This Week @ Liberty – February 01, 2016

Hoots, Howls, and Hollers

Megan Mosby - Executive Director

Megan Mosby – Executive Director

I don’t like to write about negative things that happen, but sometimes it gets a grip on me and won’t let go until I put it down on paper.

This weekend I was along the canal where I often go to exercise and watch the birds and other wildlife.  Usually it is relaxing.  Not so this time.  I was on the opposite side of the canal from a group of small boys who were all members of a group that will go nameless.  They were having a great old time throwing rocks at the ring-necked ducks that I see regularly.  But, this time the ducks, instead of serenely paddling along with the occasional dive, were madly flapping, and fluttering, diving and paddling wildly…. obviously in distress.

I couldn’t help myself.  I hollered across the canal for them to stop throwing the rocks and harassing the ducks.  All I got in return was more rocks and the look that says, “What is wrong with that woman?”  I wasn’t the only one attempting to stop the behavior as I passed two gentlemen who said that they had also tried to stop them.

OK, so maybe I should have let it go, knowing that boys will be boys, but what really got to me were the adults, men and women, standing watching and laughing.  This could have been a teachable moment.  It wasn’t.

Let’s look past the danger to native, protected wildlife part of the issue.  Let’s look past the potential danger of throwing rocks; let’s look past the crazy woman telling them to stop harassing the ducks; let’s look past the two nice gentlemen asking the adults to oversee the kids they were supposed to be leading.  Let’s look past a missed opportunity.

But let’s not look past a simple lesson in compassion and respect for other living things….a pretty incredible lost opportunity….a teachable moment to mentor young boys about respect for life, for helping not hurting innocent things.  I shudder to think of what will happen when they get their first bb or pellet guns.

Instead, my outrage resulted in being called a sociopath.  That kind of made me laugh, and I restrained myself from telling him that he should better understand the meaning of a word before using it…incorrectly.  I did chuckle a bit as I turned and left, but at the same time I felt so sorry for these young boys who had no guidance, who should have had a wiser leader who could have used the moment so much better than seeing their leader yelling “sociopath” at the back of a somewhat irate woman….maybe ‘enraged one’ would have been a better choice….it would certainly have been more correct.

Poor limited leader of impressionable young boys.  Sad as it seems; it does, however, sort of frighten me.

This Week @ Liberty

Posted by Terry Stevens

Posted by Terry Stevens

The intake total for the year is now at 144.

A few interesting stories this week as the intake rate is still on the slow side – which, in view of our impending migration to the new facility, is a good thing! The condor is still with us though her improvement is not all we had hoped at this point. She will go in for an endoscopic exam which will be posted here next week. A couple of interesting waterfowl came in this week as packing (and some actual moving to a new storage unit) has begun. We got in another glue trap victim, this time a Mexican free-tail bat who sadly didn’t survive his ordeal. And speaking of repeat injuries, we received a duck with fishing gear involvement and a Canada goose that had been shot with a very expensive arrow. Let’s take a look, and hopefully learn something…

Alexa holds an injured duck

Alexa holds an injured duck

Fish hook in his bill

Besides the fishing line nearly cutting off his leg, there is also a fish hook in his bill

Looking like a stand-in for Aflac, this white duck was brought in with fishing line wrapped tightly around his leg and a discarded fish hook in his bill. There’s not much more to be said about fishing gear vs wildlife, especially water fowl. Mixing the two never turns out well for the animal and there can’t be much in it for the fisherman either. Please pass the word along to everyone you know who goes fishing: don’t discard gear – line, hooks, sinkers – any fishing gear, in any place other than a defined refuse container. It’s heartbreaking to come across these birds and animals suffering from someone’s carelessness.

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Canada Goose waiting for rescue

Canada Goose waiting for rescue

John holds his rescue

John holds his kayak rescue

The goose arrives

A sad, painful arrival

John holds as Dr. Orr examines the goose

John holds as Dr. Orr examines the goose

The arrow shaft is cut

The arrow’s carbon fiber shaft is cut

Goose X-ray with arrow highlighted

Goose X-ray with arrow highlighted

After removal by Dr. Orr

After removal by Dr. Orr

Let’s move on to another waterfowl injury, this time not from some accidental encounter with fishing equipment. This one was a Canada goose that had been shot with a hunting arrow – no accident here! The shaft pierced the bird’s pelvis and pectoral muscle, narrowly missing the aorta and trachea. If there was anything lucky about this, it was that the arrow didn’t have a hunting tip which are designed to cause more damage when they penetrate. The bird is now resting in the ICU and we’re watching closely for signs of infection from water in the wound.

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Cormorants can be dangerous!

Cormorants can be dangerous!

Some waterfowl present their own danger – to rescuers and rehabbers. This feisty cormorant has bitten and scratched a few volunteers already and Joanie wisely took precautions by donning the recommended hand and eye protecting gear while holding the bird for this week’s Vet Night activities.

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Dr. Orr studies an X-ray

Dr. Orr studies an X-ray

The digital X-ray unit we have for the new facility should speed things up considerably as we move into the future. Currently, we have to either take the birds and animals to another facility for radiography, or wait until Sunday when Dr. Sorum arrives with his portable unit. Then the files are reviewed by Dr. Orr or one of the other vets when they have the opportunity to be in the office to bring the picture up on Jan’s computer. We’re looking forward to accelerating the whole process when we move into our new home!

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Joanie holds a HaHa for Dr. Orr

Joanie holds a HaHa for Dr. Orr

The external fixator is cut for removal

The external fixator is cut for removal

The last pin is pulled

The last pin is removed

"That feels pretty good..."

“That feels pretty good…”

Recently we sent a couple of Harris’ hawks down to Dr. Driggers for surgery to put pins in  their fractured legs. Dr. Sorum attended and actually did one of the surgeries with Dr. Driggers assistance and the result was a resounding success. Both vets seemed to be pleased and this added skill for Dr. Sorum will be most useful in the new facility. Last week Dr. Orr removed the external fixator (stabilizing pins) as the fractures are healing well. The pins must be cut from the external brace and then extracted using some tools normally used by a mechanic in a garage. In this case, they were wielded skillfully by Dr. Orr as she performed the operation on the more delicate structures of the bird’s leg.

This Week’s progress update on the new facility

Footers for mammal enclosures

Footers for mammal enclosures

Getting ready for stucco

Getting ready for exterior stucco finish

The north side walkway is in

The north side walkway is in

The permanent fence begins to go up

The permanent fence begins to go up

The wetlands viewing bench is ready for pouring

The wetlands viewing bench is ready for pouring

 

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This Week @ Liberty – January 25, 2016

Hoots, Howls, and Hollers

Megan Mosby - Executive Director

Megan Mosby – Executive Director

Fear seems to be huge on the minds of people today.  Fear of foreigners, fear of financial disaster, fear of all kinds of foods, fear of diseases, fear of….., fear of……  And, now there is a new villainous fear to fret about—the Zika virus, and by all accounts it is heading our way on the wings of the aedes mosquito recognized by the white markings on its leg and the lyre shape on its thorax.  I hope to not get close enough to identify one of them.

