Sunday, December 26, 2010

Neither rain or snow, sleet or least mail people get a day off

So the phone rings on Christmas Eve and it's DWR with an injured eagle way down in San Juan county, so Connie and I head out to Green River to meet officer Jay Shirley. Poor bird was hit by a car, coming off a dead deer in the road. The whole windshield was shattered and the only reason the bird didn't end up in the vehicle with the people was because of the tempering of the glass. So many of these things happen on a holiday or weekend when my vet isn't in the's very frustrating. I asked the officer if he had taken any pictures of the car, but he did not. I always hear about the horrible damage and they wonder how the bird survived, but I never see the aftermath, other than the bird and they don't always survive.

He has damage to his left leg and some road rash. Hopefully we can get into our vets office tomorrow, Monday. He'll need an x-ray at the very least and I suspect surgery. I have him on very strong pain medication right now.
This eagle is a three year old Bald eagle and I suspect a visitor to our state. Utah has several permanent Bald eagles, but most Balds that are here in the Winter are visiting from somewhere further North. They will return to their other home around April sometime while our resident Balds stay here. I'll let you know how tomorrows appointment turns out.
Today I started him on subcutaneous fluids as he appears dehydrated as well.

We also have a first year Merlin in our care, also a Winter visitor. This is only the second Merlin we have ever had come in to our facility. Merlin's are small falcons, similar to Kestrels, but their behavior, in my opinion, is much more like the true hawks of the Accipiter family. This little guy won't be going back into the wild however. His injuries determined that. I already have several places very interested in him, so since he is young, I believe he will adapt and do well in captivity. He is just beginning to eat by himself which makes everyone happy! When we get him out of the kennel he needs to be in right now, it's like "Everybody was kung-fu fighting!" He's rolling and twisting trying to 'get us'. All the while yelling the little falcon call, pretty impressive for a little guy!
He is on medications twice daily, requiring us to capture and hold him. I'll be glad when that's over, as I'm sure he will be as well.

Well, that's it for now. Enjoy the pictures.

Monday, December 20, 2010

A wonderful release and some sadness.......

It's cold, wet and gray here today....yuck! I think I'd like to migrate south.

Our three Great Horned owls, Willow, Boo Boo and Aretha are all doing well. I've included photo updates on Willow, who will need her eye removed and Boo Boo who is also blind in one eye, but that eye can stay in place since it is not deteriorating at this time. As soon as he kills successfully, he can go, but it's just to wet to attempt that right now. Hopefully very soon, however.

Boo Boo is the one with the cloudy looking eye. Aretha just needs time maneuvering in the flight.

We recently got in another Great Horned owl, this one from Lake Powell down in southern Utah. He had been electrocuted and was found floating in the lake. How he survived the initial electrocution is just amazing. Unfortunately, what an electrocution does to ones insides is usually fatal and he died two days later. I hope we provided him with some peace and comfort for his final hours.

A few weeks ago we picked up a Western Grebe. Amazing creatures, those Grebes. This little guy, like most of my Grebe cases, went down while migrating.
They migrate at night and cannot stand and walk on land, they need water, so if they see a wet road or parking lot at night, with the moons light or street lights, this can appear to be a body of water and they come down and BANG...hard pavement. Then they are stuck. Sometimes they can become injured hitting the ground, but usually they need and exam and a day or two just to monitor their behavior and then put back onto a large body of water.
They need around a hundred feet of water to take off, running along until take off. It's wonderful to watch. We released this little guy out on Utah Lake, just in the nick of time. The lake was freezing over quickly. I took him there because others of his kind had been spotted the day before by a local birder, so that was the best choice for him. Here Connie is putting him in the water at a boat ramp.

When I get calls for these types of birds, the finders always say the bird has a broken leg (since they can't move on the ground). They are built to dive and float for the most part!

