Saturday, October 17, 2009

Highland Games...swill dark beer, ogle naked knees!

I ALMOST turned around and drove back home about half way to Highland Games at Stone Mountain today, BUT I toughed it out and I'm glad I did. I dressed for the weather...overcast, misty, chilly. PERFECT Scotland weather! It was awesome!

This here is an official naked knee from Scotland via Ft. Lauderdale! Woo-Hoo! He threatened to call me Sunday night before he leaves for Edinborough...**sigh**

For some reason, I had lots of compliments today, mostly from ladies, but I shot this nice man shooting me...

My, oh my...he was awfully pretty and served in some official capacity...

There is something very primal and emotional when I hear bagpipes. I can't explain it, but I have this huge lump in my throat when I am in the presence of this music...

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog and please feel free to pass it along to your friends. Who knows? One of those friends may have some extra Mouse Money to help me as I endeavor to help those who have no voice....m.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Some days you're the bug, some days you're the windshield

Hey ya’ll,

Yesterday, a lady called to report seeing a hawk on a power line that had an orange arrow sticking through it. Obviously, it was still quite ambulatory because I was on site within 10 minutes and it was no longer there. I looked up and saw the mate circling overhead and from a distance it looked like I saw the hawk flying low over a distant pasture. I went to the closest house and gave the lady my card to please call if she should see it. I came home and Don went back out to help me but to no avail. It kills me that the bird is suffering and probably full of maggots by now and dying an agonizing death. Just dammit, that I can’t help them all. I failed this one.

“Chris”, the Barred owl that collided with a motor vehicle last week makes an incredible recovery!

If it weren't for the Good Samaritan, I wouldn't have any birds to care for, so I like to give them the option of having a hand in the release since they went to all the trouble to scoop the bird off the road in the first place and risk becoming road-kill themselves. A big HawkTalk thanks goes out to Chris for providing assistance to this Barred owl.

This was a ‘hard’ release back into his familiar territory. You do this when the bird is mature because he has a territory established and a mate wondering where the heck he got off to. It infuriates me to see frightened birds tossed up in the air before a bunch of noisy onlookers. It makes the people witnessing the release feel all warm and fuzzy, but it does nothing good for the bird. For some of the birds who were GPS’d before their release flew full bore until they dropped dead because of all the stress hormones released into the system upon release. I call these sacrificial releases in order to keep up public interest and those cases should be left for high profile USFWS or DNR people; they need the publicity…me, I just need Mouse Money. I confine my hard releases to the GS and their immediate family members. You’ll notice Chris’ children are quiet as church mice. I imagine they received ‘the talk’ before they got out of the car. Thanks again, Chris!

Click here for the video of the release. Don’t bother with the popcorn because it won’t last that long. I needed to edit the end of it because when I used the digital zoom, it got grainy real fast. Stephen Speilberg’s job is safe for today. But when I finally figure out the edit feature, WATCH OUT! I’ll be Robert Redford’s houseguest at Sundance before you know it.¤t=BarredOwlRelease100809Chris.flv

Now, go forth and make babies!


You might recall the saga of “Georgia” the maggot-filled Red-shouldered hawk that the nice Ga. Power people got to me last year? Well, Bob B. called Tuesday to say there was an injured hawk near their Whitesburg plant and blasted off down there to recover it for me. Unfortunately by the time he got there, the bird had already died. This is what a 2nd year Peregrine falcon (prob. Tundra) looks like. Even in death, they are a sight to behold. The dark vertical stripe below their eye is to reduce glare and is a firm field mark. The fastest creature in the world being clocked ‘stooping’ at speeds of over 200 miles an hour. They don’t actually fly that fast, what they do is, they go high, wait on, pick their target, fold their wings in and let gravity do the rest. They rarely even have to use their feet for the kill because body slamming the bird usually does the trick. Just in case the bird wasn’t killed on impact, the falcon binds to it mid-air, rides it to the ground and with the notch in the upper beak, breaks the cervical spine and has lunch. Ta da…!

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog….m.

Monteen McCord
POB 130
Holly Springs, GA 30142

Sunday, October 4, 2009

A Parliament of owls...

Hey ya'll,

It's been quite noisy around here at night. The Barred owls have been whooping it up like you wouldn't believe. A vociferous Barred owl came a callin' while I was outside three nights ago, so I ran in the house and grabbed some mice that I had out to feed the kids and put a few on the hackboard. Sure enough, he flew in and did the 'Swoop N Scoop" thing! It's such a delight to have one of my former charges come in for a visit.

An early photo of one of the babes I raised this year...

My room mate and I had a nice fire going in the pit last night when one glided silently over our heads so again, I ran in to grab some mice to put on the hackboard and he zoomed right in for a snack. We decided it was the older of the two of the most recent batch I reared since he never would actually land on the platform. He is more into practicing the touch and go's. The quintessential piece of military aircraft...silent, powerful and right on the mark.

Here is "Chris", who didn't look both ways before he crossed 575 Friday night. The Good Samaritan got him to me yesterday morning and all things considered, he looks very good. You can see that the pupil in the right eye looks different than the left and that's because there is blood in the posterier chamber. While that isn't a good thing, the fact that there isn't any bruising in his ear tells me that his encounter with the vehicle resulted in only a glancing blow. Most birds that hit cars along the interstate aren't that fortunate.

I'll give him a few days for some of the blood to resorb, then take him down to my wonderful Owlly Ophthalmologist, Dr. Tracey King. She will take a peek and see what the retina is doing and hopefully, the blood will not have gotten up behind it and detached it. The analogy I use to explain this phenomenon is for those of you who have liner pools, you know all it takes is a little water to get up under the liner to float it, then it's time to drain it and install a new liner. When blood gets behind the retina and detaches it, you just can't go in and laser it like you can with the human eye because their eyeballs don't work like ours and don't respond to the needed medications in order to get back in there to reattach it. You're basically left with a boo-boo eye.

That said, he is well fleshed out and otherwise very healthy, so I know he was making a good living in the wild. Even with a bad eye, he could compensate for the injury and if he passes the live prey test, will be send packing back to his territory a few miles from here. His saving grace is that there is no injury to his ear on that side and so his ability to triangluate his supper isn't adversely affected. And as Martha says, that's a good thing!

I bit the bullet and bought a new freezer yesterday...a LOT of money for me on the front end, but only costs about 35.00 a year to operate. And big enough to put a body in! Woo-Hoo!

Feel free to forward this to anyone who enjoys wildlife. Thank you for taking the time to read my blog and if you have a few dollars to spare, we sure would appreciate the Mouse Money....m.