Maybe you haven’t yet been bombarded by information about this nasty little virus spread by a dreaded mosquito, but it is burgeoning in Brazil and other countries in South and Central America with several cases seen in Florida and Texas.  These are thought to have been caused by travel in South America, but the fear is that it is coming our way.

The nasty little mosquito has had its way with pregnant women in Brazil possibly causing death in at least 46 babies from microcephaly and the resulting malformed skulls and brains.  There is also thought to be a connection with Guillain-Barre’s Syndrome which causes paralysis with potential long term crippling and/or perhaps eventual death.  The connection here isn’t confirmed, but studies are finding disturbing possibilities.  The Zika virus has up until now caused discomforts and milder symptoms similar to dengue fever, but the suppositions that it has caused these advanced horrors is fostering the panic.

Are you frightened yet?  The thing that frightens me is the steps that will be taken to rid us of this creepy little mosquito.  Extreme use of poisons to take out the culprit will no doubt have many secondary losers in the process.  And, the fragile connection between all of these things could catapult into a disastrous break in the chain of connectedness.

This is one of many reasons why we need to honor the bat.  In a very natural way bats, so wrongly vilified, could come to the rescue.  The little brown bat is a consumer of moths, flies, midges, mayflies and mosquitoes.  Research shows that the bat can’t snatch all of the pests out of the skies, but a colony of little brown bats could consume hundreds of thousands of aedes mosquitos over a number of weeks.  This and the potential use of genetically modified mosquitos might help suppress the population of mosquitos.  That would be a good thing.

Using other normal techniques to discourage the breeding and spreading of mosquitos…with the elimination of standing water and other breeding grounds denied to them, coupled with the use of mosquito netting to further deny predators of food sources, there might be a dent made in the of the spread of the mosquito population. I guess I should mention use of deet.

People fear bats for silly reasons like having bats getting tangled in one’s hair or more serious reasons like the possibility of rabies exposure, but I can assure you that more people are injured, sickened, or killed by the spread of diseases at the hand (or proboscis) of the mosquito than ever contract rabies from a bat.

Bring on the bats.

This Week @ Liberty

Posted by Terry Stevens

Posted by Terry Stevens

The intake total for this year is now at 117.

The drywall is being hung in the new facility and we are starting to box up some books and other material for the move. Among this activity the regular work of medical care and rehabilitation goes on. We have a few long-term patients in the ICU and the intake window is getting busier. The golden eagle is approaching release and some final preparations are being made for that event. As we go to press this morning, we heard that a small helicopter made a safe emergency landing in the river bottom  just a few feet north of our new facility. I guess flying things of all types just naturally seek out Liberty Wildlife!

Burned raven gets another check

Burned raven gets another check

Sharon holds the raven as Dr. Wyman rewraps

Sharon holds the raven as Dr. Wyman rewraps

The burned raven continues to make incremental progress. Each week his level of recovery is checked and his wraps are changed. He actually has some new feathers coming in and that is a very encouraging sign. But even then, it will still be a long process before he looks more like a raven than a character from a Tim Burton movie. The good news is that he is still with us at all and seems to be keeping his “I WILL survive” attitude.

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A cute sharp-shinned has a wound cleaned

A cute sharp-shinned has a wound cleaned

Dr. Wyman and Jan examine a GHO

Dr. Wyman and Jan examine a GHO

We never seem to run out of great horned owls who need some help. From the hundreds of orphans in the spring to the yearlings in the fall and winter, it’s easy to see that these birds are some of the most common birds of prey in North America. It’s always a thrill when they get to move into an outside enclosure in preparation for their eventual release. We also get in a large number of Cooper’s and sharp-shinned hawks including the little sharpie pictured above. Prone to hitting things (like windows) in their single-minded pursuit of other birds, we see a lot of wing and head injuries presented by these ubiquitous accipiters. The lucky ones get brought to Liberty for care.

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Dr. Orr checks the red shouldered hawk

Dr. Orr checks the red shouldered hawk

The red-shouldered hawk is a pretty bird

The red-shouldered hawk is a pretty bird

The red-shouldered hawk that came down from Kingman last week was taken for x-rays on Thursday morning. The digital film showed no fractures so the bird is still under observation to determine it’s problem. Possible nerve damage is just one suspect. More updates will follow…

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Tools used for the "imping" process

Tools used for the “imping” process

The golden relaxes before the procedure

The golden relaxes before the procedure

Cleaning the interior of the receiving feather shaft

Cleaning the interior of the receiving feather shaft

Filing the strut to size

Filing the strut to size

Cyanoacrylate glue is aplied

Cyanoacrylate glue is applied

The strut is inserted into the shaft

The strut is inserted into the shaft

The new feather is permanently attached

The new feather is permanently attached

The golden eagle in our care incurred some noticeable feather damage in her close encounter with a semi-truck. In order to give the bird the best chance to survive after release, we want her to have all the wing and tail area she can get to provide maximum maneuverability. Rather than wait months for the broken feathers to naturally molt and be replaced, we used a process of implanting feathers from similar birds. This is known as “imping” and is standard practice in the avian rehabilitation world. Last week Jan held the bird while Rebecca performed the operation. The shaft of the broken feather is trimmed and cleaned as is the shaft of the donor feather. Then a strut of a suitable material is fitted then glued into both the ends of the feather with cyanoacrylate glue. The permanently bonded feather will perform just as a natural feather and help the bird fly normally after release.

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Weekly update on

Main entrance from Elwood

Main entrance from Elwood

Front walkway goes in

Front walkway goes in

Main hallway in Rehab

Main hallway in Rehab

A classroom on the Education side

A classroom on the Education side

The new "Orphan Care"

The new “Orphan Care”

 

 

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This Week @ Liberty – January 18, 2016

Hoots, Howls, and Hollers

Megan Mosby - Executive Director

Megan Mosby – Executive Director

Isn’t nature neat?  I guess one doesn’t need to look far to find elegant tidbits of knowledge about the natural world.  One of these just came to my attention through a clip online sent to me by a Liberty Wildlife board member, Bill W.  That of course makes it even cooler!

And speaking of cool, it has everything to do with cold!  There is a common little frog named a North American tree frog that is sort of the Lazarus of the frog world.  I mean no disrespect, but this little guy can do the “dead” act for a long time before he has what is referred to as a “spontaneous resumption”.  That is just plain ole cool.

It appears that this small amphibian has adapted the ability to come as close to dying as a living thing could get—the minute it touches ice.  Upon receiving the message that it has come into contact with ice, it pulls water from its internal organs which are then sort of floating in water.  Its internal organs basically stop…no kidney action, no breathing and basically no heartbeat.

OK, if this is sounding impossible, bear with me.  This little guy is as close to dead as dead can be.  And, it can do this for a long time…not just an hour but months…a little amphibian turns into a camouflaged piece of frozen rock…hard on the outside with nothing going on inside.  That sounds like dead to me.

What happens is blood sugar circulates through the circulatory system acting a little bit like anti-freeze making it difficult for the water to freeze, and that allows the frog to hold itself together until the miracle happens.

The miracle starts when the weather begins to warm, when the suns warming rays hit the hard little rock.  At that point the little stilled heart begins to beat again…at first slowly and in as many as ten hours it has resumed its normal rate. And, what we now seemingly have is dead frog rising and coming back to life.  How do they do it?

