Hoots, Howls, and Hollers
On a glorious day last week I met at our new site with the Park Rangers for the Rio Salado Restoration Area, Ranger Koy and Ranger Brian. What a delight!
Not only are these two keepers of great information on the area, they are also very excited about the possibilities that come with Liberty Wildlife moving to the area. They are keenly aware of the synergy of activities that are currently buzzing around in the area. The Audubon Arizona is about three miles to the west of us. The City of Phoenix has done lovely things with paths through the restoration area which is lined with gabion seating spots and covered wildlife viewing areas. There has been an initiative called Beyond the Banks which among many other things encourages businesses to locate the entrances of their facilities to face the Rio Salado to spiff up the appearance as the trails are used by folks for hiking, biking or horseback riding. It also encourages the creation of attractive spaces for public enjoyment, and the balance of land uses creating places for community recreation and environmental education. Let’s not forget the Peace Trail goes right in front of our property and will eventually stretch from 19th Avenue to Tempe Town Lake providing wonderful opportunities to be outside doing wonderful things.
The Brooks Community School in the Roosevelt School District is bringing all sorts of opportunities to the neighborhood including Greenhouses that support sustainability issues and provide excellent educational opportunities to see hydroponics, aquaponics, micro-green productions and who knows what else will bloom as this new venture gets roots. There is an outdoor classroom in Tempe at the Broadmor Learning Patch, a school garden where principles of science are taught in the out-of-doors.
We will be connecting with Gail Morris, the local monarch butterfly guru, to find out how we can incorporate milkweed into our landscape to provide food for migrating monarch butterflies. We hope to eventually provide an opportunity for breeding stations for these migrants as they follow their several generation migration to Mexico.
One of the things that delights me the most is the information that I received from the rangers related to our resident beavers….yes, I said beavers. I have been aware of one beaver….have seen him with my own eyes. He was cleverly named Lincoln by Jan…as in logs! I ignorantly decided he was all alone and worried about him. But, Ranger Brian set me straight. There is an EXTENDED family who lives in the waters in front of our property. The clever little guys have several lodges that they use depending on the level of the water. They channel the water related to their needs and are able to survive even when times are tough. They also move up and down the river to survive the harshness of the desert, but our part of the river seems to be a constant water resource for them. That makes me so happy. More on this subject will surely follow.
I know, they are doing what beavers do…gnawing the trees…but we are pretty much reedy and small riparian vegetation, and I am happy to share with them if it will keep them around. They represent one more lesson in sustainability that we will be able to use in our educational efforts.
I can hardly wait to be a permanent part of the landscape in the Rio Salado Restoration Area. If you want more information just let me know. I am excited to share the possibilities.
This Week @ Liberty
The intake total for this year is now at 152.
The weather remains mild, and the level of activity is still low-to-moderate. Good thing too, because our Animal Care Coordinator was under the weather for two days! Yes, we all like to think we’re indestructible but ’tis the season to be sick and the smart, thoughtful people stay out and avoid bringing their germs to work! Luckily, the animals cooperated for the most part. We did, however, take in another critically ill bald eagle who still got the best care possible considering his condition. Let’s see what else happened last week…
Another young Cooper’s hawk is in our care. He arrived presenting a wing injury of unknown origin and after a being wrapped for a period, he was test flown last week. Although he could fly, his ability to perform the intricate flight maneuvers required of an accipiter appears somewhat compromised at this time. Some additional rehabilitation and flight practice may lead to a better performance in the future and eventual release.
Great horned owls are highly likely to receive head injuries from collisions with things like windows and automobiles. This guy came in last week with symptoms typical of the type that indicate some kind of head trauma causing the noticeable asymmetry of his eyes and ears tufts. Despite his injuries, he was able to go to an outside enclosure for further recuperation.
The duck that had its leg and foot nearly severed by fishing line was examined this week. Last week Dr. Wyman once again exhibited her expertise in the reconstruction of severely damaged tissue and applied carefully placed sutures to hold the delicate tissue together while the foot mends. This week the duck’s foot and leg were unwrapped and the sutures were removed from the foot which had healed well over the last seven days. Now we’ll watch to see how much leg movement the duck will regain as she continues to recuperate.
As long as we’re talking waterfowl, another little mallard arrived with an unusual injury. She presented apparent trauma to her face where the upper bill attaches to the skull. We are in the dark as to what could cause such an injury and besides maintenance and observation, we can do little at this point. Our main concern is that the bill remains viable and the duck can use it to eat on her own. We’ll try to keep you posted as to her progress.
Last Thursday we received a call that AZGFD was bringing in a bald eagle from the Saguaro Lake area. Officer John Dickson drove the bird to Liberty where the Med Services team was waiting. The bird presented no obvious trauma but was very “down” in medical terms. Blood was drawn for analysis and fluids were given to the malnourished and dehydrated bird. The blood tests showed signs of significant lead levels and a host of other blood readings that were out of tolerance as well. Many times birds can fight off one or more forms of toxicity, but when lead or something equally debilitating compromises their immune systems, they stop flying, stop hunting, and stop eating which allows other dangerous pathogens, such as aspergillosis, to proliferate. This induces a downhill spiral that eventually overwhelms the body’s ability to deal with the cascading system failures. The eagle fought an uphill battle until Sunday, when unfortunately, he succumbed to these cumulative effects. A necropsy is scheduled to help determine the cause of his death.