Since my last blog, winter happened. Yesterday was the Winter Solstice…the shortest day of our year. Among other wintery things the appearance of this day always reminds me of what to be thankful for, of things to come and of thoughts of making each day fulfill its greatest potential. It is, for me, also a sign of the quickly marching passage of time. It feels like it just turned 2014 and, well, now it is quickly heading toward 2015!
Looking back I want to thank all of Liberty Wildlife’s hard working staff and volunteers. The things you have accomplished in just 365 rising and settings of the sun are commendable. Those final stats will come out as our end-of-the-year report is released, but knowing that we have seen more than 5200 animals this year is enough said. We still have a week to go and our educators do not take a vacation. Their ending stats will also be released shortly …more ahhhhhs and wows to come.
I am very grateful to the donors who have stepped up to the plate to assist our wildlife neighbors and to those who donate hard earned dollars to help spread the message about the beauty and benefits of native wildlife, and the related educational message that makes believers nod their heads, makes young minds care about science, nature, and compassion. And, glory be to you if you have donated to our new campus, to our capital campaign…you will be rewarded with a state-of-the-art medical and educational facility that will only do more to highlight the importance of the work that we do. I am so thankful for you all!
Our Board of Directors is behind the scenes watching over all that we do. They are our connection to the community. They are guiding stars. And, they are generous with their time and resources. I am most grateful for all of you.
I will continue to be thankful for the compassion that I see all around me, for the caring people that I get to hang out with, to the goodness that lurks about us even at times when it seems all good has been squeezed out of the universe…not so, it is right here among the people attached in many ways to Liberty Wildlife. You nurture my hope.
It is my resolution to you that I will strive to make every day of the upcoming 2015 count toward fulfilling the mission of Liberty Wildlife to nurture the nature of Arizona.
Happy holidays to all of you and to the best New Year ever! Embrace 2015 with gusto and gladness.
This Week @ Liberty
The intake total for the year is now at 5174.
Just a few things to update in this last posting prior to Christmas. I have a few shots of the wonderful spread set out annually by Claudia for the volunteers. And with the recent cold weather, our intake of torpid (and otherwise injured) hummingbirds has spiked a bit. Plus we took in our first California Condor of the hunting season, number 455, who is now in treatment for, what else, lead poisoning. TW@L and HHH will be off next week but will return on Monday, January 5th to start a new year!
Each year, Claudia takes it upon herself to put together a wonderful holiday table of goodies for all the volunteers on duty. This year, the cool weather did nothing to dim the enthusiasm for the occasion. There was something for all tastes whether you were a carnivore, herbivore, or omnivore, including vegetarian and vegan fare. Thanks, Claudia, for all you do, and thanks to all our dedicated volunteers!
Last Wednesday afternoon, Eddie Feltes of the Peregrine Fund, brought California Condor #455 in for lead poisoning treatment. The birds are all taken into the PF facility on the Vermillion Cliffs for examination during hunting season each year when they are most apt to find a carcass peppered with fragments of lead ammunition. Several birds were found to have elevated lead levels but all but this 8 year old female were able to be treated on-site. This girl had levels high enough to warrant the trip to Liberty for chelation, in which an injection of EDTA (ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid) is given for a defined number of days. This chemical binds with the lead in the blood and allows the kidneys to remove the heavy metal through excretion. The levels of toxicity then drop until the treatment is stopped for a period of time allowing the bird’s system to rest. During this rest, the lead levels will rise again from lead accumulated in the bone marrow. This process is repeated several times causing the lead levels to oscillate up and down until they drop low enough to allow the symptoms to abate. Thus far, 455 has not required surgery and her weight is stabilizing so we hope she will not require more drastic treatment. Keep her in your thoughts!
So a few minutes after the condor arrived, a gentleman brought a hummingbird to the intake window (one of two that afternoon!) He had been in the clutches of a cat and appeared to be injured. I placed the tiny bird in a brooder to rest as the Med Services staff worked on the condor. When they were done with the big girl, I asked Dr. Orr to look at the little hummer. The bird was hovering around inside the brooder! It seemed that the cat had only gotten the bird’s tail feathers and besides being somewhat cold and a little hungry, he was structurally OK. After giving him a physical examination and some nectar, Dr. Orr took him outside and allowed the bird to fly off. She said that being outside was much better for him than being stuck inside our hummingbird cage in the ICU for a length of time. I had my camera set for high speed shooting – 20 frames per second – but still only caught a blurry shadow as he flew away. (It looked like most photos of UFO’s as seen in the National Enquirer!)
It’s difficult to imagine the difference in the sizes of our smallest patient to our largest, both of which arrived within 20 minutes of each other last week! The humming bird is dwarfed by three fingers on one hand, and the condor requires three people for the required treatment.
******************** Happy Holidays from HHH and TW@L *****************
(BTW, you still have one week to pledge a penny to the Birdies for Charity campaign! PLEASE sign up if you haven’t done so already! We truly need your help!!)