Monday, December 28, 2015

Another baby bald

I don't get that many bald eagles here during the year but right now I have two that are about eight to nine months old. This one is PETUNIA and she came from near Manderson. Xrays show nothing broken but for some reason she can't stand. She can use her legs and feet tho, and is very fast at grabbing.

Her name comes from her being such a fat little girl (as in Petunia Pig). Right now she's on a flat perch and I'm hoping, given some time, she'll be able to stand normally. She was eating on a rabbit alongside the road so it's probable she was hit by a passing vehicle. Not enough to break anything but bruised enough to make standing difficult.

UPDATE: Baby PETUNIA died this morning. She was doing better for a while but then went downhill fast. She was unable to keep anything down including fluids.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Handsome bird

This is a Cooper's Hawk, the middle sized accipiter. I believe this is male, his name is BAKER, and he came from near Thermopolis. Found on a 500 acre ranch, it's unknown just what happened but he has a fractured left humerus. Xrays tomorrow will tell the story. As an adult, I think he's just a couple years old as his eyes aren't red yet.

UPDATE: Surgery was started today when the doctor discovered that the tendon in that wing was also damaged. He estimates he'd been on the ground for a couple weeks. He was strong so they went ahead and tried to fix his wing. His heart stopped a couple times but they got it started again. The third time they couldn't get him back. So sad.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

More shooting

Today, thanks to Missy and Joey, a beautiful American Crow was brought here from Riverton. The bird, NICK, was seen in their yard unable to fly. They graciously agreed to drive him here to be cared for.

I took NICK into the vet this afternoon and found out the devastating news. This wonderful bird has been the victim of a gunshot. This time it was a pellet gun with most of the pellet still in his wing. The long bone between his shoulder and elbow is broken in two pieces with the part nearest his elbow completely shattered. There is no way of repairing the damage so he was humanely euthanized.

So far this winter I've received three birds who have been shot. What drives people to just shoot something for the sake of killing? These birds are not causing problems, are not a threat to livestock, but someone felt compelled to try and end their lives. In this one case that is exactly what happened. Of the other two, one may fly again, one never will. I am so angry.

Thank you

The year is almost over and I want to thank each and every person and foundation who've donated to the care of the birds here at Ironside. As many of you know, Dr. Malcolm Blessing has done my bird work, pro bono, for the past 28 years until he sold the business this past Spring. That was a great donation on his part.

Since May the birds have been charged for all vet work totalling, up to today, about $5,600.00. I appreciate the fact that Dr. Prior has given IBR a 50% discount but these charges are still very hard on a budget. Naturally the birds require surgery from time to time, xrays and lab tests. The charges from the state vet lab for specialized tests have totalled another $575.00. We get no funding from the Wyoming Game & Fish Department or the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. As a 501(C)(3) non-profit organization, all donations are tax deductible.

I hope everyone has a very Merry Christmas and the new year is the best ever. Thanks again.

Saturday, December 19, 2015


Her name is LINNY and she's a victim of gunshot wounds. She still has three pellets in her chest, one in her right leg and three fragments in her right wing. That wing, because of the trauma, has a fractured ulna in two places. None of the pellets are in a place that will permanently harm or kill her. Her wing will be repaired on Monday so she has a very good chance of flying again.

The hangup is that Rough-legged Hawks are only in this area of the world from mid October to mid March. Then they migrate back to their breeding grounds above the Arctic Circle in Northern Canada. LINNY has her work cut out for her. As does Dr. Blessing who will be doing the repair surgery.

UPDATE: The surgery went well but it was discovered that the fracture closest to her wrist happened a few weeks ago, the other one is fresh. She now has a metal pin in the bone that will be in there for about six weeks.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

I'm speechless

Today I opened my latest copy of the Cody Enterprise and saw this in the Letters to the Editor section. I am overwhelmed at such wonderful things said here. I've known Nic and Joyce Patrick for, well, forever, since their kids were teeny. Now those kids are all grown up and have kids of their own. In fact Becky is due for her second child today.

Thanks to supporters like the Patrick's I'm able to take care of so many birds. And release them to the wild when they're ready. Those that aren't strong enough to fly away are then placed in educational facilities so millions of people are able to see these magnificent birds.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015


Today I moved ELSA into a larger mew as she was beginning to feel well enough to try flying. Not possible in a 6' x 6' space. Now she can sit on this corner perch and watch what's happening around her. She still has four more days of one of her meds. I hope she'll continue to let me hand her the steak pieces with the medicine inside it. Maybe she'll pick it up and eat it on her own.

Catch and release

I received a call from a young lady in Powell saying she had a large owl inside her pigeon coop. Apparently the bird was smart enough to follow them in their one-way door but naturally couldn't leave. The white pigeons were all pretty frantic by the time I got there as the owl had probably been catching them outside the coop for an easy meal.

