“If you don’t make a total commitment to whatever you are doing then you start looking to bail out the first time the boat starts leaking. It is tough enough getting the boat to shore with everybody rowing let alone when a guy stands up and starts putting his life jacket on.” Lou Holtz
Making a commitment to volunteer at Liberty Wildlife or any other place is more than just saying you want to do something to help. It is a promise to the job, to the animals in your care, to your co-workers, to the organization, to the mission, but most of all it is a commitment to self. There is nothing more fulfilling than saying you are going to do something and sticking with it through thick or thin.
This time of year, at Liberty Wildlife, the thick or thin is pretty obvious and those with the true commitment gene rise to the occasion….leaky boat or not. When I drive into the parking lot and see the number of cars and the array of volunteers it totally warms my heart.
There are the educational volunteers who are patiently working with the educational birds……consistently taking them through their planned training programs. It happens every day of the year, rain or shine, hot or cold, windy or not. That is commitment.
Then there are all of the “seasonal” volunteers who come in to care for the unfortunate animals who have become orphaned through no fault of their own, and while we all agree staying with native moms and dads is the best possible world, it is not always the reality. It is never easy to come in and see that a baby you have been nurturing didn’t make it, and you are faced with a lifeless body….but there are others to care for so you stop for a minute, acknowledge the loss and move forward…that is commitment.
Another sign of a leaky boat happens when the fly traps come out for the season. The “pesty” time of year is starting in full bloom…it might be mosquitoes, it might be flies, it might be mice, and it might be other assorted insects that make our lives miserable….but the daily care volunteers must take care of their charges….that is commitment.
And, let’s not forget the increase in numbers of phone calls and rescues….they each must be answered, dealt with and concluded……..that is commitment.
For all of you who have made the commitment to something, hopefully to assist Liberty Wildlife’s mission and to those of you considering it….Don’t let that person standing up in the boat zipping up the life jacket be you. Instead row with your team to shore. Everyone depends on you….everyone and everything. Live your commitments whatever they are. You will be better for it and so will all of those on the receiving end, co-workers or critters.
This Week at Liberty
The current intake total for the year now stands at 1189.
A very busy week with LOTS of new orphans and babies showing up. A few older patients got to go outside and a couple new mammals joined the rehabbing crew. So let’s see what’s what in this week’s update…
OK, it’s not JUST for orphans any more… We still have some injured animals that are not orphans and they are still getting the best treatment possible. A dark barn owl and a pretty GHO both got to make the nest big step towards release and were moved to outside enclosures. Another patient (a small screech owl) got his wing unwrapped and is making slow progress towards the same goal. And our old buddy, Apache, our senior golden eagle, got some new “footwear” from Max and Jan as his old jesses and anklets were getting stiff from age and exposure to heat and water. He deserves the best!
This baby killdeer exemplifies what it means to be a “precocial” baby bird. These little birds come out of the egg looking like tiny versions of their adult parents. They feed themselves from day one and rely on their parents only for protection, training, and some warm comfort as they face the world.
So here’s the other baby bird – the “altricial” type. These little guys emerge from their eggs featherless and with their eyes closed, unable to do almost nothing for themselves except eat and… the byproduct of eating! Their parents (or volunteers in our case) feed them, protect them, and keep them warm while they grow.
Three orphan screech owls are now in our care. These three little birds each have such different personalities they are amazing to watch as they interact with each other – and the volunteers!
OK, so raptor babies are both as cute as can be – and have faces only a mother – or some dedicated Liberty Wildlife volunteers – could love! Before an orphan is placed outside with a set of foster parents, they are thoroughly examined for injury or illness and only progress to the next step when they are healthy enough.
Sometimes the orphans come in with injuries on top of the fact that they are separated from their parents. One little GHO fledgling found himself full of cholla spines which, while breaking his fall, caused lots of painful impalements. The little barn owl and the GHO above both sustained injuries from their falls from their nests. Good thing young bones heal quickly!
The baby round-tailed ground squirrels are doing fine and have been given a synthetic habitat as they grow up. Soon they will be able to be released and will join their friends and relatives in the wide, wide world!
Last week someone found a small orphan gray fox in the ASU stadium. No trace of the mother was seen, and since he was just passed the weaning stage, he was brought in to Liberty. He was immediately named “Sparky” after the ASU mascot, and we provided him with lots of good, tasty food – and he provided us with lots of good photos before being transferred to SWW. (Everyone wanted to keep him!))