Monday, December 26, 2011

Angels falling from the sky...........

Well there has been some strange goings on the last couple of weeks in Utah. We had a later than normal migration of Grebes, mostly Eared, but we saw some Westerns as well. The 'regular' migration was pretty much over. But one late large migration made national news, unfortunately.
Near Cedar City Utah, which is south of us, a group of over 5,000 came down in a Walmart parking lot, killing over 1,500 of them. These strange occurrences happen frequently, usually during snow or rain. During a snow storm, they can ice-over and this sends them to the ground and since Grebes migrate at night, their view of wet pavement looks similar to a lake. Think about it, a large area void of any trees or other land markers and with all the bright parking
lights, the wet ground reflects like water. These birds land in lakes as they are completely helpless on land, so they are always looking for water while migrating. Once they are on the ground, they are stuck. Some become injured in the 'landing' while others just need to be put onto a large body of water. These birds take a long 'run' before they can get air born, just like a jet vs. a helicopter.


The way this was handled by our states' wildlife agency made this terrible situation even worse. People with no medical background decided to put the surviving birds, even injured ones, onto water saying 'people couldn't help them'. Really? We rehabilitators do just that. We have that background to know what can or cannot be done and we were never asked to assist in this situation. We are wildlife rehabilitators for the State of Utah and none of us even received a phone call. Shame on you DWR! There needs to be a plan put into place, when things like this happen, that professionals can intervene and help determine what can be done to help the injured.
There needs to be a plan in place to work through these situations, involving wildlife rehabilitators since we are the ones qualified to determine what can and cannot be repaired well enough to survive in the wild. These are highly stressed birds and the handling they received was terrible.

No, this would not have been an easy task to work through, but none of what we rehabilitators do is easy.
You should have seen the video taken of these guys throwing the birds into a lake from a cardboard box, with no regard to how they landed. These birds were hitting each other, landing on top of one another and the public is watching this on the news channels. Embarrassing. Then a spokesperson goes on speaking that this is what is best for the birds....and we wonder why the general public thinks the way that they do regarding injured wildlife, thinking "oh, it's no big deal, anyone can do it". Well no wonder when they see stories like that on the news......ARGH! Birds with broken wings being thrown into a lake with clearly no chance of leaving that lake, ever!
It's an insult to our profession and our expertise. These DWR people don't have a clue about what we do and what is possible in the field of wildlife medicine. While these events will happen again and again, the devastation of these situations doesn't need to be made worse at the hands of people our wildlife is suppose to be being watched out for.
We received several Grebes during and after this large migration. Already having snow falling here in Utah, Grebes were being found, a few here and there throughout the state.

I've posted some of the photo's of these fallen angels and they were all successfully released throughout the state where we could find open water, once we determined they had no injuries.

Debbie

Thursday, December 8, 2011

It's even COLDER.....BURRRRR


OK,
It's gone polar now. I hate it when everything freezes; water hoses, ponds, my toes and so on.


Copper has finally started to eat on his own....we have been waiting for this to happen as every time that we would have to catch him to feed him, it jeopardizes his surgery site. Not good. The picture I've included today is of Copper right after his surgery. Amazing work.

Spirit, another golden eagle with us who has secondary lead poisoning, finally opened up one of her feet and stood on it. She briefly opened her right foot as well, but then it became clenched again. Poor girl hit her balled-up foot on the ground as though she was trying to make it open. She has so much fight and doesn't understand why she can't move the way she use to. Just heartbreaking.

When you have the time, go check out another blog site by another rehabilitator in New York. Suzie Gilbert is also a published author. She collects wonderful stories about her rehabilitation and others in the field. It's called The Crooked Wing.

http://suziegilbert.wordpress.com

Enjoy.................
Debbie

Sunday, December 4, 2011

A cold cold day in eastern Utah.....

Buuurrrr............Very cold here and windy. I've already had my fill of that!
Our three Great Horned owls are doing well. We are still searching for placement for them with a good facility somewhere in the country. I have had a facility in New York that was referred to us by a mutual friend who also has a facility there as well, call regarding one of the male owls. She is possibly interested but would not be able to build a facility for him until Spring, weather of course. We will have to see.

