Hoots, Howls, and Hollers
I am going to step out on a limb and talk about a very controversial topic, pigeons. There aren’t many people who don’t have an opinion on this oft maligned feathered entity. (I invite you to read The Fascinating Saga of the World’s Most Revered and Reviled Bird by Andrew Blechman). On one extreme we have the non-native, rat with wings contention and at the other extreme we have the pigeon fanciers who breed, show and race pigeons as a life-long hobby. Somewhere in between there lives the “live and let live” delegation. I am not going to make a stand because no one really cares what I think about it, but when someone brings in a pigeon in need of care we haven’t been very good at turning them away. Here is a case in point. Know that it is rarely only about the animal.
A young tyke brought in a pigeon accompanied by a letter written to us. If you could have turned this adorable child away, you have a tougher heart than those of us at Liberty Wildlife. See the letter below.
Now, there often seems to be a dearth of compassion in the world. I find myself going on temporary news black outs to stave off the depression caused by current events. But, it is young people like this that give me hope. A huge part of our educational message is about teaching compassion through the work that we do.
We are proudly diverse in our intake of animals. We have had the skills to care for over 145 different native species. And, as the current saying goes, “All lives matter.” Remember, that with each animal brought to us there is at least one caring human who appreciates getting the best care possible for the animal they have taken time to help.
We pride ourselves in serving as a great community resource for much of your nature needs. At Liberty Wildlife we provide one stop shopping for wildlife assistance, for educational opportunities, and conservation issues for you and for future generations.
We will only be able to do more at our new campus of conservation, education, rehabilitation and sustainability. Stay tuned.
This Week @ Liberty
The intake total for the year has reached 5670.
The numbers just keep growing, and the animals keep getting the best care available. From bunnies to tortoises, from warblers to eagles, we don’t discriminate by size or species: if it needs help, we will provide it! A couple of cool birds showed up this week (along with the usual suspects – great horned owls, roadrunners, black-crowned night herons, etc.) and I highlighted those below. The big news is that after some 35 years in Dr. Orr’s backyard, work has finally begun on the permanent campus of Liberty Wildlife! A short (very short!) slide show/video is coming for those who weren’t there. Don’t feel bad, it was at 7:30 this morning and it was already 97 degrees – and humid! Thanks for all those who stuck with us and made it possible! Now let’s look at this past week…
So we all know the jokes about rabbits and their breeding proclivities, and well, they’re all true. Even now, late in the summer when it’s well over 110 in the afternoon, we are still taking in baby cottontails and jackrabbits. I doubt it will stop any time soon – or ever.
I guess another thing that will never stop is birds and other non-targeted animals getting caught in glue traps. These devices are TERRIBLE and should never be used outside in an area where animals can be attracted to them. I’m not sure what the real targets are, and no matter what you’re trying to eliminate, no living thing deserves this kind of horrible death. This curved-bill thrasher was finally unstuck from the tacky surface and will now spend a few months growing his feathers back after his close encounter of the viscous kind.
It seems we have been getting in a lot of birds with eye problems of late so it’s a good thing our vets are trained in assessing this type of injury. This little black-crowned night heron had a tear in his third eyelid while the GHO had a skin graft over one eye which required some re-evaluation. We do still have our eye specialists for advanced help when the birds need care at that level.
Christy vanCleve sent us another barn owl last week who was experiencing some difficulties flying. The pretty dark bird was evaluated and moved to an outside flight enclosure as “Orange 8″ which puts him one step closer to release. As always, proper records are essential (and required under law) and Sharon was the record keeper/tag maker last week for this bird.
Red tails and great horned owls are the most common raptors in North America so it’s no surprise we get a lot of them in each year. With a full staff of vets on Tuesday afternoon, these birds get the very best treatment which leads to our enviable release rate despite the unbelievable numbers of patients we have taken in already this year.
Our newest volunteer veterinarian, Dr. Becker, got to handle her very first roadrunner last week. Dr. Becker seemed excited about getting to work on this new species for her, and the bird, although not entirely thrilled to be in this position, was given the greatest treatment of its life and is doing well!
We don’t get a lot of warblers in each year, but when we do, it’s a minor event. This little Grace’s warbler came in last week with a possible coracoid injury he suffered while migrating through the valley. This species was first found in Arizona in 1864 by a young man, Elliott Coues, who named it after his sister. It is common to higher elevation pine forests and has a pretty little song: (click here.)
Yes, that’s right: the pictured bird is one week old! Yellow-billed Cuckoos have one of the shortest nesting cycles of any bird species. From the start of incubation to fledging can take as little as 17 days. Although born naked, the young birds develop quickly; within a week of hatching the chicks are fully feathered and ready to leave the nest. They are not uncommon back east and are related to the great roadrunner! This little guy has a broken leg and will be cared for by Med Services until ready for release.
OK, for all those who thought this day would never arrive, the dirt at the site of the new facility is moving!
This morning the crews began real work on the site of the new Liberty Wildlife permanent campus at 2600 East Elwood in Phoenix. Even last week people were asking if I thought we’d actually ever have a new home, and now it’s beginning to come together for all to see. For a short video/slide show, click here.