Saturday, December 28, 2013

SPENCER update

A desperate emergency happened with SPENCER today just before noon. I was checking on the birds and went into his mew to see if he'd eaten yesterdays rat. He was up on his low tower and when I looked, it was covered with blood.

He came here on December 5th with a very small wound on the inside of his right wing near his wrist. I suspected electrocution and that was confirmed a week ago when I treated the wound and it was larger. It was dry and scabbed over so I moved him into an outside mew. Today that wound was 2-3 inches across and wouldn't stop bleeding. I quickly gathered him up and rushed him to Dr. Blessing who put about a half dozen sutures in the wound to stop the bleeding. The tendons are now exposed and skin missing. I hate electrocutions as they kill from within. I hope this won't go any farther and cause even more tissue damage. He's back inside under a heat lamp and will be treated with meds every day.

As you can see in the above photos, there is extensive damage to his wing tissue. The sutures are in the center of the open spot, the yellow is medicine as well as the moist area. He is an amazingly tolerant bird to put up with my holding his wing out while spraying the liquid antibiotic on the wound. And he's been eating his meals so he apparently has decided to make the best of a bad situation.

At this point I don't know if we can save the majority of his wing. The damage will continue until it runs its course, I don't know the final outcome. He is an adult so if he has a mate the pair will be broken up. Hopefully she will agree to take on another partner and continue to raise these awesome birds of prey.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Special accomodations

This is TANK, a beautiful adult male Rough-legged Hawk. He was right near the town of Meeteetse on the 23rd when he was hit by a car. Unfortunately the driver never stopped. Fortunately another driver, right behind him, and her family who were on their way to Colorado for Christmas did stop, gathered up the bird and called me. I asked them to take the hawk to the gas station in Meeteetse, and ask for a box to put him in until I could get there. The lady behind the counter was super so when I got there he was safely in a box and waiting inside where it was warm.

As you can see from this photo TANK is not in a usual pose for a raptor. The damage is apparently to his spine altho nothing appears to be broken in the xrays we took a couple hours later. He has full use of his legs, wings and feet but can't stand up. Scoots backwards just fine so I put him in this sling to keep him in a normal position. Hopefully this is just some spinal bruising and it will soon repair itself.

Until that time I have to hand feed him which is not his favorite thing altho he does swallow all the mouse pieces when I put them in his mouth. Hopefully he'll be up and feeding himself very soon so he can be on his way.

UPDATE: Sad news. His head injury worsened during the night and he started having seizures. He was euthanized on Saturday morning.

Great news times two

Today some really good news for two birds. The top photo is of MONROE flying off after his wing repaired itself with cage rest. Altho it was another 300 mile round trip to Riverton for the release, it was worth it. He only weighs 4.3 ounces but is still a mighty little bird.

The bottom photo is handsome HIGGINS, the baby redtail who arrived with an unexpected broken leg. He's gone through surgery with external pins applied to keep the bone ends in alignment. It took many weeks and spaced out removal of the six pins but he finally was able to stretch out his leg in a normal position. Unfortunately he wasn't able to hold his foot flat so had to wear a shoe for most of the time. Just last Monday I removed the shoe and voila! he's standing normally on his left foot. Now he just has to get strength back in that leg and a good grip with the foot and he'll be ready for release. That won't be until this Spring so he'll have the best chance for survival.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas morning

At least two of us were just relaxing. This is SOPHIE and SISTER soaking up the rays on my unmade bed after enjoying a leisurely breakfast. It's a brilliantly blue sky outside, the wind is calm and all is right with our world. I got the chores done early and then came in to open my presents. My volunteer, Sara, is coming over for dinner, this will be a wonderful day. It is so far.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Fun new rug

This is something I got for the fun of it. There's a company that makes personalized merchandise and I picked this rug. It's called a Tweet Heart rug and it has the names of most of the dogs, cats and a horse who have lived with me over the past 45 years starting with my first dog, GYPSY and including the two dogs and two cats now here. Their names are on each of the little bird houses.

