Friday, January 24, 2014

It won't happen

I was hoping to release my immature female Sharp-shinned Hawk today as the weather is just beautiful so I gathered her up from the 8'x20' mew she's been living in for the past month. She has been flying all over in there, up and down, circles, etc. so I thought she was strong enough for release.

Imagine my surprise when I brought her in to be weighed before release and discovered she can't fully extend her left wing. That is the one that was broken but apparently the muscles have shortened which only allows limited flight. In the wild these small accipiters eat birds, small and quick flying birds. She would not have the ability to make those lightening twists and turns to be successful so she will now be placed as an educational bird. She should do well at that, she's just under nine ounces and is an awesome eater. Isn't she beautiful!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014


That's what I didn't have just two days after leaving the hospital. On Monday morning just a few minutes after I got up at six o'clock the lights went out. I called the power company who sent Tim out to see what was wrong. The sad news is that apparently an owl landed on my transformer and caused the outage. I didn't find his body so have no idea what happened to him. The damage consisted of that blown transformer plus a fuse on the next power pole.

When I checked around the house I found out the rest of the story. I use TCT for my phone and internet. Their surge protector was fried as was their little grey box inside the house. That, in turn, fried my computer, two outlets in my rodent house and, at the time, my well so I didn't have water. Also tripped four breakers. After going a day without water the guys from Wrangler Plumbing arrived to check out the well pump. Amazingly the tripped breaker plus one blown fuse were all that was damaged, the well pump was okay. A short time later the water was running. As the pump is down 150' it's not easy to pull and very expensive to boot.

I now have replaced my computer, TCT came out to replace their equipment, one outlet still has to be replaced but Jeff fixed the one in the rodent house that melted the prongs of my radio cord to the outlet. Only a bill from TCT is needed and then I can turn in a claim to Farmer's Insurance. Boy, all those things are sure expensive but all is okay for the moment.

She is flying high now

Back in July I received a beautiful adult female Red-tailed Hawk named PHOENIX. She has that name as she had survived being badly burned and has risen from the ashes. The left primary wing feathers and tail feathers were about gone leaving only shafts. Her chest and right wing feathers were singed and she had a burn wound to the inside of her right foot.

She is now in the flight barn with all feathers replaced but one on her right wing. She will soon be heading back to the Sheridan area for release as she may have a mate waiting for her. She's a very large female weighing in at almost four pounds. Thanks to Sheridan game warden, Bruce Scigliano, for caring enough to rescue her and meet me in Burgess Junction for the hand off.


I don't know if this is the same Red-tailed Hawk who visited my place many times last year but if not, another one has discovered a food source. I have been tossing out the leftover rats not finished by the residents so they won't go to waste. Last year it was a Rough-legged Hawk who came by every day for a couple weeks or more.

Twice my local Golden Eagle has perched on the power poles nearby but hasn't landed for food. I've not been able to find her nest, it must be in the rocky hills to the east of here.

Legless wonders

We had about a foot of snow last week, beautiful but not if you don't have very long legs. This is MADDIE, my corgi mom out playing in it. Not much ground clearance but she was having fun. Her daughter, SOPHIE, was in another part of the yard also buried up to her chest.

This photo is my contribution to my yard. We don't usually get snow that can be made into anything so when the opportunity presented itself I made my first snowman since moving here 32 years ago. Okay, it's only 10 inches tall but I still had fun as did the dogs when they spotted the little fellow.

All better

Just to let everyone know I'm back to normal. Well, whatever that is. My heart problems have stabilized and altho there is a chance of the a-fib to hit again the percentage is low. I'm back to all my usual chores which includes toting 50 pound bags of grain and feed.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Very unexpected happening

I had a very interesting two days after I got the call for a downed hawk in Lovell on Wednesday night (see below post).

Now comes the interesting, unexpected part. When Malcolm was through with xrays and an exam of the hawk I asked him to listen to my heart as it seemed a bit off. He did and immediately said “you should go somewhere”. You should always listen to your veterinarian. Okay, I stopped at Cody Urgent Care Clinic and saw my friend, Dr. Harvey, who did a EKG and said “go to the ER”. I still had the hawk in my truck so brought him back home and got him settled in. Then I drove to the ER.

That was on Thursday morning. I got home Friday evening about 6:30 after spending the intervening time in ICU hooked up to lots of wires, oxygen, bags of fluids, etc. And wore those lovely thigh high pressure stockings plus automatic squeezing things on my calves to prevent clots. The medicine the ER doctor gave me to slow my heart worked immediately but not completely hence the two day stay.

My heart still wasn’t completely back to normal rhythm so they took me downstairs on Friday and shocked my heart. You know the routine, grease the paddles, yell CLEAR! and then hit the switch. I was out as they also put a tube down my throat to check the back of my heart to see if there were any clots hiding there. And found out one of my valves is a bit thick making a bit smaller opening than normal but the cardiologist said it shouldn’t cause any problem at this time. They will keep a watch on it.

Amazingly I was sent home about five hours after all that was done with a perfectly normal heartbeat. Unfortunately I now have to take blood thinners (not Coumadin) for about six weeks and probably the anti-arrhythmia meds forever. I don’t know what the charges will be for the two days but in ICU ????? Probably tens of thousands. Thank goodness for Medicare.

Also thank goodness for the following:

Kimber for driving the two dogs to Lifetime Small Animal Hospital to board til I came home. That resulted in massive amounts of Corgi hair in her car and she's probably still picking it off her clothes.

Liz for quickly going to my place to take care of all the mice, cavies, bunnies and cats. She's my regular help if I'm on vacation so stepped in and knew just what to do.

Sara, my volunteer, for dropping everything and taking care of the birds which included the new roughie (see below post). That meant wrapping him in a towel and handing him mice as he was pretty thin and I wasn't sure he'd eat on his own. She called me on Friday morning to say he was scarfing down whole mice on his own so she didn't have to go through hand feeding him.

And to Lisa Harvey plus all the doctors and nurses at West Park Hospital in the ER and ICU. They were super and obviously I needed their expertise and caring to make everything come out okay.

As I didn't sleep at all Thursday night it was so great to be home, showered, fed and warm. One of my cats never let me out of her sight from the time I walked in the door til we climbed into bed at 8:30. Ahhhhh heaven to be in my own bed again.

First, first

I received a call on January 1st from the Lovell PD about a hawk they'd rescued after being hit by a truck. He called Bill Robertson, the Greybull WGF warden who was coming to Cody the next day and would bring the bird here. As it's a 50 mile drive to Lovell that was a great help.

I got the bird who turned out to be the first Rough-legged Hawk of the new year. He has a fractured right wing that should be repairable, we'll find out on Monday when he goes in for surgery.