This Week at Liberty June 27, 2011

Hoots, Howls, and Hollers

For most people the “Front Door” of Liberty Wildlife is the Hotline.  This arm of Liberty mans the phones 91 hours a week—they are monitored 13 hours a day seven days a week for 365 days a year from 8:00 in the morning until 9:00 at night.  Messages can be left after hours and will be picked up first thing in the morning.  At this time of the year we are averaging 500 calls a week.  If there is a particular weather event like heavy winds the calls can double in a shift.

There are phone shifts all day long.  Some are two hours, some three and some four.  Let’s look at a three hour phone shift.  On a day last week a three hour shift monitored by Pam took in 38 calls…..just intake…..some of those calls are for information only, some are for animals needing help that can be brought in by the public….but some of them require rescues.  In a typical three hour shift three of the calls will likely be for animals needing rescuing.  That is where things get interesting.

Traditionally each call for a rescue spawns 8 to 10 calls to locate a rescue volunteer home, available and able to go on a rescue.  So, let’s say there is one rescue call an hour for 91 hours a week times the 10 calls needed to secure a successful rescue is 910 calls….outgoing.  That makes 500 incoming calls to the Hotline and 910 outgoing calls from Hotline Volunteers to Rescue/Transport Volunteers….These are hard working folks who are trying to help wildlife and the public all day every day.

With all of this in mind, I want to tell you about my own personal experience with the Hotline this week.  It started when a supporter of Liberty Wildlife found a bird that needed help.  She called the Hotline and was frustrated by what she thought wasn’t a clear message.  I got the feedback, and we decided to make some changes in our hotline message to better serve the public’s needs when calling in for help.

We rewrote the message and the voice of Liberty, Tony and his melodious voice, re-recorded the message.   I called in to hear how it all sounded and if it would meet the needs, listened to everything and hung up without leaving any message.

Now keeping in mind how busy the Hotline is, I got a call later that day from Pam who had seen my number as a call in and even though I didn’t leave a message (and she didn’t recognize my number) she called me back to make sure that I had gotten an answer or found a solution to whatever the problem was that initiated the call.  I was so impressed!  It wasn’t like she didn’t have 30+ other calls to deal with and rescuers to send out, but she took the time to try to solve a problem if it still needed a solution!!!

Just a note….if you call with an emergency please know how hard we are working to get a solution for you.  If you have left a message, try to keep your line open so that we can call back.  This is a very, very dedicated group of amazingly hard working volunteers who go beyond the call to help.  I personally applaud each of you, Hotline Volunteers, for all that you do.

Hotliners, know how important you are to the wildlife you help rescue and to the folks calling who also need rescuing.

This Week at Liberty

posted by Terry Stevens

The intake total for the year is now at 1972.

Although this will definitely go down in history as the “Week of the Cooper’s Hawk,” we really took in a variety of creatures to treat, and continued to care for lots of others who have been here for some time. One actually brought himself in to the facility! The work goes on, and the animals all get help, which is, after all, what it’s always all about.

Juvenile black-crowned night heron is treated

Toba and Anna wrap a duck’s foot

The water fowl contingent is always higher in the spring, so it seems. And since it’s now officially ‘summer,’ some of these little birds should be relaxing a bit on the breeding behavior. Of course, you can’t tell them that! This young BCNH is doing well, as is the duck with an injured foot. As usual, we don’t often get ducks as they are on the fringe of the “migratory species” we are chartered to do, but nothing is ever turned away out of hand at Liberty so this little guy gets the same loving care as all the other birds…


Sharon prepares to “tag” a young GHO

“It’s all in how you look at it…”

Believe it or not, we’re still getting in baby great horned owls! Although they are the earliest nesting raptors in north America, our climate is conducive to extended breeding so until it gets really hot (like this week!), we get in late arriving kids. The little barn owl is one we got in from another facility and was hopelessly imprinted when he arrived. His future now lies on the road of education, so the kids in the area will get to meet another good example of this well adapted bird.


One of four acorn woodpeckers to arrive

We took in four little acorn woodpeckers last week (well, at least four) and they are all doing well at this point. Fed meal worms and other healthy items, they will have a better chance here than in the wild trying to survive tree trimming and other human activities which cause them problems.


“I’m not enjoying this…!”

The beautiful little peregrine that came in with electrical burns to his wing and foot in March is still in the ICU. The wing is getting better but his foot is very slow in healing. This is one of the many problems faced by animals with electrical burns.  The damage is deep and prevents rapid healing, sometimes not even presenting all of the injury for weeks after the original incident. He’s probably getting tired of the routine, but hopefully he will start to heal more now that the full extent of the burned tissue is known.


Art examines one arrival

Another baby cooper’s hawk

One more checks in

A welcomed bite to eat

A future “avian specialist”

On one day last week, we logged in eight baby cooper’s hawks! And most were from separate nests all around the Phoenix area. I rescued two from the same back yard nest just north of Liberty in Scottsdale and wound up with scratches all over my head from multiple attacks from the angry, protective mom who strafed me repeatedly while I apprehended her babies. Add in another 2 from the Ahwatukee area and a few more from around town, and we had a record day/week in the world of the cooper’s hawk.


Jan and Anna work to save an injured gopher snake

For a long time, there has been a very large (around 6 feet) gopher snake living around the complex at Liberty. He was targeted for relocation but last week a large snake fitting his description showed up right outside the door.  The snake had sever head injuries of unknown origin and almost appeared to be trying to admit himself for treatment. Many snakes are killed by the public simply because they are snakes, even though most are not only harmless to people, but beneficial by their very presence in the environment. Jan and Anna worked gently but with purpose as they tried to save the life of this obviously older reptile, but his injuries were too extensive. From his size, he had lived a long life, but within hours, he died from his injuries, quietly and in a safe environment provided by Liberty. Sometimes, that’s all we can do…

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