This Week at Liberty – June 17, 2013

Hoots, Howls, and HollersMegan and Libby

We pride ourselves on good customer service.  The Hotliners go out of their ways to assist the callers, to help them solve their problems, to assist the wildlife in need.  Our Rescue and Transport volunteers drive many miles to make sure someone is there to help the caller with an injured raptor, mammal or the occasional reptile.  And, once again, good customer service prevails.  This is what makes the next situation really difficult for us.

Many of you who drop an animal off at our window, or wait patiently on the side of the road or in your front yard for assistance care desperately about the animal you are saving.  You very normally want to know the outcome of your efforts, and you truly care about what fate befalls this special animal you have helped.  Here’s where our frustration starts.  We passionately want to be able to tell each and every one of you how your wildlife charge is progressing through our system….good customer service all across the board.

But we just can’t do it.  Here’s why.  Your rescue is one of around 4000 animals that we take in every year.  Each animal has an individual protocol for treatment. Each injury or cause for detainment takes a varying amount of time and treatment to hopefully get to the point of release.  The volunteer on the phone, at your front yard, or at the window wants to give you all of the answers, but they can’t.

Once the animal is entered into our books, given a number, set up for diagnosis, given a protocol for treatment, and placed in its enclosure, it becomes impossible for the volunteers to take time to contact you and fill you in on all of the ins and outs of treatment and progress for that particular animal.  As it is, especially during this busy season, no time can be spared; no volunteers can be peeled off the duty “line” to let you know how things are going.  We would be tripping all over ourselves.  We would be losing valuable time better spent caring for 4000 animals.  We don’t have enough phone lines.  We don’t have one person in charge of letting you know….just isn’t possible.

The other thing that is hard for us to do is promise to bring it back to you for release.  Our policy is to take an animal back to the area that it came from, especially if it is an adult.  It could have a mate in the area.  It knows the turf.  It is best to go home, if, that is, home is still a safe place to live.  Sometimes that isn’t the case, and in that situation we release in an area that provides a suitable habitat for that particular species.  That is the best we can do.

As for allowing you to release it…here’s the problem.  Trying to set up all of the releases with individual schedules to contend with is another exercise in frustration.  There just isn’t enough time or volunteer energy to make that happen either.

We truly want to make you happy, to reward you for your compassion, to return your particular animal to you, but it just isn’t possible.

We truly want you to know that we will do the best we can with whatever you bring to us to care for.  We will release it if possible in the best place possible for this particular animal.  We want to provide the best customer service that is in our power to provide….for the animal and for you.  Please understand our limitations, and it is just that…our limitations in time and energy and nothing personal to you.

We truly want you to know that you and the animal are foremost with us.

This Week at Liberty

Posted by Terry Stevens

Posted by Terry Stevens

The intake total is now up to 2135.

A couple of updates on the posting this week, plus some interesting new arrivals. The influx of cooper’s hawks seems to have slowed a bit, and one afternoon, it was actually somewhat calm and quiet around the ICU. We have all learned to appreciate these moments of respite that happen infrequently this time of year, as we all know when the monsoon begins (officially yesterday!) we will again be buried in patients who are injured /displaced by nature’s periodic summertime fury.

The fledger from the San Carlos Res gets better

The fledgling golden from the San Carlos Res gets better

Last week our super-rescuer, Tim Coppage, drove east to pick up this fledgling golden eagle on the San Carlos Reservation. It was first thought the bird had been hit by a car, but besides being very thin and dehydrated, the youngster seems to be structurally intact.  He has so far responded well to treatment and it’s hoped he will be placed in a foster nest soon.


The red-eared slider recovers after surgery

The red-eared slider recovers after surgery

The turtle we saw last week was taken for surgery early in the week. The word is that the procedure went well and the recovery, which might take a few months, is now underway. Being a non-native, this “biological chew toy” will not be released, but will be placed into somebody’s home habitat as a permanent resident companion.


