Saturday, January 28, 2012

General from Cisco.........

Well, as I mentioned previously, we did get in another Golden eagle, this one a male and a mature one at that. His story is really odd as he was in the desert, in an extremely rural area of Utah eating on a dead cow that had been struck and killed by a train. Another train came by while he was eating and struck the cow again, this time with the eagle on it. Eagles don't move for many things as they are the top predator out there, so things usually move for them. This, however, cost him dearly. He had a concussion and broken bone in his left wing. He was also very thin and dehydrated, so this guy may have had a problem prior to the train incident.
Thank goodness someone was willing and able to catch him, an employee of the train company, and brought the eagle back to his home after alerting authorities. We headed right over and picked him up. We knew immediately we had a problem, not only from the story, but when we walked into the home where the eagle now was, he was lying on a kitchen counter, simply with a towel covering him and not moving. Not a good sign. A lot of activity was going on in that room and that alone should have made this eagle bolt.
Once back in Price, a full exam was completed and we found a very swollen area in the left wing and it was black in color from the bruising.

We obviously had trauma, but to what extent,
only an x-ray would tell us that. We gave him pain medication and administered fluids directly under his skin.
We held off with any food as his crop was full from the cow he had been eating on. He also had a terrible parasite load, quite common with debilitated raptors, so we began treatment for that as well. We continued to give supportive care and got him up to our vets for x-rays. What the vet found was an injury that he
thought he could repair with hopes of the bird flying again well enough to be released, so we left the eagle with our vet overnight and surgery was performed the following morning.
The area looks very different than it did just a few days ago.
The eagle was still acting a little 'off' however,
but we decided to see if he would do better outside in what is called a holding mew. He would have limited vision of his surroundings, but he would still be able to look around and see things. He would have very limited movement; don't want to undo what was just done! We continued his medications and monitored his surgical site. Our vet said since this was not the typical type of surgery we do, the normal device and pins that hold everything in place for many weeks and then needs to be removed, the bird could actually start moving a lot right away. He had a plate screwed on to the fracture and onto the undamaged bone and this will always be in place, never needing to be removed. So after we were sure he would eat on his own and was more stable neurologically, we moved him out to the flight with the rest of our current Golden eagles.

He immediately started to get to know the other eagles, showing interest in all of them and then started attempting to get upon the high perches with them. Eventually the next day, he made it, with a little help of a carefully placed 'ramp'.

I will be downloaded x-rays from this guy and a couple of Great Horned owls that came in all around the same time and post this guys x-ray photo at the next posting. The gentleman that found him and rescued him has named him General.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Nadia, the Great Blue Heron...

We have in our care, a gorgeous female Great Blue Heron, whom we've named Nadia.
She came in several days ago, found in Moab, Utah. She had been observed hanging around in peoples yards, particularly those with small ponds. Now, those who know Great Blue Herons know that they like to go to small ponds and dine, but this gal had been hanging around far too long, not flying in and out, but walking. So, I asked some friends to try and catch her. They are very knowledgeable bird people and agreed.

Since they were able to catch her, something was obviously wrong. They drove her to Green River and I met them there.
Upon her exam, I found several fractures in her left wing and possibly up in that shoulder as well. We drove her to our vet's office after a couple of days (he wasn't working) and got the much needed x-rays. Turns out there are several closed fractures of the radius, all mid shaft and the clavicle and corocoid are dislocated. That was the swelling I felt up around the shoulder. And guess what caused all of this? She had been shot. Oh yes, another lovely gunshot victim. This is ridiculous. I have never seen this many gunshot cases in such a short time. It is obviously steel shot, so idiot waterfowl hunters shooting just to shoot. Poor little girl.

We put her on pain medication and the vet feels the clavicle and corocoid dislocation may not ground her. Time will only tell, but her felt that surgical intervention would not increase her odds of release, with either injury, so no surgery will be performed at this point. The radius fractures will heal with the ulna acting as a natural splint. Handling these type of fractures this way is quite common, so we just need to limit her movement as best as possible while healing.
She is still not eating willingly, so unfortunately, we are having to catch her twice a day to feed and medicate her. This is difficult since we want to keep her as still as we can, but we can't let her get too thin either. Sigh.
One day while feeding her, I noticed silver in her fleshy area in her 'mouth'. With all of the fish we had been putting down her, another piece of the steel shot had revealed itself. I grabbed some tweezers and pulled it out before she could swallow it.
I anticipate she will be with us for at least 8 more weeks. That should make it right with migration. The Moab area is a warmer part of Utah, so she could have stayed there the entire winter had this not happened.
That's today's update, more in a few more days.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Could someone please turn the heat on!

Boy there has been a lot going on since the last post. The Grebe situation here in Utah is getting a lot of attention because of the way it was handled. Even the New York Times ran an article about it. Author Suzie Gilbert also posted about it on her blog, the Crooked Wing. Hopefully, not holding my breath, policies will be created to handle a similar situation in the future.

So as to NOT overload myself, I'm just going to post one or two new situations or updates and then do this again in a few days.

So I had posted about a new Golden eagle that had come in with obvious lead poisoning symptoms. We treated her as a precaution as it was going to be a few days before getting her into our vet, so time was of the essence. We named her Spirit. What an amazing girl. With a great deal of time and patience on both our parts, she is recovering well. It was a long, concerning ordeal as she could not stand due to her feet, but we continued her supportive care, force feeding her until she would take it from us willingly. We still had to hold her for these
feedings, again, because she could not stand. She gradually began putting on much needed weight and became fully hydrated from the subcutaneous fluids we were giving her, helping her kidneys. We took her back into our vets to rerun her blood work. Strangely, some of her results are still concerning.
Watching her, now out in the eagle flight, flying around, eating on her own, going here and there, it just doesn't fit with the blood tests. Our vet, although concerned, agreed we need to base what we are doing on what we are seeing and with our remote cameras in the flight on all the time, I can peek in and watch her and the other eagles at any given time (except in the dark). We are certainly keeping a concerned eye on her, but things look good right now.

Copper, another Golden eagle we have posted about, finally got to have his pins and fixator removed here just over a week ago.
Sadly, during the removal surgery, our vet noticed that the wing with all the damage and lead shot dispersed throughout the entire wing, had a portion of the wing dying due to one of the pieces of lead. It was compromising the blood supply to another portion of that wing. Nothing could be done and a few days after that surgery, the dying portion of that wing, fell off.
Now, Copper is not releasable. Copper's lead poisoning is also under control. His was primary, unlike Spirit's, who's is secondary. Regardless, the effect of lead out in the environment from ammunition, whether directly into the body or in bodies of animals left after being shot with lead,
is lethal in most cases as most of it's victims are not found in time.

As I said, I will update again in a few days with more Great Horned owls and yes, another Golden eagle. We also now have a Great Blue Heron with us, so much more is coming.

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