Monday, January 31, 2011

We need a new van with good gas mileage!

Well Catalyst magazine did a nice little blurb about us in their January 2011 issue. The author is part of a new move to include animal stories and the groups that spend their lives trying to help these angels. They call it "Animal Angels". I was honored to have Second Chance Wildlife Rehabilitation be their first "Angels" article. Go online and check it out. The author is Carol Koleman and I appreciate her searching us out and bestowing such an honor on us.

Well our Sharp-shinned hawk broke off her fixator device, so we had to get her back into the vet to repair it as she is not ready to have it removed. She believes she is, but the bone has only been held in place for 3 weeks, not quite enough time. The x-ray showed everything looks good, positioning wise, so we still have hope for her release sometime in the next several weeks.

Our little cat caught dove did so well, we released her. I'll include photo's of feather growth in this post so you can appreciate the loss she had. The shorter feathers, up next to longer feathers are all new. She really wanted out of here, so I released her in my yard as I have quite a population of Ring-neck doves that feed here throughout the day.

Also, here are Boo Boo's release pictures I promised, from Sanpete county. What a happy day that was for us and him. I hope he finds Sienna and mates with her and they make LOT's of Great Horned owl babies for many years! The gentleman releasing him is the finder, Morris Caldwell. Very nice man.

Moon, our little Screech owl was banded today, in anticipation for release. I'm hoping to do that in the next week or two. She will be going back to where she was found in San Juan county, quite a long way away. But she potentially has a mate waiting for her, so she really needs to be released there. If anyone wants to donate a gas card.....we sure could use a couple. I asked DWR if they would help us with gas once, a couple of years ago. What a joke.

After Crashes last appointment at the vets, we changed his antibiotic. He started doing so much better and is standing again. Tonight was his last dose (10 days) of it and the pain medication. So hopefully he will start eating on his own and we won't have to handle him much. We will ALL be happy about that! I may have to 'tough love' him for a day or two regarding the food. It's hard to get an animal with an attitude to eat when they're not hungry.

Teasdale is still doing well and his wound is still healing. His finders came and visited with us this past Sunday. Giles and Julie, thank-you again for your concern and support. I was able to purchase more mice today, so I can breath a sigh of relief thanks to the both of you!

The last pictures I'm posting here are of a semi that hit a Golden eagle. Now, this happens all too often around here and elsewhere in my territory, but I never see photo's. I always ask the officers involved, "Did you take pictures?" They never do, they just tell me this horrible story, so when this call came in last week, Connie and I headed out to look for the eagle involved as she didn't stick around once she regained her senses. We had to find out if she was injured or not. When an impact like this happens, the outcome can be minor as far as injuries to of course, death. This bird, once struck, didn't go through the windshield, but shattered it and was caught up in the mirror apparatus on the driver side and RODE with the driver for about a half mile. Amazing. He was able to take a picture with his cell phone with her by his side as he didn't want to slam on the brakes and cause her to fall to the ground. Notice the drivers side of the windshield. Connie got up into the cab and took a picture from inside as well. There was glass pieces inside the cab. How frightening for all involved. We found an eagle we believe was the one hit and she was flying low, but her wings moved perfectly. We followed her and once we found her, she flew up to a power pole and I looked at her through my binoculars and she looked good. She then took off and flew very high, spiraling the whole time, watching us. We soon realized she had a dead deer there on the size of the road where we found her, so we moved it way off the road to avoid further problems. What a day! Snow to our hips, and mud mixed with coal dust all over us, our clothes, my van, everywhere! Just LOVE our work! Just a regular day in the life of a wildlife rehabilitator, well, at least some of us.


Saturday, January 22, 2011

Boo Boo is finally free..........

Things are starting to pick up around here. It's still pretty cold and things are thawing out a little bit, so MUD is everywhere. The ducks are loving it, but WE don't!

One of the Great Horned owls, Boo Boo was finally released the other night. We drove back to his old 'neighborhood' and released him. He flew for quite a distance and then landed on the ground. He spent about 20 minutes looking around and then without anyone noticing, he took off. I hope he does well. On the next post I'll include those pictures.