What I find particularly fascinating is that it starts to come back to life from the inside first.  The internal organs begin to perform their assigned jobs and our miracle has happened again this year, just like the year before.  And, to add to the miracle, the toad comes back just in time to take on a Herculean task of finding a mate and breeding.

Isn’t nature neat?  It constantly amazes and delights me. What a bummer if something we do would interfere with the workings of our miraculous surroundings.  Let’s take care of our natural world.  There’s no telling what we will learn from it that might totally improve our lives.

Forgive me if that sounds a little self-serving.

This Week @ Liberty

Posted by Terry Stevens

Posted by Terry Stevens

The intake total for this year is now at 82.

The temps are still down, but whenever I hear somebody complaining about the cold, I remind them that in 3 months, we’ll all be moaning about the heat. It’s been slow but steady at the intake window and the Rescue/Transport team has been working on some interesting things (see below). We had some e-traffic about eagle identification last week so in lieu of more pictures of RTHs and GHOs, I’m posting a couple of shots I took several years ago in Haines, Alaska, depicting the differences between juvenile and adult bald eagles. If you don’t want to see any more (I originally posted them 9 years ago), put a comment in and I’ll let Stacey and Alex reprise the past in TBT posts on our Facebook page.

Nina sorts feathers in the cold

Nina sorts feathers in the cold

No matter the rate of arrivals, the Non-eagle Feather Repository stays open all year. Nina was working in the cold last week, sorting and preparing feathers for shipment. How often does anybody need gloves to work outside in Scottsdale? In the near future, Robert Mesta (now retired from USFW) will be adding his expertise to the repository, freeing up Nina for other projects.

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Roadrunner gets a band

Roadrunner gets a band

Jan records the band to complete the paperwork

Jan records the band to complete the paperwork

Like any activity regulated by the government, nearly every aspect of what we do needs some degree of record keeping. Last week as one of our rehabbing roadrunners was moved into an outside enclosure, the band color and number was dutifully recorded in order to ensure the bird can continue to be identified as it progresses through the process towards ultimate release.

Jesse holds as Jan and Sharon examine another fishing line injury goose

Jesse holds as Jan and Sharon examine another fishing line injury goose

OK, I mentioned that I was reposting some eagle shots but here’s a story I’ve done many times before – unfortunately. We took in another Canada goose with both legs seriously injured from entanglement in discarded fishing line. Like many urban human/wildlife encounters, this type of incident is almost totally preventable. If you go fishing in any of the many lakes and ponds around the area, please be a good neighbor and citizen and pick up after yourself. Nylon monofilament has a half-life approaching that of Plutonium and causes untold injury and suffering to animals who happen to get it wrapped around their legs and feet. Since bald eagles nest near lakes and are largely piscivorous, this type of dangerous trash finds its way into nearly every nest in the state putting both baby and adult eagles at risk. If you drop it, pick it up.  If you have a snarl or snag, retrieve the lost line and dispose of it properly – PLEASE!

Betadine foot bath for a coot

Betadine foot bath for a coot

Speaking of water fowl with foot problems, we also received this coot who came in from the Phoenix Zoo. It appears the bird has been walking on cement and asphalt a lot and this has led to some foot problems (bumble foot?) The foot issue has also led to some possible problems higher up his leg so treating the foot should solve that as well. Jesse gave his foot a nice soaking in a Betadine solution last week which usually helps in situations such as this.

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The raven is improving

The raven is improving

Getting checked by Dr. Wyman

Getting checked by Dr. Wyman

Even with a hole in his wing the raven is actually doing better

Even with a hole in his wing the raven is actually doing better

The burned raven appears to be improving incrementally. The sloughing of tissue seems to have stopped and skin is gradually recovering around the major burns. There is still a hole in his wing but we have seen this before. Hunny, the Harris’ hawk from several years ago presented similar damage from an electrical flash and she is now a physically perfect member of our Education team. This little raven is trying very hard to recover and we’re making every effort to see that he makes it. Close inspection revealed at least one new tiny feather growing back in the burned area!

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Carl extracts a diamondback rattler (photo by Cody Penoyer, SRP)

Carl extracts a diamondback rattler (photo by Cody Penoyer, SRP)

Carl removes the dangerous reptile (Cody Penoyer, SRP)

Carl removes the dangerous reptile (Cody Penoyer, SRP)

Now that's a diamondback! (photo by Carl Price)

Now that’s a diamondback! (photo by Carl Price)

Tub o'rattlers

Tub o’rattlers

Our no.1 snake rescuer, Carl Price, went out east of town near the Apache Trail last week on a call from SRP. The power company had some cables in a covered trench and discovered three diamondbacks had taken up residence under the metal trench covers (probably looking for warmth under the sun-exposed aluminum). Not wanting to work around these Arizona denizens, the call that brought Carl out was made. We actually get several “rattlesnake” calls each year, most of which turn out to be gopher snakes. In this case, Carl had to remove and relocate three western diamondbacks from the electrical trench. Nice job!

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The golden gets in some flight time before release

The golden gets in some flight time before release

The golden eagle that got hit by a truck up near Kingman is getting ready for release. He is now in the 60ft enclosure and getting some flight practice in prior to his return to the open skies of Northern Arizona.

Generations....

Generations….

Two bald eagles in our rehab enclosure – one adult and one yearling year bird.  Color differentiation from the mature to the juvenile is evident here.

Another pair in the wild,,,

Another pair in the wild,,,

Nearly mature male (left) and a mature female (right)

Nearly mature male (left) and a mature female (right)

Sub adult (below) flying in formation with an adult

Sub adult (below) flying in formation with an adult

2nd-3rd year Juvenile

2nd-3rd year Juvenile

Juvenile in flight

Juvenile in flight

OK, here are some of my old shots (from a trip to Haines, Alaska, in 2006) I just dug these out because we recently had some questions about distinguishing juvenile bald eagles from goldens and I thought they might help.

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Red shouldered hawk comes in from Kingman (photo by Alex)

Red shouldered hawk comes in from Kingman (photo by Alex)

And to top off the week, our fabulous long-distance transport volunteer Sherrill Snyder drove all the way to Kingman to retrieve an injured red shouldered hawk that had been at the Cerbat Cliffs clinic for a couple of weeks. Red shouldered hawks are usually only found in the eastern part of the country down to Florida or along the California coast. No map of their range seemed to include anywhere in Arizona! This bird presented some cryptic symptoms but still awaits a definitive diagnosis as to it’s condition. We’ll keep you informed!

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Weekly update on the new facility

Exterior walls are readied

Exterior walls are readied

Work on the roof continues

Work on the roof continues

Drywall arriving

Drywall arriving

Door frames being  installed in the west wing

Door frames being installed in the west wing…

...And some actual doors!

…And some actual doors!

 

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This Week @ Liberty – January 11, 2016

Hoots, Howls, and Hollers

Megan Mosby - Executive Director

Megan Mosby – Executive Director

Sadly, we have to say good bye to an old friend.  Recently our wonderful employee, past volunteer, friend, and all around stand up person, Carolee Bryan left us. We are all very saddened by the loss.

