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.

Doing great!

I took TESSA in this morning for a check-up and xray of her broken right leg. It's healing wonderfully so far and she has full use of that foot and leg. She rips and tears into her rabbit half every day and is very feisty whenever I open the cage door.

If all goes well she'll get her pin out in four weeks and then it's a matter of putting her into the flight barn to strengthen her muscles for release.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Growing up

The kittens have been here since August 1st, joined by the fifth one who is about a week older, the next day. Today I made them a larger playpen, thanks to a washer box from Sears, so they would be able to get about and play with each other. The four are only about 2.5 weeks old and just starting to move about. The older one is quite adventuresome and loves to run around and follow the dogs.

Hopefully they will all figure out what those sandy beaches are for and start using kitty litter. They are all being bottled fed, not nearly ready for solid food, but that should happen soon. I've been so busy I haven't even thought of names for them other than Eeny, Meeny, Miney, Mo and Baby for the oldest one. Sure are cute tho.

They had a rough start with their mom taken away from them but hopefully they will now thrive.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Major cuteness

For only the second time in almost 30 years I got in a burrowing owl. This is ELF who was found alongside the road in Casper. She has a bad shoulder that is non-repairable but she will do well altho won't fly but a few feet when she's all finished healing. She weighs a whopping 3.75 ounces and stands about nine inches tall. As you can see, a lot of that tallness is from very long legs.

Burrowing owls have a diet of insects, they love grasshoppers, mice and voles. She's already eaten two cut up mice, readily taking them from the end of my forceps. She's a bit thin but if she keeps eating the way she did she'll gain much needed weight.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Last to leave

I drove WORRY out to Oregon Basin to a wonderful place with trees and rocks so she'd have a good place to start the rest of her life. When I opened the door she walked out a couple feet and looked around. When she spotted me she immediately took off. Not towards the trees but over the hill to an open sagebrush area. Oh well, guess I wasn't thinking like a great horned owl and what they want.

She's the last of the seven baby GHOs I got in a couple months ago. I hope she lives long and prospers.

Sad news

TIP died yesterday evening. I finally got a diagnosis for what was making her so sick. I had her tested for WNV but that was negative. She had a blood parasite called leucocytozoon. The prognosis once they get this parasite is very poor because quite often the bird shows no symptoms. It's transmitted by black flies, luckily I don't have them here. She came from south of Buffalo, apparently they are living there.

I went to Dr. Blessing and got the medicine to kill the parasite but she was gone when I got home. She was doing so great up until Wednesday when she didn't eat her rabbit. Yesterday she just stood in a corner with her head down. I sent the blood in last Thursday to the state lab for testing but only got the results yesterday afternoon. Just too late to help her.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

New mom and sibling

SPARKY is now in his foster nest along with another baby Swainson's Hawk. That pink is a person making their way up that very nasty olive tree to put him in the nest. The other photo shows his new mom all settled down with her two kids. Great job was done by everyone in making sure this baby has a chance at a long and healthy life.

More road time

Started out yesterday morning with friend Nathan Horton, at 9:00 driving to Riverton to see Jonathan Wood and his raptor show at the Fremont County Fair. I was also going to pick up a baby Northern Harrier from WGF Biologist Willow Steen who was stopping on her way to Dubois.
While I was waiting for her to arrive, the Riverton WGF Warden, Jessica Beecham, called me thinking she would have to drive to Thermop to hand off a baby Kestrel she'd picked up unable to fly. Surprise, I was right there in town so she brought him to me.

Then, because there is a new guy in Lander who is working to become a bird rehabilitator, and needed me to write a letter to our state office on his facility, I made a drive to Lander to check it out and back just in time to meet Willow.

Didn't get to see Jonathan's show after all. To make it more interesting, I got a call before I was back to Cody from Mark McCarty of the Two Dot Ranch, about 20 miles north of Cody. He had what he thought was a juvenile bald eagle unable to fly.

After getting the two babies settled I was off again and found another baby Golden Eagle, the same age as the four I already have. Only this one is in much worse shape. He either has a broken pelvis or back. He and the kestrel will go in tomorrow for xrays.

These photos show baby kestrel, FAIR, baby eagle, 2 DOT, and baby harrier, WILLOW. I'm about to run out of room at the inn.

UPDATE: Baby 2Dot has a fractured spine, he was humanely euthanized.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Short stay

SPARKY resting after eating a mouse snack. Photo by Gwyn McKee.

Probably the shortest time a hawk has been at IBR was today when SPARKY arrived around 10:30 this morning from Gillette. Gwyn McKee, a consultant biologist, drove this baby swainson's hawk over after discovering his parent dead from electrocution. Unfortunately the nest was on top of a power pole. Because this was the only chick in the nest it was decided, for his survival, he would be removed.

After making the over three hour trip, and settling SPARKY into a cage, Gwyn had an amazing thought. She knew of another swainson's nest also with one chick, not that far from this babies dangerous home. She made numerous calls to have someone check to see if that baby was still in his nest but it took a while to get an answer.

The results were that this baby swainson's made a trip back to near Gillette to be fostered into the second nest. I'm awaiting news as to how that went. It's in a Russian olive tree, not the most hospitable location, so I suggested whoever does the placement take along some wire cutters to clip the big thorns to make it safer for the chicks when they decide to branch.

Don't you just love it when it works!

Monday, August 1, 2016

Furry babies

Just when I thought it was safe to put the baby stuff comes four more. The shelter called me and asked if I would again take on fostering some baby kittens. These are much younger than the last two. These have their eyes mostly open. Apparently the rancher didn't want them so locked the mom out of the barn. And unfortunately the shelter doesn't even have the address so I can't get the mom to bring her here and raise them.

I've started them on KMR, all but the teeniest one drank readily. There are three girls and one boy. Hopefully they will all survive and find loving forever homes when ready for that phase of their lives.

Weird markings

Baby QUAD is growing up but his feathers are certainly unusual. When baby raptors miss meals as they're feathering out they can get "stress" lines on them. Usually this causes the feathers to break at that line as it's a very weak point. In this case he lost a lot of feathers around his neck, you can see the white collar.

His tail is the most odd because below the fuzzy stress line the coloration is normal. Above that line they are reddish. QUAD is going to go into training soon so he can be placed as an educational bird. With his very young age he should be easily placed at a facility as a raptor ambassador. He's being trained by my subpermittee, and master falconer, Chris Pfister.