This Week at Liberty – July 15, 2013

Hoots, Howls, and HollersMegan and Libby

Picture this.  You look out your kitchen window and your beloved (fill in the blank, but it could be dog, cat, or neighbor’s favorite pet) is running through the yard with something no longer living in its mouth.  You can’t let this go so you charge out the door to catch your beloved and wrench from its mouth the remains of the treasure it has found somewhere in the yard.  And, to your horror it is a rat and you know your old beloved couldn’t have stalked it down, caught it and killed it….just didn’t happen that way at all.

You dispose of the remains.

Then a day or two later, you notice another newly dead rat…maybe a pack rat, maybe a roof rat, maybe just plain ole rattus rattus…all dead, all in your yard, all for no apparent reason.

In a conversation with your neighbor over the backyard fence you hear complaints about the rat population….and the pieces click together.  Someone in the neighborhood is taking the problem into his own hands and is fighting back with rodent poison.

It is my prayer that you got there in time.  You successfully removed the poisoned rat from your pet’s mouth and carefully disposed of it….but another neighbor might not have been so observant, may not have been so lucky, may not have intervened in time.  They may have found themselves with a very sick animal who may or may not have survived secondary poisoning.

Bits of this scenario happened this past week in a beautiful upscale neighborhood not far from me.  No doubt the perpetrators thought they were helping the problem.  They thought because the instructions were followed that all would be well….Well, no, that isn’t the case.  What often happens is that secondary poisoning results and the fate that befell the rat, could befall the unsuspecting innocent…a slow death of internal bleeding.

If you must kill rodents, do it humanely, not by causing it to slowly bleed to death internally.  I don’t make killing things a habit, but because we have sort of interfered with the natural balance of things, it becomes necessary to inch back towards a balance in my yard or home.  If we had encouraged the co-existence of predators, the owls, coyotes, foxes, hawks, snakes, they would do the balancing for us…but alas, this hasn’t been the case.

If you have to do it, use a snap trap.  You can buy good, sturdy mouse and rattraps that are easy to load and unload and the unfortunate rat never knows what hit it….it might be even kinder than being caught in the talons of a determined predator.  No poison is involved.  No two weeks of slow death as the poor rat slowly wanders around in a dying mode.  No opportunity for your beloved to be lured into the delicacy of a dead and stinky toy.  No opportunity for secondary death by poison.

Poisoning…just stop it…rodent control…Just snap it! Or better yet, let the professionals, the owls, the hawks, the foxes, the coyotes, the snakes do the job they are hardwired to do.

For more information on this topic see this month’s Nature News out later this month.

 

This Week at Liberty

Posted by Terry Stevens

Posted by Terry Stevens

The intake total for the year is now at 2767.

Although we’re still getting orphans in for the volunteers in OC, some of the babies are now growing up and will be going outside (some even getting released!) We got a cool orphan from Christy down in Sierra Vista last week, plus a very cute mammal orphan that stayed with us a few days before moving on to another facility for more juvenile care. Several of the baby cooper’s hawks that dropped on us in the past few weeks area now getting big enough to move outside, and the pelican went back to San Diego last Wednesday.  Let’s see how it all happened…

Rene gets ready to feed some ravens

Rene gets ready to feed some ravens

We’ve had several volunteer interns from other lands (Germany, Holland, etc.) over the past few months and they have all been wonderful additions to our team.  Last week, one of our Dutch volunteers, Rene Lems, finished his tour and has returned across the pond.  On one of his last days, I finally got a good shot of him as he prepared to feed some of our orphan ravens. Ga u goed en veel succes, Rene!

Steffen and Jackie working in OC

Steffen and Jackie feeding baby birds in OC

Another of our long-distance interns is Steffen, from Germany.  He does a full time shift starting each day in Daily Care, having some lunch, and then doing Orphan Care in the afternoon.  All of these interns seem to have great work ethics and always have a smile for the animals and the other volunteers.

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The pelican gets ready to go back to the coast

The pelican gets ready to go back to the coast

Our first wayward brown pelican went on a US Airways flight to San Diego last week. The bird had a mostly healed wing injury and a broken femur indicating he had not been having a good time since he left the ocean. Hopefully he will recover and join his friends in the Pacific soon.

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Pre-fledgling goshawk

Pre-fledgling goshawk

Our friend Christy van Cleve in Sierra Vista sent this beautiful little goshawk to us after the bird had been found out of a nest that still held a couple of siblings. Since we don’t have any foster parent goshawks, we’ll try to move this little bird out as soon as possible so it can be released in an appropriate area.

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Barn owl goes outside

Barn owl goes outside

Injured GHO improves

Injured GHO improves

Beautiful - and vocal!

Beautiful – and vocal!

The owl intakes have dropped off a bit, but we still have several barn owls and GHO’s in our care.  These two barnies are doing well, showing us why their banshee screams probably helped generate some ghost myths in days past. And the young great horned owl also seems improved and is hopefully on the road to release.

This little cooper's doesn't look happy

This little cooper’s doesn’t look happy

Joanie and Jan wrap a cooper's

Joanie and Jan wrap a cooper’s

A little cooper's hawk gets weighed

A little cooper’s hawk gets weighed

The spate of baby cooper’s and sharp-shinned hawks we got in not long ago are growing up and now with their first real plumage replacing their natal down, they are looking more like the apex predators they will be someday soon.  Except for their pretty light blue eyes, they look much like the adults of their species, and are acquiring the “attitudes” of older birds, i.e., “If it moves, foot it!”

Handsome little HaHa fledgling

Handsome little HaHa fledgling

One of our local common raptors, this pretty little harris’ hawk fledgling is growing big and strong in our care. He will be another candidate for release in a few weeks, joining other youngsters as they learn the job of Arizona airborne hunter.

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As cute as they come

As cute as they come

Baby skunk chows down

Baby skunk chows down

Finally this week, most people wouldn’t think of getting near a skunk of any age or size, but then they haven’t seen this little cutie. An apparent orphan, this tiny striped skunk came in dehydrated and thin but since our staff knows the secret to safely handling these little stinkers, we were able to give him what was needed without seeing the tail go up!  He was fed and given fluids and when he was transferred to SWWL for further orphan care, he was in great shape.

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