Saturday, July 05, 2008

Bobby's Update--Houston and Houston 2, Plus Eleanor's Birds in Central Park

Photograph by Francois Portmann
Atlas the Triborough Nest Dad, who with Mom Athena, fostered Houston as if he were one of their own while he was in their care.

Houston and Houston 2 Photographs Courtesy of the Horvaths
This is a view of some of Houston's (H1) Frounce lesions or as they are called in the UK, frounces. They are often described as being caseous, or cheesy. The causative agent of this disease is a flagillated protozoan called Trichomonas gallinae. The same disease in pigeons, doves, and poultry is called Canker or Roup. (Though there are other avian diseases which also have very similar lesions making it difficult to diagnose immediately.)

Birds may become riddled with caseous necrotic foci, or "yellow buttons". See back right of Houston's mouth.

The lesions may invade internal organs such as the liver, may block the throat, nasal passages, encroach within the skull, and/or fill the croup. It is a dreadful disease though virulence of the causative agent can vary.

Called Canker when it attacks pigeons and doves has been studied in Columba, therefore the incubation period and activity is known for the illness in pigeons but not for hawks. A healthy pigeon may be exposed to a less virulent variety of canker and develop some immunity against it and more virulent strains when they appear. The same process may occur in hawks explaining less disease in older birds.

The disease as I suspected from observation of pigeons strikes more often in hot weather or when birds are stressed.

A note from rehabber Bobby Horvath who is caring for Houston and H2: "In addition to what you can see in his mouth there is much more down his throat, under his jaw, and in his crop that we can feel which makes his case much worse than Hous " 2 " . This is why he is so thin presently. He has a hard time swallowing anything solid so Cathy is mixing him up a meal of the blended smoothie type which is tubed into his crop. He's also getting flagyl, sprartrix, and baytril ."

July 5-- Once again and still, Houston 2 is eating on his own. The Horvaths report that H2 has improved but "he's still not out of the woods".

H2 looks to be eating with energy.

Compare H2's lesions with those of Houston's (H1). These have lost some of the "cheesy" (caseous) look so apparent in Houston's only newly treated cankers. H2 has been treated with flagyl, sprartrix, and baytril for nearly a week now and it has taken some effect. Keep your fingers crossed.
Photograph by Eleanor Tauber
While we have been swept up with the drama of the Houston and D fledglings, Thunder on her TV tower, frounce, foster parenting in Red-tails, tracking down Houston in Astoria Park, and the appearance of lead poisoning in the Cathedral fledge, other birds in town have been going about their lives and everyday dramas. And photographer Eleanor Tauber has been recording them doing it. Here is a Great Egret in Turtle Pond.

Photograph by Eleanor Tauber
A beautiful Blue Bar Pigeon takes his ease in Central Park.
Photograph by Eleanor Tauber
And I'm very pleased to see the two mallard ducklings I last saw sleeping on their mother's feet as she slept only half down on the Model Boat Pond Duckling Raft to protect them, have grown well and are beautifully healthy.
Donegal Browne

Red-tailed Hawk Update: Hous Gets Help, Plus The Cathedral Lead Fledge

Photograph by Francois Portmann
Hous hides in the opening above the grate at the bottom of the pool


An update from long searching Jules Corkery--

Hi All,

Wanted to update you guys on Houston, the baby hawk at Astoria Park. Seems right to just name him Houston to honor his family history and the amazing story of a neighborhood that dared to bring this young family under its wing.

Well, to make a long story short, Houston was taken by Cathy Horvath to get medical attention for his definite case of frounce. Peter arrived at the pool at about 6:30 and saw that both babies were at the diving platform waiting for breakfast. I got there a little after 7. Houston was still very sick.

Photograph by Francois Portmann
All of a sudden he glided down to the bottom of the pool and stepped into the shallow drain. (There is just a little bit of rain water at the bottom of the pool.) The drain is a long rectangular recess about a foot deep that conceals the filter/water supply/drain system for the high diving pool. There are two or more pipes that are not capped - one from which he was drinking. He was practically invisible to us as he was perfectly camouflaged in the brown/rusty recess! If we had not been looking at the moment he glided off the diving platform, we might not have seen where he had gone!

