-whet Owl is making great time in getting stronger so he will be relesable in a few days. He's about seven feet off the ground and glaring at me. His words, "Drop the mouse and no one will get hurt". Okay, I'm outta here all right, all ready.....

Friday, February 24, 2012

Mystery flight

This is an updated photo of RANCHER, an immature male Merlin who arrived here a few weeks ago unable to fly. Xrays showed that he has practically no muscle delineation from his elbow to shoulder in his left wing. That would explain why he couldn't fly when found.

If you'll notice in this photo, he's rather high up in his 8'x 20' mew and this isn't the highest he's flown. He's regularly found at the very top of the mew, about 15+ feet up.

At this point I don't see how he's able to do this but will take him in for further xrays to see just what's happening with that wing. Now I'm hopeful that he'll eventually be strong enough for release.

A lesson learned

As noted in the previous two posts, I've lost two very wonderful eagles to lead poisoning. If there is a lesson in all of this it is to STOP USING LEAD SHOT OR BULLETS when hunting. There is ample proof that copper or steel bullets/shot are just as effective as lead and do no harm to those animals and birds who make meals of the carcasses or gut piles left by hunters.

Please, please do the right thing and make that needed change in your hunting habits and save lives of the wild creatures sharing this planet with us.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

She's soaring again

Today was hard as I made the difficult decision to put JOSEPHINE to sleep. In this photo she was up, standing on flat feet and walking. She seemed to be on the road to recovering from the lead in her system. That count had been going down and my hopes were high that this magnificent bird would fly again.

It was not to be. A couple days ago she took a turn for the worse. She was unwilling to stand for very long, her right foot started clenching again, she wasn't able to keep food down and her breathing was becoming labored.

I asked her to try and she did. Unfortunately wanting something and making it so wasn't enough. In my mind and heart she is now soaring in the high clouds and I will always remember her gallant try to become whole again. Goodbye sweet lady.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

A loss

Last night BENNY gave up. She died about 8:30pm after a gallant fight to recover from severe lead poisoning. One problem with too much lead is it causes organ failure and she started having trouble breathing. We both tried everything but it just wasn't to be for this beautiful adult female Golden Eagle.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Hit and lay down

Not run or fly, but just lay down. This beautiful female Sharp-shinned Hawk hit a window in a local coffee shop while chasing a meal, a sparrow. Both hit the window, killing the sparrow but not this smallest accipiter. Luckily one of the ladies inside saw it happen and called me right away. She also quickly placed a towel over the bird so it wouldn't try to get away. She's now in a cage here at IBR and has made a meal of the luckless sparrow.

As this beautiful bird is in excellent shape and not injured I will release her tomorrow and let her get on with living.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Test results

And they are good and bad. The one for JOSEPHINE came back at .49 which is lower than the last one but still way too high. The other good news is that she's able to stand and walk around on flat feet if she does it slowly. And the feeding tonight went much better altho I still have to hand deliver the food to her.

The bad news is really bad. BENNY's count is 2.36 which is in the very, extremely, horribly, nasty range. I started her on her chelation meds last night and will continue her twice a day injections until Sunday morning. Then another blood test will tell me how she's doing. She's also not eating all on her own but is readily swallowing the food I put in her mouth.

Teeny patient

From golden eagles to one of the smallest owls. This is ROSIE, an adult saw-whet owl found not far from IBR. A gentle mouthed golden retriever brought him home last night and luckily didn't appear to hurt the bird. Thank goodness the owner spotted the problem and moved him to a small cat crate for the night and called me this morning.

At this time I don't think there was any damage done and as you can see, he's sitting on top of a mouse that he'll hopefully eat this evening. As they are totally nocturnal it may be until I turn out the lights before the meal will be eaten.

What is happening?

As most of you know, I've been rehabbing wild birds for 25 years now and in all that time I've only received what I think was one bird suffering from lead poisoning. Now in the past 21 days I've gotten in two adult female golden eagles with this problem.

