Saturday, May 30, 2015

New nest

My baby golden, TUMBLER, is now outside in a nest site in the eagle flight barn. She is now old enough and because there is an adult female in the barn I wanted her to have a role model.

The nest site is where my JULIE always stayed when laying eggs, altho they were never fertile. It's inside the tower which is made up of discarded sculpture boxes from the museum. I didn't want to take a chance on TUMBLER being injured by the adult so thanks to Nathan Horton there are doors on it.
We repurposed all the wood and wire in the construction but the hardest part was getting the box square. After sitting in the barn for almost two decades it had racked to one side a bit. Between the two of us asking each other, "what about doing this?", "do you think this would work?" "let's try ths", we finally got everything to work. Nathan is a very gifted builder and has lots of tools to get the job done.

She also now has two mirrors for company.
TUMBLER is growing quickly, now weighs 6#14oz, almost the weight of an adult male. She's also quickly getting her dark feathers as you can see in this photo. The next addition to this box is a large branch that will allow her to come out and flap those very large wings prior to flying.

Friday, May 29, 2015

She's up high now

I decided to place GRUMPY in to a larger area so she could practice flying. She's found out she could make it up to the highest wall perch, about 15' above ground. Now that all is fixed with her left foot/leg, and she's flying circles in the mew, she's going back to Leiter, WY for release next Tuesday, weather permitting. I was hoping for today but a large storm is predicted for that area. I didn't want to drive over the mountain in that plus I want good weather for her release back to the wild.

Monday, May 25, 2015

And another......

Yes, another 25 mile drive to Powell to pick up another baby songbird. And again, I have no idea what species this is, it's quite young, perhaps only 2-3 days old and weak. It was found in the middle of a tennis court in Lovell so finding the nest was impossible. Perhaps a predator bird took it from the nest and then dropped it as it flew. We'll never know but hopefully this little baby will live.

Bountiful harvest

I decided to have scrambled eggs and corn for lunch today. I hadn't made my first gather yet so used some in my frig. One was extremely large and wouldn't fit in a carton so I chose that one and one other jumbo egg. Both were from my Aracauna hens, the huge one from the youngsters who started laying a month ago, The other from my old ladies.

Here is the result of just two eggs!!!! I've had doubles before but never a triple. Needless to say my meal was wonderful, my hens outdid themselves.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

More wee babies

Four days ago I was called about some baby birds found after a tree had been cut down. I still don't know exactly what species they are but believe they're some kind of finch. They're eating wonderfully and growing feathers.

Then this morning I got a call from a gentleman up the Southfork saying his dog found another baby bird. This time I'm about 100% sure it's a baby horned lark. Unfortunately it's not old enough to be on its own so is now snuggled down with the three finches. As they are all seed eaters they're also sharing the same food.

The lark is the one on the left with all the teeny spots. A bit older but still quickly opened its beak when the syringe came near. When these babies are ready to go I'll take the finches to the Neal's yard for release, the most perfect place for any bird to live. The lark will be released here as they prefer more open habitat.

Growing fast

This is a photo of TUMBLER taken today. She's about five weeks old and getting to look more and more like a golden eagle. Her dark back feathers are coming as are the primary feathers. She can now stand for a while and is eating everything I hand her. She still seems to favor both the t-shirt image and the life sized bird on the poster. I'll keep posting new photos as she ages.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Nest site

I just received a photo of where TUMBLER's nest was originally located. As you can see, the original site (top arrow), then half the nest fell down (middle arrow) after the horrible storms taking the baby with it. She didn't stop there but continued falling until reaching the bottom (lower arrow). This makes her survival even more extraordinary. She's now standing for a bit, eating a lot and gaining weight. It's surprising how quickly they grow.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Feeding attire

It is very important to keep a baby bird, of any species, from becoming a human imprint. TUMBLER is not quite four weeks old, right at the edge of learning she's an eagle. Now, besides the t-shirt with the golden head on it, there's a poster of a life sized adult behind her. This way when she looks into the mirror she can see it. Thanks to Chuck Preston and the graphics department of the historical center, she has a "mom".

To that end I've made a mask to wear when I'm feeding TUMBLER. Now don't laugh too hard but it's the best I could come up with at the moment. I know, four eyes, and I should probably put a dark cap over my ears. This is a work in progress, I'll tweak it as I go along.

She's eating lots of cut up mice and is now strong enough to sit up on her hocks. It's just a matter of time before she can actually stand. I'll keep posting photos so you can see just how she's growing and growing.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Newest patient

I don't often receive downy baby raptors and this is the youngest golden eagle I've ever gotten in. She is about 23-25 days old and is here because she was blown out of the nest on a cliff near the Antelope Coal Mine south of Gillette. Luckily the mine consultants were monitoring the nest quite often and found her the morning after a horrific thunderstorm hit the area.

