Saturday, March 29, 2008

A golden visitor

We received a Golden Eagle from another rehabilitation organization in Wasilla this past week. Alaska Wildbird Rehabilitation has had this bird for a while now. It was determined that it needed some flight time to build up it's strength to see if it can be released.

I took it out to our Flight Center on Wednesday. AWR doesn't have a facility like this. They have only been around about 2 years now.

I'll let you tell me what you think. Do you think this bird liked having a little more space to fly around more freely?

She is a little out of shape for flying, but once she gets that flight shape back we'll see how she'll do. I fed her a rabbit and then left her alone. I went back later on delivering some salmon, she was on the high perches.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Remember Beauty?

Beauty was admitted to Bird TLC as the 19th bald eagle in March of 2005. She was found at the dump in Dutch Harbor trying to survive. From there she gained a lot of attention while in Alaska from the local news, Jeff Corwin and many others. Unfortunately, Bird TLC had reached the end of it's capabilities for what it could do to make this eagle a presentable education bird.

Cindy worked hard trying to find a facility that was capable of care taking Beauty. She had a lot of baggage. She has to be hand fed, she is a large eagle, she can be aggressive but can't bite. Along came Birds of Prey NW and Janie Fink Cantwell.

This fine organization in Idaho took Beauty under their wing (sorry for the pun) and started training her so they could work with her for education programs. Janie put together a team to include engineers, dentist, biologist and more to design a prosthetic device to replace her missing upper beak. Yesterday I got this email from Janie....

Dear Dave,

A long awaited event will soon be occurring for your special friend ‘Beauty” the bald eagle. April 28th is b-day for her, a day when she will finally receive her new prosthetic beak. As promised, this biologist has created a team of professionals that have been planning for this for well over a year. To date she has undergone four separate sets of impressions, been hand-fed daily, and recently, her first television debut. In anticipation for her second showing in April, I thought your clinic staff and volunteers would enjoy seeing their old friend. Please go to, our Boise Idaho ABC affiliate, and search “Beauty Beak”, there you’ll find a four minute video piece that aired on our efforts to date. Enjoy the spot!

We are shooting a documentary that day in April to chronicle her life in captivity. It will cost some $15,000, but we feel she is worth it! Is there any chance that you can obtain from Cindy, the footage of Beauty upon my Alaskan visit, when your own television station was there to film her sending off? I understand that Animal Planet filmed a piece on her admission way back when, and I would also like to include it in our film or understand how to find it. We, of course want to include your clinic’s beginning efforts in the documentary as well. Help me to locate these video streams won’t you, so we can do her justice!

We are optimistic that April 28th will be a successful day for her, but until time passes beyond, we can only hope that our efforts will have paid off in the long term. I will be returning one day for our victory celebration, to Anchorage, where it all began for her. While Beauty will not make the journey, (she doesn’t travel well), I will carry her spirit of triumph with me, and we shall rejoice and know that justice has been served!!

Jane Fink Cantwell
Raptor Biologist
Birds of Prey NW
In North Idaho

Sorry, I gotta go. I'm getting a little chocked up writing this and it's getting a little long. But now you now how Beauty is doing so far at BOPNW.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

There's nothing more Alaskan or more American than duct tape.

The inside mews where we keep the eagles at when we first get them at TLC are only 3 feet wide. The idea is to limit their movement so they can heal and then move them to a larger mew. Sometimes they don't see things our way and try to jump around a bit. Just like you and I, the first thing they damage is their elbows.

So we try to protect those elbows of the jumpers. We couldn't find anything specifically labeled for the protection of eagle elbows and we've tried everything in the medical catalog. So Cindy said "duct tape". So we tried dust tape and guess what. It worked. It pads the elbows and the birds have trouble trying to tear it off themselves. Sure, sometimes when we take it off it also takes a feather or two, but they grow back.

We've been using duct tape like this for quite some time now and it works great. We get a few funny looks from visitors sometimes, but our eagles have healthy elbows.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Auction Pix's

It was a success and we also had a blast. Check out more photo's by clicking the last picture. All photo's are courtesy of Dick Williams / Bird TLC.

"For the Birds" 2008

Friday, March 14, 2008

Photo time

Last night after work, Ghost and I got to spend some time with author, Illustrator, and photographer Lynn Stone. Lynn is known all over for his photography, but what I like about him is that he's a Bird TLC supporter. It surprised me that he still used film, specificly a Cannon Eos. But to look at some of his work, maybe there's a reason why.

He took a lot of shots with Ghost and as soon as he shares some, I'll share them with you.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

One more time

Last week we were sent back one of the birds that was here for the Ocean Beauty mishap. He was found on the ground and was very emanciated. He seems to be doing fine now and is also eating just fine. We know this has been a tough winter on eagles, but he was sent back when the temperatures were a little on the warmer side. We're keeping an eye on him and running a few blood test. We'll see what happens.

Monday, March 10, 2008

BE 08 - 44 update

I'm still a little dirty, but I don't care what you say. I feel and look a lot better than I did in the post below. I'm eating, moving around my mew and watching people when they walk by, WITH BOTH EYES!

