This Week at Liberty April 9, 2012

Hoots, Howls, and Hollers

Here’s a way many of you can become involved in a scientific study without leaving your neighborhood.  An old friend of Liberty Wildlife, Philip Tarrant, stopped by to see us the other day while checking out a nest of Harris’ Hawks that live next door to us.  He sent the following description of the program he is working with at ASU.  Read the following description of the program and see how you might be able to get involved.

The Central Arizona Phoenix Long Term Ecological Research Project (CAP LTER), based at Arizona State University, studies the effects of urbanization on the arid Sonoran Desert. As part of this project CAP LTER is conducting a nest site study of the various birds of prey (raptors) that choose to nest in and around the Phoenix metropolitan area. In order to locate as many of these nest sites as possible we need the assistance of colleagues and community members.

We are interested in understanding which species are choosing to nest in this area, their spatial distribution, the structures they choose for nest sites, and the physical characteristics of these nest structures. I should stress that this survey is purely observational and will not result in any disturbance to the nesting birds.

If, now that the breeding season is underway you notice nesting raptors in your area, please e-mail (or phone 480-727-7860) the following information to

Description of the nest location (directions, cross streets, GPS coordinates)
Nest structure (cactus, tree, cliffs, building, etc.)
Bird species (if known)
Any additional information that may help us locate the nest site in order to survey the location

Please pass on this request to any other friends or colleagues who might be interested in assisting this initiative.

Thank you for your support.

Philip Tarrant | (480)727-7860
Director, Information Technology Services | CAP LTER Information Manager
Global Institute of Sustainability | Arizona State University

This Week at Liberty

Posted by Terry Stevens

The intake total for the year is now at 372.

The orphaned raptors and other birds are showing up even as we write this.  A red tail got some cool surgery done to his wing, and another one got released.  Plus, we took in a golden eagle last weekend.  Let’s see what happened…


Young thrasher gets a meal

OC: It’s not just for raptors!  We have several smaller cages and enclosures set up in the “Neo-natal” care wing, mostly for all the passerines (perching birds) who need assistance.  They are all fed the proper food for their species – like this little curved-bill thrasher who is an insect eater. Crickets, meal worms, crumble – all the special diets are fed to the babies who don’t eat mice and rodents.

Laura prepares to hand another orphan to Hogan

Sedona and her foster baby

RTH hatchlings

But still, the raptor babies certainly take up a large portion of our time – and budget! The orphan baby GHO’s are coming in regularly as they always do, and as soon as it’s appropriate they are handed to our foster moms, Hogan or Sedona. (Sedona finally allowed me a glimpse of hear latest charge, peeking out from beneath warm, protective feathers.) We also had some of the RTH eggs that arrived a few weeks ago hatch in the incubator! The two little hawks are doing well, even though they lack the skill to clean their faces between meals as yet…


Fractured humerus

Perfect alignment and a pin to hold it in place

And speaking of red-tails, a beautiful hawk arrived last week with a broken humerus (upper-wing bone).  Dr. Orr saw that the break was mid-shaft and the ends were viable, so she took the bird in for X-rays and immediately performed surgery to install a metal pin to hold the bones in perfect alignment while mending.  A lucky bird – it is recuperating now and hopefully will make a full recovery.


Megan gives instructions

A perfect release!

Real freedom at last!

And still more red-tail news… Last January we got a first-year bird from a falconer who had tethered his bird to a ground perch.  The bird broke it’s leg and her owner decided not to get the bird medical help from a vet, instead leaving the hawk for us. The leg was treated and healed well, so last week, the healthy bird got her first real taste of freedom as it was released in an appropriate spot near Phoenix!


Injured golden

Last weekend, we got word that a golden eagle was coming in from up north.  Dr.Orr’s daughter Christine (also an accomplished vet!) brought the bird down to Liberty from the Flagstaff area on Saturday and treatment began.  It appears he may have been involved in an automobile collision, but doesn’t exhibit any overt trauma. He does, however, have an elevated level of lead in his blood, not an uncommon problem among eagles since they tend to use scavenging to supplement their normal food intake. And just like the condors, ingesting fragments of lead bullets is a potentially lethal problem. As we find out more on the bird’s condition and prognosis, we’ll keep you up-to-date!

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2 Responses to This Week at Liberty April 9, 2012

  1. Susie Vaught says:

    It is always wonderful to see one of the birds we helped released and flying free!! Go Red Tail Hawk!

  2. Anne Peyton says:

    Geez…another indicator species with elevated lead in the blood. Just how many sick or dead birds will it take before everyone gets together on this topic to remove lead bullets from our environment? It is extremely naive (and ignorant) for humans to continue down this path. If we can’t seem to agree to remove lead bullets for the health and safety of our wildlife, can’t we at least do it for ourselves?

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