Hoots, Howls, and Hollers
We keep breaking records and this year’s Orphan season has blown all previous records off the charts. Starting April 12th and to end September 26 (later than years before), our intrepid Orphan Care Department has done the best job ever. Here are a few statistics to date to give you an idea why they were so busy all of the time.
Intakes at the window 5402 Total Hatchling 669
Total avian (birds) 4961 Total Nestling 1424
Total mammals 396 Total Fledgling 1151
Total reptile 43 Total Juvenile 973
Total amphibian 2 Total Infant 140
Different species 60 Total Newborn 64
Total Adult 981
All of these animals (excluding orphan or adult raptors) were taken care of by our hard working Orphan Care Team. It consists of the following elements:
75 total people a week
3 shifts most days
7 days a week
From 7:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m.
The busiest month of this season was June with 1469 total animals for the month. Some days almost 100 animals were received. Our Orphan Care area is small and was chocked full most of the time with hungry mouths needing cleaning and/or medicating. It was filled with 3 or 4 volunteers a shift and bumping into each other was common place. Under those circumstances it is amazing to be able to say with all honesty that this year was seamless, efficient, and totally filled with expertise and compassion.
And when I speak of expertise and compassion I must mention the leadership of Susie Vaught, the Orphan Care Supervisor and her Daily Care Coordinators, Cindy Zeigler and Andrea Feiler. They made a huge difference and need to take a bow. Thank you all for the leadership and hard work. It was a great season for native wildlife!
I am remiss if I don’t recognize the role the Hotline played in this successful year as well as their esteemed leader, Carol Suits. It does indeed take a village!
This Week @ Liberty
The intake total for the year has reached 6029.
As unbelievable as it once seemed, we passed 6,000 animals last week with the arrival of a cottontail with an injured leg. The truly incredible part is that we still have 100 days to go this year. This remarkable milestone is in no small part due to the outstanding dedication of the Orphan Care team which dutifully cared for almost 80% of that total. Within the week, the OC center will be closing down until next spring when we will be opening again at our new facility. In the meantime, the usual work goes on even as construction progresses on the new Liberty Wildlife on the Rio Salado!
The six-thousandth intake arrived last Wednesday, a cottontail rabbit with an injured leg. Quite a milestone for such a little creature!
In keeping with the theme of unassuming arrivals, two tiny baby desert tortoises were brought in last week. They are too small to hibernate this year and will be kept in their enclosure until they are large enough to be transferred to another facility for adoption. (That’s a small square tissue box in the left foreground.)
The baby barn owl is getting bigger by the day. This is confirmed by tracking his weight to make certain he is getting sufficient food to support his explosive growth. In the wild, his parents would be feeding him between five and six mice each night.
Our little screech owl with the fractured wing was taken down to Dr. Driggers last week for surgery to pin his broken humerus. The surgery went well so he returned the next day and is now in recovery at Liberty. He has a good attitude (for a predator) as he grabs everything within reach with his diminutive but sharp talons, including Dr. Driggers’ shirt!
We had what seemed like an overabundance of eye issues recently. One is a barn owl who presented some problems upon arrival but seems to be doing a little better with the care he is getting. Having three experienced vets on duty on Tuesday afternoon plus Dr. Sorum on Sunday morning is a big help!
It’s disturbing how well bullets and pellets show up in X-rays – almost as disturbing as how often this type of injury occurs. In this case, the fracture is in a good place being mid-shaft and only involves the one bone. The prognosis for this bird is very good right now, aided by the early X-ray by Dr. Sorum. This underscores why it’s so imperative that we acquire a digital X-ray unit for the new facility. In many cases, early and accurate diagnosis leads to a more successful outcome to the treatment.
Becoming an annual event, the Orphan Care team had an End-of-the-Season get together last Saturday with pizza (provided by Liberty and Oregano’s), salad, soft drinks, and the cutest cake – (actually several cupcakes!) Organized by Susie, the OC Coordinator, the event was well attended by the volunteers who worked tirelessly in less than perfect conditions since April to feed and care for thousands of baby birds and mammals. The best news is that at the new facility, OC will be twice as large and they won’t have to work the intake window along with their usual duties! Thanks, OC, for all you do!!
As the OC event was winding up, an adult turkey vulture was brought in. As is often the case with carrion eating species, the bird was involved in an automobile collision. Many scavengers love cars as they seem to be the perfect predator – killing things and not eating them! This leaves an inviting carcass on the road as a perfect free meal without expending energy. Unfortunately, another of these mechanical instruments of carnage will be coming along soon and if the scavenger is still eating, he might well be the next victim! This TV has a very serious compound fracture in his wing. The wound was wrapped and splinted pending X-rays which will dictate the type of further treatment.
An unfortunate Canada goose was rescued and brought in just prior to the OC event. A concerned lady living on the lake cared enough to call the hotline and remained on site to assist with the rescue. The bird was living at a golf course lake just south of the Liberty facility and had serious involvement with fishing line on both legs. Upon arrival, Med Services volunteers Alexa and Kayla carefully removed the line. The wounds were then cleaned well, medicated, and wrapped. After hydrating the bird, it was placed in an inside enclosure to minimize stress. Hopefully it will be moving outside and eventually returned to the lake and released when it heals.
A series of photos and videos showing releases and birds who returned after release!
Cindy Ziegler writes: “A few months ago, Barry and I released a pair of kestrels that Liberty’s foster parents raised. You always wonder how they’re doing – and today the male paid us a visit. Our fosters obviously did a good job with this one, look at that crop, and how beautiful he looks! Don’t you love it when things turn out this way? :-)”
Lesley Guenther sent this video of a dove she released that didn’t want the free meals to stop. The bird surreptitiously peeked in from an open window to steal cat food left inside. CLICK HERE for the video.
Liberty volunteers Kelly and Marko Virtanen did a Harris’ hawk release at the Lost Dutchman State Park on Saturday. Kelly sent in these pictures. Nice job!
The latest from the site of the new facility as of Sunday morning