Copper is still not eating on his own, so we catch him once a day and force feed him. Today, we offered him food out in his mew, so tonight, we will see if he ate it.


We have a new Golden eagle that has secondary lead poisoning. She came in near death, very thin and dehydrated. She was anemic and covered in lice.
Her feet are clenched tight, which is one of the potential symptoms of lead. Her appetite, however, is voracious, something you don't normally see in lead patients. She has had one week of chelation therapy and her levels are now 'within normal range'. She still cannot stand and is very wobbly. Most of her parasites are now gone. We have named her Spirit.




We also were brought a female pheasant today, the apparent victim of a dog attack, but it appears it was the most recent attack. She has some injuries that suggest an earlier attack as well. Poor little thing. She is on pain meds and antibiotics. We will have to assess what her possibilities are in the next few days.

That's all for now...............Debbie

Friday, November 25, 2011

Busier than I'd like to be............

Another new Great Horned owl, two new Golden eagles..........and there are a couple of releases in there as well.
Unfortunately the newest Great Horned owl is also non-releasable, so that's three I need to find placement for. The newest guy came from an area in San Juan county called Verger, so I'll probably call him Verger to help me keep the three straight. He's quite handsome and will soon be introduced to the other two Great Horns. Going to have to keep the remote camera's on that enclosure when that happens. He's been outside for awhile and perhaps they have been 'talking' and are familiar with each other by now, only time will tell. His x-ray shows the two broken bones which rendered him non-releasable. The most obvious one is the ulna in his left wing.





We released our Western Grebe. Connie was the one who did the actual release at an area near Huntington. There is a man made reservoir there and that's where she let our little guy go. Hopefully he is now somewhere much warmer having a good time with other Grebes.







The two new eagles are both serious cases. Of course, most are that come to us. They are not just stopping by to visit!
The first one came to us from San Juan county, specifically LaSall. He was found by the road, with what appeared to be a broken wing according to the finder of the bird. The wildlife officer that responded thought he 'didn't look too bad' (what a goof). Really? What does that mean?
Turns out the bird had been shot and is full of lead. He is also suffering from lead toxicity (go figure). He was thin and dehydrated and he has multiple broken bones. Lovely.
We started the usually protocol with fluids and pain medication. We also tube fed him for a few days, making sure we started out slowly before adding food that took more to process. We knew we had to get surgery done, but he would never survive the surgery in his current condition, so since we did have a few days that we could use to improve his overall condition, we did that and then the surgery went forward. We also started the chelation therapy to clean his body of the lead leaching into his gut. At this point he is considered clean.
We named the bird Copper and have started a Chip-In page for him to help with his expenses. As of today, he is still not eating on his own and we are having to force feed him twice a day. I've included pictures of the fixating device, now on his wing, to hold the bones in place while they heal. He will have this on for about 10 weeks, a little longer than usual, and then have to go through another surgery to remove it. I've included a couple of his x-rays to show the extent of the lead in his body.











The other eagle came to us from Emery county in a very rural part of that area. He was not found near a road, so we weren't surprised that there are no broken bones, but why was he down and in critical condition. He was extremely thin and dehydrated and had the worst parasite load I have ever seen in a patient. Literally thousands of lice of many different species covered him. Yuk! His signs and symptoms looked an awful lot like lead poisoning, whether primary or secondary I'm not sure. For precautions, I started chelation therapy on him as well, along with tube feeding and working our way to red, bloody meat. Talk about anemic, those lice did a number on him. I also added antibiotics as the lice could most certainly cause disease as well. He has power in his legs, but cannot stand on them and 'balls' his feet up under him. This is an indicator of lead, but could also be an indicator of other things as well, but I'm putting my money on the lead.
We are taking him into the vets tomorrow for x-rays and blood work. We ran a metal detector over him last night and it was beeping like crazy. Poor guy. One good thing in this whole story is he has a tremendous appetite! Both of these newest eagle are about the same age.





So right at this point, we have 4 Golden eagles. Fury, (secondary lead poisoning), Canyon, just off the nest and found near death, Copper, gunshot and primary lead poisoning and Spirit, our newest Golden, possible lead poisoning. Three of these 4 are going to be here for quite awhile, due to the problems associated with lead. We will have to constantly look at each of them for any signs of tiny improvements or problems.
These cases cannot be determined in a 'normal' time frame for rehab (whatever that is). Costs are going to be tremendous, this is why we put together the "Chip-In" button on this page for Copper. Food alone for these massive birds for many months is a scary thought.
Please help if you can and remember, all the work that we do is done through donations. All of it.

