Wednesday, February 28, 2007

A day with Ghost

As part of my training with the Snowy Owl "Ghost", I'm required to observe two presentations from another presenter on the same type of owl. It makes it easy when Cindy has a presentation. She either has to come over to my place and get Ghost, or I deliver him to her. Today I tagged along to Fire Lake Preschool for my second observation.

I enjoy Cindy's presentations. She's a natural. She's very relaxed with bird on fist to the point you wonder if she remembers he's still there or not. She also has great knowledge and is very easy to talk with.
Even though the target audience was very young, their parents were also there and very interested. The kids were well behaved and asked a lot of questions. It's hard to tell by the pictures, but there were a lot in attendance.

Now, the next part is not for those with weak stomachs. It will show my naked head with a few Ghost implanted marks.

When I arrived at Bird TLC, I wanted to weigh Ghost. I opened the back of my truck and turned his kennel so I can open the door. Ghost was way in the back of the kennel and has his feet tangled in his jesses and leash.

Trying to get him untangled, my arm was stretched all the way out to the back of the kennel. I knew better, but I put my head in the door opening to get more reach, but also blocking his exit. Basically I made him feel trapped. So in a split second he jumped with both feet hitting my head and was back to the back of the kennel. After that he was easy to get out of the kennel. As soon as I did, my vision was becoming blocked by blood. So I put him back in the kennel so I could go get medical attention by the Bird TLC Rehabiltation Director, Cindy.

I could only be mad at myself. Ghost was feeling threatened and was protecting himself. We have developed a trusting relationship, but only to a certain degree. He's still a wild bird and will do whatever it takes to protect himself. I stepped over the line blocking his exit. I was trained not to do that again.

By the way, he weighs 3.17 lbs.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Ol' Quil Face

This Great Horned Owl was not feeling so good last saturday when it was brought in after trying to play with a porcipine. They spent quite a bit of time the next three days pulling out quils from its face and neck. That's a challenge when there's a lot of feathers in the way.

Right now it's enjoying a diet of mice and rats. No pointy things there to bother it.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Bye-Bye red-tail

Tired from reading so many eagle post here lately? Read this from the Ketchikan Daily News about a red-tail that visitied with us for a while.

BACK TO NATURE — Alice Bryant, bird curator of the Alaska Wildlife Foundation, releases a Harlan's red-tailed hawk from a boardwalk at the Alaska Rainforest Sanctuary south of Ketchikan Tuesday. The bird flew to a nearby tree while about a dozen crows took to the air and began flying around the hawk and making harsh, raucous noises. The hawk sat calmly and rouffled its feathers in a manner Bryant said indicated it was making itself comfortable. The hawk was rehabilitated at the Bird Treatment and Learning Center in Anchorage after suffering a broken wing somewhere near Tok, according to Bryant. Staff photo by Tom Miller

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Say goodbye to Ol' Fart

This fellow has been with us for about a year. He came to us not flying, eating or really caring. After spending time with us, getting the best care possible, we determined he was just old. He would eat the salmon we gave him, talk to you each time you stopped at his mew, and patiently wait until you fed or watered him again. In other words, he was looking for a retirement home.

Unfortunately, Bird TLC can't do that. We don't have funds for long term caretaking and USF&W also says that they must make rehab progress, go to an education program, be released or be put down. This Ol' guy was just too cool for anything bad. So Cindy put him on the available for an education program list. Who answered the call for a home for an old eagle nicknamed Ol' Fart? Zoo to You of California. We have placed an eagle there before. They have great facilities, a great education program and warm weather. Sounds like it right up Ol' Farts alley.

Enjoy Ol' Fart!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Somedays you catch the train

Last week we had an eagle brought in by a railroad roadmaster. The eagle now known as "Train Wreck" was ran over by one of Alaska Railroad's trains. It was a very fortunate eagle, it's only injury besides being roughed up was he lost a toe. It didn't eat for a day or two, but who could blame it.

