Tuesday, September 27, 2016

No longer a mystery

I found out, thanks to Jerry Liguori of Hawkwatch, just what species she is. She is a juvenile Redhead Duck hen. Not one I would have thought about but when you know what you're looking for, it's obvious. Now my records are complete.

Back for a visit

Here's DANCER on June 20, 2015
And here she is today.
A year and a half ago I rescued a very young mule deer fawn from town. Her mom was apparently killed in traffic so she came here to make sure she made it and be released. Over many weeks she thrived on Nubian goat milk and other food deer eat. Then she was taken out to a friends ranch so she could learn to be a deer.

All that hard work on everyone's part worked and she finally walked away, not needing humans anymore. Well, apparently she decided she wanted to say hi so she stopped by the ranch to do just that. Hopefully that will happen next year when she has a baby by her side so we know she's still okay.

Kitten update

Well, they have only gained in cuteness over the past few weeks. They are now 10 weeks old but still very small for that age. The little orange male, POTTER, is the only one who now weighs over two pounds. At least the three girls are now over one pound. Little TORTIE is the teeniest but she's growing too. All are now only eating dry kitten food, no more bottles for them.

They come out of their "room" every few hours for playtime and then it's back to either have a meal or just nap. All of them will be the best kittens when adopted. As soon as that's possible, after spaying and neutering, I'll post that so people can rush to the Park County Animal Shelter to scoop one up and give them a forever home.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Starving redtail

I originally thought this is a baby redtail but I've heard back from my redtail expert with Hawkwatch. She's an adult Harlan's Red-tailed Hawk. The tail coloration is the giveaway. Hopefully the xrays tomorrow will explain why she's so starved. And that her left wing isn't broken, just bruised. She's very hungry, she barely let me open the forceps before she grabbed the mouse and swallowed it whole. The second followed quickly. I just gave her three more and they disappeared just a rapidly.

She came from the Sheridan area and thanks again to Cody Schoonover, WGF, we met at Observation Point in the Big Horn National Forest, halfway for each of us.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Mystery duck

FRIDAY AFTERNOON: I picked up this duck an hour ago after getting a call from town. The bird was rescued as a newly hatched duckling in Pinedale this past summer after it had been separated from its mom and siblings.

At first I thought it's a ruddy but that's not right. The eye ring has me baffled. Then maybe redhead, nope, how about lesser scaup? Can't see that either. It's not very large and is obviously a juvenile and may be a female. Not a woodie either. I've even posted a question on David Sibley's facebook page hoping he will see it and be able to give me a positive ID on this duck.

Any thoughts everyone? I'm going to take it to Beck or Alkali and release it on Sunday.

UPDATE: It's now 11 o'clock on Sunday morning and the mystery duck is back in the wild. I drove to Beck Lake and finally decided on a release site. I gently tossed the bird toward the water thinking she'd slowly swim away. NOT! She decided she'd had enough of people and took off flying. I never saw her land. This isn't the best photo but it's all I could get in the nanoseconds she gave me to press the camera button.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Great loss

I lost a good friend on the 18th. I've known Bob Bales for a long time and was sad to read of his dying. He was my go-to guy if I needed fish for one of my birds. And every Friday he sent out "Bob's Friday Flowers", a beautiful photo of a variety of flowers along with some words of congratulations, good wishes, or just plain, have a nice day. He sent the last one out on Friday, the 16th, two days before he died. He will be missed by a lot of people, including me

Grant awarded

Yesterday I was visited by two people from Rocky Mountain Power. Rita Meyer is the VP - WY Cheyenne Office and Michael Morrissey is the Regional Business Manager from Casper. They were here to present IBR with a check in the amount of $2,500 as their annual donation.

I have been dealing with Pacific Power and Rocky Mountain Power since 1991 when they donated the poles for our first flight barn. Since then RMTN Power has donated more poles for the eagle barn, used their bucket trucks to replace the netting on the top of both barns and helped numerous times in replacing baby birds back in their nests. They also award a yearly grant to help in maintaining this facility.

