So another year has pretty much flown by. Another year of incredible volunteer engagement in assisting Liberty Wildlife to fulfill its mission is nearing an end. And, another Volunteer Appreciation Picnic is in the history books. Yesterday the staff gave a bash to let the volunteers know how much they are appreciated. This was the best one ever.
The attendance at the Pera Club was impressive; the weather was picture perfect, and the food was very, very impressive. It seemed as if all contributors put on their serious aprons and concocted their specialties to share with the group. I, for one, might have eaten too much, but it was worth every calorie consumed!
The “swag” table this year seemed to have grown with a Liberty Wildlife t shirt for each volunteer, a new lanyard for badges, a Liberty Wildlife bracelet, and hot off the presses was the annual magazine, WingBeats, for everyone’s perusal. There was a table with cards for sale. They will be in the store for your Holiday shopping…a must see, must buy for stocking stuffers or outright gifts. Last but certainly not least was a copy of “I Got Barfed on by A Turkey Vulture” by our own Balinda…a perfectly charming gift for any kid’s enjoyment…or any adult’s for that matter. It will also be on the Liberty Wildlife store’s website, www.libertywildlife.net .
The highlight of the event was the appearance of Santa Claus….our own version in the snappy Santa outfit, John Glitsos, with his sharp wit and fun games. The Name that Tune game garnered winners and prizes, and the Girl Band did a sing along to add to the entertainment.
Wendy tried valiantly to get the over-sated attendees to Zumba with her. The bolder of our troops Zumba-ed along ….I was so impressed.
There were opportunities to play wildlife bingo, to win counting games, raffles for beautiful photos, and the privilege of releasing a rehabbed Cooper’s hawk. Let’s not forget that Stacey took photos of Joe and Aurora with individual volunteers for personal Holiday cards. What a special opportunity that was.
It was a memorable event for a memorable group of people. We recounted some of the stats for the year to reinforce what we already knew. It was a fantastically busy and successful year. Some of the stats follow.
- Total animals helped this year to date: 5,101
Last year’s final numbers:
- Total orphaned animals assisted: 1,906
- Number of species helped: 121
- Total calls taken: 18,213
- Total rescue/transport volunteer hours logged: 4,331
- Total education programs delivered: 827
- Total audience reached: 247,414
- Some numbers from the shopping list re:
Mice – 128,850
Seeds – 1,650 lbs or .83 tons!
Trout/caplain – 1,100
Chicken – 900
Fruit/Veggies – 4,120 lbs or 2+ tons
As you can see, it was a busy year with busy volunteers adding success to the mix. Congrats and thanks to all of you. Special thanks go to Carol Suits, Volunteer Coordinator for her organization and attention to detail….great job!
This Week @ Liberty
The intake total for this year is now at 5112.
It’s good to be back after the Thanksgiving break and much has gone on so the update will be on the large side this week. As Megan pointed out above, yesterday was our annual Volunteer Appreciation Picnic and I put a couple of additional photos below. Another release went well at ASU, a tiny young barn owl came up from Sierra Vista with fairly severe wing damage, some more waterfowl came in with injuries from fishing gear (sigh…) and the prairie falcon is making some progress. All this and more as TW@L becomes “These (2) Weeks At Liberty”!
Megan officiated at the release of a Cooper’s Hawk on Monday afternoon, December 1st, at the ASU Wrigley Building. The viewers were class members of the ASU School of Sustainability. The person doing the release was Mick Dalrymple who is the Senior Sustainability Scientist for “Walton Sustainability Solutions Initiatives”. (Story by Dick Fry)
Last week we took in a Harris’ hawk that had apparently been illegally held by some individual. The bird had a makeshift jess made from a velcro tie wrap on one leg, along with a piece of string which was probably used as a leash. This is not the first time we’ve seen birds be the victims of would-be “falconers” who take them from the wild and make their own equipment, most of which causes painful injuries to the birds. Luckily this hawk got free and was rescued and is now recuperating from his ordeal. Obviously he didn’t forget what he was or how to react as he mantled his food in the enclosure just like a wild hawk would do!
A smallish great horned owl is in our care and seems to be doing well. After treatment for canker, it appears the problem is fixed and he is now free of the growth. The volunteers were impressed with the thickness of the feathers growing on his feet and toes. Owls have feathers covering most of their bodies, including feet and toes to assist in flying silently as they approach their nocturnal prey.
Our recently arrived prairie falcon is making progress after his extensive surgery. The leg is healing and now it’s time to focus on his wing issues. This bird is absolutely beautiful and we hope our efforts will allow him to be released someday soon.
It appears that the accipiters are migrating as we’ve had a large influx of Cooper’s and sharp-shinned hawks lately. One of the Cooper’s was apparently shot as he foraged in the area. People sometimes think that since avian specialists such as Cooper’s and sharpies hang out around their feeders, preying on songbirds, that they are fair game for backyard hunting. NOT SO! Remember, all native and migratory birds are protected by law. Not only that, but they contribute to the health of the songbird population by removing injured and sick birds from the flocks. Let’s give nature a chance to work!
Recently this young cormorant was brought in with fairly serious injuries from entanglement with a discarded fishing lure. The multi-hooked plug had pierced the bird’s throat, wing and feet before he was rescued and transported to Liberty. The Med Services team was able to cut the hooks and line preventing further damage as the bird struggled. Thankfully he will most likely fully recover and be returned to the wild soon. As always, we remind all fishermen not to leave hooks, lures, line, or other equipment in the environment after they leave. Let’s keep the planet clean and safe for all!
Recently, Christy van Cleve met me in Tucson with this little (VERY little!) young barn owl. Suffering injuries of unknown origin to both wings, the bird could not fly and was very thin. Upon examination, it was discovered that his left wing was badly bruised at the elbow, and the patagium on his right wing was mostly torn loose and was hanging as a flap of tissue. The damage was so severe that it took Dr. Wyman several minutes to clean the wound and figure out what could be salvaged and what needed to be attached where. After closely inspecting the area, she spent nearly 30 minutes suturing the flap back in place between the bird’s shoulder and elbow. Now, we have to wait to see if the tissue heals and the patagium is viable. Fingers crossed, everyone…
And now, a few more pictures from the Volunteer picnic on Sunday…
Hopefully everyone had a great time Thanks for being there.
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