The last post I had mentioned a new Red-Tail hawk coming in. She had a compound fracture in her left wing that was two weeks old, yes, two weeks....idiot people. When she finally arrived, I made plans right away for surgery. Just as I knew would be, the bones had already started to fuse together. My vet was able to re-break them and spread them back into their correct position, in spite of all the calcification already building up around the broken areas. This took more time than a normal surgery of this type that didn't have all of the "healing" already taking place. This was just too much for the bird and she died after the surgery. She never came out of her anesthesia. The people who found her didn't do right by her. They fed her, but this could have been prevented. This is why there are laws prohibiting what they did. She needed to get medical help immediately, not two weeks later!

I need to take a moment to yell...............idiots!

Last, but not least,
Keep your bird feeders full and remember, during the cold months, water is just as important as the rest of the year, so provide a clean, shallow source of water for your backyard birds. They'll appreciate it!


Friday, December 10, 2010

Just when you think you've seen it all..............

Well, I've been mentioning a Red-Tail hawk the last post or two. I even posted a couple of pictures prior to our trip to the vet's office. We named her Patience. We actually have another female Red-Tail Hawk who we took to our vet's office in Payson for surgery today, but that's another story. This update will be about Patience.

She came to us from the next county over. Her eye was horrible. One of the most horrific eye injuries I've ever seen. Just as a side note, everyone has THEIR thing and mine are eye injuries. They give me the willies! We kept cleaning the outside of her eye and expressing some white goo from the torn eyeball itself. I could not do anything for her regarding this eye until we got her weight up as she was near death at intake. She obviously had been on the ground for quite some time, unable to hunt and was starving and dehydrated. To add to her condition, she had parasites all over her, which is common for a bird in her condition, unable to care for themselves, then the 'bugs' take advantage of this. This in turn caused her to be anemic as they were feeding on her.
She was too weak in the beginning to start the medication she needed for the parasites as it is a very harsh drug and she was just too 'down', so it had to wait.

Gradually, with a lot of subcutaneous fluids, tube feeding, antibiotics and pain medication, she became stronger, heavier and less anemic. We started the anti parasitic drug and then got her up to our vet in Salt Lake for her eye. The day we took her up, they took her right in and removed the eye. I took a lot of pictures and I'm hoping to get some of those posted. Dr. MacLaren said all the 'white stuff' in the eyeball was infection. When they got in there and started to clean out the infected bone as well, which there was quite a bit, they found the cause for all of this damage. She had been shot! Some little punk, used an air gun on her and the cartridge was up near her brain. They got it out and saved it for me. That poor bird.

For the first few days after her surgery, she was very unstable, but if you had just lost half of your face, you would be as well. We added a second antibiotic and put her on stronger pain meds and over a couple of weeks, she was back to her normal self.
I took her back to my vet in Payson to get her entire body x-rayed as I didn't know if there might be any more of those cartridges somewhere in her body. Thank God there were no more.

I turned the cartridge that had been removed during the surgery over to Wildlife Resources Law enforcement. The person who did this will probably never be caught. Pisses me off. This magnificent creature tortured like this. Thank goodness she was found by someone, although near death, we were able to save her!
She is now free and flying like she should. She was ready for us to be out of her life. I hope she does well and since she is an adult, she knows how to kill and has done that many times already.
Be free Patience, and stay away from idiot humans!

Also, just a brief update on Miss Moon, our little Screech owl. I had a full body x-ray done on her and her fracture isn't healing very timely. I still have her confined and her food has more bones in it now and she is eating 100% on her own. This is wonderful for her and us. Both the radius and ulna were broken. She still looks like a good release candidate here in the future.

I love a story with a happy ending.....

Friday, November 26, 2010

Owls, Owls, Owls.....

It's bitter cold here. I hope all migrating things are where they need to be. I'd like to be somewhere warmer as well, but I don't migrate well, so here I am!

I mentioned a new little Screech owl on the last post. We've named her Miss Moon.
She came in from Moab. We sure get a lot of birds from Grand and San Juan counties. Moab is about a 2 hour drive, one way, so as you can see, we cover a lot of miles doing this work.