We are still waiting to have Willow's eye surgery done; it's just a matter of raising enough money. As soon as that happens, we will take her into Salt Lake to have it done. The eye is still getting smaller, so it has to come out. Donations can be made on this site to help get that done. If everyone just donated a little we could accomplish this for her. She's eating well and has a mew all to herself.

We moved the little Merlin outside until he goes to New Mexico. I hate these transfers as they can take a ridiculous amount of time. I'm sure he will enjoy the change of scenery for awhile.

Well, Crash went back to the vets office yesterday. The surgery site was concerning me a bit and he started keeping weight OFF that leg, which of course isn't good. Part of the leg is looking very good, but the distal portion still has inflammation and now, some heat. The vet took some more x-rays and switched his antibiotics. We also put him back on his pain meds. Hopefully we will see some improvement in the next week or so. I sure would like him to start eating on his own; this force feeding is getting old, for both of us! In most cases, a patient going through what he is would already be eating on their own, but pain medications and pain itself can cause one not to want to eat.

Our little Sharp-shinned hawk is doing very well. We need a name for her, so if anyone reading this has a suggestion, by all means, email me and we will chose from the submissions. I just can't think of one that fits. Here's your chance to name one of our patients!
She is eating on her own and is full of fight!

Miss Moon, our little Screech owl was moved to a larger and taller enclosure to see if she could reach the high perches and sure enough, she's up there and loving it. I'm thinking she is going to be our next release. She came from the Moab area in Grand county, so she will need to go back there, possibly next month.

And our little dove is progressing wonderfully after the cat attack. Feathers are growing back and her tail is now about two inches long. At this rate, she can be free in a matter of three or four weeks. She was in terrible shape and I wasn't sure if she was going to survive, but she pulled through and the drugs did their job as well, preventing infection from spreading and killing her. What a sweetie!

Teasdale, the newest Great Horned owl is doing well. I'm including close ups of his injury and the wound around it.

It is healing slowly, but at least it's healing. He's not thrilled with either Connie or me.

Usually, after they 'get the routine', they enjoy a head scratch here and there. Not this guy! Maybe we should change his name to Oscar the Grouch! You ought to see the mess he makes in his enclosure. You would think he was part parrot. He chews EVERYTHING in site.

We have given him pinecones to keep his amused and busy, but no, he'd rather chew on his perch and the carpeting lining his enclosure.

Thanks for checking in, oh, and THANK YOU to Katheryn for another donation. You're one of OUR angels.

Remember, clicking on any of the pictures will allowing you to see them much larger and in more detail AND it's warming up so get those bird baths cleaned!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

So since this is MY blog.....

You know, as a rehabber not employed by some huge medical facility (which by the way, are few and far between), I have a lot of freedoms that some do not. I have friends that rehab under the umbrella, so to say, of large conservation groups so they must hold their tongues. We speak often, and frequently vent to each other, seeing things that no other people can possibly relate to. And since it's wildlife, the other frustrating side of which are the laws, or lack there of, protecting and prosecuting. You just want to scream. Thank God we have other rehabilitators or animal welfare workers to vent to. But as I was saying, since I'm not "employed" by an entity, I can speak my mind and say things that others may not have the freedom to do openly. So today, I'm going to update everyone as usual, but also speak about a few personal things.

An issue I'm very passionate about, is the still legal use in Utah of leg-hold traps. They are horrific, mid-evil devices that are still used in some state legally. I've always vowed if I ever 'retire' from rehabilitation, I would spend most of my time at our states capital, fighting, trying to change this law. For the last month, a large 'hunting' group has rallied it's members into changing the already horrible law of checking their 'set' traps at every 48 hours, wanting to extend that to 7 days. Now, for humane reasons alone, this should never happen. This group is focusing on coyotes, blaming them for the supposed drop in our deer populations. Rubbish.
Selling too many permits, trying to raise more money for the state is the reason our deer population is in potential trouble. But you see, the numbers are cyclical, meaning they follow a pattern. Based on natural predator numbers and other factors, such as hard winters. But in Utah, their answer is to target the predators, doing their natural things. And coyotes are NOT the main predators of deer. This 'hunting' group just wants all coyotes gone, period. There is no justification for this, so they put out this crap and hope the public buys into it. It just isn't so.
I've been attending meetings, when possible, around the state in hopes the Wildlife Board in Utah isn't swayed by this group, but they are powerful in numbers and money.
The final meeting regarding this issue (for this year) was last week and we prevailed, but it was a close call. At a time when people are realizing that yes, animals feel pain and suffer, to want to extend their suffering when many states are ending the barbaric practice permanently, is insane and shows just how backward Utah is in this respect. Now we need to gear up for next years battle as I'm sure, they are as well. At least many of Utah's citizens have been made aware through these events, that this practice is still going on.

