Friday, September 18, 2015

Another trip

Luckily this one was very short in comparison to those I've been taking. Only about 35 miles up to Clark to pick up this awesomely handsome five month old male Peregrine Falcon. Thanks to Kathy and Ken, who live there, he was rescued today. Kathy saw him yesterday morning in a tree next to the road. He was on the ground there this morning so she called me when she noticed he had a wound on his back.

CLARK is now in the hands of my master falconer, Chris Pfister, who will be seeing to his care until the wound is healed and he's ready for training. The cut was deep enough to require suturing but no underlying tissue was damaged. A round of antibiotics and he should be good as new in a few weeks.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Handsome baby

In the past 11 days I've made three trips to Thermop to meet people with injured birds.The first two were sad, both the Swainson's Hawk and the GHO were so badly injured they couldn't be saved.

This time it's a very handsome male Red-tailed Hawk, JESSIE. He's pudgy fat, apparently learned his hunting lessons well. Unfortunately at some point he met something sharp, he has a cut in the skin near his right elbow. That's now bandaged, he's going in tomorrow morning to have it sutured closed.

As this seems to be the only thing wrong with him, he will be here until the wound heals and then released back to the wild. Thanks to Jessica Peckham, WGF warden from Riverton, for meeting me in Thermopolis.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

LEVI leaving

This beautiful adult Long-eared Owl came to IBR on June 10 suffering from a dislocated right shoulder and a wound to his right wrist. Surgery was done to replace the dislocation on the same day but that type of injury is very iffy on an outcome.

In this case, all worked as it should and today LEVI was released in an area south of Cody where long-ears are known to live. It's always a thrill to see a bird fly off with strength after putting such time and energy into their recovery. It's what makes what I do all worthwhile.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015


This has been an exceptional year for taking in Short-eared Owls. Today I made yet another long drive to Thermop to pick up this gorgeous young short-ear. Thanks to WGF Biologist, Heather O'Brien, I didn't have to make the trip to Casper, she brought the bird to our usual meeting spot in the Quality Inn parking lot.

TRAINER was found near some railroad tracks but the only damage I can see is perhaps in his sight. Heather said he was also a bit sensitive when his right wrist was touched. Right now it's a wait and see procedure, hopefully this extraordinary young bird will fly free in the near future.

Another away

I posted a photo and story about what was called a "baby grey owl" and showed you that it is, in fact, a baby female Kestrel. Her name is GREY and yesterday she flew away on her second big adventure. I released her just outside my front gate as I have kestrels in the area so know it's a good placement. You can just barely see her to the left of the power pole, even with the top of it. She was so quick in flying off this is the best picture I could get. She circled a few times and then landed in one of my trees. I never saw her take off again.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Another wrong ID

I made yet another drive to Thermop this morning to pick up what was called a Cooper's Hawk by the people who found him. This is, in fact, an immature male Swainson's Hawk. They are quite different in size and coloring. The Swainson's, a buteo, has dark eyes, heavily barred chest, a white bib and their tail is not longer than the tips of their folded wings. The Cooper's, an accipter, has yellow green eyes and a a very long tail extending way beyond the tip of the folded wings. You can see the difference in the two photos above. The Swainson's is on top resting in a sling to keep him in a normal position without putting strain on his bad leg. The immature Cooper's below.

This Swainson's didn't get to me for a week after being probably hit by a car, not good if there can be repair to the damaged wing. He goes in on Wednesday morning for xrays and exam. The worst problem is his right leg, he can't stand at all and only has limited movement in the toes.

I learned a long time ago that I can't, and shouldn't, save them all just because I can. The quality of life is very important when dealing with a wild bird. Therefore, the prognosis for this beautiful bird is very questionable.

UPDATE: Sadly this wonderful baby bird was euthanized this morning. His xrays showed that the right shoulder joint is nothing but crumbs, totally destroyed by the car strike. I'm just sorry it took so long to get him to me as I'm sure that damage was very painful. Not any more, he's at peace now.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Flying high

I got this Long-eared Owl back in June. LEVI was suffering from a dislocated right shoulder and a wound near his wrist. He spent a month in a small cage, then was moved to an 8'x 12' area to see if he could fly. He was doing so well that he was again moved to a 13'x 20' flight area. He immediately started flying around and has found the highest spot to roost.

Just as I took the top photo he turned his head around looking for a place to get away from me. He landed on the framing of his pen almost to the top. He will spend some time in this area to gain strength and then be released. Yay LEVI!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Another first for me

Yesterday was a busy one for me. I got a call from a lady who had been walking around the reservoir above Beck Lake and spotted what she thought was a seagull. It wasn't trying to fly or get in the water.

I drove up and finally found it thanks to another walker. The bird wasn't hard to catch, never tried to fly, so I brought it home. Then I had to figure out what species it was. After going through bird books and sending photos to friends, it was decided the bird is a Caspian Tern. I thought it was a very rare sighting but not so, they've been documented around the Cody area before.

Now for the bad news. I couldn't find anything wrong and after buying 20 goldfish at Walmart and him eating half of them I thought all was going to be okay. It was not, the bird died last night. Just as a precaution, the body is on its way to the state lab for testing. They will check for WNV and avian flu among others.

My hairy baby girl

DANCER on June 20th.

Here she is on September 1st.
The dog crate behind her is what she was transported in to her half-way home. Amazingly she fit in there yesterday.

Now that she's in her half-way home preparing for release to the wild, I can share these photos with you. Her name is DANCER and she was found on June 20th running the streets in Cody without a mom. She tried to join one of the town herds but the does would have nothing to do with her. She ended up laying down next to a house and crying all night.

The owner and a friend called me the next morning, I went right over, gathered up this tiny fawn and brought her home. I was very fortunate in contacting a fawn rescue in CA for instructions on saving the baby. They said to feed her Nubian goat milk, and only that, it's the best. The second piece of luck was when friend told me about a lady near Cody who raised Nubians and sold milk.

At $10 per gallon it's not cheap but little DANCER has thrived on it. She was only a week or two old when I got her and very tiny. I put her in a small mew with a couple mirrors for company. Sara donated a dog bed which was used constantly. Three meals a day for almost two months then two and now she's down to one bottle of milk a day. She loves Siberian elm leaves and fresh alfalfa, which she gets every day. She'll also eat lilac leaves if there's nothing else.

The plan is to gradually give her more space with views of the nearby fields. There's a resident deer herd for her to look at too. Then in a couple weeks I'll open the final gate to freedom. This is the first fawn I've raised and it's been such a treat.