I have applauded our education group for the numbers of venues, programs and people touched in a year. They have also driven miles a plenty…in fact enough miles to travel back and forth to Paris, or to walk 85% of the way around the earth at the equator, or to travel back and forth 30 times to San Diego from Phoenix. It was 916 hours of scheduled programs and 796 hours traveling to programs….21, 128 miles just between Liberty Wildlife and the destination…not counting the time and distance traveled between the volunteer’s home and Liberty Wildlife!
Then there are all of the facts and information imparted to our “students”. Take the following story from John for example. One of our teams presented to a third grade class at Anasazi school. After unloading the birds at Liberty John went out for some lunch before finishing his time feeding the eagles. Upon arriving back at Liberty at about 4:00 he noticed a young girl, Tori, with her whole family talking to Anne, another education volunteer. Anne had spoken to her and found out that she knew quite a bit about some of the birds. When she asked how Tori knew so much about falcons she said. “Max and John were at our school today and brought Ace (one of our educational Peregrine Falcons) which is the fastest animal in the world.”
By this time John recognized her as one of the students at the school program that day and Joe Miller who was also engaged in the conversation by now invited her back to watch John feed the eagles…this is sounding convoluted but stick with me.
In the course of the feeding they found out that Tori knew and remembered many things from the presentation earlier that day. Bingo! Success No. One for our educators….and a huge success that scientific facts are presented, absorbed, and correctly used. But the other part of the success, this would be Success No. Two is that while doing her homework outside after school she discovered an injured dove and her awakened compassion kicked in…thus the rescue to help the injured dove. And, yes, there is a Success No. Three….a successful call to action. So the message our groups put forth contains more than just the facts and the meeting of state standards for science education for the third grade. It also includes the message of caring, compassion, connection. And it doesn’t get much better than seeing all of that come together in action designed to make a difference…even if it is “just” a dove.
It doesn’t get much better than that! And, if my guess is correct about our education group, I’ll bet next year’s statistics show them stacking up enough miles to walk all of the way around the earth at the equator, besting the 85% from 2011. Watch out and get out of their way! They have so many important things to teach…many of which don’t often get enough attention…..compassion, ethics, action.
This Week at Liberty
The intake total for the year is now at 48.
It looks like we’re hitting this year running. We’re only two weeks into 2012 and we might top 50 before the day is out. Water fowl, falcons, hawks – you name it, we’re getting them in. In addition to the more common species, a few of the more rare types are also showing up at our facility. Let’s take a peek…
This little humming bird was brought in after a house cat had attacked it. Birds in general are kind of fragile, and hummers even more so. Audubon estimates over 1 billion birds each year are killed by cats. This little guy was probably moving slowly due to the low temperatures and fell victim to a stealthy kitty…
I just got back from flying last week and was pulling in to my garage when the hotline called. I was on my way to Maricopa to meet a man who had an injured hawk that had been found in Stanfield. The unfortunate bird, a young red tail, had some serious head injuries and was having seizures when I picked it up, but it did survive the trip to Liberty. Immediate treatment involved dex, heat, and cage rest. Unfortunately, he failed to respond in a meaningful way and was gently helped over the rainbow bridge.~~~~~~~~~
Most of the ducks we see in the Phoenix area are of the non-migratory mallard type. But the same type of landscape that attracts them also brings in some of the more exotic breeds, like this canvas back duck. A very handsome duck, this little guy seems to be in relatively good shape and with some rest, food, and maybe and X-ray, should be headed back to the wild soon! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
As long as we’re talking about waterfowl, this cormorant came in with an unknown injury. We seem to be getting more of these birds in as time goes by, and when they display breeding plumage, they are striking! (I’m also totally taken with the patterns and texture of bird feathers, so forgive me for including these shots from time to time!)
Last week this young harris’ hawk arrived from a local casino on the reservation. He had flown into a window in an upper story and fell almost 70 feet to the ground. A short trip to Liberty ensued and here he was. He presented no overt trauma but he may take a trip to be X-rayed this week. His prognosis is fairly good.
To start the falcon section this week, this little female kestrel is in our care. Her wing was wrapped earlier and when it was removed, she appeared to have made significant progress. One ID band later, she was on her way outside to acclimate to the ambient climate – one step closer to release! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
An extremely handsome little peregrine came in last week. His presentation was not obvious at first, but he couldn’t fly – according to the intake form. Upon careful examination by Jan and Dr. Wyman, his true injury was discovered: a broken keel and a large hole in his chest. The injury is serious but he’s in the best hands in the world. Dr.Wyman cleaned the wound and he was wrapped and given medicine to prevent infection. Now it will take time to see how well he heals…
And just because he’s so darned cute, a shot of “Spot,” one of our non-releasable burrowing owls. If his personality develops to match his appearance, he will be a great Education bird!