This is possibly where he was hiding yesterday and why we couldn't find him! It also explains why is chest was covered in a "rusty" color - it must be from the rusty water and muck at the bottom of the drain. Poor little guy! It was a sad sight and epitomized how he must be suffering - sitting in a muddy gutter in the rain.

Francois arrived and Adam was on his way so we got in touch with the urban rangers. Cathy Horvath had the net, carrying case, and the baby in the van and was on the way. We hoped Houston would stay in the drain until the rescue was ready to be enacted. Cathy was stuck in traffic but was on the phone with Howard the supervisor for the Urban Rangers and encouraged them to go in and get him as soon as possible as she knew that he was very sick and that he could lose a lot of body heat.

Photograph by Francois Portmann
Things got a little dicey when parks started to ask questions (which is their job of course!) but we all quickly realized that we all wanted the same thing - to get the bird some medical attention. The rangers and Vinnie Ceroni were able to get Houston into a carrying case very quickly and Cathy arrived shortly after that.

Good luck Cathy and Bobby! We know that Houston will be well taken care of and that he won't suffer unnecessarily.


Photograph by Francois Portmann

Photograph by Francois Portmann
Adam relayed the information that Trib stood on the ground less than five metres away from Houston when the latter was captured. The Triborough Nest fledgling is very lively, begs constantly, and jumps around a lot.
And Francois reported that both foster parents were in the pool area as well.

Cathy (Those look like Cathy's hands to me anyway.) opens Hous's beak and shows the frounce lesions in his mouth. Also note how gray the front half of his tongue is.

Photograph by Francois Portmann
Note that Houston is being held without gloves. I find that bare hands are better when it comes to sick birds, if safe for the caretaker, and if they aren't suffering from a zoonotic disease. Skin is warmer and more comforting even if, in this case, it is human skin. The caretaker also has far more manual dexterity when it comes to giving gentlest care possible.
Photograph by Francois Portmann
Poor Houston goes into the carrier for transport to rehab. This is a very very sick hawk. He is lying in much the same position that the Houston tiercel took when he was placed in the carrier--on his side and flattened.
Adam Welz who works with Fish Eagles for part of each year said about Houston's condition, "You could smell the canker from metres away... Cathy thinks he has a broken jaw (the protozoan can weaken bones, apparently). I would be very surprised if he made it."
Off Houston went with Cathy and baby Sadie for an IV to push fluids, food, and medication. And Houston 2 is there waiting, still holding his own.

Many thanks to Jules, Peter, Adam, Francois, Nabil, the Urban Rangers,
the Astoria Park Staff , the Horvaths, the construction workers who pointed the sick Hous out to Nabil, and those who sent prayers and positive wishes. Truly a thank you to everyone. It took a team.
The Cathedral bird is strong , eats well and at times stands on the bad foot "normally" but it is infrequent. We are also treating her as well for frounce to be on the safe side.

Several readers have asked if there is a vaccine or prophylactic that could be given to young birds so they wouldn't contract this disease.
Bobby and I talked about this. There is some trepidation about giving vaccines to young birds as there isn't an understanding as to whether it might impact their immune systems so it isn't normally recommended as a rule of thumb. But these rules of thumb are general.
Urban hawks and falcons who eat far far more pigeons than their country cousins also contract frounce far more often. It tends to kill eyasses, fledglings and young adults, therefore it would have to be given to young birds even though some are concerned about immune system impact. But an unknown possible immune system impact might well be preferable to frounce. Which truly is a dreadful way to die.
Bobby is thinking seriously of going ahead regardless of the rule of thumb and attempting to protect all young birds that come into his care who might consume pigeon.
I also asked Bobby why Lola and Pale Male had never shown signs of frounce though they have had eyasses die of it? The answer is that it is suspected that older birds get frounce more rarely because they have developed some immune system resistance to the protozoa.

And that is how it all currently stands to the best of my knowledge.
Donegal Browne

Friday, July 04, 2008

FLASH!!! Houston 1 Rescued!

This morning Houston 1 was rescued. He is now in the care of Cathy Horvath who, with baby Sadie, sped to Astoria Park to pick him up.

He is very ill and may have a broken jaw but is at last now receiving fluids, has been fed, and given medication.


