Thursday, December 30, 2010

Icabod the Barn Owl

Clyde the RSH

Cooper's hawk Back injury

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Sleigh bells ring...are you listening...?

Hey y'all,

I hope everyone locally fared the wintry mix that we have experienced. Last week, Cherokee County bore the brunt of icy roads, which made for treacherous driving during the evening rush. My friend Robert called that afternoon and when I answered he said, "Thank God you're home. I'm looking at an old Land Cruiser flipped over in the ditch on East Cherokee Drive!" Thankfully, I was lucky enough to already be home... I covered up the chickens and the Harris hawk with 6mil plastic and everyone did well. Even throughout all this unseasonable cold, my 14 girls averaged gifting me with 9 eggs a day! I have eggs coming outta my ears...

I don't know about you, but if I hear one more cheesy Christmas carol, the top of my head is going to shoot off. I have always been blue this time of year, even back when I was married to a (used to be, anyway) nice man with money. I think the cold and short days adversely affect me...that SADS stuff.

So, to help with said SADS, I bought a floor lamp on sale (at my holy of holies, Big Lots) which simulates sunlight. I sit under it like a freaking petunia, hoping it will make me feel better. All I have to do now is put a little dirt on the top of my head, scatter a few seeds and I could grow heaven knows what. Also, when I was at Big Lots, I heard Bing and David doing the Christmas duet that for some Space Oddity reason, I still really enjoy. Circa you remember when?

A big HawkTalk hug goes out to the nice folks that sent in donations to help us keep rats on the table. Keeping a roof over our heads might prove a little more dicey, but I am hoping the Bank of America will work with us to lower the payments a little so I won't lose my home. It ain't much to look at, but without it, life as I know it, ENDS.

It's a whopping 41 degrees, so I bundled up and went outside with the timer to get 20 minutes of sunlight (D3 and all the rest of it, you know). Who glides into the yard but one of the Red-shouldered hawks that I raised last spring. S/he looks so beautiful with those bright yellow legs and beak. When 80 % of his/her brethren are already dead from starvation by now, here s/he comes to say 'hello' or perhaps 'thanks for saving my life'...I can fantasize, can't I? This photograph was taken just a few minutes ago...another non-cash payment that reminds me that we all have our paths to follow. I get so weary of clinging to the edge of the cliff, but when I see one of my charges glide through, it makes it all somehow worthwhile.

You can see the changes in plumage already...

To the untrained eye, this looks for the world like he's singing, "The hills are alivvve with the sound of muuuuusic..." when actually, he screaming at about 90 decibels. I believe Barn owls are responsible for the bad press...

Thanks again to those of you who opened up your heart and pocketbook this year to help us continue Speaking for the Wild.

HoHoHo from Sam. God bless him, he'll be 21 in January.

Thank you for continuing along my journey and for taking the time to read my blog. If you have a little Mouse Money to spare, you may go over to and click on the PayPal icon, or via USPS, P.O. Box 130, Holly Springs, GA 30142...m.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Life Changing Experiences...

Hey y’all,

Most folks don’t think about the plight of wildlife until they are thrust into the role of Good Samaritan. You’re just going along with your day, then BOOM, out of nowhere you see an animal that you know is in trouble. It can be life a changing experience. I know my life has been changed as a care-giver. When I see one come in orphaned or broken in two and they are able to be given another chance at life, well, it’s hard to put it in words, but it gives my life meaning. I know that what I do doesn’t affect the population as a whole one way or the other and some folks might think that it’s silly and a waste of time, but wildlife rehabbers fill an important humanitarian role of go-between between the Good Sam and the injured/orphaned animal. After all, if it weren’t for caring people like you, the animals would never have made it to the rehabber to receive help. Fortunately, these deer didn’t need any more intervention.

Please won’t you donate to your favorite local animal charity this Christmas? We all surely could use your help….m.

Sam's getting into the spirit of things!

Four young Sitka black-tailed bucks fell upon good luck Sunday as they were pulled from the icy waters of Stephens Passage, Alaska by a group of locals on Tom Satre's 62-foot charter vessel. Four juvenile Sitka black-tailed deer swam directly toward the boat. Once the deer reached the boat, the four began to circle the boat, looking directly at the humans on board. Clearly, the bucks were distressed. With help, the typically skittish and absolutely wild animals came willingly onto the boat. Once onboard, they collapsed with exhaustion, shivering.

