Hoots, Howls, and Hollers
On Saturday our Meetup met up, and it was a huge, huge success. Eighteen or so caring folks turned up at Chaparral Park in Scottsdale to rid the park of errant fishing detritus…..fishing line, sinkers, hooks, lures…which we found lurking around the lakes and there was more. On the surface the park was pristine. People were walking dogs, running, riding bikes, picnicking and yes, fishing. On the surface it looked perfect. With a purpose in mind, we filled bags and bags full of “stuff”. There was fishing line which deceptively clung to grass, sand, and tables.
Attached to the lurking clear plastic line was an assortment of hooks, sinkers and in a number of occasions lures with multiple deadly hooks. We found cigarette butts, plastic bread bag sealers, metal pop top mechanisms and any number of other deadly discards just waiting to grab, be ingested, and do damage. But with eagle eyes and lots of help we scoured the area, and I feel sure for a little while that park is relatively clear. We talked to fisher groups all of whom appreciated our work and vowed to do their best to make our treks unnecessary….oh let it be. We will be back, however!
We met some incredibly nice new folks who have promised to continue the cause on their own. And, we met new people who want to be included in future opportunities with us to clean up for wildlife. Join us. You will be glad that you did. More follow up will reveal our take on Saturday.
On another note….I want to recognize the work of our medical team who knows no real schedule and no normal hours. Recently we have had an influx of high profile animals whose needs go beyond the normal 8 to 5 schedule. Several eagles and several condors have come to us…all in serious need of treatment. The schedules of the medical team have no respect. If the condors need to be tube fed, chelated, operated on, there is no schedule that is sacred. They get what they need…days off or not. If a golden eagle (or any other animals for that matter) needs surgery, it happens. No questions asked. The job gets done.
Here’s the deal. At 7:00 pm on a Friday evening, if the eagle needs to have someone breathing for her, they are there. If the surgery goes well and the animal can be saved….hooray! Unfortunately, reality does rear its ugly head, and the damage can be so overwhelming that the surgical team breathes for the animal, and breathes for the animal, and breathes for the animal….but the heart becomes erratic and the damage wins. The clock doesn’t matter, the job must be completed…good outcome or not…the team watches, waits, hopes, and ultimately deals with the outcome and sometimes it just sucks. That is what happened on Friday evening and my hat goes off to the stamina and dedication of the medical team that deals with the trauma…and comes back tomorrow to face whatever the fates bring.
We can look from the outside at the wins and losses, but to live it on Friday evening after 6 hours of surgeries goes beyond the pale. My hat’s off to these heroes…they are the best.
This Week@ Liberty
The intake number for the year now stands at 322.
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…” Opening line from this week’s TW@L, A tale of three eagles. It’s not very often that we get a call about an injured eagle, and it’s even stranger when we get two such calls in close succession. Last week we got three calls for eagles on the same day! Then, as the week was drawing to a close, we also took in a third California condor! This portends to be a big year for rehabbing at the facility if this keeps up, and we haven’t even gotten into the real busy season. (one of the by-products was that I actually got into a few of the photos on TW@L this week.) Let’s take a look at what happened…
John Glitsos drove up near Rye last week to begin the 3 eagle odyssey by bringing in a seriously injured golden eagle. She was down on the side of the road near what was left of a raccoon carcass which John moved away from the highway as he gathered up the bird. Two DPS Officers, Trent and Jimmy, helped him wrap her up in towels for the ride to Liberty. They had watched over her to prevent further injuries until John arrived, and were eager to help. The eagle had apparently been struck by a car as she was eating the raccoon and had suffered multiple injuries and was bleeding internally. When she came in, Jan and her team conducted an assessment and after giving fluids and drawing a blood sample for testing, placed her in a quiet enclosure to rest and de-stress as much as possible. Sadly, sometime during the night she died from her massive injuries. Upon X-raying her body, we saw the remains of her last meal still inside her stomach: the foot of the road-kill raccoon. Truly an unfortunate end for a beautiful bird.
OK, this is a bit out of order, but there is a method to my madness. As the day was winding down, I got a call from a wildlife manager near Kingman who said they had another golden eagle at the Kingman Animal Hospital. This bird had also been hit by a car and needed serious medical help. As it was already late in the afternoon, I called volunteer Tim McAdam who has his own helicopter and has done missions for us in the past. He didn’t hesitate to offer his help and the next day, he and I flew to Kingman where we were met by Ruby and Becky from the animal hospital. The bird was transferred to the carrier in the helo and we flew to Scottsdale. Upon arrival, the bird was examined, given fluids and some food, and the broken leg was wrapped. Surgery was performed the next day but the bird sadly didn’t survive. Upon doing a necropsy, Dr. Orr discovered that the bird’s liver had ruptured in the collision and one of its lungs was filled with blood. In this condition, there was nothing that could have been done to save it. Another heartbreaking conclusion.
OK, back to eagle #2, a 5 year old unbanded male bald from the Lake Mary area. This bird had flown headlong into a snow drift and was rescued by a family who witnessed the bird’s landing mishap and ran to the rescue. (go to http://azdailysun.com/news/local/group-rescues-bald-eagle/article_e94adf9d-c67f-5d43-865f-14685f47c169.html for the story) Liberty Wildlife volunteer Tim Coppage drove to Flagstaff and picked up the bald eagle and brought him down for examination and treatment. Not presenting any overt trauma, the bird was X-rayed to verify there was no lead in his body, and was placed into a 60ft flight enclosure to rest up and get his flying skills back. In the near future, he’ll be making the trip back north where we hope to get the family that rescued him to participate in the release!
We took in a third California condor last week. This male, #287, is in serious condition from the effects of lead poisoning. He is being treated and his prognosis is guarded at this time. We’ll keep you posted.