I am trying to embrace the heat…. searching for any and all of the positives about 114 degree weather with blistering sun and climbing humidity. I have given myself quite a task.
Here’s what I have come up with so far. I get up an hour earlier to exercise and walk my dogs before the pavement and ambient temperature make it impossible. As a result, I have a longer time the rest of the day to be productive. On the weekends, instead of yard work and being out of doors most of the time, I am encouraging myself to de-clutter, paint the baseboards, clean a closet, and other indoor activities put off the rest of the year (mostly because they are so odious to me!). And, I have no guilt about going to a matinee in the hottest part of a weekend day.
But, when I think of all of these lame reasons to embrace the heat, what really stands out to me has to do with a recognition of the toughness of people…particularly those who work at Liberty Wildlife. Some things have to be done out of doors in the heat and humidity. Every day when I arrive there the Daily Care outside team is raking, cleaning, emptying and refilling water bowls for their charges. They are re-supplying the food and making sure everyone is ok. And, Art is building the new, badly needed enclosures all day. This should only be done early, but it still takes a while, and it is still hot and humid. What I really I embrace is their toughness, dedication, and compassion.
The Hand Feeding team is there every day to maintain the training of the education ambassadors. They bring them out of the enclosures to weigh them, prepare the food, feed and work with them to maintain the consistency needed for such excellent avian teachers and to continue to build the bond that allows handler and bird to present seamlessly to over 70,000 people a year. During the summer while this is happening, it is always hot, stinky and “pesty”. These people are tough, dedicated and compassionate, and because of the conditions they must work in, I embrace them.
The Rescue and Transport team has no control at all over when they will be called to help an animal in need, and trust me, it is most often in the middle of the afternoon in an empty field with stickers and obnoxious things that scratch and cling to them. Or, it could be in a swampy, slimy body of warm water that holds a creature too crippled to escape…nothing to do but wade into it and rescue the injured coot…However, some people are beyond tough, dedicated and compassionate…they are super prepared.
Here’s that story from Lora, Hotline Volunteer, who e mailed to say it all:
Janya called me to tell me the people you sent there (new Rescue and Transport volunteers), Joe and Rhonda actually BROUGHT A KAYAK to complete the rescue. WOW, THAT IS SOMETHING!!! Janya wants to help you and may call to find out how. Every week I am more and more impressed with the quality and caring of the people at Liberty. You have an amazing team. Impressed to the Max, Lora.
All of this happens in the hot and humid summer. I do embrace the summer for allowing the opportunity to recognize and applaud the toughness, the dedication and the compassion that is rampant at Liberty Wildlife during these trying times. For no one there escapes the travails of summer.
This Week at Liberty
The intake total for the year is now at 2210.
Another HOT week at the facility, with temps reaching upwards to 110 and more. The volunteers that continue to show up for work in this environment are phenomenal in their dedication to the desperate little animals that arrive needing help. As always, I am in awe of that level of commitment! Daily Care, Orphan Care, Medical Services, Rescue & Transport, Hotline, Owl Team – all the various groups have to put up with the heat, smell, flies, and ants that are a part of summer at Liberty Wildlife. Hats off to you all! Now let’s look at this week…
Our Orphan Care team is not squeamish about handling food for the baby birds, even if it is boxed meal worms! Here we see two volunteers scooping the large larvae from the box to a cup for feeding to the species that qualify as the “early birds” who always get the worm!
This little flicker hitched a ride in the pocket of Susie’s apron as she works her shift in the OC area. Imprinting does not seem to be a problem for the passerines as it might be for the raptor babies.
Talk about inventiveness! Since we always seem to have a large outbreak of flies in the summer time, some of the volunteers in the ICU carry fly swatters around for dispatching these airborne pests. They are then collected and placed in a water-filled dish for use as food for the insect eating birds in our care. Result: fewer flies, more food, less cost!
This little baby gladly accepts food from one of our dedicated OC volunteers. Full training in the care and feeding of the various species is provided to the volunteers who only need to have a desire to help – and a few hours a week! (Yes, it’s another recruitment ploy – contact Carol at firstname.lastname@example.org )
The goal in almost all cases is to get birds to move into an outside enclosure – a major step on the road to release. This week, this fuzzy little female kestrel made the move as she got her yellow ID band and went out to a flight cage to meet the world – and a dozen other kestrels!
This young great blue heron was steadfastly protecting a smaller bird, possibly a sibling, when he was rescued. His wing is not in good shape, but work – and hope – continue.
So is a one-footed roadrunner totally out of luck? Not really, especially if he A), has enough of a leg left to support his weight evenly, and B), is lucky enough to be brought to Liberty wildlife for treatment. Dr. Wyman expertly stitched up the stump where his toes would be and this otherwise healthy bird will hopefully adapt to life with one foot.
One of the young RTH’s in our care has a broken leg and was a good candidate for a special splint called a “Schroeder Thomas” which supports the weight of the bird while allowing the leg to remain unstressed. As always, young bones heal fast so we’ll watch him closely as he recovers. (Within minutes of these pictures, he was already trying to stand in his cage – a very good sign!)
Dr. Wyman was on hand this week to closely examine the eye on this goshawk who may have been injured by another bird. A small scratch was found on the eye, but careful treatment should allow a near complete recovery.
With both Jan and Dr.Wyman working with volunteers at “vet night” last Tuesday, the birds and animals were moving through the process two at a time. With the large numbers of intakes this time of year, being able to work through the list in less tab 4 hours is a bonus for both the birds and the volunteers!
The little barn owl who lost his family – and nearly lost his leg – to tree trimmers in Sierra Vista is slowly improving – and growing rapidly. His fuzzy down is disappearing and his leg seems to be healing fairly well. We are guardedly optimistic that there will be a reales in his future!
The little (and this term is an understatement…) elf owl orphan is growing up and losing some of his natal down. Putting on some weight, which is monitored daily, and growing stronger, he is beginning to learn who and what he is.