We don't know exactly why it didn't out fly the train. We guess that it was eating track kill and ate too much and couldn't take off.

Yesterday, Dr Palmatier helped to pretty that digit up. He pulled some excess skin over the stump and sewed it up.

When this eagle is released, those talons will still be impressive, minus one.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

More Eagle Handler training

While I was out of town, Todd Boran sent me these pictures of him and Greg MacDonald training with Petra. She seems to be taking to them pretty well. Thanks Todd.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Where have you been?

Dr James Scott founded Bird TLC in 1988 and it was located in his veterinarian clinic, Arctic Animal Hospital for a long time. He has long retired from his practice and semi retired from Bird TLC. As with most of us, he's been having medical issues as he gets older. Some that don't allow him to stand for long periods of time.

We were lucky to have him the other night to operate on our pox eagle. Dr Todd Palmatier who does most of our operations has not had much experience with pox. He got to see first hand from the master of the avian world on how pox is handled.

Pox is an ugly disease and seldom deadly, however the next day we did loose our patient. Hopefully it wasn't in vein and the opportunity for Dr Palmatier to watch Dr Scott in action helps other pox birds in the future.

Photo Credit: Cindy Palmatier / Bird TLC

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Eww, POX

It was a little tough trying to get this immature to pose so I could get a good shot of his disease. I'm sure it's not as tough as what he has to deal with. Avian Pox. It can be deadly to the bird, however it can be treated also.

I can go into detail here, but the University of Northern British Columbia has done a great job of it so I'll just give you a link to it. This bird went into surgery last night to have the lesions removed. I'll have an update for you later on it's condition and maybe some pictures of the procedure.

It is highly contagious to other eagles, so quarantine procedures are being taken.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Time to move on

As most of you know, we lost Leslie Landcaster and her daughter in a bad car accident almost 2 months ago. She was the only caretaker and presenter of Petra the bald eagle in Bird TLC's Education Progam. We have 3 other bald eagles in the program. Now we have too many eagles and not enough handlers.

Cindy had members apply for the handler position and decided to have multiple handlers work with Petra. All that applied had not worked with an eagle before and only one has worked with a raptor. From those she selected three.

She also reached into her bag of tricks and got Alex Carter, long time Bird TLC member, eagle handler and trainer to help out. Yesterday was the third class but it was the first day Petra was put on fist since Leslie had done so last. Petra did a fine job however you could tell she was a little lost because she misses her caretaker and there's new people trying to take her place.

At left clockwise; May Bethe, Golden Eagle caretaker and handler. Greg MacDonald, Linda and Todd Boren, Steve Ross in training. Cindy Palmatier, Rehab Director, Alex and Petra.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Eagle swap around

Cindy our Rehab Director stole me away from my auction planning last week to help shuffle some birds around. We were getting full at the clinic and some of the young eagles were getting pretty rowdy. They needed to go to our flight center to get their flying strength back and burn off some built up energy. These birds aren't far from being released.

We also needed to bring a redtailed hawk back to the clinic from the flight center. It had been eating too well and was getting fat. It's almost ready for release, the problem is migration. The states we would like to send it to for release have so many requirements and so much paperwork, that by the time we comply, migration would have brought them back up here. Nevada just said no.

We'll just wait until the time is ready here.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

2007 "For the Birds"

A fun time was had by all. I could tell the crowd liked the entertainment by Mr Whitekey & The Spam Tones by the size of the Congo line. The food was awesome Chef Al and his fine staff out did themselves with the great food and service. The beer was almost gone and so was the wine when it was time to shut down. The auction committee members did a fine job. Thanks to all of our sponsors and donors.

Check out John Gomes site for more pic's of the auction.

Thanks to the following for the photo's

Chris Maack / Bird TLC

John Gomes / Anchorage, Alaska

Scott Steinbright / Seattle, Washington