Now I need to buy another one to include those names I missed.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Strange visitors

I know, these aren't wild birds but they are now staying here for an undetermined time. Their person had to move out of state with not much notice so I'm babysitting them until she gets settled.

The top bird is a Rose Breasted Cockatoo, her name is CRAZY GIRL and she's nine years old. She is also looking for a home with someone who is very knowledgeable about psittacines, or parrot like birds. They are very like an intelligent perpetual two year old and need interaction with their person. She was hand raised and does have a few words and sounds in her vocalization.

The other bird is a hybrid Amazon Parrot, ANNIE, and she is 12 years old. She was also hand raised and will be going to her person as soon as it's possible. She sings opera, says words and is quite entertaining.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Wounded youngster

Today I was lucky thanks to WGF Warden Dan Thiele of Buffalo and BLM person Bob Barr. Dan picked up this young male Bald Eagle in the Buffalo Wetland Habitat Area unable to fly after he was luckily spotted before he spent too much time on the ground. I believe he'll be two years old in about April. As Buffalo is across the mountains to the east of Cody, it would have been a trip for me over what may have been some bad roads. That's were more luck came in. Bob was coming over to Worland for some shopping and agreed to bring the bird with him. That made it only a 192 mile round trip for me. I had already made arrangements for x-rays on LOKI which proved he does have a fractured ulna in his left wing. The radius is just fine so it will act as a splint if surgery is not deemed necessary. He goes in on Monday to see if that's the case or if it will only take some support bandaging for a few weeks.

UPDATE: Surgery had to be done but so far so good. He's being very quiet in his mew, eating his meals and perching. I did put a red heat lamp in there as it's still not the warmest of times altho today, Wednesday, it's supposed to be in the upper 50s. That will end with possible snow and in the 20s tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Yum ! ! ! !

Tonight is the annual Christmas party at the Stone Soup Studio in Cody. Linda Raynolds and Elijah Cobb put this on to celebrate the season and it's a wonderful time. Everyone brings a dish to share which means there is a huge variety from soup to nuts. Actually I don't think I've ever seen soup but that's about the only thing not offered. My contribution is two apple pies as shown above. I know, it's cake icing but it's the only thing I could think of to make it festive. What's a little more sugar in your diet, right!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

New eagle patient

I don't know what caused this beautiful adult male eagle to be grounded but he isn't able to fly. SPENCER was found in a Lovell oil field and the fear is that he was electrocuted. Only time will tell if the small wounds on his right wing will develop into a non-repairable situation. In the meantime, he's finally eating and is doing well. Not happy being inside but for the moment it's the best place for him. Our extremely cold weather would be hard on him in his present condition.

Great improvement

TUNDRA has made great strides since he came in unable to stand or walk. As you can see, he's not only standing but up on a floor perch in his cage. He's been filling up on a diet of mouse pieces but just recently he's been able to do some ripping and tearing on his own. He's gone from 22 ounces to 31 ounces, quite a gain in 10 days. If he continues to make such progress he will be ready for release in March when they head north.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Another first

Some amazing news and some sad news. This past week I drove to between Cody and Powell to pick up a bird that had hit a window. When I got there and saw the bird I first thought it was a very small Prairie Falcon. I was wrong, it is a big adult female Merlin. The difference is that she is called a Prairie Merlin. It's a different color phase of the species. She suffered some head trauma and wasn't able to stand altho she could move her legs, feet and wings.

The sad news is that she just died. I had very high hopes for her recovery as she ate wonderfully this morning. I had to cut up her quail and hand the small pieces to her but she readily ate them.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

We're covered

Yesterday, Monday, it was 53 degrees here in Cody, the sun was out most of the day and the sky was blue. That ended in the evening and this is what I woke up to this morning. The temperature at 6 o'clock, before sunrise, was 10 and we're only supposed to be in the mid teens. The wind blew so hard last night that there are drifts not quite to my knees. Amazingly the chickens water buckets weren't frozen, nor is a good deal of Beck Lake.