It looks like she had been hit by a vehicle as most of our patients are. We included her in the trip last Friday to the vet's office in Salt Lake for the eye appointments. That's a 2 1/2 hour drive one way. She obviously had head trauma and one of the eye's wasn't 'progressing' like I had hoped. The pupil was not getting any smaller but staying dilated and fixed. Not good. The other eye had been that way, but was now reacting normally, still, both eyes needed examined as with head trauma, there may be a detached retina in a 'normal looking' eye.

She does have a closed fracture in her left wing, but now that the swelling has come down, it feels like it is lined up pretty well. I still want it x-rayed just to get a good visual on it.
The vet at Eye Care for Animals in Salt Lake feels that there is no longer vision in the left eye and I would have to agree. She doesn't follow you with that eye and movement on that side of her head doesn't get a reaction. She still may be releasable, but time will tell. We currently have her on pain medication but that should end shortly. We are still force feeding her as she doesn't want to eat on her own. That could be the result of several things, including the pain medication.

So we also took in two other owls to the Eye vet for a follow-up visit. One owl had come in from Moab, but had been hit in Sevier county. The finder picked him up and took him (the owl) back to his home in Moab and then called the wildlife agency here in Utah. He too had been hit by a vehicle and had trauma to his left eye. He also is blind in that eye and we are hoping that it stays limited to that one eye. His scenario was identical to the little Screech's. His other eye was effected, but quickly returned to almost normal, but is still in danger of detaching, so we are holding on to him for a bit longer, hoping he will get past the point of serious concern. He sure is full of fight and doesn't like his 'visit' any longer! I'll look to see if I have any photo's of him and if so, I'll post them. We have been calling him Boo-Boo. Oh, I guess I should mention he is a Great Horned owl.

The other owl is also a Great Horned owl, but a female. She came from Sevier county as well and was also hit by a vehicle. She too had eye problems. This has been the year of eye problems for us! Man of man. Just about everyone has had some sort of eye injury, but if you were smacked around by a truck or something, your eyes would probably show some problems as well.
Good for this owl and the other Great Horn that they neither had any broken bones.
This owls continuing problem is in her right eye and it's obvious, she is blind in it. The eyeball itself is also shrinking, meaning that it is probably going to have to be removed. I'm not sure if I will try to find an educational facility for her or not. There is a lot of differing of opinions, when it comes to owls and their survivability in the wild with a missing eye for a lot of good reasons. Their eyes, in comparison to other raptors are huge, taking up a good portion of their skulls, so this can throw their balance off terribly. There is also concern over how it effects their hearing as the two (eyes and ears) are placed right behind the other, so this is not going to be a quick decision, but it never is. We take each patient on a case-by-case basis. We named her Willow as she came from an area near there is a creek called Willow creek. I will be posting her on our sponsorship page as she will be with us for a while and at great expense.

I am going to save the update on the new Red-Tail hawk for the next posting. She went to the eye vet Friday, along with the three owls. She is going to be a special project as well, requiring time and money.

If you are someone that donates during the holidays to projects or causes close to your heart, then please consider us in your donations. We are 100% funded by donations. Our patients are wildlife, not pets, so there is no one to send the bill to. The wildlife agencies merely drop them off to us and THAT is rare in and of itself. More often we get a call to 'go pick them up', whether they are being held somewhere or were simply spotted by a passerby and we need to go and find them. This requires a reliable vehicle, gas, time, volunteers, kennels and so on, just for that portion alone. Help us help them.

Thank you,

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Moving right along......

This has probably been the slowest we have been in a couple of years. Don't get me wrong, there is still plenty to do, but most of our patients have been released and there are just a few requiring more time until we can determine the best situation for them.

Leonard, our female Great Horned owl that had been electrocuted was finally released. I would have liked to released her further south, but the reality was, I wasn't sure when that would or could happen and every day in captivity when she didn't need to be here wasn't benefiting her.

We released her in Moab, just south of town.

I'm also including photo's of a release of a Red-Tail hawk we did. This female came in as a mystery bird from Moab. Very thin, near death, and no visible signs of trauma. Her feathers were in horrible condition and we could clearly see feather lice had been feasting on them and her as well. We started with supportive care and then I took her in to my vet's office in Payson, Utah and got some blood work done and an x-ray.

