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RR Boise: Mtn Biker saves Red-Tailed Hawk!



 
 
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  #1  
Old July 9th 03, 11:37 PM
djarvinen
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Default RR Boise: Mtn Biker saves Red-Tailed Hawk!

RR Boise: Mtn Biker saves Red-Tailed Hawk!

If you want to read about the rescue and skip the boring first part,
then just jump to the end of the rather longish article.

Anyway, as I am ‘temporarily' unemployed, I find I have a little more
time for biking, as long as I can disguise it to my wife as ‘job
searching'.

One of my favorite rides is over the Old Oregon Trail, about an
18-mile loop from driveway to driveway (mine of course). About a
third is single or double track; the way back is mostly on the
Greenbelt which is paved. Nothing overly strenuous with only a couple
of hills to remind me that I'm really not in good as shape as I want
to be.

It's about five miles to the Old Oregon Trail trailhead. Starts out
on a dusty double then up a long, low rocky incline. Head left along
on the top of the canyon rim. The sky is absolutely clear, the temp
about 85, and I had my new CamelBak supplying me with cool, cool
water. Staying along the canyon, there was a long dip into a valley
and then back up. Kind of rutty and rocky; had only one ‘episode'
where something funny happened but I managed to hang on without too
much of an adrenaline rush. Then the steep (for me) uphill in which I
finally decided to give my bike a break and push it the last hundred
yards.

Back along the rim and then cut over to a gravel and oil road for a
1/4 mile. The trick here is to break away from the canyon just before
the last visible house. Then onto the road, pass between two houses
(llamas on the left) and then left at the first opportunity. Kind of
a new gravel road as they are doing some development here. The Oregon
Trail is easy to pick up again (on the right very quickly) as it just
looks old: dark gray, deep ruts, very wide. Kind of like a nasty
double-track. Stay on this for a few miles, just before it starts
winding up the mountain. There is an old concrete marker, about three
feet tall, maybe 4-6 inches wide. Looks kind like a miniature
Washington Monument but I'm told these are ‘official' Oregon Trail
markers.

At the marker take the double track to the left instead of following
it up the hill. By the way, this is completely sagebrush country;
open range, cattle, flat (sort of), dry, dusty, hot. No cows this
time but last time I saw several. After a while you hit a gate that
says "Authorized vehicles only!" but I had already checked with Army
Corp of Engineers (who ran the nearby dam). Usage by cyclists and
hikers is fine as long you stay on trail, daylight hours only.

After the gate, you finally get rewarded with a nice, long downhill.
A very narrow double-track with some deep ruts and one adventure when
I went across some loose rocks and my rear wheel slid out. Don't
really know what happened except that the last time something like
this happened to me, I went over. This time I stayed on. I'll claim
experience and skill, but more likely it was dumb luck.

A small uphill to the dam, then a gravel descent to Discovery Park
which sits at the base of the dam. Found a cool spot of shade and ate
my lunch (one wonderful nectarine!) and rehydrated.

Normally the trip from the dam to home is a nicely paved path about
six feet wide. However, there is one spot where you can leave the
path for about a 1/2 mile and experience one last piece of dirt. This
patch is particularly nasty because of some sand, which gets even
worse as the weather gets hotter and drier. However, I like it
because there is a small ‘mogul-like' spot which is kind of fun
(although very short).

Just before the final small ascent back to the Greenbelt, there is a
very small downhill which turns mildly right. As I came around the
corner, I saw a guy with two dogs ahead of me. Just as I started to
slow, a very large (well, it seemed large at the time) bird flared up
on my right about two or three feet from me. All I could see was a
beak, wings, and eyes. (Adrenaline, you know).

So I stopped and looked at the bird flopping off. Clearly it was in
some distress. It dragged one wing and could not fly. The hiker had
to keep calling his dogs to keep them from harassing the bird.

So I talked a bit with the hiker (we both agreed the bird was not in
too good shape). We then took off on our separate ways but then I
thought, "Wait a minute! I have a cell phone. I should call
someone."

