Sunday, November 22, 2015

She's gone

Yesterday I drove on very treacherous roads to Joyce and Nic Patrick's place out on the Southfork Road to release JACKSON. She's been here since August repairing wing feathers and getting over a head tilt from not liking the mews she was in at another facility. She wasn't happy here, at first, but got the hang of how long my flight barn is and started improving.

The weather was horrible, gale force winds and only in the teens. In fact it was only three degrees when I got up at six o'clock that morning. Luckily the sun came out to make it seem better.

A whole bunch of Patrick's were there for the momentous event, all bundled up in many layers. At first JACKSON didn't want to come out of the crate. Then she tried to rush and got twisted around, catching one talon in the door. Luckily Nic was quick and reached down to free the toe. He tossed her in the air and the rest was just watching this beautiful bird find her way.

She made one circle around us and then headed out helped by those strong winds. You can see she's still missing a couple feathers but they will molt in later.

Thanks to the people at the Teton Raptor Center for trusting me with her care and the Idaho Fish & Game for letting her be released here instead of back in ID. That trip there would have been too much for her to handle now.

Thursday, November 19, 2015


I picked this bird up this morning in a yard near the old Sunset School property. What in the world an adult Western Grebe is doing in Cody at this time of year is a mystery. They all left here quite some time ago.

They can't take off unless on water so I usually just drive them to Beck Lake and release them. It's what I did this time but unfortunately this bird didn't do as they usually do, flap their wings and then dive. He landed in the water, rolled to his back and just floated. I netted him up and brought him to the vet for xrays.

They showed no breaks and no bullets, I have no idea why this bird can't use his legs or feet. Right now he's sitting as you see, in a pan of water while waiting for some small suckers to thaw. Perhaps due to frost on the ground he came down thinking it was water. That still doesn't explain why he's still hanging around this area of the country, he should be long into his migration.

I'll give him some time to see if it's just bruising and he'll recover.

UPDATE: He did not improve and died on Friday night.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Awesome sight

This photo was taken by a friend, Leon Jenson. He's a gifted photographer of many subjects but when I met him in the store today he told me about seeing the aurora borealis at various places near here. I have only seen it once many years ago and only a green ribbon. This shot is extraordinary with all the various colors of the rainbow showing. You can see other photos by Leon on his site:

A pox upon you

Unfortunately that's what has happened to this amazingly beautiful, large, seven month old female Red-tailed Hawk. PUFF was found down in Worland alongside the road. I was told she had a broken wing but that doesn't appear to be the case. She does have a wound on the wrist of her left wing but it looks to be superficial.

Her biggest problem, and it is huge, is the fact that she has avian pox lesions on her feet. There are two varieties of pox, dry and wet. The wet type affects their throat and esophagus, the dry is on their body where feathers are lacking, i.e. their feet and face. The wet kind will kill the bird.

PUFF has the dry kind and so far the lesions aren't horrible. The bad news is that there is no treatment other than supportive care for avian pox. I had one roughie many years ago who had the dry variety and it took months for his body to recover. That will be the case here too. The only thing I can do is spray her bumps, perches and cage with 10% bleach solution. Because this is a very contagious disease she will be kept in this cage which is easy to clean.

To the good is the fact that PUFF is in excellent condition, she's fat, alert and as you can see from the photo, a bit confrontational. Her attitude will carry her far and hopefully beat this disease in short order.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Mystery death

I got a call yesterday from a friend who had received a call about a dead owl in a tree in Powell. As it was almost dark I decided to wait until today because it would probably require climbing to get the body.

My super friend, Nathan, came along as he's young and agile and could probably scamper up the tree with ease. When we got to the house it was apparent that climbing was out of the question. The bird was on a small limb without any others nearby to stand on.

Luckily the home owner had a long handled branch saw and another piece of PVC pipe we taped on it to extend the reach. Nathan got on top of the garage and managed to push the owls body off the branch.

At this time I have no idea what would cause the 7-8 month old GHO to end up there. He is in excellent condition, there are no wounds that I can see and his feathers are perfect. I am sending him off to our state lab for testing. Hopefully they can find a reason for this beautiful bird to die.

UPDATE: The test results are in, this bird died of herpes. Not the kind humans get, this is avian herpes.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Two more flying away

JESSIE (top) MINER (bottom)

Today two more of my rehabilitated birds have flown away. MINER came to me from the Belle Ayr coal mine near Gillette. His nest was on the top of a coal conveyor and he fell off before he was old enough to fledge. Because the rules of the mine forbid the operator to climb the belt and replace him in the nest, he came to IBR.

The other redtail baby, JESSIE, was found on Paradise Valley Road near Riverton. He was unwilling to fly, probably due to a wound near his right elbow. It took a long time to heal but eventually he was flying with strength.

Once both of these young hawks proved they could make live kills it was time for them to be released. That happened on the Pfister Ranch about 20 miles south of Meeteetse. The abundant voles and rabbits will make for a wonderful place for them to return to the wild.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015


Happy Veterans Day to the members of my family who served in a few wars. Uncle Roy (Air Force), Cousin Roy (Air Force), Cousin Pete (Army), Uncle Tom (Coast Guard) and Cousin Mike (Navy). I still fly flags in my yard for them and will continue to do so. Every year I get new ones during our Field of Honor ceremony here in Cody. They are true heroes to me.

Happy Veterans Day to all of us in the USA
Happy Remembrance Day to my family in Canada

Monday, November 9, 2015

Flown away

DINO wasn't here long, just enough time to get over some bruising from being hit by a truck. He was stuck in the grill for a while but amazingly wasn't broken.

He spent a few days inside one of my new mews recovering his balance then joined SMIDGE in the owl barn for some flight conditioning. Thanks to my friend Julie for accompanying me to the release sight up the Northfork. After the release we had some Breadboard sandwiches while sitting and looking at a very beautiful day.

This photo was taken after only a couple flaps from the crate so his landing gear isn't all the way up and locked. He ended up on a far tree then flew off again to farther reaches.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

The Gambler

He was found at the entrance to the Indian casino on the reservation south of Riverton. Hence his name is KENNY ROGERS. An adult male Bald Eagle, at just a couple ounces over five pounds, he is severely starved. The reason may be that he appears to be totally blind. After having gone through this recently with a baby Golden Eagle, I hope it's not true and this bird will recover.

He goes in for tests on Monday and I'll make an appointment for my own eye doctor to examine him.

UPDATE: He lost his fight, he died around noon today. His body will be sent to the state vet lab for testing to see why an adult eagle was starving to death when his age and experience should not have let that happen.

UPDATE: The test results just came back from our state lab. This adult eagle died of West Nile Virus. It is a terrible disease and I mourn the loss of a wonderful bird.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Another first

Of this winter season at any rate. Enough snow came down last night to make a print of my MADDIE's foot this morning. It's very sunny out now so melting will happen quickly.

Thursday, November 5, 2015


This is an awesome photo of best friends. RICHIE is wearing the new jammies I made for him with an Olaf (from Frozen) pattern. He's sharing with his best bud, TOUGH. Altho the old one is blind he can still feel the soft fleece and enjoy the closeness. All the other jammies I made are now toast as RITA, a pit bull, loves to haul RICHIE around by his clothes.

As a Chinese Crested dog, RICHIE has hair only on his legs, head and tail tip. Hence the winter clothes.