Sunday, June 29, 2014

Floating away

This morning, around 7 o'clock, my six baby mallards were released on Alkali Lake near Cody. The top photo shows them right after being put in the water. The other is them heading for the large body of water and hopefully getting acquainted with the resident adult ducks living there.

These babies came here about a day old after their mother picked a very bad spot to lay her eggs. She decamped and luckily the babies were found at the apartment complex and I was called. They've been growing like weeds and now that their preen glands are working they are waterproof enough for release.

Saturday, June 28, 2014


That is the best word to describe these amazing birds. Cedar Waxwings are such beautiful songbirds, I love them. This poor young bird was found on the ground with a wound to his left wrist. I don't know if it will eventually be okay for release but in the meantime he's eating lots of fruit, their main diet, and behaving in his cage.

Unfortunately I had to take this photo through the cage bars so it's not in good focus but you can see just how pretty he is.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Baby geese update

The three Canada Geese goslings are now at a release site near a wonderful pond. Until they are ready to fly they have some surrogate parents in the form of a couple decoys. As they had mine near them when tiny they readily took to the new pair. When they're old enough they will naturally go towards real geese and migrate at the appropriate time.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Whoa! ! ! !

This isn't a gigantic tornado but it is a storm sitting over Cody. Sara took this on her cellphone when in Powell. In a matter of a half hour the rain stopped and now the sun is out so we're steaming. And the weeds are growing taller and stronger as I watch them.

The bad news is that I had five bags of cavy food in the back of my truck so they were a bit damp. Luckily only a couple handfuls of feed were slightly soggy, the rest I poured into many buckets to get them out of the paper bags.

He now has a BFF

Here's RUFUS with is new best friend. After his trip to Ogden he was introduced to their orphan heron who is about a week younger. There was a short squabble about 10 minutes into the meeting but then the younger one stood up for his rights and now all is okay.

You'll note in the photo that RUFUS, on the left, still hasn't shut his mouth.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Dry and together

The last little female kestrel is now dry and sharing the cage with the other two females. They were all on the perch when I opened the door but naturally didn't stay together.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Three little girls

It seems not long ago all I was doing was driving to or through Thermopolis for birds. This year it's Powell. And the worst part is having to drive over four miles of road under construction. They seem to feel the roadbed must be at least four feet higher and then the left over dirt in piles on the side of the road has to be trucked along the road behind my place so they can dump it over the hill. Of course then they have to have a front loader spent every day smoothing out the dumped dirt. Must be costing hundreds of thousands of dollars. Too bad someone didn't think of selling the dirt, would have made some money to help cover the $4 million per mile they're now spending. But I digress.....

So far in the past couple weeks I've driven 12 times to Powell to pick up eight baby great horned owls and four kestrels. I still have five of the GHOs and three kestrels. The owls are just waiting until they're ready for release.

The same for the kestrels but in the case of two of them it's because their dad was hit by a car a couple weeks ago and had to be euthanized. Because kestrel litters can be up to six babies, it's very hard for the one remaining parent to keep them in food. I have no idea how many were in this clutch but I believe that all but these two have probably died. These little girls are quite thin but are scarfing down their mice so that will soon correct itself.

This single little female also came from Powell but when she came out of the nest she apparently went right into the ditch. She got herself out but was caked with dirt. That's why she's all wet, had to give her a bath to remove it. Talk about an attitude, she's quite feisty so should do well when ready to fledge.

Thursday, June 19, 2014


Baby RUFUS is leaving tomorrow to begin the rest of his journey. After such a shaky start, literally when his nest tree fell down, he is now joining another Great Blue Heron orphan at the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in Ogden, UT. Thanks to Debbie Pappas of Second Chance Wildlife Rehabilitation in Price, UT for telling me about the facility in Ogden. And to DaLyn Erickson there who agreed to accept my baby heron.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

My own Field of Honor

I put the new flags up today. They are in honor of my cousin, Pete and in memory of my uncles, Roy and Tom and cousins Mickey and Michael. Between the five they've served in three wars in every branch but the Marines. You'll note that the first flag is a bit faded and ragged. That was for uncle Roy last year, his new flag is the next one in line.

