Seasons come and seasons go. Some seasons I am particularly glad to see go, and one of them is summer. I am always ready for the heat to hustle on, for the searing sun to slip away, and for the baby animals, as cute as they are, to develop the necessary independence to take their places in the greater scheme of things. That transition is happening as we speak.
The official end of orphan season was yesterday, Sunday, September 15, 2013. Our summer hours will now change back to 8:00 to 5:00 at the window while our Hotline hours remain the same as always. The incredibly dedicated orphan care volunteers have performed their duties with perfection and dedication. Hopefully those that can will move on to another department to continue their noble work. And those that remain seasonal will be able to re-join our ranks next spring. Either way, you are greatly appreciated.
We had a record year this season. More babies than ever, more varied species, and more releases. No wonder it was always so busy. It seems to start earlier every year and last longer. As it is, we still have a few late bloomers who will be cared for by our medical services staff and a remnant of our orphan care volunteers who will oversee the last of the babies to adulthood.
The next thing on their agenda is clean up, re-organization and storage. A crew will assess the equipment, shrink wrap all of the necessities and see that they are safely put away in readiness for next year’s onslaught. Inventories will be made, surveys assessed and decisions made to help launch next year’s season which will be here before we know it.
Oh, and by the way, Liberty Wildlife, on Friday, became the proud owner of 6.5 acres of land in the center of downtown Phoenix. Liberty on the River will be our future home…..nestled on the Rio Salado, in the Rio Salado Restoration Area between 28th and 24th Street on Elwood…south side of the river. You will see wildlife in the riparian/wetlands area, mountains to and fro, and room to grow.
Watch us grow.
This Week at Liberty
The intake total for the year is now at 3461.
I think the seasons may have changed last week. Oh, it’s still in the hundreds most days, but you can feel a difference. To coincide with this palpable season shift, we officially closed the OC area – Liberty’s “Neo-Natal Care” wing – for another year and our attention is drawn to other projects as the intakes subside and the education season begins! New volunteers were oriented (at least those who came in disoriented…), and oh, yeah, we bought the land for our new, permanent home!
As the orphans were raised and released, the all-too-necessary tasks of clean-up and storage were attacked by the last few shifts in this corner of the ICU area. For months, happy, hungry peeping greeted the first one in every morning as when the lights went on, the baby birds awoke! Now it’s sadly silent, but only waiting to be brought to life again next spring when the joyous onslaught returns! Alana and Kathy were two of the last dedicated OC volunteers last Saturday as they cleaned and wrapped equipment and counters until next year…
Alright, it’s a non-native, but that’s not really HIS fault. This tiny baby African Sulcata tortoise came to us as an orphan and will stay until he gets adopted by some caring person – who will hopefully keep him for years. This little fellow could grow to to 36 inches long and weigh around 200 lbs when he’s an adult. In the Africa they can live up to 150 years, but the oldest one in captivity is 54.
We have a couple of new passerines (perching birds) this week as we assume care of this western kingbird and this little black-throated sparrow. Yes, not all sparrows are non-native! Any new orphans that happen to find their way to our window will be cared for by the Med Services team until OC reopens next spring.
Screech owls are common in Arizona, but all of them are uncommonly cute. This little bird was brought in with no real apparent injury – but the mere fact that someone was able to catch it implies some sort of issue and he was held for observation after a physical exam last week.
This little possum apparently crawled into a truck somewhere down near Tucson. He may or may not have wanted a ride to Phoenix, but this is where the driver found him so here is where he ended up. After some fluids and a general wellness exam, he was transferred to SWW for further action.
One of the most difficult job of any volunteer organization is finding people willing to give their time – and then keeping them! Last weekend, Carol Suits, our Volunteer Coordinator, held another new volunteer orientation and noted that some of them would be “alternates” as we actually don’t have openings for everyone. Now THERE’S a problem all facilities wish they had: too many volunteers!!
As the education season kicks off, Joe and Sonora ride along and teach the crowd something about bald eagles in Arizona. This is a semi-regular happening as we work with the folks at the Verde Canyon RailRoad, making the train ride something the passengers will never forget!