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.