This Week at Liberty August 8, 2011

Hoots, Howls, and Hollers

We plug along, doing what we do as well as we can do it….with integrity, perseverance and dedication.  We ready animals for release back into the wild whenever possible.  The magical moment when we let an animal go, is almost always with “a prayer” and the hope that we will never have to see the animal again….in rehab that is.  We don’t band everything anymore for a lot of reasons, and it is only high profile and scientifically critical animals that get banded and radioed with telemetry….such as bald eagles.  This banding provides us with information that helps us all learn how to do what we do better.

Occasionally we get results of animals that have been found years later that were banded and the band traced to time at Liberty Wildlife. We are always interested to see where they ended up, how long they survived in a tough world, and any other information that can be garnered from their situation.

And then there are times when we just want to celebrate.  This recent e mail was sent to us by Kyle McCarty, Bald Eagle Field Projects Coordinator for the AZ Game and Fish Department.  Its subject line was “One for the win column”.  Please read the note below and celebrate a success with us.  I remember this release, the photographs that Terry Stevens took of the eagle skimming the lake leaving it’s reflection in the water as a final goodbye, most likely fleeing our cheers from the shore.  How cool that he is alive and well and entertaining folks in Mesa.  Apparently his hard wiring for hunting kicked in, and he is one of the low percentages that make it to adulthood!

I feel elated.


“While going through some photos from this year’s bald eagle season, I noticed that we received a photo from the public of a near-adult bald eagle at a retirement community in Mesa this past January. In 2007, this bird (blue band 21 over C) was an eagle that had just fledged from Needle Rock breeding area on the lower Verde River and was rescued and taken to Liberty Wildlife on May 20, 2007, apparently for elevated liver enzymes (?). We released it during a media event at Roosevelt Lake on December 6, 2007. With help from Liberty we had placed a tail-mounted radio transmitter on this bird in order to track it after release and it disappeared I think about a week later. Forest Service helped with tracking.

This is one of those rare cases where we learn the fate of a young/fledgling bird that had no hunting experience in the wild prior to being released. Thanks to Liberty’s care we get to put this one in the ‘win’ column.”

This Week at Liberty

Posted by Terry Stevens

The intake total is now at 2700.

Well, believe it or not, things are slowing down – just a little! The rate buzzer sounds at the window and the “tingle” each time the hotline phone rings is incrementally smaller each week now, so we can tell we are s-l-o-w-l-y approaching the end of the baby bird season for 2011. BUT, we’re not out of the woods yet, and this post will be  a little short as I have to prepare for shipping 8 pelicans to Sea World tomorrow morning!

But, we’re still getting in babies of all types and some old patients are still in our care, so let’s press on with this week’s update…

Baby bunny gets a drink

OK, I’ve said it before: rabbits breed like – rabbits! We’re still getting in newly borne cottontails so the brooders will stay busy for a while.  Some of the little guys don’t like the formula they get, but they al seem hungry enough so eventually they all eat. Still, if cuteness were marketable, we’d be the richest outfit in the valley!


Baby night hawks growing up

The baby night hawks are growing rapidly and are also high on the “cuteness” scale. These little gapers enjoy the meal worms and attention they get and hopefully will soon be out and devouring mosquitos by the ton!


Fledgling ash-throated flycatcher

Another not-so-usual visitor to the orphan care area is this ash-throated flycatcher. The bird seems happy to be in such good care and the wonderful Orphan Care volunteers are thrilled to have something out of the ordinary to feed and care for.


Two young muscovy-mix ducks

OK, I have to keep saying, WE DON’T TAKE IN NON-NATIVES, but we also don’t turn anything away out of hand.  These little muscovy mix ducks found their way to us and have already been placed with a local person who will maintain them as they grow older. (When we found out they are supreme fly catchers, it was suggested we keep them at Liberty, but since our neighbors – the HaHa family – might find them irresistible, we thought better of it!) They will be joining AFLAC the duck in leaving the facility shortly.


An injured GHO is examined

Dr. Wyman checks another owl wing for progress

Even though we got in some interesting visitors lately, we still deal primarily with the usual suspects, RTH’s, GHO’s, and HaHa’s.  Two little GHO patients got examined by Jan, Dr.Wyman, Toba, Sharon, and the rest of the Tuesday ‘Vet Night’ squad last week.


Tri-colored wrap for a haha

New blood feathers coming in

HaHa gets a beak trimming

We seem to have our usual plethora of harris’ hawk patients this summer. Electrical injuries appear to top the charts, with auto collisions and general emaciation rounding out the top three reasons we see HaHa’s. The bird that had the tip of one wing amputated is already growing new feathers on the site of the amputation – a good sign! And the bird with the Schroeder-Thomas splint also appears to be improving and has been given a less “exotic” apparatus to hold his mending leg in place.


A common view of a least bittern

So when I said that the least bittern we got in recently was a rare occurrence, What I really meant to say was that it’s usually rare – is that an oxymoron or what?  So, as luck would have it, we got in another one this week! Like his cousin, this one was mostly uninjured, but just happened to find himself in an inappropriate spot. After a little fattening up, he too will be released in better surroundings. (This picture shows their “I’m not a bird – I’m a reed!” pose in which they point their beaks skyward and watch for threats with those downward looking eyes while trying to blend in with their riparian shoreline habitat!)

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One Response to This Week at Liberty August 8, 2011

  1. Art Smith says:

    Thanks for getting the Pelicans on their way Terry. Wonderful critters and they are very lucky that they end up at Liberty as one of the interium stops in getting back to the Pacific. Hope they enjoy the plane ride……….Art

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