Thursday, July 03, 2008


Hous from Wednesday before he collapsed in the mud puddle.

Jules had made it to the park by late afternoon and Adam had either come back from the morning search or stayed all day. Hous was discovered on the diving board. Where he'd been before this no one can say but at least we know he is still alive. And Trib was there too. Finally a sighting of them both together.

When Jules called to tell me, I asked if it might be possible to capture Hous. Jules said, "Afraid not."

People don't have access to the high dive area, other than park staff and that happens only very sporadically, no doubt one of the reasons Athena and Atlas chose it for young hawk meals in the first place. And though very ill, today Hous can still fly enough to stay out of our reach. So there he sat looking "very bad." No one has seen him eat in at least three days.

I do so wish we had been there to bring him in on Wednesday when he was in the collapse.

As I was talking to Jules, a squirrel trotted into the high dive area, as we decided taking his life in his own hands with Trib right there. The squirrel went to the edge of the empty high dive pool and climbed down the ladder. ??? I asked if there was collected water in it. Yup. Squirrel was going through all the danger because Squirrel was very thirsty. (Available water is a big problem for wildlife in many of our urban parks.) Trib may have watched squirrel but he had a very full crop so wasn't even tempted to try and go for him. After his drink squirrel climbed back up, made it across the no squirrel is safe zone and went on his way.

It's interesting, and we've noted it before at the Fifth Avenue nest, sometimes the prey animals seem to know when the hawks are full and less likely to go for them.

After dark as Adam walked to the subway, he called again with his last report of the day. When it was time for the family to roost, Atlas went and stood next to Hous in an attempt to get him to fly up to a tree roost with the rest of the family.

After some coaxing, Hous tried. He tried to fly up to the tree with the family but couldn't land properly and missed the perch as he was flying badly. After missing the good perch he'd been going for, Hous finally managed to land in a tree on a branch that was really too thin for him. But no doubt exhausted from the effort he stayed put though it wasn't a good spot at all according to Adam. But still Hous was too high for us humans to attempt a rescue. Darkness fell. The humans went home.
Tomorrow is another day, but will tomorrow be too late?

Donegal Browne

Red-tailed Hawk Update: Houston 1

Both Adam Welz and Nadil E. have been looking for Hous for hours with no success. Park Staff is also looking, as is Lucy M. a new hawkwatcher.

The Park Staff reported to Adam that yesterday, Wednesday, a young Ranger was sent over to pick Hous up. Adam was told that the Ranger was inexperienced and afraid of being footed, so she touched Hous's tail but did not proceed with the rescue.

As Hous was in a postion to be touched, we can reasonably assume Hous was grounded at least at that time. If you go to help, don't forget he could be on the ground under cover as well as higher. And also be aware of the parent's positions, particularly Athena as Jules felt she may have been watching over him this morning. Athena could cue you to Hous's location.


P.S. Ranger X, please contact me directly by clicking "Contact Me" in the right column of the mainpage.

Morning Update Astoria Park

I spoke with Nabil. Trib is begging at the diving board with one parent in attendence. Nabil has yet to spot the other parent or Hous.

I just spoke to Adam Welz. He was at that point getting off the subway at Astoria to also look for Hous.

If you can help, get on the N train and get out there.



Hous Report for 7/2/08 and all photographs from Nabil E.,

Here is the overview that Nabil sent me initially about his sighting of Hous today. Nabil was there and it was even hard for him to tell exactly what Hous's condition was. Particularly as Hous hasn't always been a hawk to stay within the boundaries of usual young hawk behavior and at the finale he did end up taking to his wings.

Nabel's initial overview--
When I first got there the construction workers pointed out the Hawk who was standing on the ground on a small heap of dirt. He looked ok but sleepy at this point and would close his eyes frequently. He let passers-by get within a few feet of him without him even taking notice of them. He later went to the ground where there was a small puddle of water and laid down flat for a long time, barley keeping his head up (his head was for long intervals was just resting on the ground). I had seen the 888 baby from last year lay down on the grass but in that case the hawk kept his up head and was completely alert. This one seemed very lethargic. He stayed like this for more than 45 minutes. By the time park workers showed up he had just taken off and perched on a low fence but flew away before the park workers could get a look at him. I did not find him after that and had to leave.