We have the best power company in the world working here in Wyoming and especially the guys in Cody. They never hesitate in coming to my aid no matter the problem. Thanks to all of you.


I was reattaching some fencing around my yard to keep the rabbits out when I came across this amazing specimen. Unfortunately the skull wasn't there but I would imagine this is a small garter snake as that's about the only kind I see here. Did see a what I think was a whip snake one day, will have to check with Michael as he was there and is a snake expert. Pretty fascinating isn't it.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Lawn service?

Nope, This is an owl that Nicole, in Red Lodge, found in her yard. She's gathered the bird up and is driving him down here this morning. It's obvious this GHO doesn't feel well so he'll go into the vet after I get home from delivering my eggs. Hopefully it's just a matter of being pretty hungry and nothing is seriously wrong.

UPDATE: I got a call from Nicole this morning (Monday) saying that she had a friend of a friend who was going from ND to Bozeman so took the owl with him. Unfortunately that means this very sick owl was going to spend at least three hours traveling to a raptor center in Bozeman instead of just a one hour drive here. I called and cancelled the vet appointment I'd already made and hope he makes the trip and survives to be released. Thanks to Nicole for calling me.

Saturday, September 17, 2016


Yesterday Chris headed for his ranch with my last baby redtail, PELE, in a crate. He has the most wonderful ranch on the Gooseberry with tons of rabbits and other small mammals for the redtails he's released there. He's hoping to get a photo this time as he remembered his camera. I'll post it when I see it.

Here's PELE flying away as fast as he can.
I took, FABIO, my turkey vulture, in for a followup xray on Wednesday and all is wonderful. The break is healing beautifully so he'll have one more week in his 6x6 mew and then into the flight barn. He has to fly south by the middle of October and will have to get those flight muscles in shape for that trip.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Two more

Only this time both are birds I rarely see here. This is a white throated swift found in the Clark's Fork Canyon by a group of college students from Vermont studying the geology of the area. They saw him thrashing around near the cliff so gathered him up and made the drive to Cody. I rarely see these bird, they are awesome.

They feed only when they fly and live in huge flocks of hundreds. I don't know what's wrong with this little fellow, can't find anything broken. It is rather cold now and the temps dropped rather quickly. Perhaps it's just that he's chilled and will be okay when warmed up. Right now he's snuggled up to a heating pad in a small cage in my kitchen.

If he survives then I have to find a good place to release him, perhaps back where he was found but maybe there are swifts down at this lower altitude which would be better.
This little bird is a non-breeding horned grebe. He was found north of the Powell airport on the side of the road. Because these birds are very poorly designed, they cannot take off unless they are on water. Apparently this bird thought the wet pavement from our recent rains was water and came down. Hard. He scraped his feet making a couple small sores. Then he sat there until found.

Unfortunately the blood from his wounds dried and his feet were stuck to the undersides of his wings. When I got him, thanks to Jerry of Vanguard Operating, I just separated the wings and feet and told Jerry to take him to Beck Lake and put him in the water. I haven't heard back so assume all went as planned.

Photo by Sara Wood of Vanguard.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Three hawks

It's not often I get these hawks all on the same perch but for some reason they are today. Left to right is an adult redtail who has a chronic problem replacing feathers on both wings and his tail. In the center is a swainson's hawk who has the same problem but only on his right wing. I'm in the process of starting the paperwork to send him to a facility in OR to be an educational bird. The one on the right is another redtail, WAKELEY, who arrived here a short time ago from Sheridan missing her tail. She's the only one with the chance of release.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Two for one

I got a call from Warden Jessica Beecham in Riverton about a downed hawk she'd picked up outside of town on Missouri Valley Road. A man was driving down the road when he saw this bird hit by the vehicle in front of him. That person didn't stop, the second man did. I met Jessica at the park headquarters at the south end of the canyon early this morning.