Here the rescued bucks rest on the back of Tom Satre's boat, the Alaska Quest. All four deer were transported to Taku Harbour. Once the group reached the dock, the first buck that had been pulled from the water hopped onto the dock, looked back, then leapt into the harbour, swam to shore, and disappeared into the forest. After a bit of prodding and assistance from the humans, two others followed suit, but one deer needed more help.

Here he is being transported by Tom Satre.

Tom, Anna and Tim Satre help the last of the "button" bucks to its feet. They did not know how long the deer had been in the icy waters or if there had been others who did not survive. The good Samaritans (humans) describe their experience as "one of those defining moments in life." I’m sure it was for the deer.

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog. I hope you are all warm and happy.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Why the chicken crossed the road...

Hey y'all,

I was blasting around town yesterday before the rain started, picking up stuff for our display down at the Phoenix and Dragon In Sandy Springs this Saturday. When I turned the corner on Marvin Land Lane, there was Stitch, one of the Cochins, across the road! She was so happy, just scratching away in some straw, getting down to the primo dirt, looking for grubs and pecking away at grass...BUSTED!

Have you ever scolded a chicken? You fuss and fuss and try to talk sense to them and they just stand there and look at you like you have a lobster coming out of your head.

The girls having their veggies...they eat better than I do...

Well it seems that a major employer in Cobb County doesn't much like Barn owls on their property and these are the same fools who then have to put out poison for rodent control. Another local rehabber reports that they receive a few poisoning cases annually from them. I can understand this Neanderthal mentality in a knuckle-dragging, hay seed farmer living in rural Bartow County, but not a progressive company such as this. No siree. It seems they disturbed an active nest and now I have three babies to raise. I don't know how well they 'hack', so I am just crossing my fingers that they will remain close by after release so I can continue to feed them while they fly around and figure things out on their own. It sucks not having parents to show you the ropes. So I have the two oldest out in the big boy chamber, feeding them on the portable hack board, then I'll move the youngest one out in a day or two, when I'm sure he can grab his fair share...

Barn owls are one of the very few raptors who clutch year-round. I'm guessing because they are so efficient? I dunno know, but isn't that cool? And they are also so different anatomically that they have their own sub-family of Bay and Grass owls called Tytonidae and everyone else is categorized as Strigidae. They are the most widely distributed owl in the world and are so beautiful; one of my absolute favorites to look at but by the same token, they are WILD as snakes and most don't make for good education birds! If you upset them, they start hissing, like steam escaping from a pressure cooker, only at about 60 dB. I believe the barn owls are single handedly responsible for all the bad press for owls world-wide. Can you imagine our pioneer ancestors, blazing the trails out west over prairies by day while huddling near the camp fire by night and hearing this shrieking like some lady is being eviscerated? Their screams are a far cry from the melodious sound of the Great horned or the funny, monkey calls of the Barred. They make HORRIBLE noises!

Baby pics -

He looks so sweet he's smiling...NOT. Reminds me of 'Soren' from the Legends of the Guardian movie.

Another brother -

Wonderful little babes...

This beautiful Barred owl came in from north Georgia last week that had been hit by a car. Sadly, the break was such that Dr. Martinez couldn't patch him up and so another little light went out in the heavens...

Barreds have the sweetest mean do you really have to be to eat frogs and fish for a living?

Thank you for taking the time to read my post and if you would like to donate a minimum of $150.00 Mouse Money to HawkTalk in a friend or loved one's name for Christmas, you can bring them out for the nickel tour and private lecture! You can go over to and click on the PayPal icon. Just be sure to leave contact information for me to call to schedule the tour. If you are hinky about sending money via cyberspace, you can send a check along to us at P.O. Box 130 in Holly Springs, Ga 30142.

Also, if you are going to be in the Sandy Springs area this Saturday, we will be at the Phoenix and Dragon Bookstore from 1-4. for directions. I will have Scully Christmas cards available! He is SO cute, you just want to gobble him up!

Well, aren't WE just the bluebird of happiness???