Thursday, January 23, 2014

A cold January day for least it's sunny!

This winter has been odd.  Very cold but hardly any snow.  Down in Utah and Salt Lake counties, the inversions keep everything gray and dirty.  We are high enough in the mountains that we don't see any of that.  We really do need the snow for our water usage however............what a dilemma.  It's also been odd for the wildlife in our care.  Usually, we have just a few patients during the winter months, but this year we have been full.  Much of the critters in our care are here waiting for decisions and paperwork from the feds so they are just waiting on them.  We recently released one of our Coopers Hawks that has been with us for quite a while.  She came in as a first year bird and was extremely thin.  I don't thing she would have lived another 2 days.  She suffered from 2 different blood parasites which caused this problem and for a long time, no matter how much food she ate, she did not thrive and this was a great concern.  Then, months later, she started gaining weight at acting fiesty and things just took a drastic turn for her for the better.  We obviously were hoping at some point we could release her and now, this looked like a possibility.  Earlier in January of this year, we drove her to Moab where the weather is better during winter months and many passerines don't migrate as a result so there will be food year round for her.  We released her near town and she took off, hiding in the dense overgrowth, just like an ambush predator should.  We hope the best for her and possibly a mate and babies in the future.
Connie with the Coopers Hawk on day of release
Coopers Hawk now free in Moab, just after toss

We also released a Golden eagle of ours that had come in last year with West Nile Virus.  She needed time and supportive care and was able to survive that bout and now was strong enough to release.  We kill tested her just to make sure her vision hadn't suffered as many West Nile victims can.  She did well and we decided to put her down near Boulder Mountain in Wayne or Garfield county so that's where we took her.  She flew off very well despite extra weight.  I tend to over feed my patients......must be the Italian in me.  ;o)
Getting her USFW band

We took in a Northern Pintail duck that has a severely fractured right wing wrist joint.  Unfortunately, he cannot be released because of this injury, but once we can that joint stable, Tracy Aviary in Salt Lake City has offered to take him.  He will be living in a huge pond area where he has free range and can do what he wants, when he wants!  It's a great opportunity for him and we are so grateful for their offer to take him.  Hopefully we can make the transfer happen by the first week of February or so.

We are working with a Red-Tail hawk that came in from near the Utah Colorado border after being struck by a car.  This bird has no fractures but did have head trauma.  We have a volunteer in Moab that is a falconer, so he is working with this bird for us to determine if he can now be released.  Hopefully we will have an answer in the next week or so.  At some point, we will be taking him another Red-Tail hawk, this one is a juvenile female.  She came in with a fractured humerus and needed surgery.  She had that surgery and now, it's time to work that wing and see what she can do.  The fracture was mid-shaft so we are anticipating no problems with her range of motion with that wing.  Both of these birds will need to come back to Price to be banded for release should it be determined that's what will happen.  As rehabilitators, that is ALWAYS what we hope for.  This is what is BEST for THEM.

Red-Tail from near Utah Colorado border

Thanks for catching up on things around here.  We are busy as usual, but this winter has been busier than any I've seen before....................don't know what that means.  I hope it's not a trend.

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