I met one of their people, Roy, in Tensleep and brought her right back here for care. As I was leaving for CO for three days she immediately went to stay with my subpermittee and master falconer, Chris Pfister. I got back this afternoon, picked her up and she's now in her protected "nest" with a mirror for company. I also placed one of my t-shirts on a board next to her. It has a large painting of a golden eagle head on it so she will know what her parents would look like.

At this point the object is to get her all grown up without becoming an imprint to humans. I'm also getting a poster done up by Chuck Preston of an adult bird as yet another sample for her to identify with.

As you can see, she's trying to figure out who that other baby eagle is.

Awesome party

I just got back from Loveland and Boulder, CO where I attended a wonderful birthday party for a friend who turned 90 years old. Dolores Besson and her family moved next door to my family almost 40 years ago in Downers Grove, IL, just before their youngest daughter was born. Most everyone, including grandchildren, were able to be there so it was a great time.

We all went to the Boulder Dinner Theater and watched Mary Poppins after a wonderful meal. Then everyone went back to Dolores and Chuck's home for a birthday cake and a chance to catch up with our lives as we all live in different places.

L-R: Lisa, Susan, Dolores, Belinda. Front: Denise
There weren't candles so Lisa's husband, Jay, brought one up on his cell phone so we could all sing Happy Birthday. Granddaughter Brittany behind her dad.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

What is it?

I got a call a few days ago from Curt in Lusk, WY about a tiny bird he found upside down in the snow at his ranch. Lusk is over 300 miles east and south of me and they had gone from 80 degrees to two feet of snow. I was at a loss as to what species of bird this was so sent feelers out to friends who have a lot of bird knowledge.

Today I got the answer from my expert, Doug Faulkner, in Colorado. It's a juvenile Horned Lark! I rarely get these birds let alone a young one but should have figured it out myself. As the weather in Lusk was supposed to greatly improve the next day I told Curt to take the youngster outside when the sun was out and place him in one of his open sheds where other birds were congregating. Hopefully all went well.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Home sweet home

Today I took little DAVIS back to his home tree and released him to the care of his parents. Well, that was the plan but the little stinker didn't hear well and decided to just ad lib. I couldn't put him back in the nest as it was waaaaaaaaay up in the top of a cottonwood. However, the tree right next to it was perfect, tons of large branches for him to sit on and let his parents feed him.

That's where he didn't follow the plan. I put him in that tree four times. Each time he jumped/flew off in a different direction, once trying to grab me in the process. I finally decided to keep watch when he headed for a pile of old lumber from a fallen down shed. One of the walls was still standing so by the time he'd made his way almost to the top of that I decided he would be safe. And one of the adults was back on the nest with his sibling.

I asked the home owners to just keep an eye on him and let me know if he needed rescuing again. I just got a photo and note about the baby, he's up in their trees and one parent was with him. Now all he has to do is grow old and become a success in his life. You have to look close to see him in this well camoflaged position in the tree.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Great news

GRUMPY is doing so well and now she's completely free of any bandaging on her legs and left foot. As you can see in this photo taken just today, she's standing normally with her left leg and her foot is flat. She's also eating a whole rainbow trout every day on her own. I no longer have to force feed her.

When she first arrived I didn't think there was a chance of her recovering from her injuries after hanging upside down for hours. I was afraid the tendon or nerve damage to her left leg was permanent. She's fooled everyone, probably because she's such a fighter. Now she'll be put in a larger area so she can exercise her wings and prove she can "catch" fish in a baby pool.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

New roof netting

Before work started
Partway through, Julie, Sara, Mike and Mic hard at work.
After, shorter poles and tight fitting net...priceless. Pile of old netting in front.
Thanks to Gary Brown of American Netting here in Cody I now have a new one piece netting over my two hen yards. And special thanks to great friends, Sara, Julie, Mike and Mic for using their expertise and willingness to put it up. I spent a couple hours removing all the old netting as it was up for a long time and this last heavy snow did major damage.

It took a total of five hours to complete the job. I can now walk all around the two yards without having to duck once to go from one house to the other. The ladies stayed inside while the work was going on but now have a wonderful bright place to pick and scratch. Of course the next project is putting the shade cloth up on top of the netting so they can enjoy the hottest days in comfort.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

More wee babies

I just received two more baby bunnies. These are much younger than the one I recently raised and released. They were found under a pile of wood that the owners moved today. Unfortunately there was no way to replace the wood or the babies to a nest situation. I have new domestic bunny young and altho I could probably put them in one of those nests, in the long run it wouldn't work. So for now they're on KMR with a small pinch of Culturelle, the same diet I used on my last baby rabbit.