Hoots, Howls, and Hollers
It is Valentine’s Day as I write this blog, and clearly love is in the air….or it should be. It was brought to my attention that one of our potential education–in-training red-tail hawks, Arya, is an image out of cupid’s little quiver. Now in the early days of training she wasn’t exactly oozing love vibes…she was demanding, and I guess willful might be a good descriptor. That is pretty much what a good red-tail should be. Unfortunately Arya was imprinted by the Good Samaritan who found the helpless baby and didn’t realize how difficult it is to raise a baby raptor alone, without proper imprinting. An improperly imprinted animal results in a loss correct species identity dooming it to life in captivity.
Arya grew up to be a beautiful specimen of a red-tail. She will make a great education ambassador, and this year her stunning heart shaped feathers have made her the poster child for Valentine’s Day. Look at her feathering closely because by next year at this time her role as cupid’s helper will be over and her molted feather hearts will be on the ground somewhere as her new feathers push forward indicating adulthood…red tail and all.
Linda Scott captured this photo during a training session, and I couldn’t help but share it with you at this romantic time of the year…and while you watch the other birds in the wild start their courtships flights, their nest building activities, the tending their young, please remember that a young animal like a baby bird, needs proper upbringing in order to be safely fledged into the wild. That is the way it is supposed to be.
One of the saddest injuries is one like Arya’s. She is stunning. She is tough. She would be a great hunter, mate, mother. But, that won’t happen because she doesn’t have a clue that she is all of those things. Her life won’t be a failure because she will teach a lesson to hundreds of thousands of people over the years, but it would have been better had she been a hunter, mate, mother.
It is close to the Orphan Care season at Liberty Wildlife, our busiest time. We have succeeded over the years in properly raising and releasing thousands and thousands of orphans. We know how to do it without imprinting them. We know the best way, next to mom and dad, to provide for the needs of hundreds of different species of animals.
The take away here is to look at the natural beauty of Arya. If you find a baby on the ground, give Liberty Wildlife a call. We will help you do the right thing by the compromised critter. Let’s be sure we give every animal in need a second chance at a full life. It is the right thing to do.
Unlike love, Arya, will not be in the air on Valentine’s Day. Let’s don’t let that happen again.
This Week @ Liberty
The intake total for this year is now at 216.
So, we’re still maintaining the swans, and we’re still getting bunnies almost every day. The California condors are both making progress towards their return to the Grand Canyon, and Aurora makes another starring appearance at the Parada del Sol parade. (Sorry this update is so late. I was trapped in NYC by bad weather and then experienced some technical difficulties. Wadda ya gonna do? FUGGEDDABOWDIT!)
The five swans that have been in our care since last month are doing well, biding their time until they can go back home to their lake in Sun City. We are just waiting to hear that the oil that contaminated the water has been removed and it is again safe for them and the other waterfowl that live there.
It seems as if we get more baby bunnies in every day. I suppose this is the time of year for it (as if there is ever a time of year NOT for it!) but the Med Services team has the routine down pretty well now and the small bundles of cuteness are all well cared for.
The domestic mallard duck who’s leg had nearly been severed by the fishing line and gear has responded well to all her care. The wonderful job of reconstruction by Dr. Wyman and the Vet Night crew have paid off and her foot appears to be healing, as is her leg. She got to go outside into the pool area and looked like one very happy duck as she played in the water, ignoring the pelican who watched from his kennel.
A large, beautiful red tail hawk has come a long way since her arrival and last week, she was deemed fit to go into an outside enclosure with other RTH’s. After a final check of all important parts, she had a head-to-head with Joanie and then got to join her new room mates. She is big and aggressive and appeared to take charge of the area almost at once.
The male California condor was still being tube fed last week and I captured the routine that takes place a couple of times each day. He is aggressive and strong and after the feeding, the volunteers are exhausted from the procedure. Luckily, the female is more compliant and is eating on her own now and had her “closing” surgery last week.
The female California condor (#455) was moving food on her own last week and no longer losing weight so Dr. Orr decided it was time to close her crop. The surgery went well with Alex and Jan assisting. After administering the anesthesia, the field was cleaned and irrigated. Dr. Orr cut off some scar tissue and sutured the fresh ends back into the form of the crop as it will be used by the bird’s digestive system. If all goes well she will recuperate in her enclosure for a time, then on to a flight enclosure prior to being driven back to the Vermillion Cliffs and release.
Joe and Jan took Aurora to the Parada del Sol parade again last weekend and as usual, she was a big hit with the crowd. It seems Liberty Wildlife is becoming an expected participant in most big-time local festivities of this nature.