Sad tears

Baby HUIT died today

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Double release

It's a bright, warm day here in Cody so today's the day for releasing two owls. Both KEN and JOHNNY CASH had been caught in barbwire fences and were lucky enough to have no broken bones. It took some time but they healed from their wounds and were ready to go. Top is JC heading north, bottom is KEN going south. Hopefully they will remain free and not hit any fences in the future.
Thanks to Mike, Justeana and Sara for making the release such fun. Sara took the photos.

Field of Honor

Today is the last day for 800 flags to fly in the 3rd annual Field of Honor here in Cody. Last year I got one in memory of my uncle Roy. This year I got four more after finding out I have other relatives who served in the military. In memory of uncle Tom (Coast Guard), cousin Mickey (Air Force), cousin Michael (Navy) and in honor of cousin Pete (Army). They will join the one flag already flying from my picket fence. I also got another flag for uncle Roy as the one from last year is a bit worn out. I'll include a photo of all of them when I get them installed at home. In the meantime, here's what our Field of Honor looks like.


In order to help make the baby Canada Geese more independent and releasable I decided to give them a "mom". This is a yard ornament I've had for decades. It's a magnum size decoy so I removed the legs to make it more normal sized and placed it in the goose room. They are now curled up against it every morning. And they also have a larger water pan so they can get used to being in water and perhaps get their preen glands producing oil so they will float and not sink.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

HUIT update

I should have washed his face after eating.

Tiny HUIT is making strides. He's been on medicine after being diagnosed with trichomoniasis, a protozoan problem, which is highly contagious and often fatal. It sometimes causes a "cheesy" like material in the birds throats which eventually closes it off so the bird can't swallow and eventually starves to death. It can be treated successfully if caught in time.

Luckily that is the case with this baby and he's halfway through his medication. Not thrilled as it's 1cc of a liquid that I squirt into his throat. Foster mom, SMIDGE, is also being treated so she doesn't get it but hers is a pill I have to physically put in her mouth.

The best news is that HUIT is now eating again. He's been taking and swallowing pinky (newborn) mice and keeping them down. He's also on a high calorie liquid food that he's tubed with twice a day. HUIT only weighs a bit over 11 ounces and should be twice that. He also appears to be able to see now which was a great concern. Hopefully this will be resolved and he will be either releasable or placed in a facility as an educational bird.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The sound of little webbed feet

Some larger than others. I now have three baby Canada Geese here. Eggs were purchased and when they hatched the person found out that he can't keep them as pets and was told to bring them to me. Because they were not under mom when they came out they have no natural oil on their down to make them waterproof. If I put them out in the lake they would become waterlogged and drown. Sooooo, in about six weeks they'll be released in a protected area.
The other babies are Mallards, all six of them. They were found wandering around an apartment complex with no mother in sight. Because it's necessary for these young birds to be brooded, they can't just be taken to water and tossed in. They do have the oil on their down but without an adult to protect them from the cold they would die.

So there....

A week ago, when the little Great Blue Heron came to live here, I was told by "experts" that it was almost impossible to raise a baby GBH. He is still alive and so far making great strides. He's eating on his own now, loves the raw shrimp and pinky rats.

This photo shows him outside in the sunshine trying to control those very long legs and toes through the tall grass. He's very vocal when he wants a meal and now all I have to do is toss it into a large heavy crock food dish. He finds it and makes short work of getting it all eaten.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Famous visitor

I had a wonderful visitor arrive last Friday. I've known Jonathan Wood for 20 years but had never met him. That long ago he got an elderly Golden Eagle from me for use in his educational programs. He renamed her CODY and they were together for 16 years before she died. He then got another eagle, MORIAH to complete his collection of awesome birds.

Jon has a program called The Raptor Project and is based in NY and TX. He is permitted to give programs in all 50 states but usually ends up in about 44 of them. This time he was headed for Seattle for a few months and will do 400 programs in that time. He was traveling in a 60' motor home with special accomodations for the 42 birds he had along with him. That included 10 babies ranging in age from four days to six weeks. And in size from Kestrel to Crested Caracara and Gyr Falcon.

