Hoots, Howls, and Hollers
On my morning walk the air was dank and the sky was dark but overcast with clouds. The silence was penetrated by the hoots of a dark time predator, the great horned owl. I do the same thing that I do every time it happens…I scan the sky for the silhouette of the owl as it hoots from my neighbor’s chimney to find its mate or announce its territory.
It reminded me that the baby time was upon us again. The eagles are down and video cams keep those who watch up to date on the hatchings or not of the eggs laid heralding the next generation. It is such a happening time of year as far as wildlife goes.
There are some reminders that I harp on every year and here I go again.
If you know that you have nesting birds around you…stay back. Approach only from afar by means of binoculars. Do not physically penetrate their space. It is a sensitive time and frightened parents might be forced to abandon the nest. Once the eggs hatch there is such an investment that the parents are less likely to abandon and might become more aggressive so just stay away and get your jollies by watching the video cams.
Another reminder has to do with ducks. It might be a little early for the mallard families to start their nesting behaviors but very soon they will start checking out your yards for the safest place to lay their eggs and raise a family…unfortunately hatching and leading the cute babies straight for your pool. Trust me, you do not want that to happen. I suggest you make your yard a not so pleasant place to be…discourage kindly any efforts to find your home their home. You will thank me.
And lastly for now…do not start trimming your trees. Any efforts to locate a safe place to build a nest depends on the existing flora. Heaven forbid you should actually undo all of the efforts of some hard working avian neighbor. The verdins outside my office window bring me hours of delight as I watch them flitting around the palo verde tucking twigs and sticks into a neat little inverted basket. I watch secretly from my window and look forward to the arrival of babies.
This Week @ Liberty
The intake tally for the year is now at 46.
The new year is taking off slowly, but the intakes are picking up as the days pass. I keep telling the Window Volunteers (a new position at Liberty) to enjoy the slow time now as in a couple of months, the lines will begin to form at the drop off point.
Two California condors have survived thus far and their treatment continues. The golden eagle has had another operation to install another pin to support the broken bones. We’re all still working at settling into the new facility to best serve the animals in our care. It will be, as it has been all along, a process.
On the bright side, our walk-in freezer should be up and getting cold by the time you read this. That’s one more step on the long road that is Liberty Wildlife…
Newly offered to the public are guided tours of the Rob and Melani Walton Campus of Liberty Wildlife. Designed to educate the public as to our role in Arizona wildlife rehabilitation and environmental sustainability, these 90 minute walks around the facility allow the public to see and experience the processes the animals go through as we provide medical care and long term rehabilitation services for them, as well as some hands-on educational opportunities to the people on the tours. Our Education volunteers are doing a marvelous job of both entertaining and educating the adults and children who sign up for these scheduled events several days a week.
The golden eagle that came in a few weeks ago has again had surgery to install pins in her wing to stabilize the fractured humerus. The break is very close to the elbow joint complicating the healing process and making repair to the wing exceedingly difficult. This latest surgery was performed by Dr. Lamb (a new volunteer veterinarian experienced in avian species!) on New Year’s Eve after the first pin that was installed began to migrate (move) inside the bone. This latest iteration seems to have been more successful and the bird is generally improving. Updates will follow in the weeks ahead.
Recently we received an eared grebe that came to us after spending some time with some other wildlife rehabilitation folks up between Payson and Pine Top. It appeared to be a very young juvenile who was having difficulty eating on his own. After giving him some much needed sustenance and rest, he was deemed fit for release. Yesterday, Sunday, Craig took him out and let him go free at the Gilbert Water Ranch and he seems to be getting along well.
Just thought I’d throw this in there. If you remember our former home (and who could forget!) the ICU – most often referred to as the “Bird Room” – was one small, crowded room that also served as surgery, triage, log-in, and anteroom to the one and only restroom! We have indeed come a long way!