It isn’t every day that you find someone who corners the market of good qualities. She started at Liberty Wildlife after retiring from the corporate world…never one to be idle.  How lucky for us that her energy came our way.  She was an integral

Carolee trains some new OC volunteers

Carolee (right) trains some new OC volunteers

part of our Orphan Care department, training new volunteers, keeping things organized and prepared in order to nourish for release a plethora of orphan animals.

She eventually saw a need to bring her corporate skills to our office and became my hard working office assistant.  She kept the books with detail and integrity like she did with every other thing she touched.  She was spot on with all public interfaces and could defuse any potential “situation” with tact and kindness.  That was what she was about.

She was also about work ethic.  It seemed that she mentored everyone without any intentional plan to do so.  She had that ability to sit at her desk, cut out any interference, and get a job done.  For any of you who have been in our tiny office, you will greatly appreciate how difficult that is to do.  If you looked in the dictionary under dedication to job, you would find a picture of Carolee Bryan.

Carolee

Carolee

Lest this makes her sound like a boring workaholic let me assure you, that she could also have fun.  I can still hear her laughter when something struck her funny bone. She knew how to have a good time…but it was all so incredibly appropriate.

She was thoughtful, compassionate, and just all around delightful.  She kept me in line.  She was always there when she was needed.  She was a teacher to me as well as many others at Liberty Wildlife over the years.  She will be missed beyond words.

We are planning to dedicate a special bench to her at our new facility in remembrance of the important part she played in the lives of many animals and many folks over the years.   If you would like to be a part of remembering Carolee, let me know.  She always was a comforting place to support someone in need.

So long, dear friend; you will be missed by us all.

This Week @ Liberty

Posted by Terry Stevens

Posted by Terry Stevens

The intake total for 2016 is now at 46.

The year is rumbling ahead and the big move is looming on the horizon.  The usual suspects are in our care, leading off with a great horned owl that made the long trip up from Sierra Vista (via Christie van Cleve and Sherrill Snyder). There are a number of kestrels, Harris’ hawks, and tortoises in the rehabilitation process currently, but at the other end of the pipeline, there have been some releases as well. We also received our first California condor of the season last week. It’s shaping up to be a busy year above and beyond the move to the new facility.

A kestrel is checked for fractures

A kestrel is checked for wing integrity

Dr. Becker has a talk with a tortoise

Dr. Becker has a talk with a tortoise

Having more than one vet attending on Tuesday night “Vet Night” is a big help and speeds things up noticeably. Plus, the doctors sometimes get to work with animals for the first time which is fun for them – and great for the animals! Lots of veterinarians never get the chance to work with wildlife and the experience is good for everybody.

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The cormorant gets checked

The cormorant gets checked

This cormorant came up from near Arizona City last week. Presenting some foot/leg injury of unknown origin, he showed everybody that he was still capable of being obstreperous with his razor-sharp beak. I will say no more…

Dr. Becker examines a coot foot

Dr. Becker examines a coot foot

Coots have great faces

Coots have great faces

Coots are fascinating birds of the rallidae (Rail) family.  Their feet are really interesting as they are covered with lobed scales that fold back for walking on land, and flare out like little paddles when they are swimming in water. This little guy presented a foot injury which will be treated, hopefully leading to his release into one of the many lakes around Phoenix.

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He isn't out of the woods yet

The burned raven isn’t out of the woods yet

Getting some new wraps

Getting some new wraps

Fighting hard to make it

Fighting hard to make it

The raven that was seriously burned in an electrical accident is still with us. The bird suffered damage or destruction of most of his feathers and has other flame damage as well but he’s fighting on. We’re hoping that the flash caused the greater part of his injury and not the high current which brings about deeper damage. The other raven that was with him when the incident occurred was killed. The equipment that caused the flash is the property of SRP who have expressed an interest in reimbursing Liberty for expenses incurred during this treatment, for which we are thankful! His condition is still serious but the longer he survives, the better his chances for survival become.

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Jesse assesses a GHO from Sierra Vista

Jesse assesses a GHO from Sierra Vista

Sharon and Jesse check for PLR (Pupillary Light Response)

Sharon and Jesse check for PLR (Pupillary Light Response)

Our friend Christie in Sierra Vista sent us another GHO last week. This bird is apparently intact structurally, but presents symptoms of a possible head injury. He is currently under observation and is getting cage rest and a good diet while his condition is evaluated.

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Our first condor this season - he's been here before.

Our first condor this season – he’d been here before. (Photo by Andrea Dudley)

Last year at this time, we took in California condor #272 with some serious lead poisoning issues (see TW@L, Jan. 26, 2015). The bird remained with us until May at which time he had improved enough to be released. Late last week, 272 was brought back to us by the Condor Reintroduction Project of the Peregrine Fund.  As the Director of the Project, Chris Parish, writes: “We trapped Condor 272 on 29-Dec-2015 and began treatment for high lead levels (Field Analyzer = >65ug/dl, Lab Value = 350ug/dl) on the morning of 30-Dec-2015.  The bird appeared to be responding well to treatment and maintaining weight until two nights ago, 8-Jan-2016 when his crop became increasingly distended, a result of continued feeding without processing, and we suspected crop paralysis (stasis).  We notified Dr. Orr at Liberty Wildlife and transported him there yesterday afternoon, 9-Jan-2016.”  Sadly, Condor 272, a a captive-bred 2002 hatch-year male, died the next morning from complications of lead poisoning. A necropsy is pending.

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Peregrine Falcon release

Sarah Briggs releases a peregrine falcon (photo by Steve Coronado)

Free again

The fastest animal on the planet departs (photo by Steve Coronado)

Enjoying the freedom

Enjoying the freedom  (photo by Steve Coronado)

Gorgeous place for a perfect release

Gorgeous place for a perfect release (Photo  by Steve Coronado)

One of the coolest things a volunteer gets to do is release a bird that has been successfully rehabilitated. Last week volunteer Sarah Briggs got the chance to send a peregrine falcon back into the skies of Arizona. She sent these pictures of the great event which took place in perfect peregrine habitat in the Superstition Mountains east of Phoenix. Sarah writes: “Here are the photos from a release I did on Saturday 1/2/16 out at the Superstitions.  We drove to the Picketpost trailhead, hiked in a bit and found a good spot for release.  Such a beautiful experience and I hope I get to do it again soon!  Thank you!”

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Weekly progress on the New Facility

Work on the rooftop solar panel structures

Work on the rooftop solar panel structures

Wiring, insulation, and plumbing going in

Wiring, insulation, and plumbing going in

Outreach classroom

Outreach classroom

Rehab enclosure foundations

Rehab enclosure foundations

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Thanks to everyone who pledged and supported Birdies for Charity.  We made it into the big tent and should have our choice of days again this year!

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This Week @ Liberty – January 04, 2016

Hoots, Howls, and Hollers

Megan Mosby - Executive Director

Megan Mosby – Executive Director

Wow! That is my first time writing 2016.  It has a nice feel to it.  There is so much happening, and it is so much good.
As I do every year, I try to think what annual resolutions to make, to imagine what changes I want to see in myself and in the year, to hone in on what I (one little person) can do to help make the world we live in a better place.

