Enraptured about Raptors:

Ironside Bird Rescue cares for our local birds, Part I
Eleanor Guerrero
CCN Senior Reporter
Thursday, October 11, 2018

Courtesy Photo
(Above) Susan Ahalt with Julie Andrews, an educational eagle. 

Photo By Susan Ahal
(Middle) Nova, now flying free thanks to Ironside Bird Rescue. 

Photo By Susan Ahalt
(Right) A happy ending.
“Repeat” found last month on Hwy 310 is recovering and will eventually be released.

Occasionally, motorists may see a dead bird on the side of the road in Carbon County or northern Wyoming. But what happens to injured birds, raptors, specifically? If they are very fortunate, they find their way to a rescue center for recovery and rehabilitation. 

Susan Ahalt runs Ironside Bird Rescue in Cody. It has been her passion for 31 years. It is the closest rescue facility to Carbon County. She recently received a young bald eagle injured on highway 310 while finding the roadkill repeatedly irresistible. He is recovering well, but clearly is quite full of himself. 

“He is quite a neat bird,” says Ahalt. “He was (however) born with a bad attitude. He’s in a 6 x 6 so he doesn’t overexert (he’s had some wing damage but no bones broken). He just glares at me.”

She is truly a caring person when it comes to the birds in this area. This is probably the most difficult year as far as numbers,” says Ahalt. Too many birds are getting injured by the increasing number of cars and big trucks. In fact, according to sciencenews.com, 988 million birds die a year. Surprisingly, single family homes and low buildings kill more birds than skyscrapers. USA Today finds that 340 million birds die from vehicles alone. 

Ahalt talked a little about her birds past and present. You can feel her emotion as she describes the journey with each bird. 

One eagle is named Julie Andrews. “She was 10.5 years old in this photo back in 2005,” said Ahalt. “She and I were saying goodbye as she was going to live at the Delaware Valley Raptor Center in Milford, PA.  I got her when she was about nine months old after being hit by a vehicle.  She was unable to be released so spent her life as an educational bird.  She died this year at age 23.”

Another rescued eagle is Nova. Ahalt says, “He flew into the side of a large pickup truck just north of Shoshoni, WY.  The truck was dented and he had his bell rung but nothing was broken.  He was released.”

Another, perhaps familiar face to CCN readers is “Repeat.” She says he is one of her success stories. He was hit on Hwy. 310 and eventually will be released when he heals from some non-threatening injuries. His appetite is strong.

Part II next week. 



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The Carbon County News

Street Address:

11 N. Broadway, Red Lodge, MT 59068

Mailing Address:

P.O. Box 970, Red Lodge, MT 59068

Phone: 406-446-2222

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