Debbie

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Special Request


To all of those who read my blog, first of all, thank you. I hope you enjoy the photo's and educational aspect of this blog. I am making a request that you add your name to the "followers" list as I just learned of a way of bringing in some much needed money for the animals, but it takes many people on the followers list. If you could do this, it may just be the answer to our prayers.
Thank you in advance..............

Debbie

(see all of those fish that little guy is going to eat; they didn't fall from the sky, we had to buy them; it all takes money)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Now the rest of the story.................







Regarding two postings back and the story of the eagle found hanging in a tree. Most of this post will be pictures.
Keith Cauley, a gentleman I became acquainted with from another eagle situation in his area, stumbled upon another Golden eagle in trouble. This guy is a professional wildlife photographer, so he's out and about everyday in very remote areas taking photo's.
He has found 3 or 4 now, that without him, surely would have died. This latest one was hanging upside down in a large Cottonwood tree. Once he discovered her, he notified the Division of Wildlife Resources. Thank God the officers down his way are wonderful guys, responding quickly. The only way to get her down was to shoot the branch she was attached to and hope it would break and she would fall. Casey Olsen, with the Division did just that. What a shot!
They caught her in a blanket they had ready. Then they called me and I suggested we needed to examine her as we had no idea if she had any injuries and just releasing her would be irresponsible.



Through a series of transporters, including us, we got her back to Price and she had an injury, possibly a break in her left wing and she had a bad abrasion on her right ankle, probably from trying to free herself, clear down to the bone. She was sore and had pain reactions in both legs and shoulders. We took her in and got x-rays and confirmed a break in a very tiny bone in the wrist area of that left wing. Time would tell if it would cause her to be non-releasable.
We also started working on healing the wound on her leg.
She was not happy about her stay with us, flailing herself again the walls in her enclosure. This wasn't good. We had to keep her as still as possible for that bone to heal correctly. We moved her to a larger enclosure, the opposite of what I would normally do, but she was the exception, not the rule. She did the same thing in the larger enclosure, just not as often. We had her on pain medication, but that didn't slow her down one bit!




Her leg wound was healing nicely, so after a couple of weeks, I moved her out into the eagle flight with two other Golden eagles. Man oh man, she went after the youngest eagle, Canyon.
We broke that up and make sure we were watching them on remote TV. This happened a couple of times, but Canyon held her own. I couldn't put her back in the smaller enclosure since she was limiting her chances of that wing healing well hitting the walls the way she was.
Pretty soon she was up on the perches and getting around very well. We had to take the opportunity and get her released, so at the first chance, I called Keith and asked him if he would like to release her.

We drove out to Monticello and he did just that.



He and his wife Dee were there along with two other people, friends of theirs.











Dee took the photo's while Keith did the toss. Perfect; off she flew and gained lift and higher and higher she went, then another eagle flew up to meet her; as maybe a greeting "hey, where have you been?" The flew together, circling and gaining more height. It was just beautiful. Could this have been a mate? Maybe. It couldn't have been any better. We finally lost sight of them.
The next day, Keith was back out there, taking more photographs and there she was. Easy to spot because of her band. Keith got a couple of great photo's of her back out there, doing exactly what she was meant to do !








This is why I do what I do!




Debbie

Friday, October 28, 2011

Video of the Ravens down in Kanab

I'm posting a video, that Carmen sent me from the Wild Friends department at Best Friends Animal Society down in Kanab, Utah. Since we work together now and then on a variety of wildlife related issues, I had asked her to take these two as we were running out of room here and needed to move someone. Their 'rehab' is essentially done, we are just waiting for the female's (Marie) feathers to molt out and grow back as some idiot had cut them and make her a "pet".
Marie is the vocal one on the right hand side. I sure miss them.
Enjoy!


Debbie
video

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Part of the story.............