I also found out late yesterday afternoon that my new truck doesn't have a block heater. It started this morning when I headed out to mail Christmas packages so I stopped by the Ford garage to see what it would take to get one installed. It will take $200, they have to order the part and probably won't be installing it until next week. About the time our predicted -16 at night temperatures go back to above freezing. I believe I have a good battery, at least there hasn't been any hesitation in starting so far.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Another Northern visitor

The second injured Rough-legged Hawk came down within a few hundred feet of the first one received at IBR this season. His name is TUNDRA and he's a baby of this year, probably about 6-7 months old. He made the long, difficult migration from above the Arctic Circle only to come across something he's never seen, a vehicle on the road.

At this point his feet, legs and wings work but he can't stand. He's being propped up by a folded towel for now. And, as you might be able to see, the tip of his upper beak is missing. It appears as if he hit the road and it was abraded off. Because he can't stand, and can't tear his food without the beak tip, I've done his work and am now feeding him mouse parts.

He has a good attitude and will go in tomorrow for xrays to pinpoint the damage, probably to his pelvis. That will heal but takes time. Hopefully way before his need to migrate back north in March.

UPDATE: This amazing young bird is coming along. Xrays showed no fractures. He can't quite stand but is eating each mouse piece I hand him. He is a bit thin so probably will slack off a bit when he's full. He's gaining strength every day so the future may be bright for him.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Pretty lady

She certainly is. MONTY is the immature Sharp-shinned Hawk who came to IBR with a fractured bone in her leftt wing. Only one of the two bones were broken so she didn't require surgical repair, just a support bandage for a few weeks. She is now in the 8x20' flight area for smaller raptors and flying all over the place. This isn't the best photo as I wanted to get her sitting still and in the sun. That required my taking the photo from outside the mew through the jail bars and netting. You can still see how striking she is. Hopefully she'll be releasable around the Christmas holiday, weather permitting.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Turkey Day

To everyone. Thanksgiving is one of my favorite days. This is a repeat photo from an earlier post but just couldn't share my wishes without a photo of some turkeys that were spotted alongside the Northfork Highway west of Cody. We saw these on the way back from releasing an owl. Just the other day there were three turkeys walking in the road just outside of town but with a little persuasion they left the dangerous roadway for the safety of the bushes. Naturally I didn't have my camera with me that day.

My turkey is in the oven along with a big apple pie. My mom taught me how to make cinnamon/sugar rollups with the leftover pie dough so those will go in when the pie comes out. My volunteer, Sara and her son Loki are coming for a big feast at noon. They are also bringing goodies so none of us will go hungry today.

Again, Happy Thanksgiving, I hope your day is a happy one with friends and family in abundance at your house.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Sharp as a.........

Sharpie! This outstandingly beautiful adult male Sharp-shinned Hawk, named MONROE, came from Riverton. After a 292 mile round trip he arrived here at IBR for some TLC. It's not known just what happened to make his left wing a bit weak but you can see he isn't holding it exactly right. I think it's possible he hit a window while chasing his favorite meal, a small songbird. Xrays didn't show any broken bones but he'll go in on Monday for another exam to see if his coracoid bone may be fractured. That's one which makes it hard for a bird to fly altho it will heal. Just takes time. He'll go back to where he was found in case he has a mate wondering just where he's gone off to.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Happy Birthday!

back: Margaret, Frank, Wally and Mary.
front: Dorothy and Tommy

Today is my mother's birthday. Dorothy Davidson Stanton was born 102 years ago, the second youngest of six children. The Stanton family grew up on a very large farm where they raised Shorthorn cattle, Berkshire hogs, Shropshire sheep and horses. I never knew the original farm, that was sold before I was born, but had a wonderful childhood playing at their second home on a smaller farm a couple miles farther down the road.

My mom died in Februry 2003 at the age of 91. I still miss her terribly, especially our regular Sunday evening chats. She lived for 52 years in the house I grew up in on a quiet street in Downers Grove, IL. Love you mother, Happy Birthday.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Rodent poison ban plea

I received this email from a friend in IL but the words could fit anywhere. Please, read them carefully.

