Today started out as any other day does at my job. Walk out of my residence and boom I am at work. So technically, I am never late to work because I am always at work. Anyway, I had to pull some data from traffic counters this morning. Boring stuff really. Actually, very sucky because while I wait for the data to download on the computer, the fricking gnats eat away at my eyelashes and hair follicles. Oh so pleasant. I radioed Forrest Gump and asked his location. Told him to disregard. I would be arriving at his location shortly because out there is one of the traffic counters that works occasionally. We met and I discussed I would be taking the off shoot road to check on some bird's nest. You know, radio if you need me, but my response time is going to be hours. Have a good day! Just a quickie-Forrest Gump has been saying all this busy weekend how he can't believe that we haven't had some sort of injury. Remember that comment because it will come up later.
I headed up to patrol the road and to locate the nests. The first three nests were those of red-tailed hawks and the other nest was a great horned owl. I checked the first nest and saw that cobwebs were growing in it which is a sure sign that there wasn't any birds hanging out and producing other birds. The second nest, well honestly, I thought it was a bush growing out of the rocks, was inactive as well. But then I saw something in the other nest. At first glance, I thought I was looking at two white owls on this nest. There was no way those were red-tails. I walked closer and closer. And then one of the 'kids' screamed out. And then something screamed out behind me. I turned so quickly I almost fell down. I couldn't see where the behind scream was coming from and then out of nowhere the adult swooped near me and hesitated in the air. This always makes me think they are going to dive bomb me like you used to see in the cartoons and stick into my head. (Could you imagine the radio call there---) Anyway, I sat down behind a tree and out of view from the adult. The adult flew away to somewhere I don't know. Actually she/he was probably high above me, but the sun was right overhead so I couldn't see. One of the kids laid down and then I saw another one get up. Now that makes 3 kids. And then that kid spread its wings and flapped them, but didn't leave the nest. I don't think it is ready. Then it stepped on the head of the one laying down. I laughed. But what, is that a fourth one behind the flapper one? I think it was, but couldn't get a positive id. I stood up. SWOOSH! Adult came out of nowhere again. Not happy. She/he landed to the right of the nest and started screaming. Louder and louder. (You know when you have screamed at a game all night and your voice starts to go)--well this is what was happening here. She/he moved to another location. I am not sure if she/he was saying get the heck away from the nest or calling for another adult. What I wanted to see was the adult puke in the baby's mouth. Why? I have no idea since I am a total gagger. So I left the area because I felt I was disrupting their lives.
I stopped on the road and hiked towards the owl's nest. Last time I checked there was this fluffy gray owl baby and two adults pissed I was in the area. The baby had come out to take a peek and mom and dad yelled something. I can only guess that it said 'get your ass back in the nest'. Today, I would try to get across from the nest without disturbing the adults while arriving. So I am walking through the desert to the location and I found 3 old tin cans---cigarette can, lighter fluid can, and a can that would hold like beans. I didn't pick them up because for some reason they are called history not trash. Don't ask. Then I found all these piles of flecks (these are what the Native Americans left behind from making spears and such). I kicked the piles over and then thought may be G-Baby put them there to help him find his way. Oh well. I climbed up and over rocks and around to the area across from the nest. I was too high and couldn't get a direct view. Then I saw one sitting in the tree. The myth that owls only operate at night is not true. He/she hadn't seen me yet. Then the head spun all the way around and the beady eyes peered upon me. I sat still scanning between the nest and owl. I eventually climbed down to peer across to the nest. There was nothing. I think that the owl sitting in the tree was actually the child I had seen earlier this season. No adults around. Must have been booted from the nest. But as I looked at the nest which was primarily white from droppings, I just kept thinking--how can you live in that filth. And then I thought back to Jack's blog and realized heck even humans do it. Instead of going an easy away around, I jumped about 5 feet down onto the hard slickrock. I cussed only momentarily as the pain radiated up my legs and through imaginary needles into my pads of my feet. Just what I need was a broken leg.
While I am checking nests, I often turn my radio down because I don't want to disturb them anymore than necessary. I also think it sometimes gives me away when I am trying to sneak up on them. Anyway, I get back in the vehicle and hear a commotion on the radio that can only mean one thing--there is a rescue of some sort. And then I heard Forrest Gump saying the patient was in and out of consciousness. OH NO! I radioed to find out where he was located. Not even within our area, but he wanted me to respond anyway. It wasn't far. They were going to need all the help possible. I was still an hour out, but I started that way. The patient was rock climbing when he fell approximately 30-40 feet. I responded just as they were starting down the slope. Since at this time I was the only one that was going to respond if our area had an incident I stayed close to my vehicle. The helicopter had been called in and was in a staging area. We were ready for the helo so I went and got coordinates and prepared for the helo's arrival. Last time they broke my watch when a rock flew into it. I let BGO land this one. The patient had a head injury and was pretty combative. Screaming to let him up, unloosen the leg straps, let him lay on his side, etc. When he said he wanted to lay on his side, I walked away because I was sure he was going to puke and then I would. He was tied down to the backboard because he was trying to pull out the IVs. They explained he was in a helo and needed to calm down. But how he took that I am not sure. I think they finally gave him 'something to take the edge off' and they lifted off. I will post photos later as I don't have my digital.
To think the day started with traffic counters, moved into bird's nest, and then bringing in a helo. Nothing is ever dull in my line of work. And every bit of it is rewarding as hell. Hope your day was a winner.