We were surprised to find lead shot in her. She had been shot some time ago, however. The wounds were completely healed over and not visible in her intake exam. Once we knew it was there, we felt around the area's where the x-ray showed the shot and we couldn't even feel it, that's how healed it was.
One of the tests I wanted performed was a West Nile Virus test and it came back positive. So I suspect that is what brought her down.

The decision was made not to remove the shot as it was not a part of the digestive system and this is where the lead poisoning takes place. Where the shot was in her body posed no long term threat to her life, so we left it there and focused on the West Nile.
Once she started making progress, she took off, health wise, in leaps and bounds.

She became strong and aggressive quickly. I did have her vision checked since West Nile can cause significant visual damage and even blindness but she had no problems in that area, so once she was strong enough, we released her. Yeah! She was an amazing bird!

We recently got in another Red-Tail hawk with trauma to her right eye. She was very thin when we picked her up and we weren't sure she would survive the night, but she's gaining weight nicely and becoming very strong and feisty. I suspect her injuries were due to her prey fighting back or another predator trying to catch her. This does not appear to have been caused by an impact with a vehicle as are most of our cases. She sees the eye vet this Friday, but we are confident that the eye will have to be removed. I'll keep you posted on her. I've included a couple of her intake pictures.

We also got in a little Screech owl from Moab. She appears to have been hit by a vehicle with trauma to her left wing and head. She is suffering from a concussion, so we have been treating her for that and she is progressing nicely.

Enjoy the photo's....

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Fall is my favorite time of year........

Boy there has been a lot of animals coming in........some, the most, in serious shape and a few, well, not so bad!
Connie has been sick, so I'd love to be able to give her some time off and just when I think that can happen, well, wrong again. I wish I could find some reliable people who really want to help animals and aren't caught up in the own daily soap opera's.

I'd love to find someone to help fundraise, whether by computer or in person....we need a real go-getter! Anyone interested?

Finally, Horizon, the Golden eagle that hit a semi (yes, she hit IT) last February was finally released. She has been through so much. Surgery to repair a major broken bone in her wing and the subsequent surgery to remove all of the pins to hold those bones together. Then, the removal of an eye. We were so hoping we could save her vision, but the damage to the eye was extensive, forcing the removal of the eye itself. Yet after all of that, she was released, back into the wild. She killed successfully here at our facility, showing she could still do what she needed to do to survive.
She caused injuries to both Connie and myself during her stay and I hold no bad feelings toward her for that, in fact, quite the opposite. I'm glad she had and still has the fight and will to be free. As rehabilitators, we don't want 'pets', we want wild creatures who despise us and want to get the hell away from us!

She flew away, during some spectacular Fall background shots. We hope she does well and has found her mate, once again.

Click on these release pictures to get the full effect
of these shots. They are breathtaking!

We had a Magpie that came in, found in a car,
with nothing really wrong with it, other than it related people to food. I suspect this bird had some contact with people as a nestling or fledgling and learned not to be afraid of people.
He wasn't what I would call tame or even truly habituated, but just a little too comfortable with people for my liking. His feathers were pretty dull also. We watched him and fed him and when we were sure all was well, took him for a LONG drive, away from people and near other Magpies and let him go. I hope he chooses to stay where he's not at and not return to 'civilization'. What a hoot he was! I just love those members of the Corvid family.

Well, I'll get the pictures added and head to bed. Going to the vets tomorrow with a new patient and that's a long drive to and from.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

A beautiful eagle release...............

One of the golden eagles that had come in from around Moab, Utah earlier this year was finally released. We took her back that way, to the Arches National Park where we had released another eagle several weeks ago. This female actually came from an area called LaSall, but as far as an eagle flies, it was close enough and it gave a lot of people, who would never see something like this, an opportunity to witness and eagle close-up and to see her fly free again.
A gentleman that I met during the other release there, was the one who let this female go.