"I died today. I was found by a kind, sweet woman who does wildlife rescue. I was so sick, I could barely open my eyes. She took me inside, cradling me in her warm arms, and made me warm and comfortable. I opened my eyes and looked at her and thanked her for making my last few minutes as comfortable as possible. But I was too sick to keep fighting anymore. I had eaten a mouse that was poisoned, and it made me very sick. I closed my yellow eyes for the last time and went somewhere else. Please, all I ask is never use poison to kill the mice. poison kills owls, like me. All I wanted was a mouse for dinner. I died today . . ."

Please SHARE this for poison awareness. Stop the use of poison for rats or mice. Please. Save a precious life today; it only takes one share to spread the word.

Never before...

Something happened yesterday that is new to IBR bird releases. My volunteer, Sara, and I took one of the GHOs I'd received from the retired rehabber in Gillette out the Northfork Hiway for release at an excellent habitat. I opened the crate door, the bird dashed off as you can see from the above photo. He didn't fly far and landed on the ground up the gravel road. Just to make sure all was okay we walked his direction so he took off again.

Here's where the strange part came in. He again landed up the road but this time it was in a tangle of small branches. It puzzled me so I decided to gather him up and did so after crawling under bushes to get to him.

He is now back here but in the large hawk flight barn. When I opened his crate he immediately took off and flew, with great strength and direction, to the highest wall perch. There was no hesitation or weakness, just a strong flight. At this point he'll be in there until I feel he's ready for another try at freedom.

UPDATE: Success the second time around. Sara and I drove north of Cody about 20 miles and re-released this owl. He took off and kept going and going. I have no idea why the first release didn't work but this time it went as it should have. The only difference is that it was ravens following him and not magpies. He easily got away from them so has now begun the rest of his life as a wild bird.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Nothing but sky

I got in this amazing Red-tailed Hawk just a week ago after probably being hit by a car. Luckily he suffered no damage other than his spirit. He quickly recovered and after being in the hawk flight barn he proved he was ready for release. I added 186+ miles to my truck because this is an adult and therefore had to go back to where he was found in case he has a mate. That was just south of Laurel, MT.

I found what I think is the exact spot where he was hit. The people on that ranch were thrilled to get him back as they say redtails have nested in the large cottonwoods on their lane for years. His first stop after leaving the crate was in one of those trees. Then he took off so I could get this photo, I never saw him land.


I know, it's an odd photo to make out. The only thing in focus is her tail, wings were flapping so fast they're just a blur. This is the only release photo I got of ELVIRA right after I opened the crate door. Weighing in at just over four pounds, this is the heaviest GHO I've ever had. She got into a territorial fight with a visiting owl and came out with a wound on her left wing. It healed without any problems so when she was ready for release I returned her to the Two Dot ranch about 25 miles north of Cody.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

First roughie

Yes, Rough-legged Hawks have arrived from above the Arctic Circle. To them this is the south of Florida, they spend winters in the US to escape the bad weather so far north. Unfortunately for this amazingly beautiful adult it means the end of the road. He appears to have either had his right leg caught in a trap or perhaps in a fence. He got free but the bone in his lower leg had been exposed which caused his foot to die. There is nothing that can be done to save him, and this is Saturday, so on Monday he will be euthanized. In the meantime I've fed him some cut up mice so he at least won't spend his last moments hungry.

Thursday, October 31, 2013


My volunteer, Sara, has some snakes and today I got to meet a couple of them. They are both short-tailed pythons. The top photo is of JUPITER, a Borneo short-tailed snake. The bottom photo is ISON, a Red Blood Malasian.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Jammies R Us, part two

Okay, this is a first for me. Some of my 87 hens have been picked on for a long time and altho it wouldn't bother them in the summer, this cold weather (it's 30 today) will probably hurt them. This one in the bottom photo is completely naked on her back, neck and elbows.

