Hoots, Howls, and Hollers
A big shout out goes to Carolyn L. for organizing a Meet up: Cleanup to Save Wildlife event for Liberty Wildlife. If you remember earlier in the year volunteer John Glitsos started a meetup to clean-up the local park lakes to alleviate the need for constant rescues of turtles and other water loving birds who inevitably get tangled in the detritus left in parks particularly from fishing. Our first Meet up was at Chaparral Park in Scottsdale. It resulted in bags of fishing line, hooks, lead sinkers and other leftovers from park attendees.
Over the many years that Liberty Wildlife has been offering rescue and rehabilitation services to the community we are saddened by the large number of herons, ducks and geese and even some turtles that come in with swallowed hooks, fishing line so tightly tangled around legs, necks, even tongues that appendages are compromised and in many cases like those found hanging from fishing line, dead after struggling for days, lives are lost. And, it is totally unnecessary for these animals to suffer as they do.
As a result of these constant calls, John started the Meetup Clean up to Save Wildlife. The idea is to have local users of the lakes take ownership of an area and be the organizers of the clean-up events. We have thought that this could be a great activity for youngsters who aren’t old enough to actually do hands on work at our facility but want desperately to help the environment and our wildlife.
So, volunteer Carolyn L. stepped up to the task and took on a huge chunk of clean-up locale. Her daughter Olivia and friends had community hours to complete, and this sounded like the perfect way to go!!! Here’s what Carolyn had to say about their endeavors to clean-up for wildlife:
We went to Bartlett Lake on Sunday to do the trash pickup, and fishing line/hook/weight removal. It was a total mess, there is trash everywhere there. We got 18 bags of trash (bottles, cans, and FIVE pair of men’s underwear which I don’t even want to think about), and a huge mess of fishing line, hooks, and weights from approximately 100 yards of shoreline only. The kids got to meet a Sheriff’s deputy who came out and said that he would suggest to the forest service that organizing a regular patrol like this would be a great idea. We had a lot of fun actually; it was like an Easter egg hunt, but for old underwear!
I would like to see others take on a lake, stream, or other waterway, or just an area of wild land that is an attractant to people who sometimes don’t realize what their “leave behinds” can do to hurt unsuspecting wildlife…not to mention the blight it leaves to greet the next folks who happen out to enjoy a bit of pristine nature.
Go online to Meetup and find Cleanup to Save Wildlife to see how you can help keep the momentum going. Take on a lake, stream or other area and cleanup to save wildlife. You will have stars in your crown, and you will save innocent wild animals.
This Week @ Liberty
The intake total for the year now stands at 6282.
Another Halloween has passed and we’re running towards the holidays at full speed! (They have to be getting close, as Costco has had their Christmas stuff out for two months already!) The temps are finally dropping, at least at night, and we can turn off the A/C units when the day is done. Now is when we see the arrival of first year birds who have not fared well as they learn to cope with what nature and man can throw at them. Some are migratory and on the way to wintering grounds, and some are locals who are trying to set up their own territories after dispersion. But they all have to learn – and learn fast – how to adapt to a world filled with power lines, glass, cars, dogs, cats, and kids. Then again, some of the long term permanent residents at Liberty were getting help dealing with things that the wild population never sees – old age problems! But with a few exceptions, life goes on, and work progresses on the new facility as steel begins to rise…
We only had two (that I know of!) volunteers who dressed for Halloween this year. Denise was a decomposing witch and Stacey looked like a character from Mad Max. Thanks for bringing the spirit to Liberty!
Then, on Saturday, Stacey and Claudia provided our two international interns, Ann Katherine and Jasmine, a trip north for a ‘cultural’ outing. Stacey writes: “Claudia and I took the internationals to Prescott on Saturday to experience some Arizona history & culture. We spent the day exploring Whiskey Row, the Sharlot Hall Pioneer Museum, & Watson Lake. Downtown Prescott also had a Halloween costume contest.”
Recently another really new baby desert tortoise arrived at Liberty. Even as we prepare our tortoises for hibernation (see last week’s TW@L), this little guy is too small to be allowed to go through the hibernation process and will be allowed to “stay up” through his first winter.
One of our good friends in the Lake Havasu called last week and told us she had taken in an injured red tail hawk. The yearling bird had been trapped and released at an airport in Southern California and made it to the Havasu area before he had an encounter with electricity and ended up in a backyard pool. Our wonderful long-distance rescue volunteer Sherrill Snyder made the several hour trek over and back to bring him in, but sadly, the damage was extensive and he would have lost a foot and a wing from the electric burns. This beautiful young hawk became one of the 80% who didn’t survive his first year.
A gorgeous gilded flicker was brought in last week and received treatment for injuries of unknown origin. It’s easy to see why this bird’s feathers are so prized by patrons of the non-eagle feather repository.
Another good looking hawk came to us for a wing injury last week and due to his unusual feather coloration, his true identity was slow in coming. It was finally determined that he was a Swainson’s hawk, probably on his migration to South America. One of the only true classically migratory hawks that pass through Arizona twice a year, these hawks travel from the middle of the United States where they summer, down to Argentina where they spend the winter months. We hope to get this guy back in the air soon so he can join the others heading south.
Several birds we treated recently were the victims of collisions with immovable objects, usually windows. A kestrel, another Cooper’s, and a Harris’ hawk all made the collision list last week with varying prognoses. The Kestrel is doing well, as is the Cooper’s, but the Harris’ hawk will not fly again as its wing has a devastating fracture right at the wrist. Being so close to a major joint makes repair nearly impossible so this bird will be forced into a career change.
This was record week for collision injuries. The kestrel that had the wing amputation was in that category, but he’s doing well, as is the peregrine who got to go into an outside enclosure. The harrier was checked over extensively and also seems to be improving after an apparent collision with something.
Two of our long time resident birds were in the ICU last week receiving care for various issues. Igor was an educational GHO for several years until he became one of our best foster parents successfully raising hundreds of great horned owl orphans each year. He is now 28+ years old and has developed an eye issue that will require surgery which is scheduled for this Monday. Digger, one of our permanent burrowing owls, was also a foster parent adept at raising orphans of her species. Arriving at Liberty as an adult in 2007, she had also developed age related eye issues which had compromised her vision. Burrowing owl’s don’t usually live as long as great horneds overall and we estimate Digger may have been quite old. In her case, it was decided to let her rest after a long and stellar career taking care of hundreds of orphan baby burrowing owls and she was quietly and gently helped over the rainbow bridge at the end of the day last Tuesday. “Fairfarren little Digger.”