As I mentioned in the previous post, it's been a little busy. We had another Golden eagle come in from San Juan county several weeks ago. This angel was found hanging in a Cottonwood tree. Her talons had become caught somehow, and she could not free herself.
I'll post later the entire story and photo's from her being found, captured, in rehab and then release. The finder, our own Keith Cauley wrote an article about his experience and being able to then release her. The local paper ran that article and this is the link to that story.

Enjoy!
http://www.sjrnews.com/

Monday, October 24, 2011

Boy, it's getting chilly................fly birdies, fly

Just going to update on a couple of patients.

First, the little female Kestrel that came in from Redmond, Utah has been released. I took her near the airport here in Price, where I just released some other Kestrels a few months ago and away she went. In spite of all she had endured at the hands of her 'rescuers', she is now free and hopefully doing well. This picture was taken just before I drove her to the airport.











We had another gunshot victim come in recently. An immature male Coopers hawk. Just horrifying. Both legs were broken, the shot having gone through both of them and breaking bones along the way. The poor little guy couldn't stand and was just dragging himself around, on the ground, by his wings. He was near death, starving and dehydrated. Normally we would NEVER do surgery on a patient in this condition. We would take some time and rehydrate them and get their weight up, increasing their chances of surviving the surgery. We didn't have that option on this guy as the injuries were already old and open, so I hydrated him for a day and gave him one tube feeding and said a prayer. We took x-rays and they showed the shot still in the bird. He went into surgery, planning on doing one leg, then bringing him out of anesthesia and then doing the other leg the next morning. He died as soon as the first surgery was over. We did everything we could. He had only lived a few months and suffered terribly at the end. I hate days like that. I have to remind myself of those that make it and are now free again to be wild.
















So now that is two, actually three open cases we have for victims of gunshot. A Turkey vulture from LaSall, Utah, a Golden eagle from Monticello, Utah and this Coopers hawk from Price.

Debbie.....

Monday, October 3, 2011

Wow, been busy with transfers and more....

I'm not really sure where to start so I'll just sort of jump in here. Our little Kestrel out of Redmond Utah is still kill testing. She's not as aggressive as her male companion was. If you'll recall, he was a non-releasable bird that we were keeping with the female for companionship. He has now been transferred to the Cosley Zoo in Wheaton, Il, where he will be an education ambassador for their education program. I hope he does well. He will also have a female companion there.
His non-releasability was due to an injury and his finders, thinking they knew what was best for him, decided to 'raise' him, not getting him to a rehabilitator so that we could assess what was wrong and get him the help he needed to recover in the time frame he needed. Instead, his broken bones healed incorrectly and made it impossible for him to return to the wild and be a free bird. Sad......


Our Peregrine falcon that was also non-releasable went to Georgia. He will be involved in propagation. His new sweetie, Bonnie, was waiting for him to join her. I've attached a picture of them together sent by John, his new human. Our male is on the left. I hope they make many babies in the future; all of which will be set free to boost the population of wild Anatum Peregrine falcons.

We also were able to get Teasdale, our non-releasable Great Horned owl, to his new home in Cody, Wyoming, where he too, will be an education ambassador. I guess he has won the hearts of many there already, who have been able to see him in all his glory. I'm so happy this placement finally happened. Thanks to Melissa who, on her end, worked to make this happen as well. We have been following his progress on his blog through the museum where he is now residing. Sweet!

On a sad note, we received another Golden eagle from the Monticello airport area. This one had been shot, not with a shotgun, but a gun that shoots bullets. It almost severed this birds left leg, leaving this bird to suffer. Bone was exposed, tissue was missing as well as bone. This bird became weak and thin, coming to us probably on his last day. There was nothing for us to fix, literally. The bullet hit his joint and most of it was gone. We decided, the best thing for HIM, was to end this suffering as a one-legged raptor could never live in the wild and in captivity, is impossible as well. It's all about the quality of life for them, not for us. Disgusting. I'd like to find his perpetrators and meet them in a dark ally, just me and them. It's sickening that this sort of thing still happens, frequently. I start seeing these sort of cases just before hunting season starts, in the Fall. So called hunters, (these aren't hunters at all) out there shooting at anything that moves. Idiots!
I'm posting some stark photo's of the reality of what we do and what we see all too frequently. Deal with it!