So what to do.....the answer, make some chicken jammies. I used leftover fleece material from the ones I made for my friends dog. No pattern, just a cut and pin as you go. The bottom is the original design, she had to have an extra covering over her elbows as they were also very naked. The blue material is the second design. Worked out but the funny thing is that all the other hens in the flocks are now outside the house, those with clothes are inside, they're scared of the unusual clothes. Take that you meanies.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Another first

This beautiful but defensive bird is an adult Red-tailed Hawk but in a color phase I've not had here before. This is a Harlan's. They have the dark streaking on their breasts, don't have a red tail but for a bit on the ends, and are overall darker but with a lighter tail. Confusing, I know.
This is a male and in excellent conditon weighing a bit over two pounds. He was found sitting on the center line of the highway just south of Laurel, MT. After watching many vehicles, including one huge semi, drive past him, Samantha, Jarred, Johnathan & Joshua Burlenson and her mom, Roxy, stopped, gathered him up and called the nature center in Red Lodge. The nature center called me with their number so I called them. They were supposed to spend the day at Zoo Montana but decided to put the bird first and drive him back to Cody.

His name is HARLAN and he'll go into the vets on Monday for xrays. I would assume, as he was in the road, he was probably hit by a car. Hopefully if there are injuries they are minor and he'll be back in the air soon.

UPDATE: Xrays show nothing broken so perhaps it is only bruising. He's eating his rats and will go out into a flight area as soon as this weather is nicer, it's only 30 today.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Carmen Miranda eat your heart out

Here's another photo of FERAL FAWCETT. She was hiding underneath her very colorful blanket and peeked her head out so Sara could get this shot. She's leaving for her forever home on Thursday.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Another non-raptor

She showed up a couple days ago but only left foot prints in the snow. Then this afternoon I got a look at her. After setting a live trap I was unable to catch her. Luckily she ducked under some metal sheets on the ground and I was able to catch her in a net. Amazingly she wasn't too upset so I put her in a large cage where she could relax. I headed to town to get some kitten food and then left her alone to eat. She's very thin but seems otherwise to be okay.

Her name is FERAL FAWCETT and she appears to be about six weeks old. I assume she'd been dumped off on the highway not far behind my place. My volunteer, Sara, will be taking her as she already has a home, they will be on a plane heading for the Denver area this weekend. If she'd been a male his name would have been WILL FERAL. Paul has a great sense of humor and will give this beautiful young kitten a good home.

Not all raptors....

photo by finder, Sara Prescott

Another first for birds coming to IBR. This is an American Bittern. It was found on Friday in Powell alongside an alley hiding in some weeds. As it was still there today the owner of the property called the local cops and they called me.

If attitude has anything to do with this bird it will make a complete recovery and dare anyone to dispute that statement. He's very quick with his beak in trying to stab everything so his name is KNIEVEL because he's so evil. The problem is a broken leg so he goes in tomorrow for xrays to see if it's repairable. Luckily they eat just about anything so buying frozen shell-on shrimp will work as will mice. Now all I have to do is get it to eat those things and not me.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Thank you so much....

Every year it seems to get harder to find grant money to support any animal care facility. IBR is no exception but thank goodness one of our most supportive groups are the people of Rocky Mountain Power Foundation and PacifiCorp. I just received their grant for this year and it will be put to good use. They have been donating to the care and feeding of my birds for a couple decades. They also donated not only the power poles used in the construction of both the hawk and eagle flight barns, they also have been instrumental in helping put the netting on the roofs of those buildings when it was needed.

As shown in previous posts, the guys here in Cody are more than willing to bring one of their bucket trucks to the nest site of baby owls so they can be put back where they belong after falling to the ground. I am grateful to everyone in these wonderful organizations for continuing to give generously of their time, money and materials so Ironside Bird Rescue is able to help as many birds as we do.


Wednesday, October 16, 2013


Yesterday I got in a baby Red-tailed Hawk who had been found alongside a road near Powell. He was very starved and suffering from a broken wing. The fracture is probably what caused the starvation because he was unable to hunt for food.

These photos are of the pellet, about the size of your thumb, he threw up during the night. Raptors do that to rid themselves of the stuff they can't digest, hair, feathers, bones, etc. You'll note that there is not one of those things in this one, it appears to be just grains, grass and perhaps the black things are bugs. Anything he thought was edible. The little bit of red on the one end is from the baby mice I fed him last night before he cast this pellet.

