Saturday, May 31, 2014

Still counting

His name is HUIT (pronounced "ooeet) which is French for the number eight. This very tiny Great Horned Owl baby was found on the ground this evening after a strong wind hit the Powell area. Mom was in the area so I went up in a bucket truck to see if there were any other babies in the nest. There weren't any others and the side of the nest not against the tree trunk was non-existent. The entire nest was probably an old magpie nest so what remained wasn't very large.

I made the decision to bring the baby back as he'd fallen about 20' and seemed a bit hurt in that he wasn't opening his eyes and there appeared to be some bruising around them. I got some cut up mouse pieces down him tonight and he's in a small crate on a heat source, hopefully he'll make it through the night.

If he does and is strong enough I have a plan to repair the existing nest with a large wooden woven basket and give him back to his parents. Right now our weather is iffy with rain storms predicted so the plan many not happen. We'll play it by ear and see if HUIT can be sent home.

Another tragedy

This time it's another baby Great Horned Owl who paid the price along with one sibling and an adult. All three were found under a power line transformer just into Montana near Frannie. This baby was alive when found but the damage to his body was so bad he had no use of his legs at all. The sibling and adult were already dead.

As you can see in the post mortem photos, there are singed feathers near his beak and both his upper and lower eyelids are bruised and burned. Such a waste when it could be prevented by putting covers over certain wires on the transformers. The power company will be notified and they will be required to do just that.

This is the seventh baby GHO I've received in the past couple weeks. So far five have survived, one already released and the others will also go back to the wild when they're ready.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Enough ! ! !

Last year it was only one. This year, so far, this is number six baby Great Horned Owl. This one came from up in Clark where it was found on the ground and no adults could be seen. He's very thin so enjoyed the three mice I gave him right after he was settled in this cage. When he's stronger he'll join the other three baby GHOs still here. Only one of the six was injured so badly I couldn't save him and one was released back to his mom. These four should do well when returned to the wild.
Here's another batch of babies, this time it's Black-billed Magpies. They came in three batches but are from the same litter. Apparently their nest tree was cut down without knowing they were there. As the parents weren't in sight they were brought here. I rarely get non-raptors but today is the exception.

First it was the six Black-capped Chickadees, now these seven magpies. Not all the mouths are open in the photo but they certainly were when I put the camera down and picked up their food dish. When they're old enough I'll return them to the area they came from as it must be very good for magpies to live and breed.

UPDATE: Tuesday, 6/10. All the babies have been released in an awesome spot. There's lots of trees, grass, a nice stream and lots of places for them to live. And within about 15 seconds of their release an adult came by to say hello. It didn't hurt them, just checked them out and flew off.

Their new digs

The six baby Chickadees are now in a much larger place so they can try out their wings. It's the Reptarium on loan from Sara, originally for my little bat, YODETTE and now working perfectly for these teeny birds. The very small one is still hanging on, the rest will probably be flying sooner rather than later. And they have a small glass dish full of mealworms and chopped up sunflower seeds so when they feel the urge to self feed it's there for them.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Mystery ? ? ?

A couple days ago a young lady called me to say she'd found an egg near the turn off to the Lower Southfork Road. She thought it was a pelican egg as there were some of those birds nearby in the water. When I got it I knew it wasn't a pelican, they're spotted but on a white background. So far I've sent this photo to Dr. John Fitzpatrick at the Cornell Ornithology Lab, Chuck Preston at the museum here in Cody, Doug Faulkner, a very knowledgeable bird person in CO and even to Paul J. Baicich, one of the authors of the book Nests, Eggs, and Nestlings of North American Birds. It has hundreds of photos of actual eggs from hundreds of bird species so thought he might know.

This egg is 2 3/8" long and as you can see rather dark colored with darker spots and swirls. I'm not sure it is viable but the egg is now in my incubator and will stay there for a while to see what happens. Either hatch, explode or just sit there. I've candled it but am not sure what I'm seeing other than the yolk. I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Getting higher

All three of the recently arrived baby Great Horned Owls are now as high as they can get in their flight mews. Unfortunately their foster mom isn't flighted so she's on the ground. Just before I got my camera they were all together on the top of the box but naturally, by the time I got back, they had split up.

A bit more flying time and some hunting lessons and they'll all be ready to leave on the journey of their lives, into their future.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

From far, far away

This is an amazing tale of survival. The babies in the photo are about 14 day old Chickadee's. The were born in a nest box in CO, about an eight hour drive from Cody. The people who owned the house moved here today and brought all their prized possessions, including a very colorful handmade bird house.

Unknown to them, until just about the time they arrived here, the birdhouse was full. I met them and could barely get my hand inside this tiny house. What came out are these six babies. There is one very small one, in the center, the others are all about the same size. Because they hadn't been fed for so long I gave them each some Ringer's and 5% dextrose for dehydration and then some yummy (to them) mealworms. They are very small but each one of them quickly gaped for food.

Hopefully they will make it and I know the perfect yard to release them in. Mine won't work, chickadees don't come here, but the Neal yard has everything they would wish for.

Number four

Yes, after not having but one baby GHO last year this is number four so far in 2014. He was found inside a shop at the Redi Mix plant in Powell. His mom has her nest way up near the top in an opening which would be difficult to reach. And because of the heavy traffic on the road I decided to bring this baby here and put him with the other two already in residence. He's a bit younger but that shouldn't make any difference. When they're all ready for release I'll probably do that at the same time just as they would in the wild.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Super Memorial Day

It was a hot and beautiful day today so Sara and I decided to drive out the Southfork and see the sights. As she'd never been up Carter Mountain that's where we headed. Packed a Subway sandwich and altho we couldn't get up to the top as we could in the past, we found a wonderful spot on the road to see across the river to the north mountains. And just to prove that even if it's almost June, there's still snow in them thar hills. That's the large white patch behind us in this selfie from Sara's phone.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Newest photo

These two wonderful kids are my godchild, Ian Atkinson and his beautiful bride, Annie. I met Ian when he was two days old back in September of 1978 and have only been able to physically see him once since then when he was about eight. They live near Austin, TX but will be moving to CO soon.

