Sunday, July 31, 2016

ROBIN update

This beautiful baby bald eagle is getting better and better. She can now feed herself, loves elk steak (don't we all) and altho she hasn't eaten the two mice I put down for her, I'm sure she'll do so this afternoon when I add more elk to the pile.

She will never be releasable due to her vision impairment but she will be an awesome educational ambassador. Unfortunately, because she was so thin and weak when she came in, repair surgery for her fractured left wing was not done. By now the bones have probably formed a callus that would require rebreaking and we certainly won't do that for fear of causing greater harm. At a future date she may be partially flighted.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Pretty babies

Yesterday I visited my friends Sara and Michael and met some of their newest babies. These are reticulated pythons. They both hatched on July 4th.

Retics are one of the largest snakes in the world. Adults can reach 100+ pounds and 20+ feet long. These tiny babies in my hands don't show that potential, do they? Aren't they beautiful?

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Number four

This is TIP and he was found in the middle of the road about 15 miles from Buffalo. Yes, Buffalo. This time I didn't have to drive the whole way, USFWS biologist, Pauline Hope and her husband met me in, where else, Tensleep. That's about half way so saved us both driving.

I have no idea what's wrong, he's not starving, altho only weighs 6#7oz. He does tend to stand with his wings extended but they don't seem broken. I'll take him in tomorrow for xrays and blood work. And if he cooperates, a stool sample.

He looks a bit ragged around the edges but Pauline dribbled some water on his head as it was very hot there and I wanted to try and cool him off. As soon as he fluffs his neck feathers he'll be all beautiful again.

As noted in the heading, this is the fourth baby golden eagle now here, all around 12 weeks old. The two in the flight barn are gaining strength and trying to fly up to the low wall perch. The third one is TESSA who is going in tomorrow for surgery.

And don't forget the baby bald eagle, ROBIN, who is also 12 weeks old. She has a broken wing and appears to be very visually handicapped. She can see some out of her right eye, nothing in the left. She'll go into Dr. Barry Welch as soon as I can get an appointment.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Short trip this time

Amazingly this young GHO was found by three people. The first call came this morning at 7:30, the second at 8:45 and the third person was in the road waving people off so they wouldn't run over him. BRIDGER was probably hit by a car either last night or early this morning. I believe he's only about four to five months old.

Xrays show that he has a mid-shaft fracture of both his right radius and ulna. He will go in on Thursday morning to have them repaired. He's not feeling very swell, as you can see in this photo. Learning how to stand up while one wing is bandaged takes some effort and right now he's just not into that. He's propped up on his perch. He also doesn't want to open his eyes so I did put some drops in them.

Monday, July 25, 2016

More gold at IBR

Susan, TESSA and Chris

I just got a call from my friend who has a tree nest with two golden eagle chicks in it. The adults have done a wonderful job in raising these babies. Both fledged within the past week or so but one came down today practically under the nest. The landowner called me so I quickly went there to see what was wrong. It's possible she has a broken right leg but naturally it's after hours at the vet. She's settled in one of my 6x6 mews and will be taken in tomorrow morning for xrays.

Hopefully this is just a case of a bad landing and her leg is only bruised. In that case she'll rest here for a bit and then be taken back to her home place and released. Her name is TESSA.

ROBIN update

Her xrays show a very severe spiral fracture of her left humerus. Unfortunately in her condition she would probably not survive anesthesia now. Perhaps in a week or two after she's gained needed strength. In that time the bones will have callused even more then they have since her injury. The are in pretty good alignment now.

Because she is such a beautiful baby, and young, not being able to fly won't keep her from becoming an extraordinary educational ambassador. She may not fly far but will probably have some flight capabilities.

She's decided that elk steak is wonderful and is eating everything I've handed her. She has to gain about three pounds to be where she should be at her age.

Are you my mommy?

A momentous occasion for baby redtail, PELE. I put him in with BONNIE 3 so he'll have a foster mom. As you can see from this photo, he's asking her just who she is. As seen in a previous post, he fell out of his nest in a tall tree and we were unable to replace him in it. He's eating his rats on his own so I figured it was time to introduce him to an adult.

