Monday, July 28, 2008

One Wing honored with songs and celebration

By Rebecca George
Published Sunday, July 27, 2008

FAIRBANKS — One Wing, the bald eagle who amazed local veterinarians when he survived the Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1989 with only one wing, died in early May after thriving for 19 years following the spill at the Bird Treatment and Learning Center in Anchorage.

In honor of One Wing, Fairbanks Native drum group Soaring Eagle, along with many others from the Alaska Native community will perform traditional honor songs at a ceremony that both celebrates the courageous life of One Wing and commemorates the center’s 20th anniversary.

Soaring Eagle drum leader Bob Maguire saw the eagle as the true symbol of courage and sacrifice.

“He needs to be honored in the right way,” Maguire said.

Many in the Alaska Native community refer to One Wing as a special eagle brother because of his strong spirit.

A teary-eyed Maguire said “One Wing fought so hard to be free, and that’s how he destroyed his wing. But the bird kept lively as ever even though (the doctor) drew blood from the eagle countless times.”

Veterinarian Cindy Palmatier was the primary caregiver for One Wing at the Bird Treatment and Learning Center.

“We had to amputate his entire wing from his shoulder down when we rescued him, because he tore it fighting so hard to fly away free,” she said.

The chance that One Wing would live after his wing had been amputated was slim Palmatier said.

But the stubborn and regal survivor continued to serve as a blood donor to the hundreds of other birds that came in suffering from anemia and other blood disorders caused by the effects of crude oil and amazed veterinarians with his strength.

Despite the overwhelming amount of blood One Wing was transfusing, he continued to grow stronger each day.

“That bird gave and gave and gave way beyond what any bird should be able to accommodate, and we really utilized him heavily to help other birds,” Palmatier said.

The bird quickly earned a place in the hearts of many and was known for his bravery and noble demeanor among the other birds.

One Wing has had quite a following throughout the years thanks to poems written by now retired veterinarian Dr. Jim Scott and Joan Harris, who has written a popular children’s book titled “One Wing’s Gift: Rescuing Alaska’s Wild Birds.”

“People came from all over the country to check up on One Wing, so it’s only right that we finally release him in such a special way,” Palmatier said.

The ceremony will release One Wing’s ashes back to the Eyak Nation and into the Prince William Sound.

At the same time, another eagle will be released, and the members of the Treatment and Learning Center will be celebrating their 20th anniversary.

Soaring Eagle will perform traditional honor songs gifted by Chief Marie Smith-Jones of the Eyak tribe.

Maguire explained that the Eyak honor song holds a special place among the Native community as it was given back to the people about six years ago when they traveled to the now quieted village of Eyak.

“People were singing the song, but had no idea what it was about or where it came from,” he said. “The elders explained to the curious singers the origin and home of the song.”

Maguire explained that the elders told the younger generations the songs were still alive even if people weren’t living there to sing them.

“The songs are in the mountains and trees of Eyak, and that’s where One Wing should be, too,” he said.

The celebration and farewell ceremony will be held Aug. 23 at the Bird Treatment and Learning Center in Anchorage.

In addition to Soaring Eagle, many other Alaska Native drum groups and author Joan Harris and Dr. Jim Scott will be celebrating the life of One Wing.

Copied from the Fairbanks Daily News Miner.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

3 baby eagles, YIKES!

This has been a crazy year. We seldom get in such young eagles. We got 2 in from Fairbanks on Friday and Cindy and Todd picked one up in Soldotna today. All had fell from nest and no parents around.

Look at the feathers on the one getting an exam. They are still downy feathers. Dark beak, dark head, and bright yellow feet. Oh boy!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

3 New patients, an update and some bad pictures

BE 08-66 was brought in today by USF&W from Girdwood. He's seen better days. He wasn't too happy about getting his picture taken. He just wanted to be left alone.

Ruth and I chased a duck around the Anchorage Daily News parking lot for about a half hour. He couldn't fly, but he sure could run and hide under cars. I found him after TLC got a call this morning, but I knew I needed back up. I also figured it would be easier with an emptier parking lot. Well it wasn't easy enough.

OK ladies, everyone say AWWW. ain't it cute. This seagull chick has a broken leg. It'll be with us a couple weeks while it mends and grows a little more.

