This Week at Liberty November 28, 2011

Hoots, Howls, and Hollers

Recently I wandered into my office only to find the black screen of death on my computer.  I tried all of my tricks (That would be turning the computer off and on.) and when that maneuver failed I resorted to calling for help.  Our IT rescuer, Cliffie, tried to stay positive and agreed to try his magic.  The long and the short of it is that my computer was declared dead.  While it was a bit aged, I wasn’t ready to face this abrupt change to my daily existence.  Ready or not didn’t matter….a new computer loomed with all of the difficulties following it like apparitions to haunt and taunt me….gremlins that  circled around me and screamed adapt, change, or else.

I had been pretty happy with my simple little Windows XP, although when I think back I had the same angst when I moved to that new operating system and remembering that angst gave me hope.  I am now endeavoring to learn Windows 7, and slowly but surely it will come.  All of this, however, made me realize how difficult it must be for wildlife to adapt and change without the help of a wonderful IT person.  For wildlife it is complicated.

Some adaptations for wildlife take generations to occur, but many of them must make changes and adapt to new situations very quickly or they will perish.  Currently migrating birds that have for eons migrated to south Texas are moving their migration destination to New Mexico’s Bosque del Apache.  It could be that last year’s migration wasn’t so successful, reproduction was down, and changes had to be made to improve the situation.  It could be that the migrants sought new and more suitable alternative environments by following other populations of birds, or perhaps arrived earlier or later than usual in hopes of finding what they needed for survival.

Wildlife doesn’t have an easy time adapting to the changes that are necessary.  Populations will be lost because the animal involved is a “specialist” who has arrived at the end of its migration only to find that the flower, seed, insect they depend on has flowered, bloomed or flown away earlier than usual this year.  The “generalist” on the other hand has learned how to adapt more quickly as a regular modus operandi and survives only to become a “pest” to some who don’t appreciate its ability to adapt so well….pigeons, starlings and even some natives like grackles and corvids fall into this category.  But one must give them credit for doing so well at adapting to the curve balls that are thrown at them year after year.

The real key to success often depends on our ability to adapt.  Only some of us have more time than others and better situations in which to make the needed changes.  Maybe survival isn’t about being the strongest or the smartest, but being the best at adapting.

It is easy to look at the need to adapt or change with a jaundiced eye, but another way of looking at it was expressed by C.S. Lewis.  It was something like this….’It may be hard for an egg to become a bird, but it is harder for it to learn to fly while remaining in an egg.  It can’t go on forever being a decent ordinary egg….it must be hatched or go bad.’

I will learn to love Windows 7.

This Week at Liberty

Posted by Terry Stevens

The yearly intake total now stands at 3260.

One of the good things about the slow pace of arrivals this time of year is that it gives our new education volunteers a chance to get to know the Ed birds with minimal distractions. We’ll see some of this activity as well as an update on the golden eagle that came in last week. Press on…!

Anne shows Sara a good technique

Getting acquainted with Frodo

Sandra works with Elliot

Quintus makes a new friend

One part of the training that all education volunteers go through is called Practice Partnering. This is where the volunteer takes a bird that they have not worked with before out of its enclosure and spends some time bonding with the animal so they can learn each other’s behavior.  An experienced volunteer will be there as well to offer tips on handling that particular bird and observing to see that all procedures are followed correctly. It’s a lengthy process, but it leads to great handlers and presenters for the Ed staff! Last week, Sara, Balinda, and Sandra all took some time with Quintus, Elliot, and Frodo as Anne Peyton mentored.


Sharon and Jesse medicate a grebe

Grebes have sharp beaks!

A western grebe made its way to Liberty last week and Sharon and Jesse were on hand in Med Services to assess and treat.  This little guy had a wound on his neck from an unknown source, probably fishing gear or possibly a pellet or BB.  Having feet much like a coot, these water birds have sharp beaks and have no problem using them on volunteers who are trying to help…


Wally helps Jan and Dr. Wyman with the new eagle (Photo by Dave Kendall)

Golden wing gets wrapped (Photo by Dave Kendall)

The new golden resides in the ICU

Art holds the new big bird

A good patient - he'd rather be someplace else!

The golden eagle that Dave brought down from Kingman last week is doing fairly well so far. With just one wing bone broken (see last week’s TW@L) his prognosis is better than most. He is staying inside the ICU until we get some better X-rays and determine his aptitude for further treatment. We’ll keep you updated as his case progresses.


Now for one of the only “commercials” you’ll ever get at TW@L…

The 2012 Liberty Wildlife Calendars are still available! Contact anyone at the facility, or just go to the Liberty on-line store at and order yours now.  They make great Christmas gifts, and they help out the organization.


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One Response to This Week at Liberty November 28, 2011

  1. Susie Vaught says:

    Elliot is always so proud and stands so tall! He is a ‘big’ bird to all that love him!

    What a gorgeous Golden!

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