JOSEPHINE has gone through three rounds of treatment and at this point she is still unable to open her feet altho she can now stand for longer periods. Her latest blood test results will come in this afternoon so a decision can be made whether or not to continue her fight.

This photo is of BENNY. She came in yesterday after being found near a bentonite mine between Lovell and Greybull. As you can see, she isn't standing and her feet are clenched into fists. That is a classic sign of lead in her system. She started her first round of shots last night. Hopefully both birds will recover but right now only time will tell.

Thanks to Dr. Merl Raisbeck at the U of WY State Vet Lab for all his quick results on the testing and for supportive words when I'm at a loss.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Venison anyone?

Those are not cows in that field, they are all whitetail deer. I used to see nothing but muleys but not anymore. The whitetail are more aggesssive and have apparently taken over this entire area. About the only time I see mule deer is when I drive through town.

SOPHIE goes nuts when she goes outside and sees all these animals in what she considers "her field". I do have them inside my perimeter fence too but they leap out whenever I approach them. Too bad the season is over with now.

Thursday, February 9, 2012


Yes, that's his name as he is just that, hairy. This very handsome adult male cavy came to IBR from a young lady who bought him in Gillette. That means he's not in any way related to those already living here so there will be some new genes in the pool. I also received a beautiful dark blond sow who is already bred to him, the babies will be outstanding.

Hooray, she's gone!

This was a great day as it meant that JANUS has flown free. Susan and I took her to just about the exact place she was found after running into the tail end of a stock trailer as it went past the road kill deer she was feeding on. Luckily this adult female Golden Eagle wasn't broken but it did take a while for her to try flying again.

This photo is hard to make out as adult eagle feather coloration blends in with all the vegetation. Unfortunately she didn't clear the hill so I could get a shot of her in the sky. JANUS made a super flight and now has the rest of her life to live. Hopefully far from any busy highway.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Another visitor

This photo is of an immature Cooper's Hawk I found sitting on top of a tall pole near my chicken house. I don't know if this is the former visitor or a new one but he's certainly scoping out the area. He can't kill one of my hens as they're 10 times his weight but he can wish, can't he?

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Another back in the air

About 9:30 this morning Susan and I headed out to a couple miles east of Garland so TRACY could be released where he was found. He has only been here a few days because he was not injured in whatever happened to him alongside the road. Thanks to Tracy & Diane who got him off the yellow line and stood guard until Warden James Hobbs could arrive. I then met him in Powell for the transfer.

Susan did her wonderful taping of the release and can be seen on YouTube and this blog. She sent along a still shot from the video so I could post it. It was a beautiful day, chilly but bright and TRACY flew quite a distance before landing on the edge of a far cliff to scope out the area.

She's standing!

Because she's been trying to move around more I decided to put "boots" on JOSEPHINE today. They consist of cardboard covered with padding and then placed on the bottom of each foot with all the toes extended. She is able to squeeze her foot shut but keeping it open is beyond her right now. This will put the toes in a normal position. And the most thrilling thing is that after I put her back in her cage she stood! Not for long but she's able to get up now. She's in the last day of her four-day treatment with chelation medicine to counteract the lead in her system. Her count went way down after the first round and hopefully the same will happen on the blood test taken this Tuesday.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Number three, so far

TRACY came in yesterday after being found in the middle of Hiway 14 near the turnoff to Byron east of Garland. I would assume that he was either just clipped by a vehicle or he ran into one. There is no damage to this magnificent adult male Golden Eagle so he will be heading back there on Sunday morning, weather permitting.

This is the fourth bird to arrive at IBR this year and the third Golden Eagle. The adult female from near Thermopolis will be released the beginning of next week, again weather permitting.

My beautiful JOSEPHINE, with severe lead poisoning, is making great strides. Her lead level has dropped by half, from 1.59 to .72 after one four day round of medications. She just started the second round last night and will have her blood drawn next Tuesday to see if the count is still dropping. In the meantime, she's able to hold her feet closed and this morning she came within a whisker of standing. I have high hopes for this wonderful bird.