Pigeons and doves are very fast flyers, owls are not, so I don't know just how many had been made into meals. I scooped up the owl, walked a ways from the coop and released it. I know, it may just return, but I told the owner to cover the one-way door to keep the pigeons in and the owl out. As an adult I couldn't take it away from the area as the mate was there. As long as a free meal is denied, the owl it will go elsewhere for food.
The second trip was also to Powell, this time for what I was told was a woodpecker that couldn't fly. When I arrived at the home the owners had the bird in a box which was the right thing to do. Surprise! When I peeked in it wasn't a woodpecker but an adult starling. He did have some blood on its beak. I believe the bird hit a window and was only dazed. I checked him out and opened my hand. He flew off and hopefully won't do that again.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Two more eagles

His name is DUNCAN.....
My second trip to rescue an eagle came mid afternoon when Daryl went into the museum and asked the security desk person, Dave, what to do. Dave immediately called me so I could get the directions to where the bird was found.

I met Jeff Duncan About nine miles from Meeteetse, on the way to the Pitchfork, so he could take me to the eagle. It's an eight month old male bald eagle that had been seen on the ground for almost a week. Unfortunately the Meeteetse game warden never returned his calls so the bird was on his own.

The injury probably happened when he was either hit by a vehicle or made a very bad landing. Young birds sometimes don't make the perfect stops. In this case his right wrist joint has been severely damaged, he will never fly again. I will place him at a facility as an educational ambassador so the rest of the world can see this magnificent bird up close.
Today was busy. I got a call about a downed golden eagle between the WGF office and the landfill road. I was told it was on the west side of the road but couldn't find it. On my second pass I had a state trooper stop behind me. He was also told about the bird so we both looked for it. He found the eagle on the east side of the road.

Unfortunately he was probably hit by a vehicle and couldn't use his legs. I took him to Dr. Blessing for xrays and learned the devastating news. His spine was broken, completely severed above his hips. He was humanely euthanized.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Another big black bird

It's rare to find an injured corvid, they are so smart and can usually get out of the way of any danger. The one thing they can't fly away from is a speeding bullet. Today I drove over to Ralston to pick up a raven that had eluded the rancher for four or five months. He just couldn't run fast enough to catch the bird.

Strangely, today the bird just stood still and let himself be picked up. He was quick and grabbed my right arm as I was taking him out of the crate they had him in. I stopped at the vet to get some xrays and found out there is a pellet lodged in his left wrist joint. It fractured his radius and ulna and ruined the hand joint.

As he will never fly again I'm hoping he can be placed as a bird ambassador along with the other non-releasable raven living here. He came in a few weeks ago. Now they're sharing a room so they'll have company and can compare damage.

Higher education

Her name is ELSA and she was apparently looking for more classroom work as she was found next to Sheridan College on Friday. The WGF kept her over the weekend because they couldn't find any damage. Then when she refused to fly they called me this noontime. Luckily WGF Warden, Bill Robertson, was coming back home to Greybull so brought her with him. I met him there which saved me lots of time and miles. Have I mentioned that this state has the best wardens and biologists in the world.

She's very nasty and I have the bandage on my right arm as proof. Bald eagles are bad biters and she obviously read that part of the book. I can't find anything wrong either so she's going in to the vet tomorrow morning for some xrays and blood work.

Because she's an adult she will be taken back to that area of Sheridan for release if it turns out she's fixable.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Owl selfie

I don't know what I'd do without Nathan's help. He came out this morning to help bandage my newest patient. This GHO came from just south of town between the WGF office and the road to the dump. Obviously he was hit by a vehicle and badly damaged. His left wing tip was shattered so it had to be amputated. And his right ulna was also fractured but the radius is okay.

At this point he's in a heated room to recover from the surgery and he'll be in cage rest for some time to let the fracture heal. He will then become a permanent resident to replace SMIDGE's companion as I'm permitted for two GHO's. That bird, after being here for a couple years, decided he could fly so was released this past summer. His original injury was to feather follicles but given enough time they were able to recover which allowed him to fly.

Now I just have to think of a good name for this new fellow. I believe it's a male, any ideas anyone?

UPDATE: His name is BLITZEN and he's doing much better now. He's eating rats on his own and altho his right eye will probably not ever be 100%, he's not squinting as much either.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Here and gone

I got in an immature Sharp-shinned Hawk a few weeks ago after she had apparently either hit a window or branch when landing. They hunt birds and often find themselves in trouble if the bird feeders are too close to a house. They just don't see the glass. SQUINT suffered a hurt eye and a wound to the left side of her head.

With medicine and time she's made a full recovery and today was the end of her time here. Because she's a young bird with no territory or mate, and I have tons of sparrows living here, I released her right outside the cage room. She's been eating a half a quail every day so flew off in great weight. With our weather becoming nicer in the next few days I doubt she'll have any trouble finding food.