But Nadil had taken photos and one can zoom in on a photo in a way that one can't usually on a living hawk. Once they began looking at the pictures they became even more concerned.

Here is Nadil's commentary to go with the photos--(Above is Photo 1)

Here are some of the photos from today.

Photo 1 is how I found him (construction workers pointed him out) when I got there. Nothing seemed strange at this point except that he did let passers-by get quite close without even looking at them. However I have seen previous young hawks be too oblivious to humans so I was not worried at this time.

(Nothing one would ever see while in the field most likely, but see where his mucus membrane seems slightly distorted on the mid back half of his beak. Could that be a yellowish frounce lesion with a slip of mud over it? D. B.)

He went to this little puddle of water to drink (a couple of sips only).

Here is where I started thinking maybe something is wrong. He laid down, first as you can see in this photo his head was still up. Not so strange yet as I had seen the 888 hawk from last year on a hot day lay down on the grass in CP like this (although today was not really that hot).

Soon after his head went down and he seemed as if he had no energy. A few young kids got real close to him (maybe 5-6 feet and he did not flinch or look up at them). He stayed in this position (sometimes half opening his eyes) but never raising his head for around 30-45 minutes.
(Look how he seems to have dried matter beneath his eye. D. B.)

He got up and perched on this bar inside the pool area. Soon after park workers arrived and he flew away before they could take a look at him.

After having the luxury of looking at Nadil's photos we can see that Hous's crop is completely flat and his feathers disheveled. He is usually extremely vocal in the begging department but not today. He doesn't seem to have begged in all the time Nadil watched and with a crop so empty it's practically inverted plus his behavior lying in the mud puddle, it's telling. Something is very wrong.

Nadil is going in early Thursday in an attempt to see if Hous shows up for breakfast or whether he eats if he does. He says he'll call me with an update. If Hous doesn't show for the morning meal and can't be found. We need to start a concerted search for him.
It's a good sign he wasn't completely grounded today but by the looks of him he badly needs a trip to AMC and the Horvaths. And with frounce, once it is active, a bird doesn't have much time before it is too late.
To get to Astoria Park, take the N or W trains to the next to last stop--Astoria Plaza. Look around for the Triborough Bridge. Walk towards it. There are many trees on the right hand side. That is the Park where Hous will be if he hasn't been found yet.
Unfortunately many sick birds hide themselves on the ground under bushes or other cover and then either die without being found or are not found in time.
I'll update the blog as to Hous's status and as to whether he's been found when I hear from Nadil after hawk breakfast. I'll let you know.
Give some thought to becoming part of the search party if Hous needs it.
Donegal Browne

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

ALERT! Houston Hawks Update: Good News, Bad News, and Not-Sure-What-to-Make-of-it News

Photograph D. B.
Trib of Astoria Park and the Triborough Nest, preens.
(Ranger X plus contact me directly. Click on the Contact Me button in the right column)

I spoke with wildlife rehabilitator Bobby Horvath today.

Houston 3 is no longer with us.

Houston 2, who is also infected with frounce, and on medications to fight this nasty protozoan disease, is holding his own. He is eating his meals himself without human intervention, is standing up, and has not been reduced to mouth breathing. All very good signs though he is not out of the woods yet by any means, but perhaps, just perhaps, there is room for guarded hope.

Bruce Yolton, called me with the news that he had been called by photographer Nabil, , who visited Astoria Park today and had found Hous (Houston 1) on the ground.

When I spoke with Bobby he told me that Nabil had also called him. Nabil discovered Hous (Houston 1) lying on the ground in a puddle. Nabil watched him for awhile and as Hous remained on the ground , he went to find park authorities. When they all returned, Hous was still lying in his puddle, it is hot after all, but then he proceeded to fly up into a tree.

Therefore Hous wasn't completely grounded but Nabil told Bobby that when they examined the photographs he'd taken, there were signs that Hous might well be ill. Bobby will look carefully for signs of illness in Nabil's photographs as soon as he receives them.

A telling time will be Thursday's breakfast. If Hous doesn't show up for it, or appears but has a flat crop and doesn't eat, there is certainly cause for concern.

