Saturday, Liberty Wildlife participated in a lovely event at the Paradise Valley Country Club Nature Trail. The Club has been working on achieving the Audubon’s International Cooperative Sanctuary for Golf certification and one of the six aspects of this certification is outreach and education. They did a masterful job (with consultations with Liberty Wildlife) of installing a walking/hiking path with interpretive areas, a water feature, natural history kiosks that identified native wildlife including birds, mammals and reptiles (insects soon to follow) that one might encounter while hiking down the trail. Added nest boxes for cavity nesters like barn owls and kestrels will hopefully attract these raptors who will act as natural predators of “pest” animals rather than opting for pesticides or other non-natural pest controls more damaging to the environment and innocent wild animals.
The grand opening was yesterday and the trail was swarming with interested members. The resident roadrunner and a covey of quail made an appearance as if to say….hear we are take a look. The rehabilitated Harris’ hawk that Liberty Wildlife released took off, did a spin around the area and settled in a nearby palo verde, looking very comfortable and well at home. Liberty educational ambassadors and volunteers brought wild birds to them face to face!
Another interesting occurrence was the reminder from attendees Karen and Bob H. about the sightings their son, Bob, Jr. had seen at his home in Paradise Valley. I first received an e mail from them a couple of months ago asking if it might be possible that Bob, Jr. was seeing a bald eagle in a eucalyptus tree. My first response was, “probably not…maybe it was an osprey”…and then the photos arrived.
Yes, it wasn’t only a bald eagle but two bald eagles….no doubt about it! Over the course of the next month more photos would arrive…the birds sitting individually on a branch, both birds roosting in the same tree, one flying from tree to tree and then the two perched again. Indeed he was seeing bald eagles in his neighborhood! That is just so cool!
I spoke with him at the event on Saturday and was so impressed with his enthusiasm. He said people in the neighborhood didn’t really believe him, hadn’t seen them, it just wasn’t really on their radar screen. His simple yet profound words rang so true. He said, “If they would just look up!” How very, very true!
Folks, look up more often and BELIEVE! There is no telling what we miss by not looking up, by discounting our instincts, by living with our nose to the grindstone (that would be me), or by not taking time to soak in our fabulous surroundings. Go out in nature, look with wide eyes, and believe!
This Week at Liberty
The intake total is now at 162.
Lots of interesting activity last week as we discover three of our patients have been the victims of gunshots. Still more hummers show up for care, some still in their nests. And on Tuesday afternoon, in the middle of Vet Night, a drop-dead gorgeous peregrine of the “tundra” flavor arrived and was examined. On top of all this, lots of education presentations are going on, and preparations for Wishes for Wildlife are beginning in earnest. Here’s what happened last week…
The blitz of hummingbirds continues as another nest, complete with resident, came in to join the group. After the initial feeding (hummers eat frequently!), the kids join the family of hummers that is growing each week. They sit patiently on the donut nest waiting their turn at the feeding syringe filled with nectar that will provide the high calorie nutrition that growing hummingbirds need.
Once again, proving that we don’t just do raptors, a little dove with unspecified injuries came in and got the same careful treatment that all birds receive when they show up at our facility. As the baby bird season descends on us in the next few month, we’ll be seeing hundreds of these little native birds come through our program.
We have been treating a cormorant the past couple of weeks. This bird came in with several serious abrasions, at least one of which required the skill of Dr. Wyman to sew shut. While he was being treated, we also noticed that his eye was somewhat cloudy, indicating a possible cataract. Further examinations will be required.
The burrowing owl that came in recently from a local ABS site was examined again last week. It was discovered that in addition to being stuck in some kind of structure which produced a head injury, the bird had been shot. This makes him possibly the first BuOw that we have taken in that had been the victim of that type of weapon. Treatment continues…
Two great horned owls came in last week, one was brought up from a clinic in Casa Grande, the other from Chandler. The Casa Grande owl (who came in with his own X-rays!) had what appeared to be a broken wing. The Chandler bird turned out to have been another gunshot victim. During the Tuesday night activity, Dr. Wyman found the pellet in his shoulder and with deft scalpel work, excised the lead and the wing was then wrapped to allow healing to begin.
A falcon came in last week that had us scrambling for a species identification. At first, it was thought to be a peregrine, but then that was changed to prairie falcon. It probably didn’t help that it is probably a young bird as youthful raptors sometimes look quite different from their adult appearance. The bird had a severely damaged wing and it was decided after the initial assessment that Dr. Orr would have to repair the damage surgically. It was then determined that it was indeed a young “tundra” peregrine which are somewhat uncommon in this area. Dr. Orr performed the surgery on what is now believed to be an electrical injury so the final outcome will take some time as burns of this nature often require time to fully develop.
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