Within moments he was squeeking at her and food begging. He'd already finished one rat so he wasn't hungry but perhaps just needing some necessary support from who he thought might be his mom. Now I hope they bond and he becomes a stronger bird as he ages. He's only about 40 days old now and weighs a whopping 34.5 ounces.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

And again

Another long road trip today. This time to Sheridan to pick up a baby bald eagle. Her (I think it's a female) name is ROBIN and she's about three months old. Her history is not nice. She was seen on the ground under the nest tree a bit over a week ago. The game warden came out to check on her and said he didn't think there was anything wrong, she was just young. There was at least one sibling still in the nest.

A couple days later it was thought that ROBIN was flying but that turned out to be the sibling, ROBIN couldn't be seen. A couple more days and the land owner spotted her in the tall grass and called a few people, finally getting ahold of Teton Raptor Center. They told her to immediately call me. I gave the land owner instructions on care so she gathered the baby up, got some raw meat down her and settled her in for the night.

Now for the trip. Because she was in Buffalo, and because the road between Buffalo and Tensleep was closed due to a wildfire, Cody Schoonover of the Sheridan G&F office said he would make the almost 50 mile drive to the ranch east of Buffalo to pick up the baby eagle and take her back to their office. That was last night. He called me a little before midnight to say he had her and she was good.

I left my house around 7:30 this morning for the three hour drive to Sheridan. Then to add to that trip was another added 35 miles to Buffalo (I ended up going there after all) to pick up a very thin baby kestrel found on the ground under his nest. Thanks to the Buffalo Veterinary Hospital for keeping him overnight and feeding him some raw chicken. Back to Sheridan and then home. From 7:30am to 3:00pm in my truck.

Sad news is that the baby kestrel, a little male, died as I was driving over the mountain in the Big Horn National Forest. The eagle is doing okay but she'll go in tomorrow to have her left wing xrayed as I think it's broken. She's very thin, only 6#6oz. She's had fluids and elk steak so far and will get more food before I go to bed.

Big Day!

Yes it is, today is SISTER's 19th birthday. She's been with me for all but her first 3.5 weeks, along with her sister, MUFFIN. We lost MUFFIN in May but she's with both of us in our hearts and minds.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

DOVE update

I just received a letter from the federal office in Denver informing me that DOVE, who was taken from here on Saturday, the 16th, was expected to be delivered to the Navajo zoo sometime today. TODAY! I was originally told she would be getting there the day after she was taken. It's a 15 hour drive from here to the zoo. This is five days later. Oh, I've been told that she's doing fine and being cared for but in what manner? What type of mews has she been in? And in how many since leaving here? Being caught and crated is very stressful to any wild bird so if they had her moved even a couples times between being on the road, she's suffered.

There's a big difference between want and need. The Indians "want" golden eagles, not balds, for their feathers. I "needed" DOVE for what she provided to other eagles, babies especially. The Indians won't see her heart or mind, just the numbers of feathers she molts for them. Perhaps bragging about "how many golden eagles we have". I saw her beautiful soul and the energy she gave to the young birds.

I sure wish I would win one of those big lotteries so I would have the money to sue the DOI and USFWS to rescind that discriminatory ruling made in 2010 giving the Indians the right to take whatever eagles they want and to hell with the rest of the taxpayers whose money probably built a good percentage of their aviaries.

On the road again

And again, and again. Tuesday it was to the top of the mountain in the Big Horn National Forest to meet Bruce Scigliano, WGF warden and the long-eared owl in a previous post. Then to Tensleep to meet Charlene and her husband from north of Gillette with an adult female kestrel. Today it was back to Thermopolis to meet Dave with a baby redtail found on the ground at a uranium mine on a sheep ranch near Douglas.

The long-ear is doing fine. Not so with the last two. The kestrel's right wing radius and ulna were shattered, five breaks and not repairable so she was humanely euthanized. Today also bad news. Something got ahold of the baby redtail and destroyed both wings near his elbows. The muscles were shredded, bones were showing, there was not enough skin to cover them and there were large holes between the leading edge tendon and the elbow joint. He was also euthanized. I have not a clue as to the animal/bird who could have done this. He was found near a hog fence, perhaps he got caught in it and destroyed his wings fighting to get free. We'll never know.

