This Week @ Liberty – September 08, 2014

Hoots, Howls, and HollersMegan and Libby

Every once in a while someone comes along who just innately gets it.  Matt is one of those people.  He clearly cares about the environment and birds in particular…that’s a point for him right off.  He is keenly aware of the avian wildlife in his world.  As a result of this interest he had built and installed a barn owl nest box on his property.  It attracted a pair of parent owls who promptly laid eggs and hatched three baby barn owls.  As luck would have it in mid-May conditions turned bad and the nest got in trouble.  One of the babies bailed out of the nest early.  When he explored the situation he found the baby on the ground, a dead baby in the nest and a third baby still in the nest.  He rescued the baby on the ground and brought it in to Liberty Wildlife.  It was found to be very dehydrated, depressed and thin.  Two days later he found the remaining baby on the ground with a cut on its head, dehydrated and thin.  It was brought in to Liberty and placed with the first sibling.  They looked pretty sad.

A brief reunion with his rescuer

A brief reunion with his rescuer

So, Matt was thrilled when he called to find out that the two he brought in, who had been at death’s door, were indeed thriving and going to be released.  As a photographer, he was thrilled even more when it was suggested that he participate in and document the release.  It was agreed that taking them to suitable habitat was better than returning them to his property where the parents would undoubtedly run them off.

And then we received this e mail from him:

A friend of mine saw a location on her drive home.  It is the north side of Queen Creek

Betty meets her owl

Betty meets her owl

between AZ Ave and McQueen.  It’s a farm with about 5 buildings, hay stacks, etc.  I drove by there on the way home tonight.  I loved it right away.  I rang the bell and met Betty.  

My guess is that she is in her eighties.  Her husband Bill, the foreman of the farm, was sick and could not come to the door.  She told me that she just lost her 60 year old son this past weekend.  I told her who I was and the release story and she smiled ear to ear.  I am going by again tomorrow and will take and send pictures.  You will love this place and Betty too.  I really hope this works out, Betty really needs a lift.  She started telling me of a GHO (great horned owl) from 30 years ago.  

When the subject of a barn owl nest box for Betty came up, here’s what Matt had to say:

“I built the box myself and have enough lumber to create a new one.  So instead of moving the old one, I will give it to Betty and build a new one for me.  I will have to scope out where to mount it.  Not an easy task because of the weight.  We will see.”

So, not only is Matt a good wildlife citizen, he is also a caring and thoughtful good human citizen.  The release is on for tonight (as I write this it is Sunday), and I can only imagine how thrilling this will be for Matt, Betty and her husband, and the lucky barn owls. I am sending my thanks and good wishes for all of those involved to the heavens on the silent wings of these two fortunate barn owls.

I wish every story had this kind of an ending!  Thanks Matt for happening in our lives!

This Week @ Liberty

Posted by Terry Stevens

Posted by Terry Stevens

The intake total for the year is now at 4690.  Released on 09-04: 2 grackles, 1 lesser nighthawk, 1 curved-bill thrasher, 5 Gila woodpeckers, 2 Gamble’s quail, 26 misc. doves.

A couple of interesting stories this week as we experience the highest one day rain total EVER at Sky Harbor. They are actually calling this a “1,000 year storm.” As Susie stated in her text to me updating the conditions at the facility this morning, “All is well here…DC does a great job!”  Our volunteers can handle just about anything.  The outing to the D’Back’s game was a fun time last week, the Tropicbird went home, and amidst the usual arrivals and rehabilitation efforts, two orphaned barn owls got to go free ahead of the storm. Not only did several birds leave us, but we bid a “farewell” to a long time valued volunteer who is also moving on to a new habitat…

Jenn Malnic on her last day at Liberty

Jenn Malnic on her last day at Liberty

Jennifer Malnic who has been a stellar volunteer for several years is moving on to cooler climates. She’s heading north to Oregon and her knowledgeable and expert service will be greatly missed. Carol Marshall bought one of our “Phoenix attacking” sweatshirts for her as she might actually get to use it in that climate. Good luck, Jenn, and keep in touch!

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Gayle feeds another cottontail baby

Gail feeds another cottontail baby

OK bunnies, listen up! You can STOP breeding now! Believe it or not, we are still getting baby cottontails at the window. All stereotypes about rabbits aside, the lagomorphs need to cool it! But as long as they come in, Liberty is here to care for the little orphans without regard for their questionable timing…

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Liberty enjoys the D-Backs game against the Rockies

Liberty enjoys the D-Backs game against the Rockies

Our ambassadors at Chase Field, pre-game

Our ambassadors at Chase Field, pre-game

Joe and Aurora on the Jumbo-tron!

Joe and Aurora on the Jumbo-tron!

Assuming you’ve seen the pop-up ads for the D-Backs tickets for the last few weeks, the event came off a week ago on Sunday with more than a dozen volunteers and supporters attending along with several of our Educational Ambassadors. As we walked around the stands on the way to our seats, we could overhear people talking about the owl, eagle, snakes, and other animals on display. During the National Anthem, Joe and Aurora were shown on the main Jumbo-tron above center field.  And the best part was that in addition to a donation from the club, the Diamondbacks won!

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Jan wraps the bumper owl

Jan wraps the bumper owl

Dark GHO spreads his wings

Dark GHO spreads his wings

The GHO that arrived after being impaled on a car grill is doing well. His leg and wing are healing and his head trauma is much improved. In addition, another young great horned owl presenting unknown injuries came in sporting very dark, beautiful plumage. Both of these owls have optimistic prognoses.

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Sara holds while Ed removes the band

Sara holds while Ed removes the band

"Once more into the breach...er, box!"

“Once more into the breach…er, box!”

Betty and her new friend

Betty and her new friend

"Have a great life!"

A perfect release

"Now, where are those mice?!"

“Now, where are those mice?!”

Matt says good-bye after a brief reunion

Saying “Farewell” after a brief reunion

Matt sends his orphan into a beautiful evening

Matt sends his orphan into a beautiful evening

Another great release

Another great release

Not much I can add to Megan’s story  (HHH above) except the pictures. Both Matt and Betty seemed to be very pleased to be able to complete the rescue of these two birds who lost their home last spring. A total success!

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Tropicbird prepares to head home

Tropicbird prepares to head home

Capt. Al gives the tropicbird a ride to San Diego (photo by US Airways crew)

Capt. Al gives the tropicbird a ride to San Diego (photo by US Airways crew)

As noted in the Aug 25th TW@L, I was able to arrange a trip to San Diego for the Red-billed tropicbird that came to us in August. US Airways is still providing wonderful support to Liberty Wildlife and the animals we take in by allowing the ones that need to travel to new homes (or back to their previous homes!) to ride on one of their scheduled flights. Capt. Al Medina and his crew were nice enough to allow the bird to “jumpseat” to San Diego where he was picked up by SeaWorld San Diego for final examination and transport to release.

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2 Responses to This Week @ Liberty – September 08, 2014

  1. mandy says:

    What wonderful stories you shared this issue. Makes me so happy to be a volunteer at Liberty!

  2. Gail says:

    Lovely story about the barn owls. I can just imagine the story being told and retold among the Queen Creek community. More great connections are made!

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