Then I get overwhelmed.

So, then I do what I should do every year….try to decide what ten things I am going to do TODAY.
Today:

  • I am going to pay attention to what I do all day long.  I want to stay present.
  • I am going to be open to new experiences.  I want to play a little bit more.
  • I am going to smile more.  I want to find a happy moment in all that I do.
  • I am going to cherish the environment, the envelope we live in.  I want to take less from it and give more.
  • I want to share more with those who have less, both animal and human.  I want to give back.
  • I want to be more interactive in all that I do.  This isn’t the time for passivity.
  • I want to hike in the desert (or where ever I am).  I want to get moving and be outside.
  • I want to tap into my creativity.  I am hoping this will enable me to solve problems in unique ways.
  • I want to simplify my existence.  I will de-clutter a space that annoys me, and that includes my personal being.
  • I want to be a friend to all in my orb.  I want to be honest, available, patient, and caring.

This is all for today, and yes tomorrow and that would mean for rest of this year…but starting today!

So, now I don’t feel overwhelmed!

But wait, may I suggest a resolution for you for today?  Resolve to go directly to our web page, www.libertywildlife.org and make a pledge to Liberty Wildlife for Birdies for Charity.  January 6th is the last day to help us fulfill our mission and incidentally to take that message to the big tent at the Waste Management Phoenix Open.  Do it now; do it today!  

Happy New Year to all of you!

This Week @ Liberty

Posted by Terry Stevens

Posted by Terry Stevens

The total for last year reached 6483.  The total for this year is already at 14.

After the record-setting year that was 2015, the new year is starting off reasonably slowly but as we approach the migratory move around the end of March, things will begin to become more hectic I’m sure. The first actual movement of stuff took place on Christmas Eve as Tim and I attacked our storage unit at the Scottsdale airport and moved tons (literally!) of furniture and equipment to a new, much less expensive unit about a mile from the site of the new facility near Sky Harbor. I didn’t get any photos of the 12 hour odyssey as I had my hands full trying to keep up with Tim (Dick Frye was also there to help and take inventory) as we removed about 2/3 of what we had stored there, some of it for years. It was just the first shot in a long, looming battle as the stage is set for the big move later on. I’ll try to keep you posted on what’s happening. But in the meantime, the day-to-day functions of medical care and educational activity proceeds unabated. Here’s what the last couple weeks looked like…

An injured GHO improves

An injured GHO improves

A meeting of minds

A meeting of minds

We’re still getting in some of the common first year birds from last spring (red tails, great horned owls, kestrels, etc.).  With Drs. Orr, Wyman, Sorum, and Becker tending to the injured, assisted by Jan, Joanie, Sharon, Alex, Susie, and all the rest of the Med Services team (too many to mention, but supremely appreciated!), the level of care received by the animals lucky enough to find their way to Liberty after their injuries is second to none.

A turkey vulture gets a wrap

Sara helps Dr. Orr wrap a turkey vulture’s wing

Recently I picked up an injured turkey vulture about 20 miles south of Maricopa (the city, not the county!) This guy was in somebody’s back yard and it was apparent he’d been down for quite some time. The broken wing was beginning to heal on it’s own and he was severely malnourished and dehydrated. He is currently getting rest and nourishment as the extent of the permanent damage is assessed by the Med Services team.

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The old red tail gets some surgery (photo by Susie)

The old red tail gets some surgery (photo by Susie)

Dr. Orr works on the hawk's head wound (photo by Susie)

Dr. Orr works on the hawk’s head wound (photo by Susie)

Jan and Sarah monitor and assist  (photo by Susie)

Jan and Sara monitor and assist (photo by Susie)

The very mature (I hate the term “old”!) red tail hawk with the stubborn head wound got some surgery recently. Dr. Orr, assisted by Sara, Susie and Jan worked to finally close the skin on the bird’s skull. It’s not known exactly how the injury was sustained, but it was a large wound in a difficult spot. This is a bird that has been around for many years and is trying to his best to survive against tall odds. The good news is he has the best medical team around to assure his recovery and eventual release.

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Jan holds a golden eagle for Kyle

Jan holds a golden eagle for Kyle

A big beak

A big beak is measured

The size of things indicates the sex

The size of things indicates the sex

The talons tell a lot

The talons tell a lot

In any case, it's a beautiful bird!

In any case, it’s a beautiful bird!

One of the golden eagles that arrived recently is getting close to release. Prior to being returned to the wild, goldens are measured and banded by AZGFD in order to determine their status in terms of numbers and population size. The birds are hooded which seems to make them more manageable for this operation as they seem to almost go to sleep while the hood is on. Then several key measurements are taken which indicate whether it is a male or a female. Happily, this bird will soon rejoin the gene pool as we approach the breeding season.

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Ring billed gull

Ring-billed gull

One of the last birds we took in as the year ended (on New Year’s Eve afternoon) was this ring-billed gull. Seriously depleted by human persecution during late 19th century, the ring-billed has made strong comeback. The population in 1990 was estimated at 3 to 4 million and probably still increasing.  The species has benefitted from availability of food provided by garbage dumps and farming practices. This was probably another first year bird not learning life lessons soon enough to avoid trouble.

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Laddie comes out front

Laddie comes out front

One of our new bald eagles, Laddie, is now being trained for the Education Team by Joe Miller. A second year bird, Laddie was officially placed on our permit last Fall and has the potential to be a wonderful addition to the education team of eagles we use to introduce the public to these awesome birds who inhabit our state. Last week, she made her first visit to the training perch at the front of the hand-feeding area north of the parking lot. She appeared to like being in the sun and the attention she got from passers-by. Welcome to the team, Laddie!

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Progress at the new Facility

Walls are almost done on the Education wing.

Walls are almost done on the Education wing.

Framing in the Education wing

Framing in the Education wing…

...and in the Rehab wing.

…and in the Rehab wing.

No more window A/C units to break down!

No more window A/C units to break down!

Panorama from the peace trail

Panorama from the peace trail

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If you have not yet pledged for the Birdies for Charity campaign, you only have two days left! PLEASE sign up.  It costs very little (last year a 1 cent pledge wound up costing around $17.) and we need the numbers of supporters to go up – NOW! Go to our website (libertywildlife.org) or Click Here   Don’t wait – do it now!!

 

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This Year @ Liberty – 2015

Hoots, Howls, and Hollers

Megan Mosby - Executive Director

Megan Mosby – Executive Director

 

Megan is taking a well-deserved holiday break.

HHH will return next week in 2016!

 

 

This Year @ Liberty

Posted by Terry Stevens

Posted by Terry Stevens

With three days left in 2015, the intake number has now reached 6564.

Historically, I do a year-end slide show with a brief review of some of the pictures from last year and this year is no exception. But it occurred to me as I was assembling the slides that within a few months, we will be moving into our new facility on the Rio Salado and our home for the past 34 years will mostly be a memory for us. As we move boldly into the future, let’s take a short look over our shoulders and remember the times we spent here in Scottsdale, both the happy and the heartbreaking; reflecting on all the lives we have saved here and returned to the skies of our beautiful state; and all the men, the women, and especially the children in whom we have instilled an appreciation for wildlife and nature.