I am so sad when these things happen altho I know that life is hard for young and old birds alike.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016


That's the only way to describe the look on this little owls face. This is GOLDIE, an adult male Long-eared Owl who came to IBR from Sheridan. Thanks to Cody Schoonover and Bruce Scigliano of the WGF I only had to drive about an hour and a half to meet them at Observation Point in the Big Horn National Forest.

I have no idea what caused the damage to his left wing. They are night hunters so he probably either hit an overhead wire or branch. His radius and ulna are broken but in very good alignment. He goes in tomorrow to see if surgery is necessary or if the cast will hold the wing secure enough for the bones to mend.

Saturday, July 16, 2016


I AM SO ANGRY. This morning, with no advance warning, the USFWS agent showed up and told me he was there to take DOVE. He was meeting a G&F person in Thermop in a few hours to transfer her into another crate. Then she'll be handed off to a number of different people to shuttle her to AZ and the Indian zoo. I have no idea if the transport crate is large enough or has soft padding on the floor. Or if they cover it to make it dark so she'll calm down. All I know is that she'll be stuck in some crate for over 24 hours on her way to my idea of hell.

Now the two 10 week old baby goldens in her care will no longer have a mentor or role model. But gee, the damn Indians will have yet another bird to molt feathers for their costumes. DOVE leaves an amazingly, peaceful, calm home to go to a zoo, literally. And in 100 degree weather just to make it worse.

At her age, if she decides life over death, she could be forced to live there for possibly 20 years. Just for feathers, to hell with what's best for her or all the good she's done for the baby eagles in her care in the past and could have done in the future. I AM SO ANGRY!

Friday, July 15, 2016

Sad day

A very sad day as I had to put my beautiful adult female golden eagle, COTTON, to sleep. Her original injury was from what appeared to be an electrocution to her right wing. After treating the wound didn't work we amputated the wing at the elbow. She would then become an educational bird as she obviously would not fly again.

Also showing some damage was her right foot. We removed the outside toe as it was frozen, she couldn't straighten out the talon. She appeared to be doing just fine, ate everything she was given, and new feathers were coming in at the wing surgical site.

Unfortunately her foot swelling never completely went away and recently it appeared to be coming back. She was unable to make a fist (curl her toes) and the bottom of the foot was becoming bruised. Because that foot would never come back to normal, and the bruising would get worse and worse, I made the decision to humanely euthanize her today. She was an awesome lady and will be greatly missed.

And another baby

This is a species I don't get that often altho they aren't rare. His name is LANDON and he's a Prairie Falcon about three months old. He was found on Greg Anderson's ranch in Pavillion which is near Riverton. Thanks to Jessica Beecham of the WGF for meeting me at our usual place, the Quality Inn, in Thermopolis.

Xrays show he has a fractured radius in his left wing near his elbow joint. He's wearing a support bandage right now and for a couple weeks, to see if that will keep the bones in place. They are in good alignment right now so the prognosis is pretty great.

Now to explain the name. I have to stretch sometimes to come up with one. Okay.....Remember Michael Landon, Little House on the Prairie???? Told you it was a stretch. I believe this is a male and with his attitude he should do well. Unfortunately a majority of this species are insane, I can only hope he's not.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

New baby

And this time it's not a GHO. This is PELE, (not the famous soccer player) a Red-tailed Hawk about 25-30 days old. Unfortunately he came out of his nest high in a large tree. The worst part is the huge sand layer right under the nest which makes it impossible for a power company truck to get under it. Those trucks weight tens of thousands of pounds and it would probably be permanently stuck if it ventured onto the sand. The nest is also too high to reach with any ladder I know of.

There is another chick in the nest so the parents will still be kept busy finding and bringing back food. In the meantime, PELE, will be here in the care of my redtail foster mom, BONNIE 3.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Double trouble

(l-r) TAYLOR, DOVE and SEBASTIAN on top of the tower. She's a super mentor to these awesome babies.
Not really trouble but there are now two baby golden eagles in the flight barn with DOVE. The second one came today from a tree nest on a ranch south of Cody. For the past two years this pair has produced one chick each year and took care of them until they left the nest. Then it was as if the adults figured the kids could look after themselves. Unfortunately both years the babies died. Two years ago it was found dead on the property. Last year the chick was found alive but only four pounds and severely infested with lice. He did not live another day.