The two for one means that I received two birds from her and gave her one for release. See the posts below for their story. I can't find anything wrong with this bird. His name is MISERY and he's an immature male ferruginous hawk, the largest hawk there is. He immediately ate the rat I put on his perch so whatever may be bothering him hasn't affected his appetite.
This is the second of the group. His name is HOOT (aren't I clever!) and he was probably hit by a vehicle on Riverview Dr just outside of Riverton. Luckily he was spotted and gathered up. I got the call from Jessica Beecham, WGF, to let me know I would be getting two birds instead of one when I met her this morning at the south end of the Wind River Canyon.

He cannot stand on his legs but is able to open and close both feet. In order to keep him in a more normal position he's now reclining in a hammock to let his legs hang down. Xrays showed possible damage to his spine so he's on steroids and antibiotics to help the inflamation go down.

He's not a happy camper but was very good about letting me give him his meds, fluids and cut up mice. I don't know if this will work or not but I'm sure hoping it does.
This is the exchange bird in the two for one. Little KITT is now back where he belongs. Thanks to Jessica Beecham, WGF, he was taken to a site where other swainson's hawks are flying around. As a chick of this year he'll need a guide for his long migration to Argentina. Hopefully he makes that arduous journey and returns to this state next year.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Oh no!

Okay, one more trip to Tensleep for yet another hawk. And oh no is right as this is a very young swainson's hawk. His name is TA and he was found just south of Buffalo on the TA Guest Ranch. His home nest is nearby and altho he'd been flying around he was found on the ground yesterday. Kirsten gathered him up, put him in a large dog crate and altho he didn't eat his meat last night apparently he ate some this morning.

He is very starved and would probably have surely died in a few days had he not been found. He does have some feather damage on both wings, don't know what caused that, but right now I can't find anything wrong other than he's so thin. I've managed to get a whole mouse, cut into small pieces, down him and I'll see how that goes. Hopefully within a couple days he'll be ripping and tearing with the best of them.

The worst part of this being a swainson's is that they are now staging for their long 12,000 mile migration to Argentina and this baby will never be ready for that. He needs to be guided by adults and others in the large group making that trek. I know he won't be strong enough, soon enough, so will winter here or be sent somewhere south until the swainson's return in the spring.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Baby away

He came out of the crate and studied the area before takeoff.

He's finally off on the adventure of his lifetime. Hopefully it will be a long and exciting one. Today SEBASTIAN was released near Eagle Pass east of Cody. He had his departure delayed for a few weeks til his wounds healed up but they're all fine now so it was time for him to literally spread his wings and fly away.

Just after launch, landing gear not pulled in yet.
All systems go!

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Alien on the grounds ! ! ! !

Nathan took the hawk barn trail camera down and put the photos on my computer. I went through the almost 2,000 pictures and was shocked to find there was a stranger visiting the training ground for the baby redtails. I don't know if this is a mink or weasel and I don't know where he's getting into the barn but I will do some scouting around to see if I can find the opening.

This animal can climb the poles and make it to where the birds roost so I'm worried about their safety.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

OP again

That's Observation Point about halfway to Sheridan. I made yet another drive there, this time to pick up a beautiful red-tailed hawk. It appears her only problem is a missing tail. Completely gone and I can't imagine how that happened. If it was a predator you'd think it would have killed her. She's in excellent condition so now all she has to do is regrow the missing feathers then she will be released. They hunt quick moving mammals and you can't catch them without a rudder.

Monday, August 29, 2016

New project

Even tho it's in the mid 80s outside I received a delivery today of some beautiful wood. My only heat source in the house is my woodstove so I try to get it all stacked inside before the cold weather hits. Larry and Patty O'Mara have been supplying me with wood for decades and this batch is wonderful, as usual.

It takes about 17 wheelbarrow loads to move the cord into my sunroom. I'll do it tomorrow morning after returning from the vet so it's cool enough to work on the project. I love my woodstove and figure that even tho it takes some labor to fill "the most expensive woodbox in the state", it's worth it.


Well, I got my vet bill today for the past month and I was glad I was sitting down. It's $1513 and that doesn't include the upcoming surgery on the cooper's hawk tomorrow, xrays for three birds and possible surgery on the little saw whet. Those two surgeries and xrays will at least be on next months bill.