Our junior great horned owl is coming along fine. He still has the external fixiter on, but he's jumping all over trying to get out. He should be a fun release when it's time.

Sorry about the pix's. The subjects weren't cooperating and like I always say, that sodium lighting in the clinic is a killer for pictures.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Say Goodbye to Dances with Wolves

Back in January of this year we were going nuts with all of the eagles from Kodiak. We were sending all other eagles to The Alaska Raptor Center in Sitka because we were maxed out several times over. However, Shannon, a curator from the Alaska Zoo brought in an immature bald eagle. She said it landed in the wolf pen and the young wolves were playing tug of war.

We took this girl in and named her "Dances with Wolves". An exam was done at the zoo by their DVM, Dr. Riley Wilson who is one of our back up DVM's. He couldn't find anything wrong except for a bunch of missing primary feathers. So we fed her and placed her in a mew. It was determined that she would be fine after a molt.

Friday, Megan and I went to the flight center to pick out an eagle for a release that evening at the TLC property. There was an immature flying very well so she was selected. Megan researched the band when we got it back to the clinic and realized it was "Dances".

At the release she did just fine. She was ready to go. The weather turned nice with a little sun, no rain or wind. She left the box, flew low level until she reached the bluff. Then she perched on top of a dead tree and decided to stay there and check things out for a bit. Everyone was able to get some nice last pictures before she took off for the rest of her life.

For more pictures, click on these links.....

Photo Credits: #1 & 4 Dave Dorsey / Bird TLC
Photo Credits: #2 & 3 Britt Coon / Bird TLC

Thursday, July 17, 2008

4th Blogoversary

Today is the our 4th Blogoversary. So I'm rerunning my first post about some of our patients. Thanks to everyone who has come to visit during the past 4 years.

These guys were found too close to the Palmer Airport. They are being cared for by one of our falconer friends, Tim Sell. He took them home to "hack out". Hacking is a method of raising young raptors so that they don't associate humans with food and can become independent at their own rate of speed.

Well, they're called Northern Harriers (Circus cyaneus) and they are
the only species of harrier in North America. They are somewhat
similar to accipiters such as Northern Goshawks, Coopers Hawks or
Sharp-shinned Hawks, but their lifestyle is very different. They hunt
over open meadows and marshes and nest on the ground. They were
formerly called Marsh Hawks. Their chief prey is the vole (meadow
mouse), but they also eat other small mammals as well as birds.

Thanks to Chris Maack for the info and pictures!

Update: 7/17/2008 These guys were released about 1 1/2 months later. To our knowledge they have not become repeat customers.

Monday, July 14, 2008

2008 Midnight Sun Intertribal Pow Wow

Ruth and I had the pleasure of driving to Fairbanks this past weekend to take a rehabilitated bald eagle to the 2008 Midnight Sun Intertribal Pow Wow for a ceremonial release. The Pow Wow was started back in 2000 to educate the general public about the heritage of the indigenous people of North America, to share and to celebrate the similarities and diversities, and to honor their elders and their children. Bird TLC has participated by bringing an eagle to most of the Pow Wow's.

The weather cooperated for most of the day and the temperature was in the low 60's. Our eagle was placed in this lodge in the release box until ready for release about 2 hours later. They placed a guard for security.

Prior to the release there we many tribal and intertribal dances. Everyone was able to participate and show their regalia and their pride. There were dancers of all ages.

Native veterans were out in force and they were shown honor and respect from all who attended. I didn't know this, but there are more Native American veterans than any other minority.

As we got closer to the release time, the eagle and the release box were blessed. An honor guard of veterans were used to move the eagle to the release site. Elders and council members surrounded the box and one more blessing was given.

We knew we were going to have a good release when we picked this eagle to take with us. It flew well in the flight center and it was very aggressive. It didn't let us down. When they opened the box the eagle came out, flew low through the releasers and then over the crowd. It crossed the Chena River and landed on top a spruce tree where it could over look the Pow Wow.

After the release ceremony, Ruth and I were called into the ceremonial circle where we were presented a Certificate of Appreciation for Bird TLC. Since we didn't take a donation box, they decided to perform a blanket dance to take up a collection from the crowd. The crowd was extremely generous.