Last, for now, we have two Ravens from different situations. One came in from Moab with an injury to a wing, which may or may not make him releasable. The other Raven was supposedly found by some people in Utah county and was 'very friendly'. Well, this very friendly Raven had a homemade band around his ankle, indicating someone had caught him at some point in his life and made him a pet. Wrong and illegal. He somehow got away and went to another house, even though his feathers on his wings had been clipped. He started to hang out with these other people, who now, did not want to turn him over but also wanted to keep him. Had to get law enforcement involved. Idiots! I put the two together, hoping to 'wild up' the confiscated Raven. I believe it is working and with time, hopefully they both can be released, together. I needed more room, so here just a few days ago, I transferred the two to another rehabilitator with some room for them. As soon as the one Raven's feathers have grown out then that bird can be released if he is no longer 'friendly'. Hopefully the Moab Raven will be able to regain strength and movement in his one wing and can be released at the same time.



Debbie..................

Monday, August 29, 2011

Try to keep up...............







So much has been going on so I'll try to catch up on some of the key stories.
They won't necessarily be in chronological order, but oh well.
We still are receiving young nestlings of many kinds. Western Tanagers, English Sparrows, House finches and so on. I've included a picture of a young Western Kingbird that we raised and released. What a little cutie.
We also got in a nestling Red-Tail hawk that was blown out of his nest just a few weeks prior to when he should have flown away. There were some terrible storms in the area he came from and this is when he was found on the ground. It worked out well since we had just taken two young Red-Tail hawks for Best Friends Animal Society. They needed to learn how to kill and so did our little Red-Tail. He was just a little younger than the other two, which were siblings, but they learned together. The two sibling Red-Tail hawks were released together near Price. We had two locals, Dave and Shauna O'Brien release them.








While all of this was going on, the Ferruginous hawks were growing fast and they needed to learn to kill at the same time the Red-Tails were learning, so they all went into the large flight together. The Red-Tails were the quickest to learn and then the Ferruginous. Once the Red-Tails were all released, including our little one found after the storm, then the Ferruginous were the only ones in the flight, so we gave them a couple of weeks longer to master that skill and then they too were released, almost at the same spot where the two Red-Tails had been released. We asked Jim and Kathy Fowers to do the honors. Jim has been instrumental in a number of cases, having picked them up in areas we are very far from. He has also dropped off many patients to me, meeting me in the canyon that runs between Utah county and Carbon county. He too is very committed to getting these creatures what they need at any time, day or night. A true kindred soul. I'll post those release pictures later.

Sadly, there have been some deaths, as it is with this kind of work. I got a call one night that an owl had been hit by the local college. I drove up there and the lady that saw him in the road was still there, making sure he got the help he needed. It was a Great Horned owl with substantial trauma. The next day we took him to our vets and had x-rays, which showed injuries that could not be repaired. So sad as this was just a fledgling owl and had to be euthanized. A sad, sad day.










Teasdale, our Great Horned owl that came in from central Utah on New Years day, was finally placed in an educational facility in Cody, Wyoming. He was non-releasable due to trauma in one of his wings, which made perfect flight impossible. We determined he was a good candidate for education so once a place was found and approved, the transfer was made. I'm glad this opportunity opened up for him and now, he can settle into his new life. I hope he will be happy during his new life as that is our only priority, the animal.

Finally, we got in a new Golden Eagle. This one was hatched this year in Seviere county and was found in a coal mine in the area. They notified the wildlife department and they, in turn, caught her and we picked her up. With no injuries, she was in horrible condition. Very dehydrated and thin, causing her weakness which allowed her to be picked up without a fight. Not good.
Sufco Mine out of Salina, Utah stepped up to the plate immediately and asked if they could help with the cost of her care. Wow, that never happens! She needed several weeks of slowly hydrating and feeding various foods, starting out with simple formulas and then working her way to and eagles normal food. She is now getting stronger and learning to get up onto high perches and flying. Her next step is learning to kill. She is housed with Fury, our other Golden Eagle. I think this is good for the both of them. Fury is still unable to get up onto high perches, suggesting there is a balance issue still going on, probably the result of the lead poisoning.
Well, that's good for now. Remember to click on the pictures to see them at their best.

Debbie

Sunday, August 7, 2011

A few updates............






The chipmunks are finally released. All three went at the same time and my grandson helped. I released them in an area called Swede's Pond. I hope they do well.