I appreciate all the donations that have come in to IBR to help with these vet bills. It's been a very busy year so far and a majority of the injured birds required extra visits to the animal hospital.
As I've posted, you may now donate online to Ironside via PayPal by clicking on the "Donate Now" box. At least I think you can. I'm new to facebook and not savvy to all their workings. Thank you again for all your support.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

More traveling

Another trip to Thermop. What would I do if that town disappeared? And thanks to Jessica Beecham, WGF warden from Riverton, that's all the farther I had to drive today. We have found that's a good halfway point for both of us.

This is FABIO, an adult turkey vulture found in Riverton two days ago and not flying. I don't see anything wrong with either wing but xrays will tell if there's unseen damage. In the meantime I've given him an opened rat to eat and hopefully he'll take me up on that offering.
Double recovery today. As I was leaving my gate to head for Thermop to pick up the vulture, I got a call from a Forest Service Fire Crew saying they found an owl on the side of the road just outside of Meeteetse. For once the timing was perfect as I was going through there in about a half hour. I met them at the gas station and picked up this teeny saw-whet owl.

I believe it's an immature female, her name is WOODY, and possibly has a damaged left wing. I won't know until xrays can be taken. As almost the smallest owl in the country, she is lucky to have survived what was probably a vehicle hit and for the men to see her. She only weighs 2.25 ounces and is about the size of a large pine cone.

When I left her in the cage she was munching on the mouse I gave her. No wasting time for this little baby.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Hungry hawk

I wish these birds would coordinate their injuries. Yesterday I drove halfway to Sheridan to pick up an injured falcon. I drove right through the middle of Byron to get there. This afternoon I got a call from Tami Asay about an injured hawk in the middle of Byron. She graciously volunteered to drive the bird here.

I decided to name him BYRON. It's a cooper's hawk and is about starved to death. As you can see in the photo, his right wing isn't right. He has a fracture of that humerus, probably from hitting a wire or messing up a landing. I believe it's a male and about four to five months old. He'll go in tomorrow morning for xrays to see just how bad the fracture is. Hopefully it will be fixable.

Thursday, August 25, 2016


That's the word I'd use to describe this young peregrine falcon. Her name is BOLT and she's about four months old. I got a call today around 12:30 about a downed falcon in Sheridan. I was on the road by 1:00. Thanks to WGF Biologist, Tim Thomas, I again didn't have to drive the whole three hours to pick her up. We met in the Big Horn National Forest at Observation Point. Halfway for both of us.

She has some bruising on her right elbow but I'm not sure if it's broken or not. She goes in tomorrow for xrays. She's a very unusual dark color, at first I thought she might be an escaped hybrid. I had Chris Pfister come over and give me his opinion. He said that young birds have a big variety of colors but she's definitely a pure peregrine.

I hope her injury is not serious and she will be able to go into training for release. She's a bit thin so I gave her a quail to eat. SHE ATE THE WHOLE THING! And in a matter of minutes.

School is in session

Just a few days ago little LANDON, my baby prairie falcon, left here with master falconer, Chris Pfister, to beginning training for eventual release. He came in with a broken left wing and was thought he wouldn't fly well enough to return to the wild. He's proving everyone wrong so with Chris's help he will fly free.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016


As of today you can now donate to Ironside Bird Rescue via PayPal. It's taken quite some time for me to get this figured out with the help of Sara and the folks at PayPal but now you can click on the them in the Links column and make a donation. I want to thank everyone for their support of this facility. Remember, all donations are tax deductible.


Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Aging hawk

Today I drove down to Meeteetse to recover an injured hawk. The injury to her right elbow was severe so she was humanely euthanized. Just to give you a lesson, birds feet show their age just as humans hands do. Mine are wrinkly, thin skinned and have lots of veins showing. This is a photo of this old ladies feet. As you can see, they really do appear old. Even the feathers on top of her head looked to be grey. I would guess her to be in her late teens or older. She is a beautiful bird and I'm certainly glad the rancher found her, she's an elderly bird and didn't deserve to die a lingering death because she couldn't hunt.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Jenny's owl

Well, I thought that little ELF was going to live in CA at Native Bird Connections with my friend Jenny Papka. Both vets who took xrays of her said that her shoulder was non-repairable and she wouldn't fly again.