Laura examines another bird from Sierra Vista

Laura and Jan examine another bird from Sierra Vista

The raven gets a green wrap on a leg splint

The raven gets a green wrap on a leg splint

Our friend Christy in Sierra Vista supplied us with another bird this week. This raven was found down south with a leg injury and was rescued and subsequently transported up to Liberty. Presenting a very loose (luxating) joint, the leg was provided a styrofoam splint which was wrapped in place with complimentary green vet-wrap. We must be stylish at all times!


A very dark youthful RTH

A very dark youthful RTH

Jan and Laura work on a pretty, dark barn owl

Jan and Laura work on a pretty, dark barn owl

We seemed to be attracting darker birds this week as a darkly plumed juvenile red-tail and a caramel toned barn owl both were taken in and treated. The huge RTH was especially stunning with brown-black first year feathers from head to talons. The picture shows the first year tail which will be replaced with the characteristic rusty red colored plumes after the yearling molt.


Two tiny nestling cooper's arrive

Two tiny nestling cooper’s arrive

Even baby barn owls suck their thumbs

Even baby barn owls suck their thumbs

Wyatt's foster family (note the dark little guy in the back on the right)

Wyatt’s foster family (note the dark little guy in the back on the right)


Baby quail with sore feet

Baby quail with sore feet

Tiny baby ?



"Please feed me NOW!"

“Please feed me NOW!”  No.3

OK, for all you “power birders” out there, I actually had Nos.1, 2, and 3 identified when I took the photos, but didn’t write them down.  Now, nobody wants to go out on a limb and say definitely what they are, and I’m not going to title them and face the wrath of a thousand (ok, maybe 12…) angry amateur ornithologists by getting them wrong.  Sooo, send your guesses to me at and we’ll see if we can get the right species on the right baby bird!  (The prize will be a mention in next week’s TW@L and an unctuous smile from moi next time I see you at Liberty!)

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4 Responses to This Week at Liberty – June 17, 2013

  1. Megan says:

    I love the word unctuous…I’ll be watching for that look!

  2. Jackie Bukey says:

    When we “rescue/ transport” go out on a call to pick up an animal there sometimes are very uncommon circumstances .
    Sometimes it involves people who have themselves made a commitment to our wildlife.
    An example could be the Middle School Principal who came back to her school (30 miles) at 10pm to let us on the property to pick up a Peregrine Falcon dropped into the mud when a Palo Verde branch broke during a violent hail storm.
    Another could be the Property Manager and Security company who close off an entire floor in a parking garage to protect an area where GHOwls were nested.
    The Middle School Principal wanted to have an Assembly for educational purposes about conservation and the protection of wildlife. This could have been a real opportunity to reach a group of young people…after all, are they not the next ones to take over this enormous job of conservation and protection?
    The Property Manager and Security people have been watching and protecting nesting GHO for a few years…They let the neighbors know about the successful fledglings after they are safely on their way….It is a story they put into the community Newsletter for the neighbors to ‘share’ in the experience. The Manager was wanting to have an Eagle Scout project at Liberty….after all , building and maintenance is his job…I can think of several places that could use work at Liberty that cost nothing…just sayin….
    Anyway, I think the often disregard towards opportunities that can come up via rescue/transport are being passed up as if there is no ‘value’ in our stewardship.
    I know that most releases are probably of little interest to most people. I also know that connections are being missed by not allowing follow up for some releases. The Public gets more excited on a personal level when they are shown appreciation for their part in the work done here. After all….could we not use a few more volunteers?
    In my 4 years of doing rescue/transport I have asked to be involved in 3 releases so that the people who found our injured friends, could see that there is a purpose in their making the call to Liberty….
    I am not ignorant to the extra steps that are required to make it happen….sometimes it would be worth the coordination to fulfill some situations. after speaking up, I hope I am not going to get an unctuous smile when I show up at my Tuesday shift in Orphan Care….

    • Megan says:

      First, thanks for your commitment to wildlife. But, there is so much I don’t understand of this comment…. particularly the part about “there is no value in our stewardship. What exactly does that mean? I would love to talk to you off line and at any time would value hearing what you have to say that might make things better. And, the unctuous smile was a bit of Terry Stevens humor, which I personally found very funny….I guess Terry and I have the same sense of humor….sorry if you were offended by it!

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