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....

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