I just read about a very cool project initiated by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. It is all about citizen scientists (you) helping gather information, improving habitat (you), attracting more wildlife (you), and working to solve the sad fact that “we are losing 21 million acres of habitat every 10 years to residential development.”
Yep, that’s right. You can be a huge part of the solution. Here’s how. The new program is called Yard Map. It is designed to create bigger patches of connected habitat that is “bird friendly”. Remember here that everything is really all connected. If you have habitat that provides food in the way of insects, seeds, water, hidey places, roosting and nesting spots you will attract the birds and in reality the other critters necessary to have a “whole and complete” habitat….balanced, healthy and diverse.
The program has been thoroughly tested out and is now ready for expanded exposure and utilization. The web site is robust and very helpful. You can map out your own backyard…and if I can do it you can do it. Or if you have a favorite birding spot, park site, school yard, you could with permission, I suppose, use it for a “yard map” possibility.
The object is to map your yard using the tools on the web site, get help from other participants regarding what is on your property that you can’t identify yourself, add native plants that will attract wild birds to your yard, and report on the activities.
It is quickly apparent that what you do does make a difference. Many species, like butterflies, could and probably do live their entire existence in your habitat. If you choose to use pesticides it could be devastating for a very long time to many species and since it is all connected it will power up the food chain and throw your habitat into disarray.
Go for the balance. “Attract more birds. Help science. Map your yard.” Go to the Cornell Lab or Ornithology/yard maps and get started today. Be a part of the bigger solution.
This Week at Liberty
The intake total for the year now stands at 1379.
Feliz Cinco de Mayo! While you’re out having tacos, fajitas, and margaritas, remember all those baby birds that have been rescued (and NEED to be rescued) from the relentless wind of the last few weeks. The stream of orphans has become a torrent of late and this week’s update will mostly cover these little animals that are victims of nature’s fury (not to mention tree-trimmers who have little regard for nesting birds). The worst aspect of the spring weather for most people is the need to clean their pool skimmers on a daily basis – bothersome, but hardly critical. For a baby bird, being blown from the safety of their nest is a life threatening event. The truly lucky ones are found and arrive at Liberty Wildlife where they are cared for until old enough to survive on their own. From hummingbirds to bald eagles, the babies are rescued…
Among many orphan waterfowl rescued and cared for by the volunteers of Liberty Wildlife is this baby black-crowned night heron. Just beginning to grow feathers, this little guy is getting care from the Medical Services and Orphan Care groups. Growing fast, this bird will hopefully be released soon and will join the fishing community at lakes around the town.
The bald eagle fledging that turned out to be a sibling of our own little Chief is doing well. According to Jan, he came in “dehydrated and very thin. He arrived weighing 4.3lbs and left at 7lbs! His nest-mate, a female, weighed 9lbs. He was taken back to his nest area last Thursday afternoon where he belongs, learning the ropes of being an apex predator in the Arizona skies.
Another “orphan of the storm” is this tiny baby red-tail hawk that was a victim of the violent winds in the last couple of weeks. He was found on the ground by an individual who was feeding him meat by hand. At this point we have hopes that he wasn’t permanently imprinted by this activity, but only time will tell. This is why it’s so important for people to call Liberty Wildlife when they find an orphan raptor rather than attempt to rehabilitate it themselves. Without proper training, this almost always ends up being unsuccessful.
The intake of orphan kestrels is rising, as usual for this time of year. These little falcons are fairly common and may be victims of both the weather and inexperienced mothers who may have nested in inappropriate places. By the end of the season, our foster parent kestrels will be caring for dozens of growing fledglings, all looking forward to being released to be hunters in the local area!
The baby bald eagle that came in 9 days ago is still in critical condition. He was X-rayed last week ands this confirmed a broken wing, but also indicated some internal injuries which cold be life-threatening. He has a lot of trouble keeping food down and this doesn’t help the healing process. He is now scheduled for surgery on his wing tomorrow (Tuesday) as this might be the only chance we have of repairing the damaged wing. Keep the fingers crossed and a good thought in your hearts for this little guy.
I get a lot of phone calls this time of year that begin, “I have a bunch of ducklings in my pool!” With a growing mallard population, the competition for appropriate nest sites near natural lakes and other water is stiff. Sometimes a pool with nice foliage looks inviting, especially to an inexperienced mother. When this happens, about a month or so later, out pops the mother, trailed by a dozen or so ducklings! Luckily, a few rescue volunteers (Carl, Tony, and myself included) can remove the ducklings from danger, but if the mother eludes capture, the baby ducks wind up in the care of the rehabilitation community. That’s where Liberty Wildlife comes in…
It’s bad enough when your one of the smallest mammals around, being an orphan in the wild in Arizona, but when you have a broken leg on top of it all, you really need some help! This little orphaned round tailed ground squirrel came in last week and presented a broken leg which required a wrap in order to heal. So, in addition to being bottle (syringe) fed, he needs his wrap changed frequently. Click here to see one of the baby cottontails get some fluids… A baby bunny gets hydrating fluids. Total care is what all creatures get at Liberty Wildlife!
For quite some time now, a burrowing rodent has been leaving small dirt mounds around the facility. We haven’t spent a lot of time trying to get him to move out since we figured eventually he would tunnel up on the wrong side of an enclosure wall and the resident raptor would eliminate the problem naturally. Last week, I was talking to some volunteers near Hedwig’s enclosure and noticed this little guy watching from below. Just 12 inches from oblivion, the gutsy little guy showed not the least bit of concern or fear! We’re not sure exactly what he is, so if any readers are good on identifying types of gophers or other burrowing rodents, let us know!