The other thing that has been an issue, stress wise during this last month or so, is lack of donations. I know things are hard for many non-profits, but when we don't have funding, lives are truly on the line. If little 'Johnny' doesn't get a bike at Christmas, he will still be alive. Yet every year, there are millions of kids "needing help". I know last year alone in Utah, there was a news story about a warehouse in North Salt Lake filled with bikes and toys that "weren't needed" as there were so many donations. God! Why can't animals get that kind of help. I know huge organizations such as the Humane Society get great support, but there are so many local groups doing the same work with nothing! Some times I get so depressed, I just want to quit, but who will help the wildlife. I've dedicated everything I have and am to them. And all we ask for is some support and it's like pulling teeth.
This last two weeks has been especially hard, so when two large boxes we dropped off by UPS, I started to cheer up a little. My friend and fellow rehabber, Carmen Smith, from Best Friends Animal Society in Kanab, Utah, sent us a "care package". She knows what I do, hell, she does the same thing. We do it without paid employees however and no paychecks.
I opened up those boxes and the tears started to come. Thank God for Carmen!
IV fluids, gauze, syringes, needles, swabs and latex gloves, just to name a few things. All very important and things we go through like crazy. These are ongoing needs. Patients come in, supplies get used. It's that simple!
This is the reality of rehab. It's very stressful and trying, even without all of the financial issues, so when those aren't good, it's almost unbearable.

Ok, so let's get started on the patients.

Our Bald eagle "Crash" has had surgery on his leg. It's amazing the complexity of these orthopedic surgeries, rivaling human surgeries similar in nature. We held off on the fracture we believe is in the pelvic area as this is so risky, that we would only want to go forward with it if the eagle is not progressing in standing, so we will hold off for now.
I'm including pictures of his leg in this post. He is still not wanting to eat on his own, so when we pull him to give him his medications, twice a day, we feed him as well. He is also plotting Connie's demise!

We also got in a female Sharp-shinned hawk with a closed fracture of both the radius and ulna in her right wing. She had surgery to repair these and hopefully, she can return to her normal life in a few weeks. Once the pins and device holding those pins is removed, then we will need to rehabilitate that wing and hopefully she will have full use of it once again. I don't have any photo's of her at this point, but I'll take some and post them next time.
The Merlin is doing wonderfully and almost ready for transfer. We are working on his paperwork anticipating a week or two before he can go! Yeah, Peggy!

We also have a dove in our care that a cat tangled with. My God, there are punctures and bruises everywhere and most of his body feathers are gone and he only has one tail feather left. He will be with us for awhile as many feathers have to grow back before he can be released. He is also currently on antibiotics for the cat attack. Without those he would certainly die. Sorry, no pictures of him yet either.

And last, another new Great Horned owl. Looks like this year is going to be a repeat of last year. This guy has a fracture to the hand portion of his right wing. The bones cannot be repaired due to the state of healing already in place. There is still a chance of release, but only time will tell. He came from the Teasdale area of Utah in Wayne county. Some wonderful people found him while out hiking. It took an extra day to get him to us as an avalanche had blocked the road between me and them, so the following day, a friend of mine who lives there in Teasdale, drove him the long way into Green River and we met her there. Thanks to all involved in that rescue; Ronni, Giles, Ben, Rick and Laurie!
The owl is now eating on his own, so we have been taking him outside for the daytime and bringing him in at night. Soon, we can let him stay outdoors full time, but still, under confined space so he doesn't disrupt those already healing broken bones any further.

Well, that's it for now,
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