Last year Matt and I decided it wouldn't happen again so we've been keeping an eye on this years baby. He came out of his nest a few days ago, was seen on the ground and one adult seemed to be keeping tabs on him. Until yesterday. The baby, TAYLOR, was found on the ground again with the adult in the nest.

Today the chick was sitting on a fence post near the nest and when I approached him he flew off. But not very far and only a few feet off the ground. After watching him crash into a bush hedge I was concerned. Another short, low flight ended up in more bushes. Luckily I had two nets and there were a couple of the ranch people willing to help. I can't run very fast anymore but one of the men could and did.

The baby is now in the flight barn with SEBASTIAN and under the watchful eye of DOVE. He's pretty thin so he'll be given all the food he needs to get strong enough for high, long flights. He's approximately the same age, nine to ten weeks, as SEB so they should bond. I've been saying "he" but this may be a female.

All gone

As I mentioned earlier, today starts the new phase in my six baby GHOs lives. I drove them to the 2500 acre Crosby ranch in Cowley and found a most extraordinary release site. There are feedlots, water in the ditch, large variety of big trees and open hay fields. Perfect habitat for these young birds. They've already proven they are hunters of live prey so they should do well.

Even tho they were all released at the same place, they didn't all go the same direction when leaving the crates. I've no doubt that they may join up for a few days but then they'll naturally disperse into their own little worlds. Thanks to Brett Crosby for allowing me to use his family's awesome ranch for this momentous occasion.

And I wore my GHO t-shirt for the event.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Mom and me

Young SEBASTIAN came out of his tower nest two days ago but was back in it yesterday morning. This morning he's back down and in the back of the flight barn sharing a perch with his mentor, DOVE. I don't know how much he's flying now but he'll get better and better in the days and weeks to come. Then he'll be ready for prey training and eventually release. He's a very handsome baby.

PS: Yes, DOVE is still here as it's too hot to send her south and the feds have apparently not found anyone qualified to drive her there. I have one other person who will hopefully try to convince the Indians in AZ to leave her here but don't hold out much hope.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Home again

I just got home after releasing JULIUS, the adult male kestrel I've had for a few weeks. He was found in town with no reason for his not being able to fly. I still don't know what was wrong but when he left the crate in his own nest territory he never hesitated. As I drove up to the release site I saw three other kestrels in a very large dead tree. That's where he headed and all four of them flew off together. A great homecoming for him. Naturally it happened so fast I never got to take any photos.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Happy 4th everyone!

My mom always told everyone that we were "almost firecrackers". My twin brother and I were born on the 3rd so I celebrated yesterday by watching the parade, walking around the craft fair and buying myself a wee cake to eat. Yummy!

I hope everyone has a good time today on picnics or whatever and however you choose to celebrate. And enjoy the fireworks.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Graduation day

Sort of. Baby SEBASTIAN is now out of the nest box and up on top of the tower. See the white spot on his chest? That's the half a bunny he ate after I put him on the top. He did a lot of looking around before commencing to eat, it's a big world out there for a baby only about nine weeks old. That's his mentor, DOVE, on the ground below him.

Unfortunately I don't know how much longer she'll be able to help him as I'm being forced to send her to a Navajo zoo in AZ. I asked to have her remain here as a foster mom, she's excellent at that job. Because she is non-releasable the federal government made a ruling in 2010, not a law, that all non-releasable eagles have to be sent to the Indians "for religious purposes". In other words, she will spend the rest of her life in a zoo for the sole purpose of molting feathers. Here she's lived a life of peace and quiet. Not there. Screaming children, talking and confusion will be a daily happening.

For her remaining time here she is taking over the job of mentoring SEBASTIAN.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Something new!

As I was going about my chores just now I found a small caterpiller dashing across my cage room floor. I immediately took it outside and put it down but then wondered just what kind it was. It's beautiful, as you can see, with the red and blue coloration. I looked it up on Google and found out it's a Mourning Cloak caterpiller. They are found in North America and favor a variety of trees, none of which grows on my property let alone in my cage room.

One of the trees listed is the American Elm. I do have Siberian Elm here and luckily I put it down quite near them. I hope it makes it long enough to become a butterfly, they are quite stunning.