Thursday, October 23, 2008

wildlife and my life.......................

Well, a lot has been happening over the last 2 weeks. This post won't have any photo's with it. I'll be taking some more pictures tomorrow and include them on the next post.
We held our Fall yard sale this past weekend. We also included artwork donated by some well-known folks and some of my photo's. We made enough to cover the last order of mice, but I'm going to have another yard sale this Saturday only to hopefully make enough to cover an order of quail for the larger raptors. I have to place these orders every few weeks or so and I do get some meat donated by the local hunters, such as deer and elk, but this doesn't work well for all of the patients and the ones we do feed this meat to, occasionally need food with bones and fur or feathers to ingest for a proper diet. This is just one of our many expenses.
I've also had to travel to Salt Lake for some meetings with our wildlife agency for the state. That was very time consuming besides being expensive, but very necessary. Things are changing here in the state of Utah as far as wildlife rehabilitation and some of us are trying to ensure that those changes don't effect the wildlife in a negative capacity.
I have a group of Girl Scouts that come down to Price usually twice a year to volunteer to help with any projects that I need help with. They are wonderful. It's sad, however, that I don't receive this sort of help locally. These people travel about 100 miles each way to help, so this weekend they are going to help with the yard sale.
Last night I got a call around 9:30 pm from my local wildlife people telling me there was an injured hawk in Green River, Utah (120 miles round-trip) and they didn't have any one that could go and get it, so I called Connie (my right arm, and sometimes my left as well) and we both headed out. We brought back a juvenile female red-tail hawk. She had been down for several days and was thin, due to her inability to hunt as her right wing had a compound fracture in the humerus (the bone in your arm between your shoulder and elbow). It was infected and exposed. These type of injuries are very common unfortunately. This one was close to the elbow joint, meaning repair with good healing, that did not "freeze up" that joint, was not possible. She would not be releasable, so we made the painful decision to euthanize her. This is the worst part of what I do. The decision is NEVER easy, but it has to be made occasionally. My job, as a rehabilitator, is to put these creatures back into the wild where they belong. This is not always possible, so decisions have to be made as to how to handle each particular situation based on many factors. This bird was in excruciating pain................and now she no longer suffers.

We did release our red-tail hawk that has been with us for only a few weeks. We never named her, but she was an adult that was found on the side of a dirt road. The people were able to catch her (never a good sign) and called the wildlife department. She had no injuries, so we were not sure why she was down, most likely illness. She did have a large external parasite load which could be a clue to illness and the parasites took over since they are opportunistic in nature. We force fed her for a few days, giving her added nutrients with that food and then just gave her supportive care once she started eating on her own. We also treated her for the parasites. She made tremendous progress very quickly and ended up in our flight area exercising prior to release. Yeah!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
That's what it is all about and it's these times that make the difficult ones (like the last story) a little bit less heartbreaking (I said a LITTLE bit less).
Our little barn owl (Goshen) was transferred to the Willow Park Zoo last week with the help of DaLyn Erickson. She runs the rehabilitation program for the Ogden Nature Center. She was at one of the meetings in Salt Lake I attended, so I arranged it with her to get him to Willow Park Zoo which is up her end of the state. Rod, the wildlife rehabilitation director for Willow Park called to express how pleased he was with Goshen, so I hope Goshen will have a good life there in Logan, Utah.
Our eagle with all the medical problems will be seeing an eye specialist for his cataracts on the 30th of this month. We'll need to drive him into Salt Lake for this of course. He's getting stronger all the time, so I hope we can do something for his vision.
Well, time for sleep until tomorrow.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

busy as usual

I guess I'd better catch everyone up to date.
The golden release was wonderful. Some photo's were taken, so when I get them, I'll include them on this blog. I hope he'll have a wonderful life and
make many beautiful babies in his lifetime.

Our newest owl, which we have named Butters has now seen the vet. Just as it appeared on the initial evaluation, there are no broken bones and the x-ray showed no dislocations in the wing!
So we kept him on pain meds and antibiotics, which ended tonight. He is eating well and is aggressive. We will start working with the wing and it's movements in the next few days.
There are a few feathers missing from the injury, so it may be a few weeks or months until those grow back into place, I just hope they grow in correctly since there was and is tissue damage in that critical area. Only time will tell.

We had the barn owl re-evaluated last week as well. We will not be removing that portion of his wing. Some healthy tissue in growing around the dead bone but this doesn't change that fact that he is still non-releasable. We will be transferring him (Goshen) to his new home this coming Monday, the 13th. We hope he is comfortable with his new life.

We also had the new eagle examined again. The blood work was repeated and looks MUCH better. The bird is also getting heavier, which is good. He is still a bit wobbly and I hope this too shall end. He (Merle) has a great deal of fight which gives us hope.

We're still waiting to find a home for our non-releasable Turkey vulture Walter.

Vidor, the other Great-Horned owl is now out in our flight exercising his wings. He is well-fleshed and aggressive. His wound on his wing, (similar to Butters' injury) will take some time to completely heal. The term we use for this type of injury and it's healing is 'granulation'.

We recently took in a thin but other wise uninjured male Cooper's hawk. These birds are often seen in and around peoples yards, especially those with bird feeders. They hunt the small birds that feed at them.

We were not able to hold our yard sale due to heavy rains in our area. We are going to try to have it in a week when it appears to be more favorable weather wise.

Thanks for checking in and thank-you to those that have recently sent in donations. They are very appreciated and as you have just read, very much needed. These vet bills and trips back and forth quickly add up as does the medications we need and food THEY need.


Feathered brothers and sisters, you came to us broken and as you bled…….we saw you desperate, dehydrated, desiccated, diseased, distressed, emaciated, famished, frayed, frightened, helpless, hungry, ragged, ravenous, shaken, shocked, shot, sickly, stressed, stunned, tattered, thirsty, traumatized, torn, weary and wounded. Defiantly, you stood us off with your last breath as we tried to tend to you. We saw you come in as cute, naked, fuzzy, cuddly youth, as mischievous, defiant adolescents, as fierce, regal rulers of the sky and as cunning, maimed elders whose time on earth was almost done. You endeared yourselves to us, bit us, charmed us, footed us, delighted us, hissed at us, talked to us, mantled at us, and graced us with your presence.

Some of you mended and were able to go on your way, never looking back. Some of you were injured in ways that prevented you from going, so you stayed with us to teach us…….And we came to love you. Others were too far gone, and you went home - where you fly free from pain with the Great One. All of you have touched us, and we are changed because of you.

used with permission by Arlene Powers