Saturday, June 27, 2015

Yet another baby

This one isn't as young as TUMBLER but not very long out of her nest. Her name is HOBBIT and she appears to be about almost three months old. She was found west of Deaver unwilling to fly very far or high. At this time I can't see anything wrong, she weighs 7# 11oz which is a good weight for this age golden eagle.

She does appear to be a bit pale so I'll take her in for a blood test on Monday to see if all is okay in her system. She can stand up but was a bit intimidated with the new surroundings.

UPDATE: This baby came from a monitored nest near Deaver so much of her short life history is known. She's now proven to be able to make live kills so her stay here should be a short one. I may actually put TUMBLER in with her so he can also learn how to catch prey. Then they could both be released at the same time in the same area.

Friday, June 26, 2015

New mom

Not her first time but it is since she moved here as a foster. This baby redtail came from a nest at the top of a coal conveyor at a mine south of Gillette. Unfortunately his wing flapping sent him over the edge and there was no way for the crew to get him back up there. There's one more chick in the nest, hopefully it will stay until ready to fly.

Thanks to Nichole and Roy of ICFI, the same people who transported TUMBLER over here, the baby arrived in good shape. He will be fostered by BONNIE 3 until ready for release. Depending on the timing, both the golden eagle and this redtail may go back over the mountain to where they were found before being released. A good prey base is there and it's a wonderful habitat.

Baby update

I've heard back from my friends at The Owl Foundation in Vineland, ON, Canada. These babies are younger than I thought. The tiniest one is now two days old, the next three days and the largest five days old. As short-eared owls can lay up to 10 eggs this is a small clutch. They also hatch as they were laid which accounts for the difference in size and age. Amazingly enough, most of the babies are fed enough so they all reach fledging age if all goes right. So far everyone here is doing just fine. The youngest is still weak but eating everything I give him.

Annick said that this species will imprint quickly so I'm using a short-eared owl mask the way I did with the baby golden eagle. Here it is. It worked wonderfully with TUMBLER, hopefully will do the same for these three wee ones.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

More wee babies

This has been an extraordinary year so far and today made it more so. I got a call this afternoon from a rancher near Absarokee, MT. They are putting up hay and unfortunately the swather hit and killed a female short-eared owl. They rescued the three babies before calling. When I got there I was expecting branchers at this time of year.

Imagine my surprise when I opened the box and found these teeny chicks. I would estimate them to be 2-4 days old, I'll check with my owl expert in Canada to be sure. One is rather weak altho he's not the smallest by weight. He comes in at 40 grams, the other small one is 25 grams and the Hulk is 75 grams.

Now I'll have to print out a picture of an adult short-ear to make a mask as I did with the baby golden eagle. Their eyes aren't open yet so I'm safe for a few days. They're also eating well, mouse pieces handed to them on the end of forceps. Hopefully the weakest one will soon catch up.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Release pics

I now have a couple more release photos of GRUMPY, the osprey I took over east of Buffalo. These came from Tracy Jones, the Powder River Energy person who made the arrangements with ranch owner Phil Little. Phil and I were discussing the whole process after she flew away. Thanks to these two gentlemen this was an extraordinary release.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Another mystery

Just when I think I know what kind of bird it is something comes along to keep me on my toes. I received these baby ducks today from Basin, they were found at the local public pool with no adults in sight. Thanks to Heather for driving them here.

They are very small and I'm about 100% sure they're Wood Ducks. Their huge friend is the baby mallard I've had for a week or more while trying to find an adult pair to foster him with. Now that he has company it isn't as critical.

I've sent a note and this photo to the Wood Duck Society for a positive ID on the new arrivals. In the meantime, they will be moved to a bit larger room so they can enjoy their water dish without making such a mess.

NOTE: It's been confirmed, they are woodie ducklings and are going to live at the WJH Bird Resources in Billings, MT. They raise waterfowl, both common and rare, and have great knowledge of all species including the diet these little ducks eat. I'm meeting their representative tomorrow for the hand off. They're even taking the lone mallard.

I visited their facility last year as they took over the care and releasing of Ms. PIGGY, the baby squirrel I raised. It's a super home for any bird who swims.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Wild baby girl

I got a call this evening about a downed kestrel whose mom was frantic any time the land owner got near it. When I got there the wind was a bit strong so as I tried to catch the chick it took off. Because of the wind it was able to fly pretty well but landed in a small evergreen. Then I was able to catch her.

Her mom was also there, hovering above us as I checked the recently fledged female out. All was fine but when I opened my hand for her to fly away she seemed content to just sit there. I finally jiggled my arm and she flew off. She is in excellent condition, a chubby child who has been well taken care of so I have no doubt she'll be just fine.

Thanks to Maryann Alquist for calling me and taking this beautiful photo.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Back home again

Thanks to Quintin Blair, the younger, two baby sparrows are back in their nest way up in the Holiday Inn sign. Found on the ground, and much too young to be there, Quin called me for help. When I saw where the nest is located he volunteered to make the climb and replace them in their nest. It's right in front of him behind the zig-zag post he's hanging on to. There were others in the nest so the replaced babies had company. Thanks to Quin for making this possible. He carried them up there in the paper bag.

Finally away

It's been 10 long months but POTTER was finally released today. He came in very starved back in August from Gillette. It took some time for him to gain needed weight and then he had to go into the hawk flight barn for conditioning. I brought him inside during our very severe weather at which time he broke the tips of some of his primary feathers.

