This Week @ Liberty – September 21, 2015

Hoots, Howls, and Hollers

Megan Mosby

Megan Mosby

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

Posted by Terry Stevens

Posted by Terry Stevens

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!

Number 6000!

Number 6000! (photo by Liberty volunteer)

The six-thousandth intake arrived last Wednesday, a cottontail rabbit with an injured leg. Quite a milestone for such a little creature!

One of two baby desert tortoises that arrived

One of two baby desert tortoises that arrived

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 continues to grow.

The baby barn owl continues to grow.

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.


Screech owl is checked prior to surgery

Screech owl is checked prior to surgery

Dr. Driggers and screech owl pre surgery

Dr. Driggers and the screech owl pre surgery (with his talons embedded in Dr. T’s shirt!)

He came through the operation in good shape!

He came through the operation in good shape!

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!


Dr. Karen examines a barn owl's eye.

Dr. Becker examines a barn owl’s eye.

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!


A gun shot Harris' hawk gets an X-ray

A gun shot juvenile Harris’ hawk gets an X-ray

The offending projectile shows up well

The offending projectile shows up well

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.


A nice turnout for the OC wrap-up

A nice turnout for the OC wrap-up

Susie has some words of  thanks for the team

Susie has some words of thanks for the team

An appropriate cake (actually several cupcakes!) for the OC team

An appropriate cake for the OC team

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!!


A TV gets hit by a car

A turkey vulture/automobile collision

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.


More fishing line problems...

More fishing line problems…

Alexa works to remove the line

Alexa works to remove the line as Tony holds

The wound in the right leg is cleaned and flushed

Kayla irrigates the wound after the line is removed

Then the leg is medicated and wrapped

Then the leg is medicated and wrapped

Team work on the second leg

Med Services team removes the fishing line from the second leg

Two toned leg warmers - how 70's!

Tony holds the goose with two toned leg warmers – how 70’s!

Fluids before cage rest

Fluids are administered by Alexa before Tony places the bird in an enclosure to rest

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!

Kestrel foster after release (photo by Cindy Ziegler)

Kestrel foster after release (photo by Cindy Ziegler)

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.


Marko ready to launch (photo by Kelly)

Marko ready to launch (photo by Kelly)

Another successful release! (photo by Kelly)

Another successful release! (photo by Kelly)

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

Steel for the foundation

Steel for the foundation

It's starting to take shape now...

It’s starting to take shape now…


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2 Responses to This Week @ Liberty – September 21, 2015

  1. Art Smith says:

    Congratulations on another great year for critters……..Art

  2. Gail says:

    Unbelievable to imagine the amount of food, medication and time put in by hardworking volunteers to rehabilitate these numbers of animals! Wooohooo!

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