This is all about the places we go…or more precisely, the places our message goes. Our blog goes around the world, our newsletter travels far and wide and our annual report is plastered both nationally and internationally. Plainly, our educational message has stretching tentacles that continue to impress me.
One great venue to spread the word is our monthly trek to Clarkdale when Sonora rides the Verde Canyon Railroad. She has a couple of regular handlers on the train, and Jan and Joe are often the human mechanisms that help her strut her stuff….Max, Claudia and friends also help in this endeavor but whoever the human is they will testify to her global stretch.
We have had visitors from England so intrigued by her presence that they have arranged private tours at Liberty to see the rest of the work we do….and the message goes back across the pond with them. It might be a traveler from Germany who is taken with her and through personal missives lets us know of the impact she made on their lives and experiences in the “new world”. Japan, China, or the near east riders/ visitors have had their photos taken with Sonora and her handler….not to mention all of the near flung folks who awe at her beauty.
She has become the darling of many a Facebook page, and I am convinced that many newlyweds, octogenarian birthday celebrators, and holiday visitors have pictures on their mantles in whatever location that they traveled from…..’cause what could be more impressive than a photo memory of you and Sonora and her handler.
The going joke at Liberty is trying to figure out how many mantles, memory books, and cell phones that Joe, Max, Claudia, or other handler’s mugs appear on….as sidekicks to Sonora….what a rock star!
But, the important thing here is that she is the vessel for exporting very important things. She is the message in the bottle that somehow finds its way to foreign lands. The glorious trip on the Verde Canyon RR through the canyon allows riders from a variety of lands to see not only the splendor of the habitat but more often than not….a bald eagle in the wild. The naturalists on the train can point out the critical aspects that make the canyon so desirable and the close encounter with an actual bald eagle hammers the message home about the importance of protecting both the species and their critical habitat. You just can’t have the experience without being changed by it.
How lucky we all are to be able to be a part of this educational experience. Our thanks go out to the wonderful people at the Verde Canyon Railroad for allowing us the opportunity to educate folks from near and far about the beauty and benefits of our national symbol, the bald eagle!
This Week at Liberty
The intake total for the year is now 1715.
The activity level is big, but the rate of increase is slowing somewhat (Doesn’t THAT sound like something you’d hear from the Federal Reserve…?) Babies keep showing up, and the temperature keeps inching up, hitting near 109 in some areas yesterday. But as the eggs hatch, and the intake window doorbell keeps buzzing, the volunteers keep a good thought and through dedication to these small creatures that could not survive without them, the work goes on.
On Tuesday afternoon (better know as “Vet Night”), the work began as this harris’ hawk had shown enough progress that he got a band and then moved to an outside enclosure. This is the next big step towards release!
Another Canada goose with a serious leg problem is in treatment. He’s made some progress but due to their heavy “footprint,” leg and foot problems can be dangerous for geese and similar waterfowl. Also, having the proper surface for them to walk on is also critical for healthy legs and feet.
An attractive swainson’s hawk who came up from the Sierra Vista area via a relay from our friend Christy Van Cleve and Carol Suits also made some progress in his treatment last week. He was unable to fly when he came in and the cause is unknown. He was treated for canker and seemed to respond and is now in an outside enclosure. He is a beautiful example of his type and hopefully will make it to release soon.
The little roadrunner that has been with us is still presenting some difficult symptoms. His condition is guarded and although he is growing, he is showing signs of some neurological damage of unknown origin that is very difficult to diagnose and treat.
OK, so I use too many shots of people feeding cute round tail ground squirrels and bunnies getting fed. I plead “GUILTY!” And as long as these little guys insist on being so darned cute, I’ll keep using the shots I get…
We keep getting new ravens from nest moves and tree trimmings so the number of juvies of all sizes keeps growing. This bunch is now big enough to be out of the brooder and is now in one of the cages in the ICU. Still being fed by volunteers using camouflage and forceps, the task is easier since the targets are so much larger!
This baby hummingbird is a little tougher to feed as the tube we use id tiny. Still, who knew baby hummers would actually “gape” when they are hungry?
I was lucky enough to get these shots (and a short video) of these two little quail as they hatched last week. It was a struggle to get free of the shell that sustained them for the last few weeks, but they made it and now face to real world and all it holds for them. Hopefully, we are giving them a good start!
And just because it was a cool picture, I got this on of our two Gila monsters having a meal of raw egg and vitamins. One of two venomous lizards in the world (that we know of), the Gila is a true example of the type of animal that evolved to survive in the desert.