I met his parents when we all lived in Boulder, CO and boarded horses at the same stable. His mom, Linda, and Ian, moved back to her hometown when Ian was just a few weeks old. She has traveled to Cody for a visit a couple times and I've been down there once. I may take the plunge and make another trip south this Fall depending on bird circumstances. I always have to plan around them.


I have very few flowers growing in the ground but right now two of my trees are just beautiful. The top one is a Canada Red Cherry I saved from being destroyed when a new building was under construction. It came from Katie Brown's place and is the only tree saved when the bank went in.

The lower tree is the apple tree just outside my front door. With the horrible start to Spring this year I doubted it would get any blossoms but as you can see, it came through. I never get any of the apples, the magpies or wind knocks them down and then the dogs eat what's left.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Treasure ! ! ! !

I just spent a couple hours looking for buried treasure. Actually it's my grandfather's pocket knife that is missing. And that happened way back when I had my horse in the early 80s. I'd seen Joe Ryan's photo in the paper telling about his adventures using his metal detector and thought he might be able to help me. The photo above shows the wonderous finds we made. Okay, they aren't worth anything but it was amazing to see how sensitive those machines are in finding the smallest piece of metal. No luck finding the knife unfortunately.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Survivor, so far

I've talked before about the dangers of lead in birds. This beautiful adult Golden Eagle, ROSE, was found in an open field by some asparagus hunters near Powell. At my first view of her I immediately thought "lead poisoning". She couldn't stand, couldn't open her feet and both wings were very droopy. I gathered her up and as it was too late to take her in to Dr. Blessing, I settled her in a cage here and started her on EDTA, the medicine to remove lead from her system. I also and gave her fluids and put her feet in sandals to keep her toes open.

The next morning she was able to stand for a short time and even walk in her odd shoes. Her trip to the vet for xrays was very enlightening as they showed she has seven lead pellets in her stomach. That is the most dangerous place for them as the acid will leach the lead out and send it through her bloodstream.

Today, Sunday, she's even better. Hopefully the venison and elk meat I'm feeding her will work through her system and carry the pellets out of her body. In the meantime she'll continue the EDTA shots, six per day, until tomorrow morning then another xray will tell us if the lead has passed through.

This is just another reason to ban lead bullets. She wasn't shot but she apparently consumed the pellets from a dead animal/bird that was left in the field.


This little Great Horned Owl was caught in a barbwire fence but I can't call him BARBIE, I believe it's a male. So his name is KEN. He was found near Lander and taken to the Wind River Veterinary Hospital for immediate care. They sutured up the damage caused by the fence and the next day he arrived here thanks to two WGF people from the Lander office.

KEN is on antibiotics and he'll go into Dr. Blessing on Monday for xrays to make sure there are no broken bones. He's been a quiet bird and takes his mice from the end of my forceps. Hopefully he'll heal well enough and have strength in that wing for flight.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

The other two

Today Sheila and I moved BONNIE 3 out of her mew to ready it for the two remaining baby GHO's. It has a safe box for the babies to hide in plus a place for the foster moms to sit either in with them or above on the box top. There is also a branch leading to another perch for when the babies are old enough to venture out of their nest area.

We went back to the area where they were found but no adults or nest site were seen. Therefore, they will remain here in the care of the resident adult owls.

They have two foster moms, SMIDGE and her roomie who raised two babies last year and did an awesome job. When the babies are older and about fledged they will all go back into the owl habitat so they'll have room enough to fly around and make strong muscles so they'll survive back in the wild.

One down, two to go

Today my visiting friend, Sheila, and I drove back to the area where little CHOMP was originally found. I was astounded when we pulled up to the bridge he had been rescued from and there, sitting in the nearby tree, was an adult GHO. Probably his mom from the size of the bird. We parked and walked that direction to replace him in a tree. The adult flew off to another tree but I put him in the one she had originally been perched in.

These photos show me smiling as he was a handful taking out of the crate and getting gathered up enough to release. Then it took a minute to get him on a branch open enough to hold him. The portrait is the best as he's sitting there with the confidence of a born Great Horned Owl. The final photo is a long shot from the bridge showing him in the tree. His mom is in one about two trees farther away.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

And then there were three....

That's CHOMP in the back. He was joined, just a bit ago, with twins, MUTT and JEFF. The new babies are a week or two younger and were found over near Byron in an open field. The finder, Clinton Cordova, didn't see any adults and they were quite far from the surrounding trees. At this point they're just to the waddling around stage so I don't know how they got so far from where their nest tree would be.

They are in good condition, both weigh 24 ounces to CHOMP's 38 ounces. They will stay here under the watchful eyes of foster mom, SMIDGE, until they're ready for release in a perfect habitat.

Don't you come near me

Oh my! He's a tough customer all right. His name is CHOMP and he's about two weeks away from fully fledging from his home nest. Unfortunately he didn't know that and found himself in the middle of the highway, in the middle of a bridge just north of Emblem. Luckily a caring family drove up, snatched him from certain damage and called me.

He's a bit thin but not starving. I don't know how many siblings he has, probably at least one or two. So far he's eaten five mice at a sitting and seems to be very hungry even after all that. As his parents were seen in the vacinity I will take him back and put him in a safe place in that same area.