As I turned off one of the back roads near my electric co-op, there on a power pole was the object of our quest for the day. She was also very well positioned to lay down a trap. I pulled over and got my rats back into the bal chatri. I then drove into an empty parking lot, placing my car between the hawk on the pole and a grassy spot, where I planned to set the trap. Just as I was about to toss the BC I looked around, for the bird was now no longer where she had been. A quick search found she had moved but not far away. I repositioned my car again between a grassy place and the bird, then tossed the trap out into the grass and left the area quickly. I drove down the road then made a big loop to a place I could see the hawk if she made a move for the trap. I had hardly arrived and didn't even get my binoculars out when I saw her launch herself and fly in the direction of my trap. I slowly made my way back to where the trap lay, giving her time to check out my rats, and carefully coming around the corner saw she was caught. A few minutes later I had her jessed up in the field, and in my giant hood for the ride home.
. . . with BIG HOOKS, as we like to say!
Because I have been hearing an awful lot of stories and speculations and high incidents of what is believed to be Asper (Aspergillosis ~ a usually fatal fungal infection of the lungs and air sacks) I was open to trying a therapy that is all the buzz out in the falconry community right now. A Google search may find you the information, and more specifically if you search on some of the falconry networks you can read up about using fresh pine in the giant hood and mew, replaced often, to prevent or treat Asper. It is attributed to a fairly famous falconer, but I will not mention his name here as I don't really want his theories linked to this page. Each individual needs to make their own decisions. It sounds good, it has the ring of truth, but I would go on to find that it is not well regarded by those in the veterinary medical community, specifically those who treat hawks. However, I did give it a good initial try. On Monday morning I contacted the Raptor Center and arranged to have an appointment so I may have my hawk started on Western Medicine to prevent Asper, just in case. We were seen on Tuesday, and the new bird was checked over and found to be in good condition. She did have a tiny expiratory wheeze, but the doc didn't think this was important. I received a goodly supply of Itraconazole and took her home to continue her training. She had accepted food from me the second day off the trap, so everything looked to be going well. This was before the journey down the proverbial rabbit hole began.
My husband appropriately coined what follows as the "House" part of this situation. As of this writing the events continue to unfold, and I have not yet received resolution of the situation. I would like to document here where we have been, and where we are currently going. To those who are familiar I'll state the obvious, and for those who may not know, I'll explain. We have a medical drama show that has been on TV for many years now. The theme is always the same . . . a patient presents with a mysterious illness, and the protagonist of the series, Dr. Gregory House, an incredibly brilliant diagnostician but classic misanthrope, eventually figures out what is going on, usually based on some vague clue. Currently, my bird has the doctors at the Raptor Center stumped as to what is going on with her, and they are intrigued by the challenge. Like the show, I hope they eventually figure it out, and my bird gets better and can return to my home for continued training as a falconry bird.
Throughout the weekend the breathing became worse, but when quiescent, quiet and at rest, she appeared normal. She was paying attention to her surroundings, and on Sunday morning was very annoyed at her forced feeding, acting very hawk peevish. I hoped this was a good sign. However on Sunday afternoon I discovered that she had thrown her food up, which is never a good sign. On Sunday evening I carefully tried to temp her with small cut up tidbits of a freshly killed rat. She took most of the meal, only having to be force fed her meds at the very end. Overnight I hoped she would keep the meal down. She did. On Monday morning I was back in touch with the Raptor Center for guidance. They wanted me to come back for a new evaluation.
On Monday she would be evaluated by none other than the co-founder of the Raptor Center, Dr. Patrick Redig. She was being seen by one of the best avian doctors in North America, if not the world.
And I'll continue here soon . . . it is late, and has been a long day!
~Some Extensive Time Later~
I have wanted to return here, and to blog further about all that has transpired this last month, but frankly I have just been too busy, busy, busy.
The new bird has survived her ordeal. She would go on to be seen, and thoroughly examined by Dr. Redig, with x-rays (again), and blood work (again), and this time a two day stay at the Raptor Center, to include an endoscopy of her trachea and lungs. She was given support fluids, and placed on a regimen of Voriconazole which treats for Asper, even though she never was clearly diagnosed with Asper, or anything else for that matter. With time and support, her own body eventually stepped up and she has made the recovery from her respiratory distress.
Through this all, she has remained calm, and progressed through the standard training of a falconry bird. I have held her back only to finish up her medication regimen, but she has been held back long enough. My work schedule, as well as a time change back to standard time, has resulted in a delay to move on to the next step. I must be brave and daring and do so these next couple days. She has been allowed ample time to recover . . . it is time now for some tough physical therapy, and frankly a return to flight.
Because of all of this ordeal, and the expense she has incurred under my care, she has earned a name. She will be knowns as:
I shall call her CC for short!