If ill, Hous needs to be gotten to Bobby Horvath for treatment as soon as possible. Most birds with active frounce, if untreated, die within a week.

Donegal Browne

P.S. If this is your first visit of the day, continue down for today's two part original post, which includes Jules Corkery's update on the Triborough Nest for Tuesday and a report from Urban Ranger X.

Red-tails, Raccoons, Screech Owls, Pigeons, and Lots of Creepy Crawlies Part I

Triborough's Athena on the lamppost.

Hi All
I watched the family this morning from 7 - 8:15. They seemed to survive the fireworks no worse for wear. Both Trib and Houston were in the pool area. Trib was jumping around and chasing sticks and flinging them up into the air and flapping around and calling out for breakfast- basically he seems to be where Houston was a few weeks ago.

When I got there Athena was on the railing, Trib was on the platform, and Houston was on the arm of the flood light in the shade. He was perched upright but still fairly still. Athena perched at different locations - first on the railing then the second tier then on the other flood light in view of Houston and then finally she perched on the flood light above Houston. She looked down on him for a good solid two minutes. She seemed concerned? She stayed for a few minutes but then flew off to hunt in the london planes shading the pool's viewing terrace.

Atlas flew in from the direction of the river and brought a starling to the high diving board and Trib was on it in seconds. Houston was neither the least bit interested in any of this activity nor enjoying the attention of his parents. Atlas stayed for a bit and then also continued into the london planes to hunt.

Meanwhile, Houston flew out of the pool area into the trees where he was released (about 30 yards) and perched in a shady oak tree.
I was on my way to the train so went over there and could see that he had his eyes closed and seemed to be squinting a little.

I wish I had more time to observe but I won't see them tonight - I have an Astoria Park Alliance meeting tonight.


Hi there,
Just wanted to let you know that my partner and I went for a patrol yesterday afternoon in Astoria Park. We saw both parents quietly sitting way up on some rails jutting out from the north side of the Triborough Bridge, pretty much directly above Shore Boulevard.

A food vendor told me that they'd been sitting there ever since he set up at 0900 hours. I also came across Trib on the diving platform. He was jumping from rail to rail and looking very playful. It's really nice that that area is separated from the craziness of the pool. He then came down and perched on a tree branch about 15 feet off the ground and tolerated me gawking at him and the angry robins for a solid twenty minutes.

We took a couple of loops around the park but couldn't find Hous. I won't be able to swing by there tomorrow, but Thursday is looking good.

The Park Manager of Astoria Park is a very nice man and he'll reach out to us if any of the hawks are in trouble. Your best bet of tracking him down is by stopping by the park house right next to the track. But of course, we're all hoping that it will never come to that.

I have some nice photographs, so when I finally upload them onto my computer maybe I can send some your way if you are interested.
Take care.
Ranger X

While the Saturday Night Owls waited for the last of the party to arrive at the entrance to the Park, rehabber Carol Vinzant looked up and pointed. There was a raccoon perched above us, mostly obscured by foliage. Carol dug around in her backpack and came up with something wrapped in cellophane. Crinkle, crinkle. He looked down with a little more interest. I'm betting most animals in Central Park know that the sound of cellophane means food.

As if to keep himself from being tempted. He began to bat at a branch. Part of a chicken sandwich was produced and stuck on the fence below him.

Suddenly his nose went into the air and he became acutely alert.

Drat, they're still there.

Sniff, sniff. Then he disappeared behind the trunk of the tree.
Rustle, rustle.

Ah ha! Here he comes.

Something seems to have fallen out of the sandwich. I suspect the chicken. Whatever it is, it's going over very well. Munch, munch, munch. The bread is still hanging forlornly above him on the fence.
Proceed down to Part II. Blogger is being picky again about the number of photos.

Red-tails,Raccoons, Screech Owls, Pigeons, and Lots of Creepy Crawlies Part II

After sniffing the air, the rest of the sandwich is above him but he doesn't see it. He stands on his hind legs and lustily bats the vegetation. Nothing. Okay, that's it. Enough with the appetizers. It's time for the main course. He scampers across the path.

Swiftly he climbs the fence and then turns around.

