Sunday, December 23, 2012

Super release day

I set a record today with releases. An earlier post showed KIRBY leaving. Then around noon today a friend, Sara, and I took two GHOs and one Saw-whet Owl to Green Creek west of Cody for release. SW went a few miles up the road to Jim and Madonna Zumbo's place, an ideal habitat for these tiny owls. This photo shows s/he sitting in a tree scoping out the terrain.

This photo is of the two GHOs, PUDDLE and GOOSE just before they made a leap of faith to head back to the wild. PUDDLE suffered from a badly broken wing but thanks to the expertise of Dr. Erin Pedersen he flew with strength and never looked back. GOOSE came in because for some reason he just wouldn't fly when the game warden approached him. He also left the crate, albeit, after thinking a bit longer but never stopped at the close trees, he headed out for parts unknown.

Beautiful lady

A most awesomely beautiful adult Northern Harrier, BECKY was found alongside a road, the victim of a losing battle with a vehicle. She has a broken right wing but again, only the ulna is fractured, the radius is okay. Amazingly it's the smaller of the two bones between her wrist and elbow. As the bones are in wonderful alignment she will not have to undergo surgery but will have to wear this bandage for a few weeks until the bones knit.

I've had female harriers make outstanding recoveries from the damage inflicted upon them and I hope this pretty bird follows the trend.

Moments away from release

KIRBY is sitting on the highest perch in his mew just before I gathered him up for release. Of course he didn't head the direction I thought he would when I tossed him in the air. And of course I didn't have my camera with me as most birds go too fast for me to catch a photo.

This time he not only flew right above me but circled many times as if to get his bearings, or say goodbye but I don't think that was it. He flapped and soared around and finally headed west over the hills behind my house. Now all he has to do is wait until March when Rough-legged Hawks make the return migration to their breeding grounds above the Arctic Circle in northern Canada.

Almost ready

This is INGALL, an immature female Prairie Falcon I received in Auigust with two broken wings. Amazingly they were broken in exactly the same place on her radius but both ulna were okay so they acted as splints.

For the past two months she's been with master falconer, Chris Pfister, my subpermittee, getting in condition for possible release. With his experience in working with falcons, he will know when she's ready and if she's strong enough to make it on her own. At this point all systems are go!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Another wee patient

This tiny owl, as a lot of you know, is a Saw-whet Owl, the second smallest found in this area, weighing only a couple ounces. S/he was found in a large garage between Cody & Powell. S/he probably went in there after a mouse and decided to stay. As all the three large doors were open I don't know why it remained, maybe looking for more meals.

As you can see, s/he loves mice and was chowing down as I took the photo. I'll take this mighty little hunter out to a habitat where there are no people or garages and release her/him.

Monday, December 17, 2012

More about FIONN

FIONN is now in a much larger pen and she seems a lot happier. We still haven't removed the pin as xrays taken last Thursday show no improvement, perhaps even backsliding a bit. As you can see in this photo, she's full of herself and it daring me to come close. Unfortunately she can't open the other wing so it loses something in the translation.

I am still in awe of her beauty every time I see her. She's an amazing bird and I continue to have hopes she'll fly again one day.

Another young redtail

This is BUNNY, an immature female Red-tailed Hawk. She was found alongside a road near Powell, probably hit by a vehicle. As you can barely see, her right eye is very swollen and her wing is drooping. I can't find anything wrong with the wing but she goes in today to have both injuries examined by Dr. Blessing.

She got her name because while she was walking alongside a county road she happened upon a rabbit carcass and decided that even with her damage it was too good a meal to pass up. Luckily the young man who called me agreed to stand by so she wouldn't disappear by the time I got there. Now it's a question of the extent of the damage and if shes blind in that eye.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Another sad ending

Today I made yet another long drive, this time to Shoshoni, to meet Meghann Karsch of the WGF. She had called earlier this morning about an injured Great Grey Owl. They are very rarely seen as they spend most of their time back in the deep woods. This beautiful adult female had been hit by a vehicle and suffered a broken right wing.