                                          Click here for This Year at Liberty – 2015

Happy New Year from TW@L!

 

 

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This Week @ Liberty – December 21, 2015

Hoots, Howls, and Hollers

Megan Mosby - Executive Director

Megan Mosby – Executive Director

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.

How great it is!

This Week @ Liberty

Posted by Terry Stevens

Posted by Terry Stevens

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…

Claudia's annual feast

Claudia’s annual feast

"Carnivors, Vegetarians, and Vegans"

“Carnivores, Vegetarians, and Vegans”

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…

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"Come closer...!"

“Come closer…!”

She's a well fed golden.

She’s a well fed golden – but just like your dog, she eats around the pill!

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…!)

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Badly burned raven (photo by Amyra)

Badly burned raven (photo by Amyra)

Front view of flash damage

Front view of flash damage

Even his tail feathers got burned

Even his tail feathers got burned

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.

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GHO is treated by Dr. Orr

GHO is treated by Dr. Orr

Ruddy duck makes progress

Ruddy duck makes progress

Yet another glue trapped bird

Yet another glue trapped bird

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!

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Refugee BuOw from Luke AFB

Refugee BuOw from Luke AFB

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.

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Dr. Orr and Alex survey the damage to a great blue heron

Dr. Orr and Alex survey the damage to a great blue heron

Dangerous trash

Dangerous trash

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.

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Dr. Mike and friend (photo by Balinda)

Dr. Mike Sorum and friend (photo by Balinda)

Harris' hawk leg fracture

Harris’ hawk leg fracture

Dr. Mike at Dr. Driggers' clinic

Dr. Mike at Dr. Driggers’ clinic (photo by Dr. Todd Driggers)

X-ray of repaired fracture

X-ray of repaired fracture

Dr. Wyman checks the external fixator

Dr. Wyman checks the external fixator

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!

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Dedicated volunteers brave the cold in Clarkdale

Dedicated volunteers brave the cold in Clarkdale (photo by Ellen Roberts – VCRR)

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!)!

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Bobbies in the back yard 11-20-15 (photo by Kathy Edwards)

Bobbies in the back yard 11-20-15 (photo by Kathy Edwards)

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.

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Weekly progress on the new facility

Footers for the Education enclosures

Footers for the Education enclosures

Rehab enclosures begin to rise

The rehab enclosures begin to rise

The Ed wing makes progress

The Ed wing makes progress

Untitled_Panorama1

Work on the wetlands…

 

 

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This Week @ Liberty – December 14, 2015

 

Megan Mosby - Executive Director

Megan Mosby – Executive Director

Hoots, Howls, and Hollers

…is taking a family vacation this week in preparation for the holidays. HHH will return next week!

This Week @ Liberty

Posted by Terry Stevens

Posted by Terry Stevens

The intake total is now at 6484 for the year.

Only 11 days left until Christmas and at least the temperature is finally heading into the “winter” range. The intake window isn’t terribly busy now, but the bell still rings and the arrivals come in from the public and the Rescue and Transport team. Dr. Orr was on hand for Vet Night last Tuesday and with her leading the team, the activity was done fairly early.  I came in to do an Eagle Court of Honor on Saturday and got to get some pictures of Greg and Alexa working on a new peregrine – always like getting some photos of different volunteers. A golden eagle came in last week and several of the previous patients are still in our care. Let’s see what took place…

Jan examines a screech owl

Jan examines a screech owl

Checking for PLR (pupillary light response)

Checking for PLR (pupillary light response)

Screech owls are always some of the cutest animals we see at the facility. Appearing almost as miniature great horneds, these diminutive  nighttime killers are deceptively non-combative as they are examined, playing dead as a part of their defense mechanisms.

Jesse holds a GHO for Dr. Becker recently

Jesse holds a GHO for Dr. Becker recently prior to getting an ID band

"Its good to be outside!"

“Its good to be outside!”

The goal is to get all the patients well enough to move into an outside enclosure. This is one of the last steps before release and will tell us whether the bird is flying well enough and is eventually sufficiently adept at the job of hunting live prey to be viable in the wild. This is the time of year when lots of birds get released to go “Home for the holidays!”

Dr.Orr works on the ruddy duck

Dr. Orr works on the ruddy duck

He's in the running for "Cutest bird of the week" honors

He’s in the running for “Cutest bird of the week” honors

The injured ruddy duck is making incremental improvement. The broken bill has been re-splinted and his wing got checked and wrapped again by Dr. Orr this week. Everyone is pulling for this little guy and we all hope he makes it back to the wild world where he can be what he was meant to be.

Dr. Orr treats the prairie falcon's wound

Dr. Orr treats a peregrine falcon’s facial wound

Kestral is wrapped

Kestrel is wrapped

A little male kestrel was taken in presenting a fractured humerus. The wing was wrapped by Dr. Orr prior to possible pinning surgery later this week.

The old RTH gets some repair work from Dr. Orr

The old RTH gets some repair work from Dr. Orr

Recently (see last week’s TW@L) a red tail hawk was brought in presenting some unusual head wounds. The bird has some cataracts and from his general appearance is on the “mature” side – quite the antithesis of most of the first year hawks and owls we usually see this time of year. Lots of our Education birds have reached an advanced age, but we don’t often see wild birds with evidence of this degree of maturity. I for one hope he makes it back for one more shot at life in the wild!

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Tim brings in a golden eagle

Tim brings in a golden eagle

Jan begins the assessment

Jan begins the assessment

All wing joints are checked

All wing joints are checked

Blood is carefully drawn

Blood is carefully drawn

Alex helps Jan give fluids

Alex helps Jan give fluids

Tim watches as fluids are administered and the bird is readied for cage rest

Tim watches as fluids are administered and the bird is readied for cage rest

A golden eagle arrived from the Buenos Aires National Wildlife refuge northwest of Nogales last week. Border Patrol agents brought the bird to the refuge and Tim drove her up to Phoenix. Presenting injuries from a possible automobile collision, she was examined and had blood drawn in the ICU. No overt trauma was found but further observation and possible x-rays are on tap for the big girl. The preliminary blood test showed positive for aspergillosis which is always suspected in injured golden’s who have spent any time on the ground. We’ll keep you posted on her progress.

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Alexa and Greg wrap a newly arrived peregrine

Alexa and Greg wrap a newly arrived peregrine

Greg prepares to put the peregrine in a brooder

Greg prepares to put the peregrine in a brooder

On Saturday, a small peregrine arrived with an apparently fractured leg. Most of the peregrines we see (including the fledgling from downtown Phoenix that we successfully treated a couple months ago) present wing injuries so this is a departure from the norm. The bird was examined, given fluids, and wrapped before being placed in a brooder for rest.

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Weekly Progress on the New Facility

Hand formed curbing for the main entrance

Hand formed curbing for the main entrance

It's getting tough to get it all in one photo!

It’s getting tough to get it all in one photo!

New ducting in the rehab wing

New ducting awaits installation in the rehab wing

The Education side gets a roof and walls

The Education wing gets a roof and some walls

The amphitheater takes shape

The covered amphitheater takes shape

Yes, we really are going to get a new home!