His name is Bill Sloan and he works for the Parks Department as a biologist, I believe. Very nice and knowledgeable man. Thanks to Nick Eason for some of the pictures and I did manage to take some myself. It was a beautiful day for a release. The eagle flew and flew, just perfect around those beautiful red cliffs that Arches is known worldwide for. The ravens, now known from the previous release, did show up again, but that didn't stop the eagle, she just kept circling and flying.

I got a phone call from one of the Parks people there for the release, and I guess she had hung around longer than we did. She said about an hour later, the female came back, but this time, she had a friend with her, a male, just a year or two older than her! How wonderful.
This is what makes our work worthwhile.

We also took in, from the vet's office, an Eared Grebe. Cute little bird, found in a parking lot of a high school about 75 miles from Price. Some kids were chasing her and kicking her......rotten little brats! A lady saw this and came to her aid.
These types of birds are helpless on land, appearing to have a broken leg, but the truth is, they cannot function on land well at all. They are make soley for water. They move (migrate) at night and at times, will 'land' on pavement, usually after a rain storm when it's wet and lights from above, or even a bright moon, may make the wet ground look like water. They will land and then they are in trouble. Usually, if they have received no injury from hitting the hard ground, which they need to be examined to determine that, they can be put on a large body of water and then, they can take off when they are ready. They need between 100-150 feet to do this, much like an airplane taking off.
We are fortunate to see a few species of Grebe's here in Utah and their courtship dance rivals the Cranes in beauty. They are a very secretive bird, ususally diving when they see or hear people or danger of any kind.
After I picked her up from my vet's office and determined she was not injured, I drove her to a nearby pond and released her. I've included those pictures. During the examination, she did what Grebes do, and darted that long neck at me and bit my nose. I couldn't help but giggle, but it did hurt. This is how they protect themselves, darting with that sharp beak at their attackers face. Here I was examining her with no extra hands to help and trying to control that wiggly body and look through that heavy plumage that seabirds have and ZAP....she got me and I still have the mark to prove it!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

And still, a little bit more.............

Our two red-tail hawks were finally released after kill-testing successfully. I will have to post their photo's later as I couldn't find my digital camera and had to purchase one of those disposable types on the way to release them. It was wonderful. I went to Sanpete county at the top of Skyline Drive and let them go. I hope they stay together and are successful in their lives.

We also released the two cottontails together. They played in the tall grasses where I took them and I left them there, enjoying the smells and sounds of freedom. I love those little mammals!

Leonard, the electrocution owl went back to the vet's office in Salt Lake. This was for a check-up on her eye's as she developed cataracts after being electrocuted. The specialists feel her eyes are improving, which is wonderful of course, so we started her "mouse school" as well.

We currently have 4 Great Horned owls learning to kill. The other two, have already been released. The pictures of that release are at a place called Consumers, here near Price.
Cherokee Sartori is helping with the release. She helps out quite a bit with our fund-raisers and other projects and I really appreciate her help.

She sort of got carried away with the release,

look at her owl.....he's probably thinking " what the heck"?

Ok, that's going to be it for now....I'm almost caught up!


Friday, September 10, 2010

Another short update....still trying to catch up!


Hole in the Rock, the first year male eagle that came to us from San Juan county did very well and was released. We took him to an area in Carbon county called Winter Quarter's Ridge. My sub-permittee Connie's son, Cody, did the release.

We also released the other juvenile male golden eagle that came in from just out of Moab. He came in with the same presentation. Just a couple of unrelated fledgling eagles that were not doing well.
This time in an animals life is very difficult and many don't make it. We call this 'failure to thrive' and it can happen for many reasons, but mainly the bird is young and hasn't learned what it needs to from it's parents to be successful and thrive. If they are found, like these two were, then we can help.
There are never any guarantees, but we try to give them the extra time they need and more practice finding food and obtaining that successfully. The second release took place at the Wedge in Emery county.

We still have the juvenile female eagle, also ready for release that also came in from San Juan county for the same reasons. We will be taking her back that direction for her release sometime next week.

That's the short update for now...............


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