This Week at Liberty

Hoots, Howls, and Hollers

The depth and breadth of Liberty Wildlife continues to amaze me.

Condor no. 270 arrived from the Vermilion Cliffs last week driven in by a representative from The Peregrine Fund….another lead poisoning victim, anemic,  emaciated, dehydrated, and painfully thin.  A blood transfusion was in order so Tim McAdam and his helicopter flew up to Flagstaff to pick up a second condor, no. 337, that had been found to have a growth on his breast that needed attention.  While being tended he would also become a blood donor for no. 270.  That transfusion occurred Thursday night

On Saturday a team, including Dr. Orr, Dr. Wyman, Jan Miller and Terry Stevens as photographer, made a trip to Hillside Animal Hospital where Dr. Brad Rosonke and his CVT, Gayle Peschel-Ewoniuk   performed  an endoscopy on no. 270 to attempt to remove the poisoning lead that had made its way to the gizzard.   While it wasn’t possible to get to the lead, it was discovered that some of it had made it almost out on its own….and that is a good thing.  There are several remaining pieces of lead that will hopefully be forced out using a Metamucil-like therapy.  This team of volunteers and staff are doing everything possible to save this rare resource before the damaging lead does anymore harm.  It is insidious and deadly…lead, that is

While all of this transpires volunteer, Peggy Cole, made her way north to pick up fish from the Tonto Creek Fish Hatchery to supply food for the young eagle in our care.  This female is one of three eagles taken from the nest as a result of tick infestation.  The one at Liberty now is the only one left….another very deadly and secretive killer!

Included in Peggy’s Mother’s Day trek, was a trip to rehabber, Susan Taggart in Lakeside, where she picked up three baby great horned owls, two barn owls, and a baby golden eagle.  She will be transporting all of her orphans to Liberty Wildlife this afternoon.

The Daily Care and Med Services are still caring for all of the animals at Liberty.  The Hotline is manning the phones. The Rescue and Transport team delivers the difficult to handle animals to the facility.  The Orphan Care group continues the consuming but fulfilling job of raising for release tiny little babies of many, many species.  And Education continues to make the statement about the beauty and benefits of our native animals.  This happens today like it does every day of the year….all 365 of them.  We not only serve our local community but have a statewide presence.

It makes me so proud to be a part of this organization!


This Week at Liberty

The total intake for the year is now at 788.        

Things are getting exciting and a bit hectic as the spring wears on. We now have 2 california condors and it’s raining baby birds! The Orphan Care team is stretched to the max (anyone want to volunteer a couple hours a week to help out?) and the Daily Care and Med Services teams are also running at full speed. It’s hard to imagine that just a few weeks ago things were moving so slowly…

Tiny orphan kestrel

Messy baby red tails

Still more baby bunnies

Baby ravens at feeding time with “surrogate” mom.

The baby birds and mammals keep coming in, and the OC and MS teams are working like demons to keep up. Each day seems to bring in more hatchling kestrels, RTHs, GHOs, ravens, and more. Our super whiz-bang incubator is churning out chick after chick that are doing well so far. (Missi does a superb “momma raven” imitation at feeding time!)


Tony and Jessica check a fledgling RTH for electrical burns.

Injured flammulated owl is evaluated.

A little fledgling RTH came in from a power company station last week and is being checked for possible electrical injury. As we always say, these can be the toughest to diagnose. We also cared for a little flammulated owl with an apparent head injury as sometimes happens to little birds who don’t understand that glass is not something that they can fly through.


Chris Parrish brings in condor #270.

Handsome – but very pale.

Dr. Orr checks the crop as fluids are given.

Dr. Wyman draws blood.

Blunt talons – he’s a rock dweller!

Dr. Orr sees the pellets.

Breathing and heart rate are monitored electronically.

The endoscopic procedure begins.

Dr. Rosonke monitors the screen.

Condors are very big!

The blood donor awaits his treatment.

Our second condor of the year came in last week and as with the previous ones, number 270 has a very serious case of lead poisoning. Chris Parrish, the Director of the California Condor Recovery Project (a part of the Peregrine Fund) drove him down from the Vermillion Cliffs facility. He was examined and blood was drawn for evaluation. The big bird was very anemic and it was decided that he needed a blood transfusion. Finding a blood donor when your species is on the verge of extinction is not as easy as it would be if you were, say, a red tail, but Chris’s team captured some more the next day and when one had healthy blood, our wonderful volunteer Tim McAdam flew his own helicopter up to Flagstaff to meet Chris and then flew the second bird down to Liberty. This bird’s blood was then used to transfuse 270.

Since 270 was thought to have actual lead pellets inside his body, he was taken on Saturday to a clinic in Scottsdale where Dr. Brad Rosonke performed an endoscopic procedure to try to locate and remove the pellets before they could harm him further. The search was not successful so he will now have to be given larger doses of Metamucil to try to force the pellets out. We’ll keep you posted!

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3 Responses to This Week at Liberty

  1. Sam says:

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  2. daigoumee says:

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  3. Morgan says:

    Terrific article, We are checking back again regularly to look around for up-grades.

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