And just what might be in this paper bag?

He finds something tasty, takes it in his mouth, quickly comes off the fence, and runs into the vegetation on the far side. By now Francois has appeared so we head out. What? Carol spots another raccoon in a tree just twenty steps away.

I walk under the arch and three young raccoons shoot back into a crevasse in the rock. Next outcropping there seems to be two raccoon families getting ready for their day, our night.

Just a wee bit further down the path and there are two more! Then I hear scolding birds. Are they going to make it easy for us to find the Screechs? James O'Brien has planted himself and is scrutinizing the trees inch by inch.

Actually it's a bit hard to tell just where all that ruckus is coming from. We all scan. Then it seems the songbirds have moved up the path or we slightly misjudged their position. Then an owl is spotted. Hooray!

The Robins and Catbirds get serious. Wait! Something moves, then something else. We've found TWO! James says, they're the juveniles. They triangulate, they do the bizarre Screech Owl stretch.

And as stretching is such a big move, we spot the THIRD!! They start taking short hops. They head for the water, we follow. We're able to observe them for almost an hour. We show passers-by, who are as usual delighted with the sighting.

We were lucky and as usual for owl watchers a grand time was had by all. Even though it was extremely hot and humid and due to the earlier rain in the day, the mosquitos were horrendously active. Eventually we loose the three owls as there is very little ambient light. In fact the air is downright thick. Hot, sweaty, bitten, but smiling we head back the way we had come.

I'm not sure who noticed the creepy crawlies first, perhaps it was James but the phrase with a cetain disbelieving interp, "What is THAT?" , became extremely popular there for a moment.

THAT as it turned out, was Millipedes. Hundreds of them. No actually THOUSANDS of them.

They were all over the gateposts.

They were all over the top of the wall.

They were all over the side of the wall.

And as we went closer in an attempt to take photos, there was a disturbing crunch, crunch under our feet--Sorry little fellas. Tthe sidewalk was carpeted with them as well. All converging on the millipede spawning area.

Was this all the millipedes in the park? How do they know when to meet? What about where to meet? Why the attraction to the stone in the wall? There is plenty of other stone inside the park.

We're all struggling to get a focus on them in the near pitch dark. Then someone's flash goes off. I cringe. Wait. These aren't birds or mammals. These are bugs and seem to care less about the flash.

So here's a shot where you can actually see them in detail.
So what do Millipedes do for a living? It turns out they process dirt. Yup, they process dirt.
Guess it's a good thing we have them or our dirt wouldn't get millipede processing. Who knew?

Dot, originally an orphaned chick with a dead nestmate, currently a very large cock pigeon who was handfed and Has some human habituation issues, sticks his head out of his doorway and attempts to think of ways to copulate with my daughter Sam's head. He has a thing for blondes.


Reward Nabs Pigeon Poacher in New York City

In Defense of Animals' Reward Gives Formerly Homeless Tipster A Fresh Start

New York, N.Y. - In Defense of Animals (IDA) announced today that the $2,500 reward IDA offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone netting pigeons in New York City has been claimed ."We are grateful to the tipster who will be receiving the $2,500 reward, and also to our New York City members whose donations made both the arrest and the reward possible," said IDA's East Coast Director Valerie Sicignano.

The reward was claimed by Desi Stewart. Stewart is a formerly homeless street sweeper employed by the Doe Fund, a charity that employs homeless New Yorkers to clean city streets. Stewart had read IDA's Reward Poster for Pigeon Netters in the morning and then, later that same day, witnessed a man spreading bird seed on the ground and netting a large number of pigeons on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.

He immediately called The Department of Environmental Conservation who dispatched an officer to the scene. Officer Buckey arrived within moments and arrested the pigeon poacher. The Brooklyn resident named Isaac Gonzalez pleaded guilty in Manhattan Criminal Court on Thursday June 26th, 2008. He will have to pay three fines including one for pigeon netting.

