Friday, November 25, 2011
Busier than I'd like to be............
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.
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