Tonight at 7:29 in Phoenix, Arizona we will gratefully slip out of our official summer and slide smoothly into fall. The Autumnal Equinox marks the time when the sun shines directly on the equator and the length of day and night are nearly equal. Too bad we don’t slip smoothly into cool weather where summer clothes are tucked away and fall duds are resurrected with the anticipation of jackets and scarves in the near future….but in time this will happen…maybe by Halloween.
Changes also occur at Liberty Wildlife. Orphan Care has officially ended; however, someone needs to tell that to the downy little Harris’ hawk that was brought in last week. Hmmmmmmmmm. It never fails to happen that when we think it is over, we are surprised (read blessed) with a little dependent creature who seems to have been born late. Our foster parents never seem to care, and this little one will be sent to foster parents who will raise it for release in due time.
Also at this time of year our Education Team starts gearing up for a busy season. This one already seems to be teeming with activity. There will be many public places that you can come to see our educational ambassadors. Our public calendar found on our web site under Events posts our public appearances. I will try to highlight ones ahead of time that might be enjoyable for the family to visit.
Such an event is coming up on October 4th from 10:30-3:30 at the ASU Art Museum at 51 East 10th Street, Tempe, AZ 85281. Among other things it will feature our educational display, a release of rehabilitated raptors, along with art displays and activities for the kids. Events like these are part of the Family Programs supported by the Steele Foundation. The following week on the 10th we will have a speaker and an educational raptor attending a panel discussion as a part in the Trout Fishing in America and other Stories “exploring the complexity of human-animal interactions and their combined impact on ecologies”. Both of these events are free and open to the public. I would encourage you to take advantage of both of them.
And, once again, we are asking for each of you to take a minute to explore www.birdiesforcharityaz.com to make your pledge this year in support of Liberty Wildlife. The link will take you directly to the page and the instructions are simple. Basically you are helping us achieve our mission to “nurture the nature of Arizona” by pledging as little as 1 penny a birdie at the Waste Management Open in 2015. Six charities will be highlighted at the open and will be allowed to be present in the “Big Tent” on one day of the 6 day event. The top two pledge raisers in terms of most dollars will get the first and second choice of days to attend and the next four charities bringing in the most number of individual pledges will get to choose from the remaining days. We have been fortunate to attend the last two years and are greatly hoping to go again this year. The educational animals are a huge hit for all of the guests…many of them coming from around the world. Not many of those will have an opportunity to see a Gila monster before they go home, much less a bald eagle, a golden eagle, hawks, owls, falcons and yes, vultures….what a great chance for us to impact a huge number of people. Go right now to www.birdiesforcharityaz.com and fill out the pledge form. You don’t pay until next year after the Open is over and the number of birdies is known.
Thanks in advance for helping us to be the “hit of the Tent”.
Oh yeah, Happy Autumnal Solstice!
This Week @ Liberty
The intake total for the year has now reached 4785.
As we slide quietly into Autumn, things are slowing down considerably – but that doesn’t mean the staff has it easy! The pace of activity is just a bit lower at this point, giving most volunteers at least time to take a breath before the holidays. As usual, we’re not getting as many orphans at the window now, but instead we see the arrival of yearling birds who are making the mistakes of youth as they learn the survival techniques needed to see them into adulthood. Nature is an extremely tough teacher as a lot of times the test is not just “PASS/FAIL,” it’s “LEARN/DIE” with the only possibility of a re-take resulting from a visit to Liberty Wildlife for a second chance. Our volunteers and staff try everything to save these young animals and give them an opportunity to be among the few that will eventually see their first birthday – and beyond, and when sometimes all efforts fail, the grief is palpable. But it never dissuades anyone from continuing to try…
Hopefully, this will be the last time (this year!) that I’ll be talking about exotic pets that show up at Liberty, but last week Toba found this small African sulcata tortoise walking down her street. Realizing it wasn’t healthy, she picked it up and brought it in. Notice the “pyramiding” of the shell segments – this is a clear sign of dehydration and malnutrition. This poor little animal was owned by someone who had not done the proper research into it’s nutritional requirements and it was well on its way to a slow death. Folks, listen up: if you must get an exotic animal for a companion, at least do your research on how to care for it. Better still, go to the Humane Society or local animal shelter and rescue one of the thousands of healthy, affectionate dogs or cats that are available for adoption. They will reward you unendingly with love and companionship – and proper food and care advice is readily available.
It’s not just raptors that run into trouble this time of year. This little woodpecker required some repair work on an injured wing and the Liberty volunteers were ready to help. Hopefully this bird will be out banging on somebody’s eaves or gutters in the near future!
OK, it’s very late in the year for baby birds (I guess they didn’t get the memo about us closing down OC for this year…) so when this nestling Harris’ hawk was brought in last week, it was a bit of a surprise. But Jan said they will sometimes breed into September, so I guess it’s not THAT unusual, but still, I have to believe it has something to do with climate change. In any case, this little guy was in less-than-optimal shape when the ground interrupted his long fall from the nest. Presenting evidence of internal injuries along with possible back problems, the Med Services team went right to work (luckily it was Vet Night!) and we hope he will eventually heal and be released.
We’ve mentioned several times how accipiters collide with windows chasing after their targets, but migratory songbirds that traverse unfamiliar territory can also come into intimate contact with immovable objects. This pretty green-tailed towhee was the apparent victim of a window collision and is now being treated for his injuries. If he heals swiftly, he may get to rejoin the migration, or he might have to wait for the north bound train next spring if his recuperation is delayed.
As it turns out, common black-hawks are not so common after all. This particular bird was out hunting some doves recently, and unfortunately, some other hunters of the human variety were also hunting the same doves. Figuring high tech weaponry was not a sufficient advantage over the small birds, they decided they didn’t want to have any competition at all. What did they do? Shoot the hawk! We’re hoping that since the leg injury is close to being mid-shaft, Dr. Driggers might be able to work his magic and repair it with a pin of some sort. We’re all hoping for a swift recovery for this gorgeous raptor and we’ll keep you posted!
Another bunny is in our care – following a run-in with either a dog – or a cat – or a kid – or a car – or something! This little guy has a broken front leg and got a splint wrapped to it last week. I was taken with his “milk mustache” coloring while Jan was wrapping the leg and got his close-up.
Recently out in the small bird aviary, this white wing dove was seen hitching a ride on the shell of this desert tortoise. I’m not sure where he thought he might be going, but the tortoise didn’t seem to mind his rider as he slowly meandered around the aviary.