Thursday, July 9, 2009

Should have been posted 6/30/09 - Georgia's Home!

Hi kids,

Well, well, well…look what the cats have dragged in…?

Remember the pitiful little Red-shouldered hawk that the nice Georgia Power folks rescued after the Mother’s Day weekend tornadoes last year? She is the bird that I documented and made a slideshow of, chronicling her maggot-filled start to her blossoming into a wonderful specimen…

Well, she’s come to visit! She came in yesterday and was harassing the youngest of the two Barred owls that I’m currently hacking. I offered her some food and she remembered where both of the hackboards are and this morning, she’s chilling in the Dogwood tree and wow, she is SO pretty!

‘Georgia’ – taken 5/15/08 The hole is where that mean old fly laid her eggs… 33 of ‘em!

As she progressed during the early summer of ‘08 Already yapping! DEFINITEY female!

When she caught her first meal, the lights came on!

With the beautiful fall leaves behind her...

And now this year…taken 7/28/09! See how yellow her flesh is? That is due to their mostly aquatic vertebrate diet…

My, what a difference a year can make… I’m a happy bird mom today.

This is why the use of ‘operant conditioning’ when they are babes is so important to their survival rate after the first few months they are released. Since you can’t fly around with them like their parents would to show them what to do, the next best thing is to condition them prior to release to come to a certain spot for static food. Some rehabbers only do live prey testing prior to release, then they open the door, toss them out on their ear and call it George. Although that method is legal, I would bet the farm that my babies live longer than their babies. Hey nonny-nonny!

Take care of yourselves and each other and thank you for taking the time to read my blog….m.

I know, I know...

You go for weeks without a peep from me and then two in one day… Heck, I may even write a third! :-)

Normally, I have at least three batches of Swallowtail butterfly caterpillars every year. The first batch usually hatches out early in the season, sometimes as early as April…just as the curled parsley is coming back to life from it’s winter’s slumber, only for me to run around to the plant nurseries trying to find enough food for them to continue their metamorphosis. (The locals know I’ve gone round the bend…)

However, this year NOTHING. Zilch. Zero. Nada. I was talking to my friend Vicki about this since she is a fool for butterflies too and she said her recent foray to a local nature center was a bust because she saw a whopping total of three butterflies. (she takes great pics, BTW!) So, at least it isn’t me…something is going on in the environment. We noodled it around but came up with no answers.

Just a few days after Vicki’s visit to my home, what do I find but our little friends here. I believe it’s the Black Swallowtail butterfly. I get those confused with the SE Swallowtail. If someone can affirm or correct this I would appreciate it…

These photographs were taken on July the 1st…

“Oh, I’m so full, I could just pop, but maybe I can juuuust reach this piece!”

“I’ll shave before I pick up Miss Martha for our weekly walkin’ around date…”

“Right after I take just a little nap.”

Yep...I definitely need caterpillar therapy....m.

Life on my end of the swamp

Hi Kids,

Just a quick update. “Georgia” is still visiting a few times a week. The two young Barreds are doing well and are both coming in to feed.

Our HawkTalkWalk is this Saturday at Boling Park in Canton and I really appreciate those of you who have helped us out. Animal charities are the first to be thrown under the bus in times of trouble and let me tell you, it’s been nothing but trouble since I became a 501(c)3. First, it was 9/11, THEN the tsunami, THEN the earthquake, THEN Katrina. Good grief… The gods continue to conspire…

People don’t think much about who helps the injured and orphaned wildlife until they come into contact with one in trouble. Here is an excerpt from a Good Samaritan named “Donna”. While out on their ATV’s they found an owl that had been caught in a barbed wire fence. I had sent her a copy of my last blog which prompted her initial comments.

"Wow! How wonderful!

I was hoping my poor owl would have a successful ending as this bird did but she didn't survive the night. We got up around 5 am to check on her and she was dead. I don't know why all this happened. Why were we allowed to rescue her, wash all the maggot eggs off her (yuk), give her water w/ a syringe, ALL THE PHONE CALLS, only to find her dead this morning?

Maybe I should have left her hanging upside down in the fence but I couldn't in good conscience do that and sleep at night.

I really thought the DNR, vets, and everyone else would jump all over this and want to help this bird but I was in for such a shock of reality. It was an eye opener.

I wish you much success w/ your rehab and thank you so much for all your input and help."


Neither the DNR nor Fish & Wildlife Service care about the individual bird, they only care about the species as a whole. I know…it doesn’t make much sense to me either, but there you have it. The vast majority of veterinarian’s don’t care because they can’t make money from helping wildlife. Sometimes I feel like a spawning salmon, always swimming against the current trying to keep my head above water. Ugh.

Oh well, try as I might, I cannot force people to care. Either you do or you don’t and that is the reality of the situation. Some people never care, then some people care for a while and then stop and there are a few that never stop caring. I have discovered my life is like being a train. My train will stop, toot the horn while the conductor waves her little heart out. Some of the riders on the platform never get on, some get on for a while then get off and then there are a few that continue on the ride. Thank you for helping me help. I am not an island and I couldn’t do it without YOU….m.

Here are a few new pics for your enjoyment.

While I was in position for the young Barred owls to come in for supper, Georgia comes out of nowhere and grabs a late evening snack. Ya’ll know how my action shots suck, but here we go…

"Whoaaaaaaa...." Youngest Barred coming in for a landing

“What’chu lookin’ at Willis?!”

“I’ll have mine to go, please…”

The two babes taken together…

Take care of yourselves and each other and thank you for taking the time to read my blog….m.