WILL went in to have his broken wing surgically repaired this morning but unfortunately the damage was too old and too extensive so he was euthanized. At least now he's not suffering and I'd like to think he's full of good food and soaring in the sky somewhere.

At Last !

After living at IBR since February, COPPERFIELD is finally able to fly free. Because of two broken fingers this beautiful immature male Rough-legged Hawk wasn't ready for their migration to above the Arctic Circle in northern Canada. Therefore he had to be summered over in the hawk barn. And I had to wait until roughies had been spotted in this area before I could release him. Just this past week a few have been seen making this long overdue release possible.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

New residents

Her/his name is ZENITH because after all this is a TV. Turkey Vulture that is. Friday morning I received five more residents at IBR from Diane Morse in Gillette. She ran NEW Raptor Center for over 20 years and just recently retired. She still has permits to take in birds until the end of the year so agreed to accept any from her side of the mountain while I was on vacation.

It wasn't but an hour into my flight from Cody that she got a call about a Great Horned Owl that had been burned, possibly from a flare in one of the oil/gas fields. Then not much later she took in a baby Red-tailed Hawk, HIGGINS, who was starving. He also suffered from a broken fibia in his left leg so now has an external fixation device on the leg to hold the bone ends in the right position for healing. A great deal to overcome at such a young age (six months).

She also received another GHO with a wing problem who had been held illegally by some people. Altho they had been feeding the bird the right diet, mice, it was still against the law for them to have the owl.
And, of course, I also took in the two birds she'd had from her rehab work but were not quite ready for release. The vulture is flying but not quite strong enough. And the same for the kestrel. Both will be here until they can make it. I may send the TV to another rehabber in the south so s/he won't have to spend the winter in the cold. S/he is bald, after all.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Back to routine

Yes, I'm back to doing the routine things here at IBR. That included making a 165 mile round trip last night to Worland to pick up this handsome immature male Cooper's Hawk. ANDY was found behind one of the schools in town and was rescued from some young boys torturing him with a stick. Luckily the cops were called and they gathered him up. Hopefully after explaining to the boys that what they did was a federal offense.

When I got to the police department I found they had done a wonderful job in taking care of him. The bad news is that he appeared to be totally blind. You'll notice his blank stare. I think he hit one of the windows in the school and has suffered a concussion. Today I took him in to Dr. Blessing for an eye exam but had noticed earlier this morning he appeared to have regained some sight, more so in his left eye than right. Now there is hope for his recovery but only time will tell if he has enough sight in both eyes for release.

Monday, October 7, 2013

California dreaming.....

Wow! OMG! Awesome! Brilliant! Amazing! These are some of the words to describe the 10 day vacation I just returned from. I went to visit my friend, Jenny Papka, at the Native Bird Connections in Orinda. She has received five birds from me in the past seven years so I was able to see them too.
This is FIONN, a leucistic Red-tailed Hawk I received with a broken wing. She's now one of Jenny's most distinctive school birds.

We did a lot of driving, sat for awhile in traffic which is normal for that area (near San Francisco) but not for me. We visited the Oakland Zoo thanks to a friend of Jenny's. Kristin works at the zoo and got permission for us to go in the back and make a dream of mine come true. I got to meet an elephant. His name is OSH, he's a 14 year old African bull elephant and looking very large to me. John and Jessica, elephant handlers assured me he would grow another two feet.
(above) me touching OSH's foot. (below) feeding him banana pieces, he was very gentle.
OSH standing behind John, myself and Kristin. Note his size....

We also visited the Monterey Bay Aquarium, the California Academy of Science and had a lot of fun on an amazing zip line. I've included just a few of the photos from those trips and may post more in the future. Don't want to bore you with "What I Did On My Summer Vacation" photos.

l-r: Jenny, Matt, Susan and Sue. Sue Honeywell and her son Matt were just two of the group doing the zip line. Everyone was a lot of fun to be with. The other photos show how long one of the lines was and one of two suspension bridges we also had to walk across.

Standing in the Pacific Ocean, in Yosemite (before we were told to leave) with El Capitan and Half Dome behind us and in front of one of the Giant Sequoias. Talk about tall.