Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Thanks Troopers

I want to thank Wyoming State Troopers, Todd Hardesty, Laurie Crocker and Scott Hall for helping to save injured raptors. Todd stood by and guarded an adult male Golden Eagle on Hiway 294 after the bird had been hit by a vehicle. Laurie, another Golden Eagle up near the Chief Joseph turnoff suffering from severe lead poisoning. Scott, just last Sunday, a Rough-legged Hawk that had also been hit by a vehicle.

TROOPER ROCCO was released back where he was found. Unfortunately JOSEPHINE succumbed to the lead in her system and the outcome for JAWS us still up in the air as we can't figure out what the damage is to his wing. It is amazing that these wonderful people would take the time, and care enough, to help injured birds. Thanks again.

Monday, January 28, 2013

And then there were three...

Well, four if you count MUNCHY sitting on top of the power pole in my yard. The top photo is JAWS, a Rough-legged Hawk found on the side of the road yesterday after being hit by a car while she was eating on a dead raccoon (ICK!). She was also being guarded by a wonderful highway patrol officer til I got there.

The the second photo is another roughie found just this morning as I was leaving my house to take JAWS in for xrays. MIKEY was also hit by a car as he was scarfing down on a rabbit. His xrays were so confusing because he was full of rabbit bones making it hard to figure out just what might be wrong with his right wing.

MUNCHY is a wild roughie who comes by every day for a snack. When one of my eagles doesn't clean up the rabbit I give them I toss the remains out in back. About 10 days ago I noticed a large hawk eating on it. Then every day I would see her so naturally I put out something for her to eat. Today when I got home from the vets she was again sitting on the power pole after eating the food I put out early this morning.

Oh yes, you have to count ORSON, the roughie in a previous post to make the total come out to four.

Friday, January 25, 2013

"Toe" shoes

Now don't laugh too hard. FRANNIE got her new shoes this evening. I removed the flat ones and put splints on each of the four toes on her feet. They can move up and down slightly and at this point I hope she keeps them on long enough to make a difference.

This amazing bird has come a long way since I got her two weeks ago. Her lead level was 1.54ppm which is extremely high. Today it is 0.32ppm, a dramatic drop in the number. She's eating cut up rats on her own out of a small ceramic dish as she can't rip and tear on her own. She'd need her feet for that.

I am so excited at this improvement and altho it's not a sure thing by a long shot, her chances of overcoming this horrible poisoning are much better. Thanks Sara for giving me a helping hand with this undertaking.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

She's standing !

I was amazed this afternoon when I went to check on FRANNIE and give her some mice. I usually have to coax her to stand in her flat slippers but she was already doing so. She's supposed to start her third round of EDTA to counteract the effects of lead in her system but now I may not have to do that.

I'm not holding my breath and will take one day at a time but this is very encouraging to see. Now if her organs just don't start failing from the poison she may just make it. YAY! ! ! ! !

Really bad feather day....

I took FUDGE out today for release near Eagle Pass but wasn't counting on the wind roaring so hard. Neither was he. Needless to say he was blown all over the place before he got his act together and flew off. Then he headed straight east over the hills, more than ready to be off on his own again.

Another roughie

I drove out in the dark last night to pick up yet another Rough-legged Hawk. I have no idea what's wrong with ORSON but as you can see his left wing is a bit droopy. That isn't stopping him from snacking on his rat. Naturally he was found late on Friday night and the vet isn't open on the weekend so he'll go in on Monday to be examined and xrayed.

Little huns

I used to see these little game birds on my place but not for a decade or more. They used to be called Hungarian Partridge but for some reason they are now called Gray Partridge. We saw this group of six when out doing our yearly eagle count.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Cold and wet

First name, FUDGE, last name, CICLE. Yep, this dark brown baby eagle came in covered with ice. I have no idea what or how it happened but he was very chilled when found. Luckily WGF Warden, James Hobbs, gathered him up after receiving a call about a large bird alongside a road and met me in Powell.

