Sunday, January 31, 2010

There was an old lady...

Who lived in a house about the size of a shoe with so many critters, she didn’t know what to do…

Hey ya’ll,

Thompson, the Barred owl was released here last night, rather than taking him back to (an area relatively close to) Main Street in Alpharetta. It was another one of those events when you go out in the evening to feed and they start going bonkers, bouncing around and hanging upside down and you’re afraid that they will commit owlicide if you don’t let them go then and there…so I put food in the chute, opened the door and retreated to the house so he didn’t just blast out and die of flight. (recall comments in Richard’s Release)

The last time I got up to check on him was about 2:30 this morning. Nigel was yelling his head off, (thank God my rooster was quiet), Scully was as quiet as a church mouse, Sam was hooting, even Jeffrey was making a racket and in almost three years this is the first time I heard him calling. Thompson, along with the two resident Barreds were zooming (and I mean zooming) around the yard yelling like monkey’s. It was incredible. I took out my pocket camera that has the video option, but it was too dark… I’ll upload it to photobucket, but it’s just audio of the goings on, along with me stumbling around in the dark. At one point, I was standing on the trail and one zoomed head level about 2 feet away from me. Whew! Very few people have been able to experience this with me here because when you get more than one or two people, the birds pick up on it and won’t come around. I’ll put food on the hackboard this evening and maybe Thompson will follow suit and come in with the other two for a snack. They don’t come every time I call them, which tells me that they are doing fine in their habitat, but I’m happy to see them every time they grace me with their presence…

I had to wrap Thompson up and give him some fluids orally and force feed him some mice the first night. Since raptors are pointed on both ends, I have to have a care so I don’t get hurt. And yeah, I know I need to paint my kitchen…

He was self feeding by the following evening, so on the third day, he went outside in the big boy chamber. This is called the ‘concealment posture’…all squinty-eyed and blending into his background during the day.

Barreds are one of my favorite species…

And their faces transform as the evening progresses…

Thanks to Alera and her parents for scooping little Thompson out of the road and getting him to me.

And Thanks to Dean from Murray County for capturing this beautiful Red-tailed hawk and getting him over to Appalachian Animal Hospital. Radiographs revealed a fractured ulna with the radius intact, so he gets cage rest for about 6 weeks. The intact bone is used as a splint, so you don’t have to intervene surgically, which is a good thing. Now we wait to see how he heals.


And “Francis”, a Barred owl that came into Appalachian AH last with a boo-boo wing. It looks broken near the tip. Not sure of his prognosis right now so we sit tight and see what happens… He’s nervous and flighty and probably won’t make a good program bird if he isn’t releasable and we all know what THAT means… **sigh**

Remember the ancient Red-tailed hawk that I took from the nice folks at Chattahoochee Nature Center about a month ago? She’s still hanging in there and had her first surgery on her foot last Monday. Still infected and swollen and will need subsequent surgery, her attitude is incredible. She’s alert with a twinkle in her good eye (notice cataract in her left eye) and I will fight alongside of her as long as she is willing to keep going. I will not assign an arbitrary timeline as to her improvement. She’s been like this for months and we can’t expect miracles overnight. I switched her antibiotics, still using DMSO directly on her feet and give her an NSAID twice a day for pain. The problem with feet is that there isn’t a lot of blood supply, so it’s hard to get medicine down there where you need it. DMSO helps with inflammation and is a carrier agent, so hopefully, it will bring the ab’s down into the foot.

She’s a very docile, sweet bird that has been loved by some human, somewhere. I only wish they had kept her on a proper perching surface and then she wouldn’t be in trouble like this. I would give anything to know her history, but all I know is that they don’t come out of the wild chirping at you and moving their tail out of the way when you scratch their back. Its cases like this where I cry like a fat dog. Sometimes, the birds know that you’re trying to help and this is certainly one of them. She has never burned one calorie being aggressive towards me and allows me to do what I need to in order to assist her. She came to me with the name FUBAR, but I have since switched it to “Grace”, because she has shown such grace and dignity in her fight to recover from her very serious problems. Long-term prognosis is probably not good. This house will be full of weeping and black headaches if/when she gives up the fight… Please keep her in your thoughts.

As always, thank you for taking the time to read my blog and if you have a few dollars to spare, I sure could use the Mouse Money. The PayPal link is located on for your convenience. We all appreciate your support in these tough economic times…m.

Monteen McCord
POB 130
Holly Springs, GA 30142


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