This Week at Liberty – June 24, 2013

Hoots, Howls, and HollersMegan and Libby

The past week brought some unexpected delights.  I decided to pay attention to the things that made me smile, grin or just out right laugh.  It is easy enough to perseverate on the frustrations of a week, and there can be many. Let me share some nice images, activities, and responses that crept into my awareness this past week—some to do with me and wildlife, some to do with wildlife and others.

  • I had to smile at the vision of 12 baby quail, all 24 little feet flowing across the road as if poured from a water pitcher, led by parents and moving as one over rocks and hillocks to the safety of a brittle bush.  Have you ever noticed how similar the moving covey is to the movement of a school of fish in the ocean or the flock of birds in the air…?
  • I had a call from a local funder to Liberty Wildlife who with her young children had been observing a nest of baby finches outside a window of their home.  Responding to the frantic calls of the mother she saw that one baby had fallen from the nest landing in a hot crack on the pavement.  She called for instructions on what to do.  Yes, you can put it back in the nest.  She boldly scooped up the featherless, helpless, sightless baby and gently returned it to the nest.  She called back with her story of success, a very happy baby and an ecstatic mom finch….a happy nature observer. It worked as planned…YAY!
  • Another call came from Jeannie who is a very traveled friend of mine.  She has seen the wonders of the world…the noted things of beauty people travel miles to see.  She and her also well-traveled husband were swimming in the early evening when a “huge bird flew overhead.”  She was so taken by its size that she started noticing more about it.  What I was so taken by was that instead of focusing on the featherless head of the turkey vulture she noticed the large wings, tipped with graceful primary feathers that performed like fingers at the end of the wings as if they were strumming the air.  The turkey vulture landed gracefully on a limb in the yard and settled down for the night.  To her it was another wonder of the world and her enthusiasm was as worthy as a visit to Stonehenge or the Grand Canyon.  It made me so happy.
  • The burst of color in an otherwise desert drabness as an entire arm of my patio cactus shimmered bright red from the 11 blossoms all opened on the same morning…
  • The undulating appearance of the resident king snake as it cruised along the perimeter of the patio while the small bold verdin bounced from branch to branch screaming at the top of its little tiny lungs alerting everyone in the path of the predator…
  • Lastly, the huge moon resting for a moment in the arms of a saguaro cactus as it moved on its nocturnal journey…perfect timing to create a delightful moment…

Sometimes it seems to be amazingly hard to focus on the things that bring a smile…what works for you?

This Week at Liberty

Posted by Terry Stevens

Posted by Terry Stevens

The intake total for the year is now at 2306.

Believe it or not, we got a couple more cooper’s hawks in this week – one was even an adult! Plus the day-to-day work of maintaining the education birds goes on even though we don’t do shows in the summer (with a couple of notable exceptions, one being the presentation I did for some APS people this morning). One of the most notable events of the past week was the release of the golden eagle that came in recently.  Let’s have a look at what happened…

An adult cooper's hawk comes in

An adult cooper’s hawk comes in

An apparent window collision has caused a broken wing

An apparent window collision has caused a broken wing

Last week one night around 830PM, I got a call from the west side of Scottsdale about an injured hawk.  It was nearly dark when I arrived but I finally found this adult cooper’s hawk that had been on the ground in the back yard for almost a day. Upon discussing the events with the property owners, it came out that they had heard what was probably a window collision prior to the hawk’s discovery. As I’ve said before, this is a common injury with cooper’s as they chase other birds around human habitation. This bird will get X-rayed soon and a better feel for it’s prognosis will come out nest week.


Baby burrowing owls in a foster enclosure

Baby burrowing owls in a foster enclosure

Digger, our foster parent burrowing owl, is doing a great job mentoring a couple of baby BuOws in the artificial burrows we have set up for this purpose. Here we see one of the babies peering out of the burrow (note the blue eyes of the youngster!) he shares with another foster child while they learn the ropes of the burrowing owl world…


"Mm good, mm good, that's what cricket soup is, mm good!"

“Mm good, mm good, that’s what cricket soup is, mm good!”

And the meal worms just add to the delicate flavor of this fine repast for our recovering young birds!


Kyle and Kurt get ready to measure the golden

Kyle and Kurt get ready to measure the golden

Several measurements are taken and recorded

Several measurements are taken and recorded

The dimensions of the beak help determine the bird's gender

The dimensions of the beak help us determine the bird’s gender

A band is then applied

A band is then applied

A special solar powered  tracking transmitter is ready

A special solar powered tracking transmitter is ready

Nothing left to do but wait for tomorrow...and freedom!

Nothing left to do but wait for tomorrow…and freedom!

The little golden eagle that came in from the eastern part of the state a couple weeks ago made a great recovery and last Tuesday the team from AZGFD came out to take measurements and install bands and a tracking transmitter before releasing him the next day. Just recently, the focus of the major eagle study shifted from the bald eagle to the golden as indication seemed to indicate that the golden might be in decline across this habitat. It’s hoped that by weighing, measuring, banding and tracking them as they did for the bald for many years, a better understanding of the condition of the golden eagle population will be gained. I wasn’t able to get any pictures of the release, but the crew said he flew well, and strongly!


Heddy gets new leather gear

Heddy gets new leather gear

I thought this picture of an agitated Hedwig would lighten the day enough to engender one of those smiles Megan was talking about. Heddy came in to the office so Jan and Anne could give her some new anklets and jesses. This equipment is replaced when it gets stiff and brittle through age, exposure to the elements, and the heat of the Arizona climate. It’s never an easy task, and precautions are taken to prevent the bird from both physical harm or psychological trauma although Heddy appears to not enjoy the experience – until after the softer, new leather is in place. Then all is again well in her world!

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3 Responses to This Week at Liberty – June 24, 2013

  1. Peggy Cole says:

    Megan, loved your HH&H … it is amazing how many sights, sounds, and happenings are all around us to make us smile, if we only take the time to notice. Thanks for the reminder.

  2. EdWeigand says:

    How true Megan, every Tuesday morning, today included, we spend time in rehab daily care enjoying each and every bird whether cleaning cages or cutting up frozen food, sweating the heat or frozen hoses in winter and as soon as walk down the Row of mues anticipating whether any new birds have arrived and checking out all my favorites, not be be prejudice but our rehab Osprey along with our GHO’s, Burrowing Owls and Kestrals all top my list. The first thing though is to walk to the far east end of the row where I start and look into the owl enclosure to see the faces of dozens of GHO’s and the foster parents who care for them. At the first light of day in the east, this sight of the spiritual nature of owls and brings chills to me and I feel the spirit of these birds each week as they click and clack at you letting you know they will attack if necessary to protect their young so BE AWARE as the signs indicate. Juvenile ravens not so much at 6:00 am screeching at the top of their lungs attacking for food as you clean their stinky nasty water and food.

    Bottom line I KNOW one great thing will happen every Tuesday morning and I will spend a few hours smiling through it all thanks to you and LW. I will speak for our whole crew that leave with smiles just like me each week.

    Thanks for making a difference to our precious biodiversity of wildlife and to the great people to work with each week.

    • Megan says:

      Ed, your comments make me smile again….it is I who should thank you for your commitment and your astute observations….rock on TuesdayTeam!

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