ELF didn't see the xrays or consult on that decision so she just decided to fly. I've had her in an 8'x 12' mew and she's been dashing around whenever I went in to give her a mouse or water.

Today I drove to Shoshoni to hand her back to Heather O'Brien, WGF biologist, so she could be returned to where she'd been found. I've been told that she shot out of the crate "like a bat out of hell".

Luckily Heather got a video of that release. It's on my facebook page. Just goes to prove that a teeny bird was able to take her life in her own hands and be wild and free. You go girl!

Saturday, August 20, 2016

My left foot

Today, with the help of Dee Oudin, FELICITY got her new "toe shoe". When I removed the sandal, her foot looked pretty good but the center toe was still crooked. I put a splint on it that went all the way to the bottom of her foot. Now it's straight and will hopefully stay that way when this bandage is removed.

In the one photo I'm feeding her some of the fresh trout I opened for her. I only handed her two chunks before leaving the rest to her. She ate about a quarter of the fish starting with the head and will get the rest of it tomorrow. So far so good on the prognosis for this beautiful baby.

Another visit

Two years ago I met Jonathan Wood when he was traveling to the northwest for a summer of programs with his raptors. I'd known him for 23 years after he got an adult golden eagle from me but hadn't physically met him until that first visit. Yesterday Jon, Susan and Rachel came for a few days between county fairs in WY and the state fair in SD. This time he brought some birds I'd never seen before. Along with gyr falcons, a black vulture, an eagle owl, barn owls, a peregrine falcon, a caracara, a kestrel, a golden eagle and a bald eagle, he brought harris hawks and aplamado falcons. The last two are only found in south Texas and farther south.

Altho I'd seen photos of aplamado falcons I'd never met one up close and personal. The are a standout. The ones he brought are just babies but they are flying to a lure in training for hunting. It was awesome to watch them come at the lure and eventually were allowed to catch it.

Aplamado falcon up close.
Look to the right of Jon's head and you'll see the aplamado falcon flying.
Gyr falcon coming in to catch the lure.
A field of falcons and two harris hawks in the background.
Baby gyr and Susan after the bird had his flying time. You can tell he's a baby because his feet and cere are still baby blue.
Black vulture and famous bald eagle. The eagle is the one who tried to bite Donald Trump during the Time Magazine shoot.
The caracara, a different looking falcon
Susan and the very large Eurasian eagle owl.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Starving baby

The birds just keep coming. Besides the baby osprey this morning, I just received a starving baby Swainson's Hawk. His name is KITT and I believe it to be a male around 4-5 months old. He was found on the ground 31 miles up the Southfork Road unable to fly far. Right now he's rather weak so I gave him some lactated ringers solution and cut up mouse pieces.

He's up on his perch and seems bright. I hope he makes it because this species spends the winter in Argentina and that's a very long migration. I don't know if this young bird will be ready for that, he may have to winter over here and be released when they others come back in the Spring.

Deja vu all over again

On July 14th, 2014, we saved two baby osprey from a nest platform after their parents were murdered. One survived and was fostered in a nest near the dam.

Yesterday I got a call from Dee that the new adults have two chicks and one seemed to be tangled in twine in the nest and can't fledge. I called Rocky Mountain Power and they immediately said they would be out at the nest site this morning. Luckily this nest was less than 50' so was easily reached by their large bucket truck.

John Berry and I went up and I managed to grab the chick and cut her away from the mass of twine. I thought, at first glance, that the foot was dead but it isn't. Very warm with rather swollen toes. As I held her, Dee gently removed all the twine fibers from that foot and then I brought her home. Her name is FELICITY.

The first photo is of her twisted foot. The second is her wearing a custom made sandal to make her toes stay in position and straight out. She can close her foot but not open it yet. After a few days I'll remove this bandage and by then I'll hopefully be able to put on "toe shoes", a support for each individual toe so she can move them up and down.