Anyone witnessing a pigeon netting in the five boroughs of New York City should call New York State DEC Officer Joseph Pane at (718) 482-4941. The DEC is the lead Agency in New York City in regard to the pigeon netting investigation.
In Defense of Animals is an international animal protection organization located in San Rafael, Calif. dedicated to protecting animals' rights, welfare, and habitat through education, outreach, and our hands-on rescue facilities in Mumbai, India, Cameroon, Africa, and rural Mississippi.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Red-tailed Hawks, an Eagle, and a Dozen Raccoons

Last week, Catbirds scolded Hous and now and then dove at him.
He's suffering from the Fledgling's Dilemma. "They'd taste great but on the other hand they're trying to peck a hole in my head. "

Astoria Park's Jules Corkery with the Monday Update --

Hi All
I only spent about a half hour out this am - I saw Triborough preening on the top high dining board. I did not see Houston. There were workers at the basketball court - picking up the rest of the unused rolls of fencing and they will probably install the gate today.
I am not sure if this means breakfast had already been served and Houston was on to bigger and better things or if he is just perched somewhere and I didn't have the time to find him. Triborough's crop looked full.
I told the parks manager what was up and that if there was a bird lying down anywhere to call the park rangers.
Wish I had more to tell.
As far as I know Francois was the last to photograph the guys on Saturday 6.28
Maybe he could give some input.
Thanks all!
(Some of Francois's photos from Saturday, next post down. D.B.)

Beautiful Athena watches for foolish mice to scamper along the base of the pool building's wall.

The Chicken Sandwich Raccoon
The Saturday Night Owls went out, well, Saturday. Not only did we see the Screech Owl youngsters, and Millipedes spawning, but there were also at least a dozen raccoons. They came in all shapes, sizes, and ages.

If you want to see raccoons, the North Woods is the place to be. And rehabber Carol Vinzant was our dynamite coon spotter.

Cheryl of Tulsa took these lovely photos of our friend Thunder soaring over Tulsa.

Soaring with a parent. I do believe that not only is flying together bonding for pairs. I've seen parents circling with their young well into Spring sometimes and there is something about relationship in that as we.

Thunder fledged later than many of our urban eyasses do. Then again all that hanging at the
nest before a late fledging certainly made a difference in her flying ability once she did leave.

Swooping past the rooftops, Thunder really seems to have the whole thing down. I have to admit I'm downright jealous of her freedom in the skies and physicality on the ground..

They made a big difference in each other's lives.
Thanks to John Steffen Jr. for sending in the story.
When Freedom came in she could not stand. Both wings were broken, her left wing in 4 places. She was emaciated and covered in lice. We made the decision to give her a chance at life, so I took her to the vets office. From then on, I was always around her. We had her in a huge dog carrier with the top off, and it was loaded up with shredded newspaper for her to lay in. I used to sit and talk to her, urging her to live, to fight; and she would lay there looking at me with those big brown eyes. We also had to tube feed her for weeks.

This went on for 4-6 weeks, and by then she still couldn't stand. It got to the point where the decision was made to euthanize her if she couldn't stand in a week. You know you don't want to cross that line between torture and rehab, and it looked like death was winning. She was going to be put down that Friday, and I was supposed to come in on that Thursday afternoon. I didn't want to go to the center that Thursday, because I couldn't bear the thought of her being euthanized; but I went anyway, and when I walked in everyone was grinning from ear to ear. I went immediately back to her owl cage; and there she was, standing on her own, a big beautiful eagle. She was ready to live. I was just about in tears by then. That was a very good day.

We knew she could never fly, so the director asked me to glove train her. I got her used to the glove, and then to jesses, and we started doing education programs for schools in western Washington. We wound up in the newspapers, radio (believe it or not) and some TV. Miracle Pets even did a show about us.

In the spring of 2000, I was diagnosed with non-hodgkins lymphoma. I had stage 3, which is not good (one major organ plus everywhere), so I wound up doing 8 months of chemo. Lost the hair - the whole bit. I missed a lot of work. When I felt good enough, I would go to Sarvey and take Freedom out for walks. Freedom would also come to me in my dreams and help me fight the cancer. This happened time and time again.

Fast forward to November 2000, the day after Thanksgiving, I went in for my last checkup. I was told that if the cancer was not all gone after 8 rounds of chemo, then my last option was a stem cell transplant. Anyway, they did the tests; and I had to come back Monday for the results. I went in Monday, and I was told that all the cancer was gone.
Donegal Browne