Here we are sitting in the shade feeding the 10 babies. I'm holding a Kestrel and Prairie Falcon with a Eagle Owl and Gyr next to me.
The photos show just a few of the adult birds he's using on this trip. They include a Bald Eagle, three Eurasian Eagle Owls, Snowy Owl, Peregrine Falcon, Lanner Falcon, Gyr Falcon, Crested Caracara, South American Lesser Yellow-faced Vulture, Black Vulture, Red-tailed Hawk, and many more. The Snowy Owl is one of those used in the Harry Potter movies. His Lanner Falcon was in the scene with Ben Stiller in his Walter Mitty movie where he lands on his arm.
The bird in this photo is an adult Crested Caracara and he seems to be giving me a very intense look-over.
I hope that if any of you get a chance to see one of his shows you take advantage of doing so. He calls the show Extreme Raptors and is an amazing combination of flying birds, information on the species and a chance to get up close and personal to birds you may never see other than in photos or on a video. Jon was only here for two days but it was a very fun visit and I hope he, his wife Susan and daughter Rachael can all make it the next time.

Photos were taken by Sara Sprung and Melissa Hill.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Rare visitor

This very sad baby is RUFUS, a Great Blue Heron found on the ground after his nest tree blew down. Also found were two siblings and an adult, all dead. He was found last Friday and it took until today for the Kelly family to finally find someone who may be able to help him. Unfortunately he wasn't getting the best type of feed so he's very weak.

I've tried sardines and pureed salmon but he won't keep either down so I'm at a loss right now as to how to save the little guy. I haven't given up but the prognosis is very bleak.

Thank you very much to all the Kelly's for caring enough to try hard for the baby. That included making the three hour drive over the mountain from Sheridan to deliver him.

UPDATE: June 4th: As you can see from this photo, RUFUS is making an amazing turnaround. So far that is. I've been feeding him a product called AD which is a critical care, high calorie, canned food for debilitated dogs and cats. And it is sometimes used in raptors. I don't know if it's ever been used on a fish eating water bird but at this point things are looking up. RUFUS is now able to stand and even walk around a bit while I'm fixing his food. Of course he's not old enough for much movement so just being able to waddle is normal for his age. Especially on those gargantuan feet. Fingers crossed that his condition continues to improve.

PS: You'll note his mouth is open. He's also very opinionated and vocal as to when he wants to be fed.

Foster moms

Today little HUIT got another mom. Well, actually two, the one who is the same species, SMIDGE, and the one who feeds him. One who is not wearing a mask and one who is. Because baby owls will imprint on a human face I wear the mask when I'm in the room. I also hoot before handing him his food and he readily reaches for it. That is a mirror next to the "nest" so HUIT will see others of his kind.

I know, the mask looks pretty funny but I've worn it in the past and hopefully mom SMIDGE will make this all work.

Oh My !

I have about 70 laying hens and some days are a surprise. This is a photo of a normal, large, chicken egg next to one of my Aracauna eggs. I have no idea how this hen got this egg out but as it's too large to fit into one of my egg cartons I kept if for myself. And ate it for breakfast this morning. It contained TWINS ! ! ! !

Monday, June 2, 2014


I seems there is no shortage of baby GHOs this year. I got a repeat call from the Reddi Mix plant in Powell informing me that another of the baby owls nesting in one of their high places was in their shop. In this photo he's the one making himself very big. I was amazed at how quickly the siblings came together.

The bottom photo is of the now four resident youngsters, all of whom are about the same age but from three different nests. I also have one more inside who's a bit too young to join this group and, of course, teeny HUIT who is about 8-10 days old and won't be ready to fly for quite some time.

Sunday, June 1, 2014


Tiny HUIT is still alive this morning and I did get the rest of the cut up mouse down him but he's not asking for food. He does swallow it when I put it in his mouth so that's a good thing. I've written to Kay McKeever, Annick, Stacy and Cathy at The Owl Foundation in ON, Canada for their input on his chances but haven't heard back from them yet. They are marvelous in answering any questions I have about owls I get in. Fingers crossed for this little one.

UPDATE of the update: I just heard back from The Owl Foundation and they believe, from the photo I sent them, that HUIT is only 4-7 days old. That makes a difference. And our weather is horrible now, rain and cold, so I'm going to give him to SMIDGE, my foster GHO mom to raise. She did a wonderful job on two last year.