Hoots, Howls, and Hollers
This is an active and productive time of year for wildlife. So much is going on with pairing up, breeding and fledging that a great deal of pressure is put on critters as they make their ways newly into a world of waiting hazards. I would like to remind you of a few things that you can do to ease their entry into our shared space. If you are a consistent reader of this blog you will recognize these points, but many are new and many need to be reminded. It is our responsibility to do what we can to help make the season a productive one, for their good and for ours. See what you can do to help with these things.
- If you find a baby bird on the ground and can find its nest and if it is safe to do, please put the baby back. You can put a nest back in the tree as long as it is anchored safely. Then watch to make sure the parents return. The parent birds do a better job than anyone in raising their babies and the old wives tale that says they will reject a baby with human scent is just plain wrong…birds have a very poor sense of smell and the instinct to raise the babies that they have invested so much energy into trumps all.
- Do not prune trees in the winter, spring and summer. In fact mid fall is probably the best time at the end of breeding season and before the beginning of the next season which for some starts with late winter nest building. Put trimming and pruning off as long as you can and you will single handedly be responsible for saving many lives.
- As many babies will be growing up there will be a larger demand for food. Pesticides and rodenticides are killers. Not only are they killers of insects, rats and mice, they are also indiscriminate and can take out a pet as well as the normal predator who could succumb to secondary poisoning. Just don’t use poisons…don’t do it. If you are inundated with rodents get a good snap trap and put it in an area where you have seen the signs of rodents making sure nothing else can inadvertently get snapped. It is quick and deadly and pretty much targeted to the pest. As for pesticides, the insects that you seek to eradicate are often the ones the parents are seeking to feed their clutches. No insects, no successful fledgling of babies. Let the natural pest killer do its job and the environment will be better for all of us. Keep areas clean and make insect homes less available and a balance should be attained.
- I have talked incessantly about sticky traps. Don’t use them. It is cruel. A mouse or rat will attempt to chew its stuck appendage off to flee the trap. It is much less cruel to use a snap trap if you must. And, a number of non-target animals fall prey to sticky traps like thrashers, cactus wrens, lizards, etc. They happen along doing what they are supposed to do and are inadvertently snagged by the unspecific glue on the trap where they will struggle to death…not nice…don’t use them anywhere.
- Lastly, clean out your water fountains, bird feeders and bird baths weekly. Birds can and are spreading trichomoniasis which is a protozoan spread from nasal secretions, secretions from the mouth or through the feces of birds as they eat and drink. Doves and pigeons contract it and the infected bird can then become a food source for raptors. It affects the respiratory and gastrointestinal systems and can be deadly. Use good hygiene where birds amass, cleaning and disinfecting bowls and fountains to help keep the spread of this disease under control.
This Week @ Liberty
The intake total for the year is up to 3250.
Hmmm. The heat of summer should be upon us, but with a couple of exceptions, it’s been mild, temperature-wise. One more indication that the term “global warming” might better be replaced with a more accurate “climate change” which is truly playing havoc with the cycles on nature and wildlife. Although it’s been relatively cool and wet, we’re still getting tons of baby birds and mammals, along with injured adults. These are really sad since in many cases, these adult birds are the parents of babies who are now at risk of starvation and predation without their parents to feed and protect them. The best we can do is try to keep up with the intakes and get as many back into the wild as soon as possible. Here’s what happened last week…
Some of the smallest intakes last week included these two tiny newly hatched Gila woodpecker babies still displaying their prominent egg tooth. These little guys were a sensational departure from the endless stream of doves and other more common orphans, all of which get total loving care from the volunteers in OC. The little bat arrived last night after being found by some children in north Phoenix who cared enough to Google their need for a bat rescuer and Liberty was listed first – and termed the best!
An orphan baby cooper’s hawk is being fed by the volunteers and staff until it can move outside. While being hand fed, camouflage and silence is the rule to prevent improper imprinting which would jeopardize his candidacy for release. From the looks of this little guy’s crop, he’s NOT lacking for food as he grows rapidly into an avian specialist hunter.
We certainly get a variety of ages – even in the same species. The little nestling BCNH above will rapidly grow into the fledgling below and then just as fast into an adult. The fledgling in the lower photograph is being prepared (banded) by Alex and Jan prior to being moved into an outside enclosure and some lessons in self-feeding.
And we always get in our share of red tailed hawks during baby bird season. As soon as they are old enough, they are placed in with our foster parents for proper imprinting and training in the fine art of being a red tail! Along the way, all orphans are monitored to make sure they are staying healthy and free of parasites and injuries they may acquire while in the fragile nestling stage.
This duck came in with a foot problem which dictated some clever remedy. Jan and her team in Med Services fashioned a special orthopedic shoe from some high-tech material which protected the foot and gave her some support as the foot and leg healed. The results were gratifying as after the shoe was removed, the foot and leg seemed altogether improved and she was allowed to move outside into the waterfowl enclosure.
We have a new addition to our Tuesday afternoon “Vet Night” staff, Dr. Karen Becker. She was in the ICU last week and her help and experience was welcomed by all the volunteers. The animals will all certainly benefit from having another veterinarian on hand to help out with the medical work required by the more seriously injured birds and mammals. Welcome to the team, Dr. Becker! We hope you enjoy your time with us!
I went a couple of miles down the road from Liberty last week to rescue this young red tailed hawk that had been reported walking around the neighborhood, unable to fly. I found him under a bush looking fairly down but better than a sibling that was dead across the street. Both had come from a nest in a large tree which still contained a parent and two more babies. Upon examination, Jan discovered a serious case of canker but with an open passageway for food and air. Treatment began immediately with anti-canker drugs, food, and hydrating fluids. Sadly, within days the lady who initially called reported two more dead hawks under the tree. Once this protozoan (trichomoniasis) enters a nest, it’s probable that all of the inhabitants will be affected by this extremely contagious condition. We are trying really hard to keep this little guy alive as he is the last survivor of the family in that nest. A tough way to begin life…
Our good friend and frequent source of birds from down south, Christie van Cleve, sent us this young Swainson’s hawk last week. The bird has unknown injuries and is currently under observation to determine the type and extent of the damage. Our system of relaying injured birds from the southeastern part of the state is working well!