This Week at Liberty – March 17, 2014

Hoots, Howls, and HollersMegan and Libby

I have a great opportunity for you.  Come to our annual Baby Bird Shower.  It is this Saturday at Cactus Park, 7202 E. Cactus Road in Scottsdale (NE corner of Scottsdale Road and Cactus).

This is a very fun event for you and/or your entire family.  It is most delightful to see the number of people who go out to the park on a Saturday morning and this Saturday between 10:a.m .and 1:00 p.m. they will be greeted by birds of prey from our Educational group.  You can pull out your camera and pose with your favorite avian beauty. After learning about all of the birds that are present, you can explore the other displays and exhibits.

BBS 2014And, best of all, it is an opportunity for you to see what goes on in our Orphan Care department.  You can talk to experts, get the details on what to do if you find a baby bird (and thousands of you will….trust me).  There will be pine cone feeders and plastic carton bird feeders for the kids…crafts and all.

Now, you might be asking yourself, “What does one bring to a baby bird shower?”  Well our gift registry includes the following:  Paper towels (we go through astronomical numbers of paper towels), toilet paper…same here….wild bird seed, dry cat food, and dog food help in the chow line.  And if you want to take a totally safe route, monetary donations will allow us to purchase the crickets, meal worms, crumbles and other specialty foods needed by the diverse number of species that we deal with every spring and summer.

Dial up your friends, gather up your family and make a morning out of the Baby Shower for orphan baby birds.  You will be so glad that you did; we will be glad to see you; and the orphans needing your help will be the happiest.

Can we count on you to join us?

So mark the Liberty Wildlife Baby Bird Shower on your Saturday, March 22nd calendar.  The babies have already started raining from the skies….sign up to volunteer and get some great hands on experience for just a few hours a week and feel good about yourself all year,

See you there.  And, Happy Saint Patrick’s Day….continue to stay green on the 22nd, by attending the Concert for Wildlife benefiting EFAZ at the Buffalo Chips in Cave Creek starting at 4:30!

This Week at Liberty

Happy St. Patty's Day

Happy St. Patty’s Day

The intake total for the year now stands at 336.

This might be the “calm before the storm” period at Liberty as we approach the official opening of Baby Bird Season. We have taken in a few early arrivals as the current crop of older birds and mammals continues to receive care.  Dr. Sorum’s mobile X-ray machine shows some interesting developments, and the staff tries hard to save our first orphaned GHO that arrived with serious injuries…

Slider or mud turtle…?

Slider or mud turtle…?

Ahh,  the red ears finally come out!

Ahh, the red ears finally come out!

So last week I got a call about a turtle in a trash can at El Dorado Park.  I went down there and sure enough, this big turtle was at the bottom of a blue trash barrel. He looked like a red eared slider but since I couldn’t see the characteristic red “ears,” there was some doubt. Someone said it was a Sonoran mud turtle, which would have made it a native.  But eventually when he stuck his head out, the red stripes appeared and the verdict was in: a red-eared slider! But even a non-native deserves better than dumping in the trash…

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It's really too early for a baby mocker...

It’s really too early for a baby mocker…

And the baby cotton tails keep stacking up

And the baby cotton tails keep stacking up

It’s a bit early for baby birds but you can’t tell nature to wait.  We already have a couple of baby mockingbirds to go along with the baby thrashers and we’re still accumulating baby bunnies, so I guess the season has begun – whether we want it to or not! (Don’t forget the Baby Bird Shower on Saturday morning!!)

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Little male kestrel has his wing splinted

Little male kestrel has his wing splinted

The gunshot burrowing owl gets a name

The gunshot burrowing owl gets a name

As usual, the parade of yearling birds picks up in late fall and continues to supplement the influx of true babies in the spring. This kestrel showed up presenting a broken wing, and the little burrowing owl with the buckshot in his wing is officially not a candidate for release and therefore qualifies for a name. Because of the skull damage he received in addition to the gunshot wound, we are calling him “Divot!”

Jan examines a cactus wren

Jan examines a cactus wren

A tiny broken wing gets wrapped

A tiny broken wing gets wrapped

Although the bigger birds (like hawks and owls) might be more dangerous to deal with, the smaller birds present their own unique problems.  Wrapping a broken wing on a cactus wren takes skill and patience, both of which our Medical Services people possess. This little example of our State Bird got that care last week as Jan wrapped his wing which had been broken when he was caught in a “sticky trap.”

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Remember this GHO from last week?

Remember this GHO from a previous posting?

We finally found out why his feet were infected

We finally found out why his feet were infected – lead pellets!

And then another X-ray showed 8 more!

And then another X-ray showed 8 more!

We were somewhat perplexed as to what was causing the infection in the foot of this great horned owl that came in recently. When the bird’s feet were X-rayed by Dr. Sorum, the answer became obvious: he had been shot!  And when the rest of the bird was also scanned, we were shocked to see that the bird had been peppered with lead pellets (10 in all) – and survived the attack.

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Jan and Joanie check a cooper's hawk

Jan and Joanie check a cooper’s hawk

Deep red eyes of age

Deep red eyes of age

Cooper's hawk xray

Cooper’s hawk xray

Cooper’s hawks (in fact ALL accipiters) present a challenge to rehabilitation. They tend to be very active, very aggressive, and very prone to collision damage as they hunt other birds for food. Head injuries are not uncommon, usually caused by hitting windows and walls as they fly fanatically after their prey. Or, as the above X-ray shows, they can receive other structural damage from colliding with immovable objects. The birds also don’t take kindly to being kept in cages or other enclosures and require special care and handling while in rehab.

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Jan and Denise work to save the baby

Jan and Denise work to save the baby

Looking for help

Looking for help

John Glitsos brought in our first orphan baby great horned owl last week. The little bird was not only separated from his parents, but it appears to have been attacked by some local harris’ hawks living in the same territory. This is not uncommon when the habitat is limited and sharing of limited resources becomes obligatory.  Jan, Denise, and the other Medical Services volunteers tried valiantly to save him, but sadly, the damage was too severe and the little bird lost his battle. Life in the big world is extremely harsh…

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