This Week @ Liberty – March 9, 2015

Hoots, Howls, and Hollers

Megan Mosby

Megan Mosby

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… 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.

Park trash

Park trash

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!

Cleanup volunteers at Chaparral Park

Cleanup volunteers at Chaparral Park

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

Posted by Terry Stevens

Posted by Terry Stevens

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 brings in the first golden

John brings in the first golden eagle

A small blood sample is drawn

A small blood sample is drawn

John looks concerned...

John looks concerned…

Jan administers medicine

Jan administers medicine

The bird's condition is critical

The bird’s condition is critical

But at least she had a good meal - look carefully at the raccoon foot in her stomach!

But at least she had a good meal – look carefully at the raccoon foot in her stomach!

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.

Tim McAdam gets his helicopter ready for the mission

Tim McAdam gets his helicopter ready for the mission

Tim with Ruby and Becky in Kingman

Tim with Ruby and Becky from the Kingman Animal Hospital

The exam begins

The exam begins as soon as the bird arrives (photo by Anne Peyton)

Alex draws blood

Blood is drawn for testing  (photo by Anne Peyton)

The golden gets fluids

Alex administers fluids (photo by Anne Peyton)

Injured golden eagle is prepared for X-ray

Injured golden eagle is prepared for X-ray

The leg gets a preliminary wrap

The leg gets a preliminary wrap… (photo by Anne Peyton)

...and a little food

…and a little food (photo by Anne Peyton)

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.

The bald arrives

The bald eagle arrives (photo by Kathy Edwards)

The bird is examined by Jan and the ed Services team.

The bird is examined by Jan and the Med Services team. (photo by Kathy Edwards)

He's apparently in relatively good condition!

He’s apparently in relatively good condition! (photo by Kathy Edwards)

To be sure, Dr. Sorum takes an X-ray to make sure there are no lead fragments

To be sure, Dr. Sorum takes an X-ray to make sure there are no lead fragments

Jan holds the bald for measurements

Jan holds the bald eagle for measurements

Kyle measures the beak

Tuck measures the beak

The talons are measured as well

The lengths of the talons are recorded as well

Finally, the state band goes on

Finally, the state band goes on

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 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!


Our third California condor this season is a male, # 287

Our third California condor this season is a male, # 287

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.

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5 Responses to This Week @ Liberty – March 9, 2015

  1. Kim Parrott says:

    Wow! Amazing stories and amazing staff and volunteers. Thank you all for protecting our native wildlife. And for educating hundreds of thousands of students about protecting native wildlife and nature! Such important work for our future generations and the health of our planet!

  2. Carolyn LeBlanc says:

    Bless all of you for your heroic efforts on behalf of all of these birds. You are all my heroes.

  3. linda gonzalez says:

    re megan’s comments about lake clean-up, we have been going to Veteran’s Oasis Park in s. chandler since it opened several years ago, (it is also a water reclamation area) and routinely pick-up used fishing line. since last weeks post about groups going out to different lakes, my husband and i decided we would go out to the lake on a regular basis, Mondays actually, and clean-up after the weekend. the fishing lake is lovely and not all that big so we were able to scour it pretty well in about 30 minutes, a small contribution. linda

  4. Gail says:

    I can’t get these stories out of my mind. What a horrific match up, a speeding hunk of steel powered by a gasoline powered combustion engine versus a highly evolved top echelon predator of the wild. We all know who should “win” and most times, who does instead. I find hope in the dedication of the volunteers, in the medical services area and out at the lake, trying their best, employing every resource at hand, reeling in fish hooks and sharing stories. Bless you!

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