I should look back to past blogs at this time of year to see if I say this every year, but things seem a bit different at Liberty Wildlife. I know we have been busy, and the data proves this statement. We are over 350 animals ahead of where we were this time last year. And, just when we think the orphan season is over…new sets of babies show up.
What is really hinky about this is that we are also starting to see the migrant birds….usually we get a little bit of a break. But, no, the seasons are determined to run together and test the nettle of the best volunteers and staff.
It isn’t just the folks at Liberty who are seeing what seems to be a shift in things natural. Here is a quote from Jen, featured in this blog before. She was a nest watcher for a bald eagle nest in the winter and spring and has now moved to observe Swainsons’ hawks. Here is what she had to say in an e mail to Claudia, our wonderful volunteer:
I am on my last week of work for WY, so I am trying to get things wrapped up here. I am not sure I will get it all done before I go, but I am trying. I am looking forward to being in Delaware and seeing some migration in the coming weeks. I agree that it seems like migration is early this year. I have seen several flocks of lark buntings moving around since July. The Swainson’s hawks here in WY did not get much of a chance to nest with all the bad weather up here in April and May. We only had a couple of active SH nests, so I would not be surprised if a lot of birds headed back to AZ early. No young to worry about so why hang out here where it just keeps raining. It has indeed been crazy weather this summer! Also, a friend commented on the fact that there were no grasshoppers out this year. I heard something about the wet spring may have kept them from reproducing (or something like that). Usually we would have tons of grasshoppers out in late July and August and the Swainson’s would be foraging like crazy. Another reason to head south early — no hoppers to feast on this year. So it will be interesting to see what the migration will be like on the east coast.
From another experienced birder, Keith,
“Later, we observed two groups of SWAINSON’S HAWKS along Sunland Gin Rd, between Pearce and Aries Rds. One group of an estimated 75 was in freshly cut alfalfa fields along Pearce and at least 60 more were along Aries in partially flooded alfalfa fields. Together these two nearby groups added up to 135, a pretty good number for this early in the migration season.
At Liberty we are seeing these changes also. According to Jan Miller, Animal Care Coordinator, “In the last four days we have seen 6 warblers (2 mcGillivery’s, 1 common yellow throat, 2 yellow warbler, 1 yellow rumped). We also received an adult Swainson’s hawk. This is about a month earlier than what we usually see coming in. I can’t tell you when it started last year, but I do know that it has always been more like mid to late September and October when we typically get in these species. We did see a belted kingfisher on the river this past week as well, and that too was early for them to be there. The other weird thing is we are still getting babies. Yesterday we received in 2 nestling egrets. I expect the doves. We have gotten a few of the nestling white wing doves, and they need to grow up quick so that they are ready to migrate out in the fall. I also did get some really young mockingbirds. It’s all a mystery to me. I wonder what they know that we don’t know about the future weather forecast for the winter in the northern climates.
This Week at Liberty
The intake total for the year is now at 3279.
Kind of a short update this week as things are slowing up just a bit and “vet night” was short on Tuesday (and I was ferrying pelicans to the airport and flying when I’m usually taking pictures!) So, for TW@L, I offer a smattering of recent shots taken around the facility, giving a flavor of the activity as the baby bird season wanes, the monsoon (and the pelican season) passes, and we approach the fall.
Not a lot of animals to treat on Tuesday’s “vet Night” this week, but the staff still takes their time and gives each patient the level of care it needs. This raven is recovering from a wing injury and was checked for weight and joint movement.
OK, hopefully nobody is totally tired of hearing about/seeing the pelican invasion we have been facing at Liberty for the last few weeks. It seems as though just as soon as we ship a couple back to the coast, another couple show up. We’re down to two as of this writing, and they should go home on Wednesday. But, as the monsoons look like they might have returned for a while, we may see more. I got the video watching two of them eating last week and thought it might be interesting to see their method of scarfing fish out of a kiddy pool.
The golden eagle rescued a while back from up north is getting closer to release. He was weighed and measured this week and the data taken for future study before he is sent off into the wild again. It will be good to see this young bird flying as he was meant to do.
And here are some unrelated shots that I’ve been trying to use and they’ve been bumped for a few weeks. Sometimes, it’s nice to just sit back and see some of the cool, interesting things that occur at the facility…
And finally, as I was flying to Charlotte Sunday morning, I noticed my FO wearing Liberty Charity Charm ear rings! Ah, the reach of this organization is no less than astounding!