Two of our orphaned Kestrels are now kill testing. They will need several days of successful killing and then will be banded and released. One of the orphans is not releasable. I have two groups interested in him for educational purposes so I believe this will be a good option for him.

We had another young male Kestrel come in that wasn't so fortunate. He was terribly thin and dehydrated. I figure, by the weight and what it SHOULD be, he hadn't had any food for at least a week. We immediately went to work, tubing a formula for critical carnivores, but he was too far gone and died after several hours. What a short little life, I hope we made his final hours more comfortable.

Our milk fed Kestrel is doing well. Her tail is finally growing back and she is eating well, in spite of all that her finders did to her.












We have a young hummingbird we have been caring for, now for about 5 weeks. Another stupid human story. The people were feeding her the hummingbird food you buy at the store, exclusively. So now, we have another angel that is malnourished during a critical time in their young lives for an extensive amount of time. She isn't doing well, but I keep hoping. She is being fed every half hour throughout the day and until my bedtime.

And last, we have a new Raven with us that had been being kept as a pet, which is illegal, so he really doesn't know he's a Raven. He is hanging out with another Raven that came in from Moab with an injured wing. So far, so good.

That's going to be it for now. Enjoy the pictures.
Debbie

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Another different type of post...........

Well, if you've ever read the title page of this blog, you'll notice that it says I also discuss wildlife issues, particularly pertaining to Utah. Today, this is what I want to do. I have tried to educate those reading this blog that wildlife rehabilitators are NOT employees of their states wildlife agency or the USFW. We work with these groups and have to have permits issued by these agencies, but they do not employ us or financially support us in any way. In fact, in Utah, the state wildlife agency, the Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR) is a 'thorn in our sides' and most of it's personnel have let us know they do not value our work, having come right out and said that to many of us personally and through their actions, or should I say lack thereof. The following is an example of just that.

A few weeks ago, I got a call from our wildlife people telling me that down at Lake Powell, in southern Utah, the reservoir was rising so fast that two nests with Great Blue Heron chicks were about to go underwater. They were going out on a boat to get the nestlings and wanted to know if I would take them. Of course, I told them yes. They brought me 5 nestlings the next day, late in the day. There had been 6, but for some reason, one had died. The heat down that way was terrible, way over the 100's so maybe that contributed to the death; I didn't see the body, so I'm just guessing.
By the time I got them, they were dehydrated so we started fluids and started giving them cut up fish, pushed into their mouths and down their throats. I kept them in a small 'holding' mew, sort of resembling a nest, with some privacy. This also would provide them with some sort of security, lowering their anxiety. We continued to feed them twice daily, pulling them one by one to ensure each got their fare share. After a couple of days, then we started giving them time outside to roam and look around with a netted ceiling so they couldn't get out accidentally.
When it was time, they moved into a larger enclosure with perches resembling the trees which their nest would have been built in. We tried to make it look as natural as possible. They loved it and by this time, they needed to 'branch' and move around, but still have the security of the nest to return to. They also were eating on their own by this time. All we had to do is provide several different bowls of fish for them and a good water source to wade. It was perfect.
We made the enclosure extra private and put up a type of burlap that was made to look like camouflage to give them more privacy through the open areas.
Now, keep in mind, we are feeding 5 very large birds, growing bigger every day. At this point, I have been sending my husband and grandson down to a local pond to fish everyday to feed these guys. I have also bought various types of seafood at the grocery store for them and large pieces of salmon. I need a steady supply of whole trout for these guys quick. I checked with the local DWR office and they could only give me about 3 pounds of chub one time. Well, that wasn't going to help and we couldn't catch enough fish daily to provide for them, so I checked with another rehabilitator in northern Utah. She rehabs a lot of water birds as she is near the Great Salt Lake. She told me I could buy fish from her and she would order enough for me. This was great, but there was only 1 problem. She is about 150 miles from me and although she could order me as much as I needed, I had no where to store many boxes of fish, so I could only take 3-4 #20 boxes at a time. That would mean running back and forth every few days 300 miles round trip. That wasn't going to work either, especially since it's baby season and I need to be here feeding around the clock. We worked it out a couple of times to do this, with volunteers shuttling things to me, but I had to come up with something else fast. Then I spoke with the new curator for Tracey Aviary in Salt Lake and he helped us out a couple of times as well, but that still meant going up to Salt Lake, or having one of my SL volunteers driving up to me, again, not really workable for the amount of time this rehab was going to take. I called the fish wholesaler who supplies both Tracy Aviary and the other rehabilitator up north and he was willing to sell me fish as well, but would not send it as far south as I am in Utah. I would still have to drive up to SL, solving nothing.
My volunteer Connie made a suggestion that at our local little pond might be a place to get more fish from people fishing but who didn't want to keep their fish. She suggested making a poster and putting it down there with our information, telling people what we needed the fish for and how to get in touch with us. This may help us for a little while, so I told her to make the poster and I would call DWR, letting them know what we were going to try to help with the fish problem.