So I stopped in some shade and after three or four calls (starting
with the Humane Society), I finally hooked up with an "Animals in
Distress" number. Unfortunately, after several tries, I never got
through so I just left a message. I finished my ride home
(uneventful) but the more I thought about it, the less confident I was
that anyone would rescue the bird. So I splashed water on my face,
changed my T-Shirt, got into my truck and rode back to the area.
During the ride, I finally got through to the AID number and she put
me in contact with a guy who specialized in rescuing raptors (Larry
C.). Turns out that there are many volunteers in the Boise area for
such a service. I was now back in the area where the bird was and
found him again quite easily. Somehow he was on a small perch about
six feet off the ground. Only later did I figure out how he got up.
He would hop up onto a small branch and then climb (with the help of
his beak) to get a little ways off the ground.

Larry (via cell phone) said it would take him about 45 minutes to get
out there, and would I mind waiting. Well… it wasn't exactly like I
had a job to get to so I told him, "No problem. Just call when you get
near."

So I monitored the bird for about 40-45 minutes. It would let me get
about 50 feet away. Any closer and it would shy away. So it became a
little game between us. I would try to find a spot close enough where
I could keep an eye on it, and also a spot that was still in the
shade. It only moved about three times before I got Larry's call.
Also, a large doe was getting really close to me. As long as I didn't
move, it didn't see me as a threat. It got to within about 20 feet
and then my cell phone rang. As it wasn't taking calls, she
decided to hoof it out of there quite quickly. And indeed, it was
Larry.

We hooked up and I hung around to see how a ‘raptor guy' actually
caught a bird. His equipment? A bath towel. Yeh, a bath towel. By
this time the bird was in some small bushes. Larry said this was a
‘good thing' as it made it harder for the bird to escape. He just
unfolded the towel in front of him, approached it slowly, talking to
it ("don't you dare move from that spot!") and when he got close
enough, he just threw the towel over the bird. He was then able to
grab it by its legs. The whole procedure must have taken all of 30
seconds.

We then examined the bird closely. Mature male Red-Tailed Hawk, no
obvious broken bones but some extreme damage on it's left ‘elbow'
which looked much like a callous. It had virtually no secondary
feathers on that wing and so was unable to fly. He also had me feel
its breastbone which seemed quite scrawny. He said normally you would
barely be able to feel it so it was obviously not feeding well, if at
all.

We took it back to his truck and put it in a kennel. He said he would
probably take it to a vet to make sure there were no broken bones. He
would then keep it for several months to see if the secondary growth
would come back. The outlook seemed quite promising. I will call him
in a couple of weeks to check on Riisti's (yes, I had already named
the bird) progress.

So waddya think? Evil, lying, scum-sucking mountain biker risks heat,
bugs and snakes to save wildlife in distress. Ah well, we all have
our weak moments.

DJ
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  #2  
Old July 9th 03, 11:52 PM
Stephen Baker
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Default RR Boise: Mtn Biker saves Red-Tailed Hawk!

DJ says:

Evil, lying, scum-sucking mountain biker risks heat,
bugs and snakes to save wildlife in distress.


And you call yourself a mountain-biker? ;-)

Nice work.
Good luck with the "job search", both kinds....

Steve
  #3  
Old July 9th 03, 11:59 PM
Penny S.
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Default RR Boise: Mtn Biker saves Red-Tailed Hawk!

djarvinen thoughtfully penned:
So waddya think? Evil, lying, scum-sucking mountain biker risks heat,

bugs and snakes to save wildlife in distress. Ah well, we all have
our weak moments.

DJ


very cool. We had a juvenile red tail hit our window, and get stunned. He
was handing upside down from his claws which were caught in the window
screen. Yup, pillow case and gloves, then we set him in a safe corner of
the yard to recover on his own time, safe from dogs and cats. After a while
he flew away.


Penny


  #4  
Old July 10th 03, 12:01 AM
Raptor
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Default RR Boise: Mtn Biker saves Red-Tailed Hawk!

djarvinen wrote:
RR Boise: Mtn Biker saves Red-Tailed Hawk!

If you want to read about the rescue and skip the boring first part,
then just jump to the end of the rather longish article.


Great job!

As a new cell phone owner, how did you find the # for the Humane Society
and others out on the trail? Do you have to pay someone for directory
assistance, and/or do you call the old-school 1411?

--
--
Lynn Wallace http://www.xmission.com/~lawall
"I'm not proud. We really haven't done everything we could to protect
our customers. Our products just aren't engineered for security."
--Microsoft VP in charge of Windows OS Development, Brian Valentine.

  #5  
Old July 10th 03, 03:44 AM
gabrielle
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Default RR Boise: Mtn Biker saves Red-Tailed Hawk!

