Hoots, Howls, and Hollers
As most of you know, Liberty Wildlife is a volunteer driven organization…a very smallstaff and a large contingency of volunteers….the life blood of the organization. People often ask me where do volunteers come from and how do we manage to keep them so long? Some of the volunteers have been with us for 25 years and more. My comment regarding the length of commitment is that we give them something important to do, and these volunteers step up to the plate with eagerness and enthusiasm.
The question of where they come from is as varied as the folks involved. We have had volunteer groups who have done projects for us like The Do Crew from US Airways, the APS and SRP volunteers have stepped in over the years as well as American Express and other corporate volunteer groups, and we have greatly benefited from their generous spirits. Other corporations like The Hyatt Regency at Gainey Ranch encourage their managerial staff to get involved in the community, and we have benefited from that also…Joe Miller!
Recently we were contacted by an employee from dermatologist, Dr. Jennifer Linder’s office. For Christmas this year she gave her office a wonderfully creative gift—time off to pursue volunteer activities in order to give back to the community. Last Wednesday she closed her practice in the morning to allow her staff to explore possibilities. Six folks came out to a Liberty orientation to see what volunteer jobs were available, and lucky for us two of them have signed up for Orphan Care shifts and two have signed up to help the Wildlife Guardians in the fall. And, if we are really lucky the other two will find jobs with us that will peak their interests.
Another unique approach to volunteerism and community involvement is demonstrated by a corporation from out of state (we don’t know who they are yet) who approached us to do a volunteer project for our organization when they are in town for a conference in June. Part of the conference agenda is a volunteer experience and Liberty Wildlife was selected as an organization that would benefit from this effort. They will provide manpower to assemble the education packets that we leave behind in classrooms after each school presentation. (We like to leave possible activities for the teachers to use as a follow up from our visit.) We will bring the elements of the packets to the group staying at a local resort, and they will supply the manpower to assemble them and ready them for next year’s educational season. We will also provide them with an educational program to let them see what the packets will be used for.
I applaud all efforts of the corporate world to get involved in the nonprofit world and in the community. That is corporate responsibility at its best!
To learn more about volunteering and Liberty Wildlife check this out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=26TNrukEplQ… You won’t be sorry you got involved.
This Week at Liberty
The intake total for the year is now at 977.
We’re still in maximum cute baby phase at the facility, with a few larger patients thrown in for balance. Kestrels, bunnies, quail, you name it – if it’s little and cute, we have it! All the orphans seem to be doing well and the volunteers are working non-stop. The Orm eaglet was taken to his new foster nest today! And on a very sad note, the condor featured in last week’s update has lost his battle with lead poisoning. Sometimes we just don’t get to join the struggle soon enough…
The busiest place at Liberty right now is definitely Orphan Care. The feedings begin with first light and go pretty much non-stop through the day until the sun sets. The volunteers are set up in shifts of a few hours and the babies grow quickly as they beg food as soon as they digest the previous feeding, sometimes only minutes before. All different species are cared for and hopefully all will be released a few weeks after their arrival.
It seemed like it was raining kestrels for a day or two last week. They were coming in two and three at a time. These two little guys (males have bluish feathers on their wings) were separated from their sister as she needed more medical intervention at first. The little screech owl was fortunately saved when a wall his parents had chosen for their nest somehow collapsed. His luck was even better when the person who found them made a call to Liberty!
A baby golden eagle was brought to AZG&F recently and as always, they brought it to Liberty Wildlife for care. The details are a bit murky, but somebody found him and held him for 10 days or so, feeding him buffalo meat. One of the main dangers of untrained individuals trying to care for injured/orphaned raptors is that their nutritional requirements are not as obvious as most people think. “They eat animals, so let’s feed him meat,” is the normal, but totally inadequate plan. Lean meat is only a part of what they need, providing only protein and fat. The calcium they require for rapid bone development is obtained by eating the bones of animals, and essential minerals from the organs, etc. Lacking this complete diet, bones develop folding fractures and cannot support their own weight. Hopefully, this little guy can survive with our help. More to come…
Last year, three baby bald eagles hatched at the Orm nest. Soon after, the nest watchers determined that the chicks were in trouble. AZG&F extracted all three and brought them to Liberty for evaluation and treatment. It was determined that an unknown species of tick was attacking the baby eagles, not through exsanguination, but through paralysis from their toxin. Eventually, all three little eagles died. The tree was treated for infestation and the parents tried again this year, again hatching three chicks. Once again, trouble surfaced and the babies were again rescued. Two died in quick succession and over 400 ticks were removed from one of the little birds. The third one, however, responded to treatment and yesterday was inserted into a foster nest for adult care.
The death of the condor that came in recently was certainly painful for all of us at Liberty. The one bright spot is that the second condor who was flown down by Tim via helicopter is doing well. This bird provided blood for the one that died, and he will receive treatment for his own issue until he can be released back north of the Canyon.
A couple of weeks ago, this little baby GHO was rescued from a chimney where he had gotten stuck. His growing feathers were all smudged and black from soot in the firebox but otherwise he was fairly healthy. When he was first placed outside with his new foster parents and siblings, they were not quite sure what to make of this stranger with the dark feathers. Sometimes, it’s tough being new and different at the same time!