So I call over to DWR. The first person I speak with, I know quite well. He tells me after awhile, he doesn't think I can do this. When I ask him why, he says he believe the 'rules' in the proclamation say that these fish cannot be donated by the people that catch them, but them must be consumed by the catcher. You've got to be kidding? So everyone out there reading this, tell all your fishing friends, according to DWR, once you catch your fish, you cannot do what you want with them.
He suggested I talked with some of the fisheries people, to which I told him, this was a law enforcement issue and I was 100% sure would vary to who you spoke with from day to day as with all DWR issues I have had to get answers for during the last 17 years. They can't agree from office to office.....sad.
So I call a law enforcement officer I know and he tells me, well, you know it's about who you ask. Yes, I do know this.
But he said as far as he was concerned, I should be able to take fish from anyone obtaining them legally to feed our states wildlife. But, he suggested I call the head law enforcement person in our region and check with him. Ok, so I did.
This guy tells me right up NO. He says" these fish are to be consumed by the catchers". But wait a minute, once they catch them, it's their right to use them how they wish. Again, he tells me I am wrong. So I cannot put a sign down at the fishing pond and I cannot ask these people to donate any fish for the Great Blue Herons. Now, these birds, had they not been orphaned, would be flying to lakes, catching these fish on their own, but I can't catch them myself or ask any people that fish but don't keep their fish, to feed these guys. You figure out how that makes any sense.
He said," well, these are Utah's fish", to which I responded," so are the birds and the fish is what they eat in the wild". Still, the answer is no. I can't believe this. The state, who doesn't help us in any way with rehab, won't even allow fish, legally caught, to be donated to feed it's own wildlife in rehab. IDIOTS!

Now, up north, not only have they allowed this, they actually collected the fish at one of their booths checking on fishing licenses and fish caught, turning everything over to another rehabilitator, which is the way it should be, but not in our region!
Then the guy tells me, well, maybe you shouldn't have taken them if you couldn't feed them. OMG, I just about lost it. I have no problem feeding them, I never said that. The problem is these idiots won't let me have access to the fish I need to feed them. The very agency everyone THINKS is suppose to take care of wildlife, refuses to allow me, the rehabilitator to obtain fish, through fishermen and women with valid licenses.
Then this same guy tells me, well you know Deb, you may have to euthanize them." OK, now I do loose it! "Like Hell", I tell him. That will NEVER happen! This will just continue to be a difficult situation, with no support from DWR, as usual, just to make this a little easier.

So folks, now you see what things are like in Utah as far as DWR and wildlife rehabilitation. It's a joke. Since then, I have been told, by someone I need to protect their identity, with the division, that the proclamation says no such thing about what needs to be done with the fish one catches. Surprise, surprise. There are a few good people with wildlife resources, but I tell you, I can count them on two hands and still have fingers left over.
These policies can be changed and the public HAS managed to have things changed throughout the years through public outcry and public meetings (RAC) in Utah. People need to educate themselves and then act. But the public is ignorant when it comes to wildlife and how injured wildlife gets the help they need or orphaned wildlife get the help they need as well. The public thinks the wildlife department takes care of this and although I have tried myself to educate people everywhere, as do all wildlife rehabilitators across the country, for it's this way in every state, people let it go in one ear and out the other. I just don't understand why.
You can help change things! Yes YOU.

Ok, so there you go and now you know. I've included some pictures so enjoy them and remember if you click on the picture you will get the bigger view.

Debbie


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