Then he had to molt them in before he could fly free. That finally happened so today was the big day. The top photo is horrible, he shot out of the crate so fast and didn't go the direction I expected so the camera focused on the sagebrush and not on him. Luckily he landed a ways away so I was able to zoom in on him for a better shot. He spent some time checking out the area, I wished him well and drove away.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

So pretty

This amazing bird is a Nighthawk, one of the most awesome birds who fly at dusk scooping up bugs. They have a very teeny beak but a huge mouth, sort of like a whale shark swimming with its mouth open picking up krill.

I drove down to Thermopolis to meet the Boysen State Park person, the bird was found at one of the campgrounds. They'd had a very severe hail storm, probably what caused the wing wound. No broken bones but the other problem was much worse. She had a prolapsed rectum. Dr. Blessing did a heroic job putting it back in place but unfortunately just as he was finishing she stopped breathing and her heart quit.

These birds used to be common but I don't see them much anymore. I mourn the loss of this beautiful little female.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Mom ? ? ? ?

Little TUMBLER seems to be asking that question. I pushed DOVE into hopping onto her feeding station and then climb the log to the top of the tower. Amazingly the baby didn't seem at all afraid or surprised so maybe this has happened before and I've not known it. DOVE only stayed up there a minute or so then flew off to her perch on the other end of the barn.

As you can see, TUMBLER is growing quickly and filling out with dark feathers.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

She's climbing higher

Today is a milestone for almost eight week old baby TUMBLER. She's now on top of the nest box tower with no walls surrounding her. Well, other than the barn walls. She's busy scoping out the area altho the view is the same as from her nest box, just higher. She's now eating all on her own, no more hand fed mice. She's into rats now and will soon have small rabbits. She weighs 6.75 pounds, just a couple ounces down but that's to be expected as she's more active. Now her rations will be almost doubled so she has enough nutrition for growth.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Mystery solved....

At least I think it is. I got a call from a family here in town to come take away some eggs in a nest. Unfortunately it was in a bush right below a window next to the front door and the husband is deathly afraid of birds. The adults were a bit upset when I got near the site. They are Brewer's Blackbirds but I was shocked when I saw the eggs.

As far as I can tell, the three larger, bluish speckled ones are theirs, the smaller, lighter ones appear to be Brown-headed Cowbird eggs. That species are parasitic layers, putting them in the nest of other birds. Then when they hatch the foster parents raise them as their own. The bad news is that baby cowbirds instinctively shove other babies or eggs out of the nest so they are the only occupants left to be fed.

Back to mom

This was an exciting day, two bird releases took place. The first was little JAKE, the young short-eared owl found caught in a barbwire fence off the Greybull hiway. Because of her age I opted to take her back to where she was found. As you can see, she blends in well with the surroundings. I also left three mice but after I got back to my truck I noticed she'd climbed to the top of the rock formation so didn't partake of lunch at that moment. Hopefully she'll go back and have a meal. I did give her a large mouse early this morning so she left with a full tummy.

The second release was my young horned lark. I took it not far from my place in perfect lark habitat. It flew off and just kept going. I didn't get a photo of that, happened too quick.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

New baby

As many of you know, I raise rabbits here at IBR as a food source. I had one doe who decided all she'd do was have babies, she wouldn't feed them. Her first litter died before I found them. The second had only one survivor, this teeny baby. Right now I'm feeding it KMR, kitten milk replacement food, along with a few grains of Culturelle to help with digestion. Because he never got any of moms colostrum it's very important to have some good bacteria working away in his tummy.

So far so good. This isn't the best photo but he's a squiggly thing, I was lucky to get this one. No, he won't be a meal but a pet.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Tall one

On Tuesday I drove to east of Buffalo to release the osprey. Then that night, after I'd gone to bed, I got a call from a man in Riverton about a sandhill crane who had been hit by a car. On Wednesday morning I drove another long distance to pick up this very large bird, DAGGER, near the Honor Farm. The mate had been calling for him but to no avail.

Unfortunately his left wing is badly broken, both radius (in one place) and ulna (in three places). Amazingly all bones are in good alignment so tomorrow (Friday), Dr. Blessing is going to do surgery to repair the fractures. Both bones will be pinned so it'll be many weeks before I'll know if he can fly again.

I believe this is a Greater Sandhill Crane, he's very large in stature. They aren't the safest birds to handle. They can't grab you with a foot but their beak is very pointed and they're very quick at striking shiny things. Eyes being the most shiny thing I'll have to be very careful when working around him.

PS: He does have two legs, he's just holding his left one up near his body.

NOTE: Sad news, just as the surgery was winding down his heart gave up and he died. Such a loss.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Another first

Just as I was getting ready to take GRUMPY for her release I got a call from Justin about a small owl he'd found caught in a barbwire fence. He said he was in Basin and as I was going through that town I stopped and picked it up.

The little owl turned out to be a juvenile Short-eared Owl. I've had few adults but this is the first youngster for me. He's absolutely adorable and is in excellent condition. His name is JAKE altho I'm not sure it's a male. Weighing in at almost 13 ounces, he's obviously learned how to hunt or is still under the care of the parents.

He'll be here for a while until I know he's okay. I didn't find any wounds, perhaps he's so small that once his chest feathers were caught he was too far from the barbs to do damage.

She's off

Today was a most exciting time for me and others but especially GRUMPY. I drove more than three hours over the mountains to the east to Leiter, WY. That's about 35 miles east of Buffalo. The drive was outstanding, the national forest was awesome. It was a bit chilly on top but then the snow still on the ground had something to do with that.

Tracy Jones from Powder River Energy was there with a big camera and took shots of the release. The rancher who originally found her was gracious enough to let me release her back on his property. Of course I was worried she'd land on a power pole again but she didn't. There is an active osprey nest nearby but the adults are firmly in charge of it so she'll have to go farther afield.

I'll post a photo as soon as Tracy sends me some of his. Mine were a washout.