Hoots, Howls, and Hollers
So, 2015, is waning. Ok! The rest of the year will hopefully be full of tradition, cheer, family, giving and fun. If you are like me, you really don’t need more stuff under the tree. If you find yourself in that category think of changing your requests to the North Pole to making a donation to a charity whose mission is something you feel passionate about. Of course, I am hoping that you choose Liberty Wildlife as a responsible hard working organization with a lot of heart, a lot of skills, and a lot of good deeds who spends your donations well and frugally; dollars go a long way around here.
The record books will show how well we have spent your donations. We have had a record number of animals pass through our hospital (close to 6500). We are providing a service not just for the animal but also for you…a public looking for help for some unfortunate critter that fell in your lap, so to speak.
How great for the community that there is a place like Liberty Wildlife where good souls donate their time to care for native wild animals. Where people like our volunteers spend hours volunteering before they even get a chance to join the education team where they spend more hours training and readying themselves to spend more time presenting charismatic educational ambassadors to venues all over the state.
How great is it that we have a team of biologists who spend hours at irregular times mitigating for misfortunes that wildlife suffers as it interacts with civilization!
How great is it that we have a Hotline to answer your questions and to provide Rescue and Transport services when needed!
How great is it that we are one of two entities in the U.S. who are allowed to distribute non-eagle feathers to Native Americans for cultural and religious purposes, providing an opportunity for them to continue their cultural practices without the need to “take” birds from the wild.
We are nearing the end at our current location and will be moving to our new digs hopefully in April. At that point we will be able to add to the many things we already do with the opportunity to be open to the public, to provide after school programs, interssession programs, tours, speaker and film series to name a few.
How great is it that 2015 is waning and 2016 is about to burst on the scene! I am really looking forward to providing more to the community than ever before in our new year.
Think about us when you plan your end of the year giving. We deserve a close look!
Thanks and Happy Holidays to all of you.
This Week @ Liberty
With less than two weeks left, the intake total for this year is now at 6524.
The level of activity remains steady as the year grinds to an end. This week we saw, among other arrivals, a great blue heron with a multi-hook fishing lure attached, a raven who was frighteningly burned in an electrical flash, and another bird from a glue trap. The golden eagle makes some progress and a Harris’ hawk gets an amazing pin in his broken leg. Education programs proceed despite frigid temps up north, and the Tuesday crew have a mini-feast to celebrate another year at Liberty! Here’s what it looked like…
Each year now, Claudia has presented a mini-feast for the Tuesday team (actually for everyone present!) around Christmas. Cleverly labeled for carnivores, vegetarians, and vegans, there was something for everyone’s taste! This is just one of the reasons that her Tuesday crew has the least turn-over of any DC team at Liberty! The biggest problem is always how to keep the grackles from stealing food when nobody is looking…
The golden that came in recently is improving slowly, despite the confirmation of aspergillosis. She is eating well and recovering from the ill effects of the apparent car collision and is being treated for asper. Hopefully she will recover soon and be released in time for breeding season in the spring. (She did find seeing her reflection in my camera lens to be very interesting…!)
One of two ravens that were playing near some electrical equipment near Roosevelt Lake were injured when they somehow caused a short circuit. The resulting explosion killed one and badly burned the feathers of the other one. We have seen this before where the flash doesn’t cause deep tissue burning or structural damage, but burns the feathers into grotesque stalks of charred keratin. The good news is that with proper care, the bird can live through subsequent molting and replace the burned feathers as long as the follicles have not been damaged.
A couple more birds treated during Vet Night this week included this great horned owl with an injured wing, the ruddy duck with a broken beak and fractured wing, and ANOTHER bird that got stuck in a glue trap. The GHO is doing well and will be outside soon, we hope. The ruddy duck is improving and the splint that was glued and taped to the lower bill is doing it’s job as the broken bill heals. The mockingbird was trapped on a glue tray which was placed outside in a bush several feet off the ground. The directions for most of these nasty traps clearly state that they are for inside use only and this only demonstrates why. The chances for collateral damage to unintended species from outdoor use are very high. Once again, we strongly advise against using this kind of device -EVER!
Several agencies are at work trying to mitigate bird-strike incidents at Luke AFB and periodically we get birds that have been trapped on or near the base. Last week this burrowing owl came in for relocation. It appears he was riding in the wheel well of an F-35 when discovered. These little guys probably find airports a great place to live as there is lots of open turf and the rodents and insects that are supported by this habitat. However, hitching a ride on a front line fighter jet is something that could have consequences for both the bird and the aircraft that historically don’t end well for either. Otherwise uninjured, the bird will be safely relocated.
This beautiful great blue heron came in with the multi-hooked lure attached to his neck and his leg. We’ve seen this before where some waterfowl gets hooked by discarded fishing equipment and then while attempting to remove the painful plug, gets it caught through it’s foot or leg. This heron had some serious damage to its long neck but thankfully Dr. Orr was able to remove the gear and repair most of the injury. Within a day or so, he was outside and recovering satisfactorily.
Liberty is lucky to have several local veterinarians with special skills who donate their time and expertise to our animals. Among these, Dr. Todd Driggers has for years been doing surgeries for us on birds and mammals with complicated fractures, applying internal pins and external fixators. Dr. Mike Sorum, a very experienced equine vet, is one of our Med Services volunteers who brings in his portable x-ray unit when he comes in on Sunday. Last week these two skilled professionals got together as Dr. Todd shared his experience with Dr. Mike who then performed his first pinning of this type on one of our harris’ hawks who presented a fractured leg. A big “thanks” to both of these gentlemen for all they do!
The show must go on, and it does, enthusiastically! It was around 27 degrees when our team of Education volunteers arrived in Clarkdale last week to present to the passengers about to board the Verde Canyon Railroad. Despite icy roads and below freezing temperatures, the birds and the volunteers put on a great educational event for the folks who were going to ride the train north. It warmed all the way up to the 40’s by the time the Liberty contingent headed back to the valley. Nice job people (and birds!)!
And to round things out, this photo of her neighborhood bobcat family was submitted by volunteer Kathy Edwards. It’s hard to believe that some folks want these felines removed when they appear, but that’s why we do education: To let citizens know how to peacefully coexist with their native wildlife and enjoy and appreciate this kind of biodiversity.
Weekly progress on the new facility