He's a bit thin, weighs only eight pounds, but this morning, after spending the night in a crate in my warm rodent room, he flew up to this wall perch. I've given him a meal and if he eats it all I'll probably take him out and release him in a good habitat in a few days. Hopefully he won't try taking another bath on a Saturday night .

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Another poisoning

You'll note in this photo that the bird is not standing quite normally. That's because FRANNIE has severe lead poisoning. She's also wearing some "slippers" on her feet to keep her toes open. One of the signs of advanced lead poisoning is the inability to open their feet.

This amazingly beautiful nine month old Golden Eagle female apparently found food at either a hunters discarded gut pile or possibly a rabbit left after being shot. Unfortunately the raptors pay the price because there is no law preventing the use of lead in big game bullets or .22 rifles. Copper or steel is a much better choice.

Lead is accumulative so any ingested at some point in their life will be added to whatever comes next until the bird slowly dies from being unable to catch food. FRANNIE's knuckles were very abraded after walking around on her fists for some time. She also only weighed 7#10oz which is about three pounds less than she should weigh.

This eagle was started on a product, EDTA, to help leach the lead from her system but that entails six shots a day for three days, three days off, three days on, etc. At this point she starts her second session tomorrow. She's shown some improvement in trying to stand and is now able to eat small, whole mice or larger ones cut up on her own. Hopefully she will recover from this devastating problem

Thursday, January 10, 2013

The word is out

Here's my second hungry visitor. This time it's a Rough-legged Hawk that showed up yesterday. Actually I've been seeing a roughie around my place for quite some time but this time the bird was sitting on top of a power pole in my yard. I had an extra thawed rat so I tossed it out on the ground. That disappeared quickly.

Then today here's the bird again, I assume the same one, sitting on a pole as I drove into my place. I found a partially eaten rabbit carcass that one of the eagles hadn't finished so I tossed that outside my perimeter fence. Sure enough, a few minutes later the bird was chowing down.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Another FIONN update

Apparently FIONN isn't meant to be returned to the wild. Just a few days after her pin was removed she rebroke the wing. She had surgery again yesterday and is now wearing yet another support bandage for a couple weeks.

This time she has another pin in her wing but this one is buried and will not be removed. Because she doesn't have full extension of her wing she will be heading for CA as an educational bird when the weather gets better and her new mews are built to necessary dimensions. Her rare leucistic coloration will be a great enhancement to the Native Bird Connections roster of birds that Jenny takes around the state for many tens of thousands of people to see up close and personal.

Her attitude all along has been amazing and she's still missed few meals in the almost three months she's been here. I will miss seeing her bright face looking back at me but will follow her escapades in her new home.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Hungry visitor

This morning, while doing chores, I frightened off a large bird but didn't see what it was. Then I came out of the bunny barn and spotted a dead pigeon right in front of me. And sitting on top of the closest power pole was the large bird. It's a Prairie Falcon waiting for me to get away from his meal.

Just to make it easier for the bird, I picked the pigeon up and tossed it closer to the pole and farther away from me. I went back to hauling water to the birds but noticed a short time later that the falcon was munching away while taking looks around every couple seconds to see if anything was coming close enough to steal his meal. A couple hours later and all that's left are some feathers......

Saturday, January 5, 2013


This photo was taken just after he was spotted on the ditch bank.

That's what it's called when dozens and dozens of Snowy Owls move south out of Canada into the US. It happened on a grand scale last year, this year, not so much. Today I got a call from Cindy Lentsch (her husband is the WGF warden in Worland) saying she got a call about a downed snowy.

I met her about halfway and gathered up an extremely starved, absolutely beautiful, what I believe to be an immature male. He was very weak and by the time I made the 45 minute drive home he was unable to hold up his head and died about an hour later.

This is the first snowy owl I've received and he is the first bird arriving this new year. I am so saddened by his loss. As there are no broken bones I assume he just couldn't catch enough meals to keep his strength up. That made it doubly difficult to catch whatever he did find. And so on and so on until he just gave up.

I feel priviledged to have had him in my care for even such a short time. Thanks Randy, Caleb, Stacey and Cindy for taking the time to try and save him.