Saturday, March 31, 2012

SPARKY update

Here's a recent photo of SPARKY, an immature male Golden Eagle that came in on December 5th with what I thought were electrocution wounds to both wrists. Not the case but I have no idea what happened to him. He's lost all of his primary feathers (the long ones at the tips of his wings) and altho they're trying to grow back, some have broken off while only halfway in.

Only time will tell if he'll be releasable but I will give him as much time as that takes. He's only a year old and has a long life ahead of him.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Goodbye Stew

This morning I lost a valued friend, Stew McMillen. He and his wife Mimi were living in Wapiti when I met them but had moved down to Kerrville, TX some years ago. They have been avid supporters of IBR over the years and we've kept in touch via email and a couple of visits.

I will remember Stew with such fondness and will miss his quirky humor and the fun emails he sent almost every day. Goodbye old friend.

At just about the time Stew died I heard my first Meadowlark of the year. Perhaps it was celebrating this wonderful mans life in song.

Monday, March 19, 2012

She's back

I was amazed when I got a call last Friday about a golden eagle with a broken wing down near Lovell. I met James Hobbs, the WGF warden near Garland for the handoff and found out it was not a golden but a baby bald eagle. And the most astounding thing was which baby bald eagle. It's PRISCILLA, the one I released back on January 12th about three miles from where she was just found.

PRISCILLA is the one that had the very high mercury count altho we never found out the cause and why she wasn't dead from it. If you remember, she was originally found about 20 miles out the Southfork Road on Thanksgiving Day. Because she was in excellent condition and was flying very strong I made the decision to release her. That went well and it's on a video.

She also has/had a very large growth on the bottom of her right foot. I say had because today she underwent surgery to remove whatever it is. Both her blood and the tumor are on their way to the state lab for testing. Because the chance of ever getting a bird back to repeat a test is unheard of I'm having her blood tested for mercury.

Now it's a matter of time to see if her foot heals enough for re-release. The mercury level may determine her outcome.

NOTE: The results of her mercury test show that the level has gone down by half but is still high. She is also not eating nearly as much as I would like, possibly because she doesn't like having her foot bandaged. Mercury poisoning affects the brain which is what I think has happened to PRISCILLA. Because of that I've made the decision to NOT release her back to the wild. Now it becomes a question of whether she improves enough to live.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

My new flock

I now have a total of 116 chickens but these won't be laying until Fall. In the meantime this flock of 50 tiny babies are eating and drinking and looking so cute. There are Rhode Island Red, Partridge Rock, Red Sex Link and Black Astrolorp and will all be laying brown eggs. I wanted to get some more Aracaunas but they didn't come in, perhaps this next week.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Another eagle

So far this year over 50% of the birds arriving at IBR have been eagles and all but one are goldens. This is CORD, an adult male found on a ranch out the Northfork Hiway near Wapiti. When I first saw the bird I was so afraid it was yet another lead poisoning but that's not the case. I believe this bird may have not been paying attention and perhaps came down too hard when chasing a meal.

Nothing shows up as broken in either leg, pelvis or spine but his legs don't work very well and he can't stand up. I hope it's just bruising but for now he's as you see him in this photo. He's sitting on a deep pile of shredded newspaper inside a baby playpen. It's the best way to keep him upright yet not put all his weight on his legs. I'm having to hand feed him and he's started some physical therapy too.

At this time of the year the female is either on the nest or is about to lay eggs. As her mate is now here we have lost the breeding season but if I can get him back to his territory before late summer they can try again for next year.

Thanks to the Cody Enterprise for donating the paper and Nan Curtis and Y-Tex for letting me use their giant shredder.

NOTE: CORD died the morning of March 25th.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Another loss

For those of you who have visited the Beartooth Nature Center you'll surely know of LEWIS, the mountain lion. He has been living there for a long time and sadly he was found dead today, quite unexpectedly. Perhaps the loss of HELEN some months ago had something to do with that. He was a much loved member of the BNC family and will be missed, especially by Don, his friend and caretaker for his entire life.

For everyone who has never been to the nature center in Red Lodge, MT, you must go there, it is a wonderful facility. The bears are still in hibernation altho the young male did come out for a few minutes before going back into his winter den. They have loads of different animals and birds and if you go in the summer you will see an amazing array of flowers and beautiful grounds.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

He's away!

Today ROSIE was released back to the wild exactly where he was found. As you can see, he's way up in a tree daring me to catch him again. I warned him to stay away from golden retrievers no matter how friendly they are.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Disappearing DAVE

This morning DAVE was released so he could begin the long migration to his birth place above the Arctic Circle in Northern Canada. He's been here since the end of November after being found by pheasant hunters. His right ulna was broken but in good position and had the intact radius for a splint.

His first flight was a short one and ended on the ground while he scoped out the territory and wide open spaces he found himself in. When I got close to make sure he was okay he jumped into the air and showed me his backside. I watched as he went a long way and then over a hill with strong wingbeats. Sorry it's not all in the frame but I had to quickly click the button as he was leaving in such a hurry so I didn't have a lot of time to frame the shot.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

CHIP off the old block

Here's FUZZY's first born and there's no doubt who the dad is. He's only a few days old in this photo (I think it's a boar), one of three in the litter. The other two are red and white, closer to their mom in looks.