I would like to thank the Midnight Sun Intertribal Pow Wow Council for having us and treating us to excellent hospitality. I would also like to thank the Master of Ceremonies, Robert W. Gilcrease (Bob) and Benno Cleveland for having the blanket dance performed. And last but not least, thanks to all of the members and attendees. It was a special day for us.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

It made a specticle of itself

Peter, a USF&W biologist in Nome sent us a Spectacled Eider that he had caught. It had a tear in it's throat and was on the ground for a while and hiding under a building. This is a bird not seen by many even when it's not hiding under a building.

After a goat rope getting it from the airlines it was shipped on, Ruth and I met up with Pam Tuomi, DVM of the Alaska Sealife Center in Seward. She was in town for the weekend and we met her at her husband Jack's clinic, Highland Animal Hospital. There she did an exam and gave it some fluids. She determined that it was well enough to make the trip to Seward and there she'll work on patching her up.

It's now one of their patients. They are better set up to handle waterfowl and the Eider can be a little touchie during rehab. It's in good hands.

This is a very interesting species. Check out the links on both it and ASLC.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

When things go bad, it's good to have a great staff

Almost a month ago we had a water pipe break on the second floor on a Sunday afternoon. That means it wasn't discovered until Monday morning. It was predicted that almost 200 gallons of water leaked all over Bird TLC. The offices are what mainly was effected.

The carpets got soaked and so did some of the walls. If you ever smelled wet carpet after a flood, it isn't nice. Drying them out wasn't an option because they were old and well worn. We sub-lease the building from the IBRRC, so the local director had to be informed and she was out of state.

To cut the story and a headache short, the offices had to be emptied and carpet had to be ordered. The staff moved to the second floor and they had to work out of boxes. People who are use to being organize had to suffer through disorganization. Nobody liked it, but what were we to do. They made the best of it and they are real troopers.

They even withstood Dave's razing. For example, Cindy was promoted to the second floor bedroom where she kept all of the files in bed.

Poor Lynette was moved to the balcony so she could see whoever came in the door and Megan was piled in a corner. Greg rewired the phones so we had them where we didn't before.

Anyways, the walls and ceiling tiles have been painted and the carpeting is supposed to be installed on Wednesday. Things should be moved back in and arranged as they want them. Maybe in a week we'll be back to what we call normal. And to look on the bright side, we all kept in shape going up and down those stairs.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

A little Great Horned Owl with a big attitude

Back on 7/1, Ruth and I picked up an eagle from Homer at the airport. We arrived back at TLC long after normal closing time. We walked in on Cindy and Todd and a little patient from Valdez. We squared the eagle away first because he was an easy patient.

The little patient was a very young Great Horned Owl with a broken leg and some other minor injuries. We guess it was hit by a car. Cindy and Todd were about to do an operation that they have had the chance to do several times in the past few years. They insert stainless steel pins in each half and secure them with an external clamp, sort of. The whole deal is called an external fixiter.

So I went out to my truck and got the camera. I told Ruth we would be there just for a little while. She knew better. We stayed for the whole operation.

At the end, Todd applied a 3M putty that hardens in 5 minutes. The bird can't bite through it and it's strong enough to hold the repair until it's removed. Then it is easily removed with wire cutters.

I went in to visit at lunch today and the little booger was standing on the injured leg. Of course he huffed and puffed like the big bad bird he is. I talked with Cindy and she said he was jumping around on it earlier. He'll feel even better when he gets the external fixiter removed.

Here's a link to pictures of the whole operation, if you can handle it.


Thursday, July 03, 2008

ACE to the Rescue

BE 08-63 was brought to Anchorage from Dutch Harbor by our friends at ACE Air Cargo. That's 800 air miles free of charge. This isn't their first time.

It has some minor injuries that was keeping it on the ground so it was eating at the dump. It was rescued by U.S.F.&W. and shipped via ACE. It'll spend some time getting some r&r and some good food so it can get it's strength back. We figure it's a second year bird. Check out it's coloration.

If you ship within Alaska, check out ACE and also tell them thanks from Bird TLC.