On Wed, 09 Jul 2003 15:37:37 -0700, djarvinen wrote:

RR Boise: Mtn Biker saves Red-Tailed Hawk!


Neat-o!

We hooked up and I hung around to see how a ‘raptor guy' actually caught
a bird. His equipment? A bath towel. Yeh, a bath towel.


Mr Gabrielle uses this trick often...we get a lot of wounded/dazed-from
hitting-the-glass-doors/near-drowned-in-the-pond birds at our house. It's
pretty strange, you cover their head and they just calm right down. It
quite surprised me the first time I saw it.

gabrielle
  #6  
Old July 10th 03, 09:30 AM
spademan o---[\) *
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Default RR Boise: Mtn Biker saves Red-Tailed Hawk!

So waddya think? Evil, lying, scum-sucking mountain biker risks heat,
bugs and snakes to save wildlife in distress. Ah well, we all have
our weak moments.

DJ


Nice one, its easy to walk away from these kind of incidents and expect
someone else will take care of it. Cheers for restoring my faith in human
nature a little bit.

Steve E.


  #7  
Old July 10th 03, 03:58 PM
djarvinen
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Default RR Boise: Mtn Biker saves Red-Tailed Hawk!

Raptor wrote in message ...
djarvinen wrote:
RR Boise: Mtn Biker saves Red-Tailed Hawk!

If you want to read about the rescue and skip the boring first part,
then just jump to the end of the rather longish article.


Great job!

As a new cell phone owner, how did you find the # for the Humane Society
and others out on the trail? Do you have to pay someone for directory
assistance, and/or do you call the old-school 1411?

Heh, not easily.

First, I dialed the 1-208-555-1212 (info) asked for Human Society,
Boise, Idaho. I called them and they directed me to another number
(Bird Hotline) who in turn referred me to some specific volunteer
numbers. This, of course, was interspersed with numerous busy signals
and "please leave a message" messages. I don't think (but am not
positive) that I have to pay for the info call. I rarely meet the max
on my cell phone plan anyway.

Most cell phones now have a Call Log so you can check previously
dialed numbers (or received/missed calls) and easily add them to your
cellular phone book.

One funny thing that happened on one of my calls was when I was in the
message tree for the Birds Hotline: "Press 1 for birds, 2 for
mammals..." and then after pressing '1', I got "press 1 for
songboards, 2 for other...". And then I finally got to my 'raptor
specialist'. Turns out there are at least two in the area; the first
one was not available; the second (Larry C.) was.

The network here for animal rescue seems pretty solid. As a further
aside, I believe that Boise State U. is the only University that
offers a degree in raptor biology. We have quite a few nesting sites
in the area for eagles and other raptors. Plus there is a raptor
center where they are studied and rehab'd; also kind of like a small
raptor zoo which you can visit.

Except for the damned heat and lack of an ocean, Boise is a pretty
nice place to live. The bike trails are great!

DJ
  #8  
Old July 10th 03, 04:51 PM
MattB
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Default RR Boise: Mtn Biker saves Red-Tailed Hawk!

"djarvinen" wrote in message
om...
RR Boise: Mtn Biker saves Red-Tailed Hawk!

snip heroic rescue

Nice job! I think you need to work on your title though. Something more
like:

MOUNTAIN BIKER ADMITS HIS ACTIONS ACTUALLY SAVED WILDLIFE

or something like that. At least get the ALL CAPS part right! Geeze.

Matt


  #10  
Old July 13th 03, 02:09 AM
(Pete Cresswell)
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Default RR Boise: Mtn Biker saves Red-Tailed Hawk!

RE/
very cool. We had a juvenile red tail hit our window, and get stunned. He
was handing upside down from his claws which were caught in the window
screen. Yup, pillow case and gloves, then we set him in a safe corner of
the yard to recover on his own time, safe from dogs and cats. After a while
he flew away.


These must be pretty tough birds. I hit had one hit my windshield when I was
going about 65. Left a blood spot on the glass and I figured "Oops, one less
bird".

Got home about 45 minutes later and we found it laying belly up on the roof of
our station wagon - just sort of zoned out.

Layed it in a big cardboard box in the garage next to bowl of water and went to
bed.

Next morning it was perched on the garage door rails. Opened the door and it
was gone like a shot...

Now, every time we we see one hunting in the area we wonder if it's "our" hawk.
-----------------------
PeteCresswell
 




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