Thursday, September 27, 2012

Banded For Life

Thanks EVERYONE for your thoughts and prayers to get Hannah out of Albany Med.... Hopefully in the next day or two she will be able to come home. Hannah and her mother have had enough of hospitals for the last week and a half. I didn't go in to the hospital to visit last night, I decided to stay home and tend to the new baby donkey that was born yesterday.
Baby miniature donkey born several weeks ago

There were a lot of chores that needed to be caught up and everyone is exhausted. My son Jacob and I decided to work with "Bonnie and Clyde", our new Harris Hawks. Bonnie had already figured out how to remove her anklets and jesses. She got new leg leather that she won't get off. I am amazed at how smart (and laid-back) they are. Within a couple of minutes they were sitting on our gloves (fisting) and within 10 minutes they were allowing us to play with their toes. I don't think that they are going to take a lot of time and they will be little movie stars. I may take them with me to Jacob's soccer game tonight to get them used to crowds, if I don't leave school and go directly to the hospital.

Yesterday morning I let the racing pigeon go with my flock of pigeons. I knew that I didn't have him long enough that he would want to stay but I figured that he could rest up and leave at his leisure. The woman that brought him up to us called and said that he was back at her house. I told her that I would take him back if they could catch him again. I didn't think that much about it and was "absorbed" in what we were doing with the hawks. I noticed a pigeon walking towards us across the driveway and joked that he wasnt too smart. Then a short time later I realized from the legbands that it was the same pigeon. He must have flown back to where he stopped to rest, decided that our place had more action and flew back on his own. I will be interested to see if he stays around or goes back to where he originally came from.

Speaking of legbands, Gayle has received info. on the leg-bone band that I talked about in the last blog. The bone and band belonged to a ... (drum roll please) ... "Red Tailed Hawk". The sex was unknown but it was hatched in 2008. It was banded on 11/18/2008. The location of banding was Berlinsville, Northhampton County, Pennsylvania. Lat 40.75; Long -75.58333. The bander was a man by the name of Gerald K Lahr, of Easton, PA. The band was found in Arkville, NY. The distance by car (according to Google Maps) is approximately a three and a half hour drive from where the banding took place. That really isn't that unusual with Birds of Prey and/or migratory birds. I rescued an eagle once that had a transmitter on its back. It was hit by a car feeding on a roadkill in Windham NY . The feds had been tracking that eagle for 7 years and it had originated in Virginia. Eagle bands have numbers big enough to see with binoculars. Unfortunately, in order to see the numbers on a legband of a smaller raptor...they are normally not flying anymore. I still think that it is awesome that all of that info is kept by an agency from a number on a band. This poor Red Tail was only 4 years old. 70% of all baby raptors die in their first year of life. In the wild Red Tails will live 8-12 years if they make it through the first year. It makes me wonder why this bird died in the prime of its life and I would love to know why it died...things that make you go, "hmmmmmm".

We had a Red Tailed Hawk come in last night that had been hit by a car. Unfortunately it had massive headtrama and died shortly after arrival. Redtail hawks do not get the red tail until the age of two, this bird had a red tail.  I try not to focus on the animals we cant save, I try to focus on the ones that we do save. Every day is another adventure.

Thanks to Vern Bauer and Marty Stratton for giving us the leg-bone mystery.

Till next time, All my best....

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