 

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This Week @ Liberty – December 07, 2015

Megan Mosby - Executive Director

Megan Mosby – Executive Director

Hoots, Howls, and Hollers

Sunday was our Volunteer Appreciation Picnic.  It was the best ever!  Final numbers aren’t in yet, but I am going to guess that 175-200 people showed up with scrumptious pot luck offerings and big smiles on their faces.  This is such a wonderful group of caring people.

Santa was present to greet everyone…checking to see if they had been naughty or nice.  I can answer that question for them….they have all be very, very, very nice…nice to wildlife in need, nice to a community who needs help, nice to fellow compassionate folks.  It is one of the best things about seeing all of these volunteers together.  They all share a common bond.  That bond is to “Nurture the nature of Arizona,” the Liberty Wildlife mission.

We were hosted again at the Pera Club, by SRP at the newly refurbished pavilion.  The day was lovely, the weather perfect with just enough cloud cover so that Santa’s North Pole wear didn’t make him faint.  And to make things perfect we were blessed with some of the best behaved family dogs who left food alone on the tables although I did see a few noses sniffing the air.

A perfect picnic formula…delicious and varied food options, congenial and fun loving people, perfect weather, dogs and NO ANTS.  We couldn’t have asked for more.  My personal thanks go to the staff, Carol, Terry, Jan, Amy, Nina, Alex, Stacey, Laura, Susie for all you did…planning, registering, game producing, raffle item producing, put up and take down, etc for pulling off a great event.

And, my very personal thanks to all of the Liberty Wildlife volunteers who have made it possible to do all that we do.  This year alone we have helped well over 6400 animals….pat yourselves on the back; we have educated hundreds of thousands of students of all ages…pat yourselves on the back; we have been a community resource helping our state to conservation resources…pat yourselves on the back!

We are an integral part of this state’s conservation initiative.  Thanks to all of you from the bottom of my heart.  Know that you are truly appreciated.

Don’t forget Liberty Wildlife this holiday season….remember Birdies for Charity AZ,  Amazon Smile,  a visit to our store, or donate to our Capital Campaign…it isn’t too late to make a dent in your taxes for the year  while helping the organization that you love!

This Week @ Liberty

Posted by Terry Stevens

Posted by Terry Stevens

The intake total for the year on this Pearl Harbor Day 2015 is 6460.

It’s already December and the year has flown by. As Megan pointed out above, the singular event last week was the Volunteer Appreciation picnic yesterday, but the rehabilitation and education work of Liberty goes on all year and last week was no exception. The immature hawks, owls and falcons keep arriving,  presenting injuries they sustained dealing with man and nature during their first year apprenticeship. It’s sometimes heartbreaking to see the damage to these beautiful birds and animals, often by some contact with the human world, knowing that even with the best care we can provide for them, they have lost the chance to be what they were designed to be. But we are always there for them, and as Megan says, our volunteers should all “pat themselves on the back” for the services they provide for these animals. Let’s take a look at recent arrivals and their treatment…

They're back, baby!! (original photo  by Sue Williams)

They’re back, baby!! (original photo by Sue Williams)

Joe and Sonora rode the rails last weekend as they returned to duty on the Verde Canyon Railroad. Just two short weeks after joe’s considerable heart issues, the two train favorites were back in the saddle (or, on the caboose!) doing what they do best: teaching people about bald eagles and getting Liberty’s name and message in front of the public.  Now THAT’S dedication!

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Dr. Orr looks at a young Harris' wing

Dr. Orr looks at a young Harris’ wing

Dr. Wyman examines a juvenile red tail wing

Dr. Wyman examines a juvenile red tail wing

An unwilling patient

An unwilling patient

RR exam (photo by Ana Ramirez)

RR exam (photo by Ana Ramirez)

RTH with an unusual head injury

RTH with an unusual head injury

As I said, there were multiple red tails, Harris’s, and great horned owls with a variety of injuries in for treatment last week, plus a couple of road runners, one of which presented blood in its mouth indicating possible internal injuries most likely from an automobile collision. The hawks also presented some wing damage consistent with collisions, but one had some fairly serious head trauma which left a wound through his scalp exposing a small part of this skull. The trick was trying to keep the surrounding skin moist and supple enough to eventually grow back and close the wound. He is still in the ICU receiving further treatment.

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Jan examines a broken bill on a ruddy duck

Jan examines a broken bill on a ruddy duck

Sharon applies the glue as Jan, Gail, and Dr. Wyman help

Sharon applies the glue as Jan, Gail, and Susie assist.

The splinted bill!

The splinted bill!

A little ruddy duck was brought to us with injuries from an apparent car collision. He has an injured wing and a bill that was broken along the ventral and lateral axes making it difficult for the bird to eat. With help from the entire Med Services staff, a wooden splint was applied using surgical glue to form a protective gusset to the underside of the bill. This structural doubler allows the bird to eat normally while the broken bill is healing.

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Another barbed wire GHO

Another barbed wire GHO

Bolt cutters are initially used

Bolt cutters are initially used

Jan untangles the wire from the wing

Jan untangles the wire from the wing

Susie uses wire cutters to snip the barbs

Susie uses wire cutters to snip the barbs

The wing finally gets wrapped

The wing finally gets wrapped

Another great horned owl encountered a barbed wire fence last week and was brought in by Carl and Mary Price. These are always some grisly appearing injuries as the metal is strong enough to keep cattle contained and and the barbs do horrific damage to soft flesh and feathers. This bird remained stoic and compliant as the Med Services team first used bolt cutters to cut the force wire, then hand wire cutters to snip off the barbs which were pinned into the bird’s skin. At first it appeared that no bones were fractured and the major tendons were intact which would have made a successful rehabilitation much more likely. Sadly, the owl died quietly the next day.  As I’ve said before, sometimes the magic works, and sometimes it doesn’t.

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Volunteer Picnic 2015

Checking in...

Checking in…

Prizes and raffles

Prizes and raffles

Three tables of food...

Three 10ft. tables of food…

It was hard to decide what to try next...

It was hard to decide what to try next…

Volunteers having a good time - without the usual rodent entrails...

Volunteers having a good time – without the usual rodent entrails…

Santa and his elf...

Santa and his elf…

Megan answers some questions about the new facility

Megan answers some questions about the new facility

Our German interns were there...

Our German interns were there…

Raffle and contest winners are announced

Raffle and contest winners are announced

Some folks prefered the grass

In true picnic form, some folks prefered the grass

Another clever cake on the desert table

Another clever cake on the dessert table

Wait, what does John's shirt say...?

Wait, what does John’s shirt say…?

What else can I say? It was the best Volunteer Picnic ever – for the best volunteers ever!

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Progress at the new Facility

Inside avian OC

Inside avian OC

Admissions

Admissions

120ft flight enclosure

120ft flight enclosure

Rehab enclosures

Rehab enclosure footings

 

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This Week @ Liberty – November 30, 2015

Hoots, Howls, and Hollers

Megan Mosby - Executive Director

Megan Mosby – Executive Director

Thanksgiving for me is a time for reflection…and of course it is reflection on the many things I am thankful for.  Here are a few of the things that surfaced this year in no particular order.

