Monday, December 16, 2013

Patience Goes to Wisconsin

I was getting very worried about Patience since her signal hadn't moved off the bluff behind the alpaca farm south of La Crescent for over a week.  It was a weak signal to boot.  Given that we found Patrick's tail feathers with his transmitter on the ground, that's what I was expecting to find for Patience too.

Hein had already tromped the hillside on Saturday on one landowner's property, with no luck.  This morning we went out on another person's property in the snow to see if we could find her transmitter there.

We didn't even take a bearing on Patience from the road...we just headed up into the bluffs where her signal has been forever.  It was a very weak signal, but we plodded along in the increasing snow on the hillside that got steeper and steeper.

Finally up near the top, out on a point, I got a good signal.  But I really, really thought it was coming from across the road in the marsh.  So we slowly made our way back down the hillside, to the truck, and to a gas station to use the restroom and get something to eat.

Then we stopped by the house of the person who owned the marshland across the road and she gave us permission to go out there.  That involved wading through a lot of tall grass, but also a nice mowed area.

It was snowing pretty good.  We kept walking toward the far trees, and the signal was still faint...fainter than up on the road.  I finally realized that our gal was a long ways away!

So back to the truck again, and I slapped on the rooftop antenna.  We drove down the busy road between La Crescent and La Crosse, pulling into a couple of parking lots to get signals.  Very surprisingly, we got a GREAT signal where the old Bikini Yacht Club was...across the road, not out into the river bottom.

So we headed across the road to Pettibone Park.  I chuckled as we drove in, since the sign said it was also a wildlife refuge.  I thought that would be a good place for Patience to go.  I wondered if she could read.

As we drove around, her signal got really strong.  Finally I got out and walked.  At one point in time I thought I must be standing on her because the signal was so loud.  Hein was watching the trees to see if she flew, but didn't notice anything.  But abruptly, the signal moved.  I headed in that direction while Hein went to get the truck.  Sure enough, as I got closer I saw her fly.  Woo-hoo!  She was doing fine, transmitter attached.  Not what I expected to find when we set out this morning.

I checked the state line, and I see she has officially entered Wisconsin.  Without permits.  I get a kick out of that, since to bring Alice into Wisconsin to do a program I need a health certificate from a veterinarian, a 'temporary wildlife exhibition permit' from the DNR, and a 'circus, rodeo and menagerie permit' from the WI Department of Agriculture.  I am not kidding.  Go Patience...without the permits!  Ha.


  1. That last paragraph is hilarious. Had my husband and I laughing out loud. So glad for the positive outcome.

  2. LOL, that's Patience! Once she gets going there's no stopping her!!!

  3. You make the very same point many of we falconers make. You have to jump through hoops to bring a bird into Wisconsin if you want to go hawking with friends, when most of the time these same hawks were trapped along the Mississippi River, and could just have easily been in WI as in MN. Glad you still have one bird out there that is trackable, and apparently doing just fine in the wild.

  4. Go Patience! I am so happy she is doing well :) Our girl went so far! TY Karla and Hein, for all that you do for these precious owls.You rock! Also, thank you Karla for keeping us updated. <3

  5. You two are soooo dedicated. Trudging in the snow and cold. Glad our little girl is ok and doing so well in the wild. Love your blog entries.
    By the way it's Mooley lol.

  6. Karla. thank you for your dedication to these owls. I know you have to be relieved to have found Patience. What a trip. Thank you for giving us hope for Pandora. Thank you also Hein.

  7. Who would have thought Patience would travel so far! Wasn't she named because she was the laid back on in the nest, letting Pandora & Patrick first crack at the food? She should have been called Amelia Owlhart! Rack up those frequent flier miles, Patience! Thank you, Karla & Hein for your dedication to the owls.

  8. I just read on the map that you saw her fly! You must have felt so excited. I am chuckling when thinking that she passed the border :-)