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.


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..............


(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!


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