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.....

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