It appeared to be a very horrible wound but because this is only the third GGO I've received in 25 years I wanted to see if we could help her. Unfortunately xrays showed that her humerus was broken in three pieces with the blood supply so compromised she would have had to have her wing amputated at her shoulder. The USFWS, in their infinite ignorance of what we do, has decided that no bird can be kept if the wing requires full amputation. So instead of this amazing, rarely seen, awesome bird being used as an educational ambassador to tens of thousands of people, we were required to euthanize her.

I am so sad when this happens, this has been a bad week for saving our precious raptors.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Cruelty by hunter

This morning I went to Lovell to try and find an injured bird. I got a call last night from Mike Johnson telling me about a hawk he'd seen when pheasant hunting near the Big Horn Canyon Wildlife Habitat. His dogs pointed the bird but as he thought it was just on the ground eating he called them off, came back to Cody and called me after thinking it over. I then called the Lovell game warden, James Hobbs, but unfortunately he was also here in Cody for a regional meeting and couldn't get back home until late. Oddly, the bird was located just about a quarter mile from his house. He did look last night for some time but as it was very dark he couldn't find the bird.

Thanks to a willing Mike Johnson and his amazing German Wirehaired Pointer, KAISER, we returned there today and found the beautiful adult female Northern Harrier within about 10 minutes of arriving on site. The horrible news, hence the title, is that she had been shot and suffered a broken left leg and right wing. Neither was repairable so she was euthanized.

That particular area is the perfect habitat for harriers, we saw two or three flying around as we were driving into the field. Unfortunately some hunters either don't take the time to identify their target or just shoot at any flying bird the size and color of a pheasant. So sad for this amazing bird.

PUDDLE is flying high again!

After two surgeries on his broken wing, PUDDLE is now in the owl flight area and after only one day is sitting on the highest perch. Thanks to Dr. Erin Pedersen for doing such an amazing job on this young owl. He will spend some time in this area to gain needed strength in his flight muscles so he'll be ready for release after the first of the year.

Monday, December 10, 2012

New kid on the block

Here's the newest boar in the cavy herd. His name is TWISTER as even his whiskers are kinky along with his hair. His grandfather is a Teddy variety of cavy and is also roan. He is much too young to be used for breeding but I'm sure his genes will bring a wonderful array of babies into the world.

Before & after

I have no idea what makes them do it but these photos show FABIO before he was put in with some sows and after he'd been in there for a week. For some reason the ladies don't like his long hair and barber it off. It will grow back when he's put back in his own room but for now he looks rather moth eaten albeit still a very handsome young boar.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Golden beauty

Her name is ROXANNE and she's about eight months old. She also had a run-in with a vehicle but unfortunately she came out a bit short. The driver never stopped. Luckily for this beautiful female a good samaritan did and gathered her up. He's brought birds to me before so he called right away. Another 32 mile drive to Meeteetse to pick her up and right to the vet for an xray.

Her right humerus (elbow to shoulder) is fractured mid-shaft so should be repairable with her being able to fly free in a few months. She's in excellent condition, weighs in at 10.5 pounds. She had been on a deer roadkill when the vehicle approached. They just can't get that very large body going fast enough and high enough to clear something traveling at 65mph.

Rough on the Roughie

The bird shown here is an immature male Rough-legged Hawk found after possibly being hit by a car. He had a bit of an eye problem and some swelling on the right side of his head but he's all better now. He's one of the lucky roughies as they usually don't win the battle with a large vehicle. He'll go into the flight barn this weekend and be released when ready. His name is KIRBY and he's puffed up to make himself look bigger and more threatening.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Another first

I don't have any photos because it was too quick. Yesterday I got a call from a friend who found a very small bird in the doorway of our urgent care center. She gathered it up and brought it to me. When she got here I realized it was a species that, altho common here, I've never seen. It's a brown creeper and weighs just about one quarter of an ounce. Nothing was wrong, probably was blown into the window during our horrible windy day. I kept it overnight and then this morning on my way to deliver eggs I released it in a very superior habitat right here in town. It immediately flitted over to a tree and disappeared from sight. Awesome!