If all goes well she'll have the full use of her foot in a couple weeks and we can take her back to the nest site for release. Thanks to Dee and Denny Drewes of Oudin Enterprises and John Berry, Mark Preston and Lonny Owen of Rocky Mountain Power. These are the same members of the osprey dream team who rescued the babies two years ago. RMTN Power is the best ever.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Very sad news

Today I took baby bald eagle, ROBIN, in to my eye doctor. Dr. Welch has all the bells and whistles for examining all eyes, humans and birds. He said that her optic nerve had stopped working, apparently from the original fall from her nest a few weeks ago. I had her humanely euthanized this afternoon. It's a very sad day as this is a beautiful young bird who will never know the joy of flying free. But I know now that she is no longer blind, she's soaring in the sky somewhere and living a good life.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

One away

Change of plans, I took only one of the baby golden eagles to the YU Bench road for release. Only TAYLOR got to leave and start her life in the wild. I decided to keep SEBASTIAN a while longer due to some wounds on his right foot. When they're healed he'll be headed out too.

Susan came along to video the event but it was the second worst eagle release on record. TAYLOR couldn't decide if she wanted to fly or land, fly or land. She finally went off about a quarter mile and again landed. She's not used to seeing such wide open spaces so we left her there to contemplate what her next move would be.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

High again

When I went in to feed my two baby redtails I was pleased to see that both of them were on the lower perch. Then, to my amazement, both flew to the high perch! PELE has been going there for some time but little QUAD has not. He came in with two fractures in one wing after falling 90' when still a downy baby (see previous posts). Surgery was done but I doubted he would ever fly well enough for release so had made arrangements for him to be transferred to a facility in NH as an educational bird.

The look on his face when he found himself up so high was priceless. He gazed around in awe appearing to try and figure out just where he was and how he got there. I called the NH people and told them I was putting a hold on his transfer because he just might beat the odds and be releasable.

The photo shows QUAD on the left and PELE on the right.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Clean, clean, clean

Today, after their noon feeding, all the babies got a bath. They are messy little things so it was sorely needed. I also gave them a clean blankie and added two kitty boxes so the space not covered by their crate bed is now potty boxes. They're getting the hang of it but were missing from time to time so I'm giving them no choice but to use the litter.

As you can see, they're growing bigger. Hint: the one in the upper right is NOT a kitten, it's the tail off of a fake coonskin cap that they can either play with or cuddle up to. The oldest one (far left) loves to chase me around the floor and join me on my lazyboy for some TV watching.

On high

In preparation for their big release day on Sunday, both baby golden eagles are sitting up on the high wall perch. SEBASTIAN on the left is a male from Upton. On the right is TAYLOR, a female, who came from the Diamond Bar Ranch on the Southfork. Both will be released at the same place, same time on the YU Bench road in Oregon Basin. They may hang together for a while or go their separate ways. The prey base at the location is excellent and both have proved they can and will make live kills so they should survive.
Baby LANDON is now flying high. Here he is up at the highest point in his mew and enjoying looking down at me. He goes for training this coming week so he will be strong enough, and skilled enough, to survive in the wild.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Triple ouch

I believe this is a female and her name is ROWAN. A baby prairie falcon, about four months old, she apparently was hit by a vehicle while chasing a meal. Her right eye is shrunken and of no use and she has a broken right leg. The third thing is she's almost starved to death weighing only 16 ounces. Luckily she came down at a place where she was seen.

I've thawed some quail and gotten one whole breast down her so that will make her feel better. And she's in a safe place now too. She'll go in tomorrow for xrays to see if her leg is repairable. Her eye is not so she may not be releasable even with a leg that works. Because falcons favorite meals are other birds, and they have to be able to do quick turns and dives, she needs all systems go. With one eye she would probably miss more often than connect and then starve.

If her leg is fixable I'll try and place her at an educational facility so lots and lots of people can see this beautiful baby.

UPDATE: She has a mid-shaft fracture of her femur (knee to hip) and will go in for surgery on Monday. In the meantime I'm hand feeding her quail bits so give her the strength for the upcoming ordeal.