Ten of many things that I am thankful for:

  • Work that allows me to be passionate about what I need to do.
  • Friends who follow me along this path.
  • Family that indulge my passions.
  • Donors who allow me to carry out my jobs.
  • Volunteers, board members, and staff who help to fulfill my passions.
  • An environment that supports my endeavors.
  • For health and energy.
  • Teachers of all kinds who make me better at what I need to do.
  • Nature, the source of my passions.
  • And, for the beautiful new facility that we will move into in 2016!

And, it goes without saying…I am thankful for all of you who faithfully follow our blog and the actions of Liberty Wildlife in fulfilling its mission.  I guess that makes eleven.

Outstanding cake for Megan's birthday

Outstanding cake for Megan’s birthday

 

(I thought I’d use this opportunity to share a picture of a great cake that Carol Suits’ son made for Megan’s birthday recently… It was absolutely extraordinary!                                                                       – TW@L)

This Week @Liberty

Posted by Terry Stevens

Posted by Terry Stevens

The intake total for the year is now at 6423.

Since I took my T’Giving break last week, I have a ton of stuff for this week’s update. So let me jump right in and start posting nearly 40 photos in a record-breaking edition of TW@L…

Pad Party -

Arrivals inspect the entry way

Arrivals inspect the entry way

Peggy introduces Maggie to some Denver fans and their dog

Peggy introduces Maggie to some Denver fans and their dog

Stella - the star!

Stella – the star!

Joe is back! (And posing with Aurora as always!)

Joe is back! (And posing with Aurora as always!)

Now THAT'S a cute visitor...

Now THAT’S a cute visitor…

Megan runs the raffle

Megan runs the raffle

Jan with Lance, Megan, Phoenix Councilwoman Kate Gallego, and Kathleen Lang

Jan with Lance, Megan, Phoenix Councilwoman Kate Gallego, and Kathleen Lang

Preparing for the release

Preparing for the release

Guests got to sign the wall!

Guests got to sign the wall!

On Sunday the 22nd, we held a “Pad Party” at the site of the new facility. Lots of supporters were there getting a look at what we’re doing with their donations (and hopefully convince them to keep up their support!) The event took place in near perfect weather with some picnic-style food and drink, offered the chance to tour the construction site, win some basketball tickets in a raffle, meet some Education ambassadors, and participate in the release of a great horned owl (see last week’s TW@L for the video). They also got to autograph the wall of the rehab wing if they wanted to. It was a very nice get together and everyone seemed to enjoy the opportunity to look into the future of Liberty Wildlife!

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A new eagle arrives -

AZGFD brings in a new golden eagle

AGFD brings in a new golden eagle

A thorough exam is made by Jan and Alex

A thorough exam is made by Jan and Alex

Blood is drawn

Blood is drawn

Ready for cage rest and observation

Ready for cage rest and observation

A golden eagle was brought in by Kyle (AGFD) last week.  He was found near the Flagstaff area where it seems he flew into the windshield of a semi trailer truck. Although the windshield was broken, the bird did not break any bones but possibly suffered some internal injuries. His blood was tested and showed exposure to lead but below the toxic threshold. He did test positive for aspergillosis and is currently being treated for that while he remains under observation.

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Two weeks of medical activity -

Red tail hawk presenting head trauma

Red tail hawk presenting head trauma

Dr. Orr wraps a toe on another RTH

Dr. Orr wraps a toe on another RTH

Sara attaches the band prior to moving the bird outside

Sara attaches the band prior to moving the bird outside

An injured northern harrier is being treated

An injured northern harrier is being treated

Meanwhile, a common loon arrives

Meanwhile, a common loon arrives

Dr. Becker examines a screech

Dr. Becker examines a screech

A Cooper's hawk has his eye checked

A Cooper’s hawk has his eye checked…

...then gets some eye drops

…then gets some eye drops

A gunshot RTH gets some cage rest

A gunshot RTH gets some cage rest

Lots of pellets and fragments show up in X-rays

Lots of pellets and fragments show up in X-rays

This is two weeks worth of Vet Night updates including a common loon which is a rare visitor to the valley. Because of their design, loons can only take off from a long stretch of water so if they land on dry ground, they are stuck. Our visitor was released almost as soon as he arrived. We also took in the usual suspects of GHO’s, RTH’s, Cooper’s, and screeches. Several improved enough to move outside, one step before release. One red tail turned out to have been peppered with a multitude of pellets and pellet fragments. In his subsequent crash, he fractured a wing and broke his leg. The Cooper’s hawks presented an expected variety of collision injuries for which they are being treated.

A GHO has a bad time in a chimney -

What IS that?

What IS that?

After the glue trap is removed, an exam is performed

After the glue trap is removed, an exam is performed

A warm bath (the first of many) is given

A warm bath (the first of many) is given

"This is totally humiliating!"

“This is totally humiliating!”

One of our great Rescue /Transport volunteers went out to extract an owl from a local chimney last week. Fireplace rescues are difficult enough, but it seems that the owner thought the noises were coming from a rat in the chimney so he put a glue trap into the smoke chamber below the flue. By the time the owl was extracted, he was totally covered with both soot and thick coating of glue causing the tray to adhere to his head as he was removed. When he arrived in the ICU some of his rictal bristles (facial feathers) needed to be cut and special techniques were used to clean the glue off followed by a complete bath. This was made even more difficult because our water heater was out of service when he came in and water had to be heated in the microwave to clean him properly. He is actually doing well right now but will need to be in our care for quite some time due to the extensive damage to his feathers.

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Education Continues -

Erin displays  Darwin at the Gilbert Riparian Area (photo by Kelly)

Erin displays Darwin at the Gilbert Riparian Area (photo by Kelly)

Marko explains BuOws to some scouts (photo by Kelly)

Marko explains burrowing owls to some scouts (photo by Kelly)

Among other programs, some Cub Scouts recently attended a Liberty event at the Gilbert Riparian Area show. The scouts learned about various owls and other native Arizona birds they might see when they are outside enjoying nature!

Rain Richard's son, Jax, holds a baby desert tortoise

Rain Richard’s son, Jax, holds a baby desert tortoise

From Jax's journal...

From Jax’s journal…

Rain Richard is one of the supervisors of our new facility construction project who recently toured the current site to learn more about what we do. She brought her family along including her two sons who seemed to enjoy the animals, especially the baby desert tortoise which they got to hold. Here is what Rain wrote about the tour:

I wanted to share how special our trip to Liberty Wildlife was. Jax wrote about it at school to share with his teacher. I’ll translate since there is no Rosetta Stone for first graders yet.

“Over the weekend I went to Liberty Wildlife. I saw a raven. I saw a great horned owl. I saw a red hair hawk. I got to hold a baby tortoise. “

I think he meant red tailed hawk but I’m pretty impressed with everything he remembered. 

Thanks again for such a special moment in life,
The Richard Family

Not bad at all for a first grader (and a future Liberty volunteer)!

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Progress at the new Facility

The floor is in!

The floor is in!

Future wildlife intake portal

Future wildlife intake portal

Rapidly taking shape

Rapidly taking shape

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