Friday, March 07, 2008

Some people go to McDonalds for lunch

I go to take pictures of an eagle being operated on. WARNING, If you have a weak stomach, don't look at the following pictures.

Everyone was exhausted from the auction the night before and Cindy was fighting a cold from someplace way south of here. So I volunteered to go to the airport and pick this gal up last night. She was caught by our friend Jean Keene, the Eagle Lady in Homer. Jean said it was flighted but had some swelling on its head and blind in one eye. She handed it over to U.S.F.&W. and they sent it on up to us. Just a reminder, ERA Aviation ships these birds to us at no cost.

I was able to pick her up at the airport at 6:30 pm. Cindy had gone home to get some rest but was on phone stand-by just in case. I was taking her back to TLC and doing a quick exam and bedding her down for the night. When I checked her out while still in the kennel, she was really dirty, there was large swelling around her left eye and there was a clear discharge coming from her left nostril. This injury had probably happened in a fight within the past month or so. I called Cindy at home and briefed her. I told her she didn't need to come in and that she (the eagle) will be fine for the night. I put her in a clean mew with fresh water, 392 grams of fresh salmon and said goodnight.

This morning I called Cindy to see how our girl was doing. She told me that we were taking her to Pet Stop to operate. Pet Stop has more up to date equipment and they allow us to use it as long as there is an opening. She said she was going about 11:30 and I said I would meet her there.

I got there just as Cindy and Dr. Todd Palmatier were putting our girl on the operating table. Dr. Todd explained that it was a abscess caused by infection and it needed to be drained. To cut the story short, he drained about 1/2 cup of goo from her. When done she looked noticeably better. There was still some swelling, but you could see more of her left eye. She had to feel instant relief when she woke up.

Cindy loaded her into a kennel and took her back to TLC. I told her I'd stop by later to get a after pix. Sorry about the green in the last pix. The warehouse lighting we have is hard on pictures. But take a look at the before and after and in just a short time you can see quite a difference.

It's too soon to say how much longer she'll be with us. The wound is being left open so it can still drain. She'll going to be on antibiotics for a little while. She also needs to gain weight and get cleaned up some.

So, some well deserved R&R for this girl and lots of salmon.

Click on the photo below for more pix's of the operation. Beware, they are explicit.


Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Tomorrows the night

Tomorrow night is the night. There might be a few tickets left to sell at the door, but not many. We have some AWESOME auction items. * A round trip to Seward aboard Alaska Railroad with a behind the scene tour of Alaska Sea Life Center and 2 nights stay at the Hotel Seward. * Round trip tickets to where ever ERA Aviation flies. * Anchorage to Tacoma cruise on TOTE. * Helicopter tour ride. * jewelry * art * you name it we got it.

Come on down to the Captain Cook Hotel at 6:00 pm and be ready to have a good time. Entertainment again by Mr. Whitekeys and the Spamtones.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Good-Bye Anna / Sybil

Bird TLC Education Bird Anna once known as Sybil passed away Friday after complications from surgery. Anna was estimated at about 18 years old if not older. She came to Bird TLC 15 years ago with a broken right wing which had to have a partial amputation. During her original exam, a band was found on one of her legs. The band was researched and it had been placed on her leg by a biologist in Russia. At this time Sybil developed a reputation as being a very aggressive bird.

After healing, Sybil was entered into our education program. Bird TLC was very young at that time and records are not very clear who all she was placed with for care taking and who all worked with her. I do know she spent many years with Leslie Lancaster and Leslie also mentored Linda Johnson on Sybil. Leslie told Linda that if she could handle Sybil, an eagle would be no problem.

Unfortunately Leslie passed away in a car accident a year and a half ago. At that time Sybil was brought to the clinic at TLC. She needed a new caretaker and handler. Cindy Palmatier stepped up to the plate. She had worked with snowies in the past and she knew Sybil's history. I've seen video of Cindy introducing herself to Sybil wearing leather chaps, a leather coat and leather gloves just to feed her. This bird was fierce.

The Education Committee wanted to improve the birds
reputation, so they renamed her Anastassia or Anna for short. This helped relate to her Russian ancestry. Cindy worked with Anna hard and finally had her eating while on fist. But with Cindy's new duties at TLC, it left her with little time to work with Anna.

Long time volunteer Leslie Pujot stepped up to the plate and was signed off as Anna's presenter in January. Unfortunately she was never able to presenter before Anna passed on.

Anna you paid your dues and you represented Bird TLC well. Say hello to Leslie and Morgan for us. We'll miss you at Bird TLC.

There's a new blog in town

It's a new blog, but not a new organization. Wild Bird Sanctuary is in Vally Park, MO. According to the blog, The World Bird Sanctuary is one of North America's largest facilities for the conservation of birds. WBS is on the leading edge of public awareness regarding the plight of bird species worldwide.

There is a video of a augur buzzard egg about to pip. There's also pictures of their beautiful education birds. There's video of barn owl chicks after hatching. On the main website it shows pix's of reptiles, mammals, parrots and other wild birds that is at their sanctuary. This is one cool blog and one cool place. Stephanie posted on the blog here with a link to hers. Thanks Stephanie, your organization has a new fan.

So when you get a chance, check out Wild Bird Sanctuary.