This Week @ Liberty – March 2, 2015

Hoots, Howls, and Hollers

Megan Mosby

Megan Mosby

For as many years as I have been participating in wildlife rehabilitation, we have been rescuing, when we could, rehabbing, when we could, and releasing, when we could, animals (mostly water fowl and turtles) who have unfortunately found themselves at the wrong end of fishing line, sinkers, hooks, and lures.  It is all a big mistake, and it needs to be fixed.   Every park with a lake, the canals, the rivers, and larger lakes are the scene.  Fishing line that gets abandoned, breaks away with the fish, or just gets frustratingly tangled and ultimately tossed on the ground is the culprit.  It is often incredibly hard to see and is easily forgotten when the fishing day ends.

And, then some innocent creature becomes trapped.  It might start in the feet and legs and when the beak is used (not an opposable thumbs on a one of them) hooks take hold, barbs and all, in eyes, tongues, necks, chests.  The struggle ensues; the fishing implements get tighter and tighter as the struggle gets more and more intense.  Starvation or strangulation, lack of circulation or gross infection can and most often do occur.  It takes a long time to die like this, and many people witness it.

Our phone rings with voices of outrage.  Our rescue volunteer is dispatched and the rest of the depressing story follows.  The horrid frustration of trying to catch an animal who can fly, run, or swim makes it very, very hard to help an animal who doesn’t know your motives and is on the downward slide to death.  How depressing is this scenario?

John Glitsos, among other things a constant receiver of these rescue calls, was sent out on one such call last week that didn’t end all that well and left him perplexed as why this continues to be such a hideous problem.  So, problem solver that he is, he has come up with a new program that we are launching this week.  The gist of it is this.  We have formed a Meetup group called “Cleanup to Save Wildlife” and our first event is Saturday, March 7th at Chaparral Park in Scottsdale at 10:30 in the morning.  For all interested parties, you will be able to stroll around a lovely park with like-minded people cleaning up all of the fishing line and accompanying paraphernalia that destroys the life of many innocent animals.

On a regular basis we are hoping to do Meetups in all of the local area parks with lakes to scour for offending items.  We will surely be at a park in your area at some time soon.  This is a perfect event for school classes, home schoolers, scout troops, retirement communities and any other do gooders who want to ease the way for wildlife, take a nice walk with friends and families and leave with a smile on your face because you helped a desperate cause.

Please follow the directions below to sign up for an event:

You can go directly to our “Cleanup to Save Wildlife” page at this web address:

http://www.meetup.com/Cleanup-to-Save-Wildlife-Meetup/

Click the green “Join Us!” button on the top right of the page.  If you are not a member of Meetup.com, you will be prompted to join.  It is free.  Then you can join our particular group and other Meetups that might interest you.  Once you have joined our Meetup group you will be able to attend any posted event, or create your own events that you want to sponsor!  All of this is totally free.

Join us and others to help wildlife.  You will be happy and proud. Guaranteed!

This Week @ Liberty

The intake total is now at 275.

Posted by Terry Stevens

Posted by Terry Stevens

Birds, bats, and small critters are coming and going, completing the cycle of rehabilitation and release. Some don’t make it, and some will have to stay in our care a little longer, but the process works in the long run. One of the California condors has improved enough to be moved into a flight enclosure and is next in line to be released, and two young Cooper’s hawks made the leap to freedom near the facility last week. The raccoons are now free and most of the ducks and geese have been released, and we’re still taking care of the little fox squirrel. Let’s have a look at the week…

A broken wing for a Mexican free tail bat

A broken wing for a Mexican free tail bat

A nice person brought in an injured Mexican free-tailed bat last week. Somehow the little mammal had suffered a fractured humerus. The good news is no one had touched the bat without gloves so no other agencies had to get involved and he didn’t have to be checked for rabies. REMEMBER: if you find a bat that needs our care, don’t touch it! Call the Liberty Wildlife Hotline for advice and they will dispatch a rescue volunteer trained to handle the situation.

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Another cormorant comes in

Another cormorant comes in

Jan says say "Ahhhh..."

Jan says “say Ahhhh…”

A couple of new cormorants came in, including this one that was found walking along the road. He was checked for fishing line, fishing hooks, etc., and other injuries prior to being placed in the outside waterfowl enclosure. These birds cannot take off from the ground very well, requiring a long stretch of water as a runway – especially if they are young and inexperienced.

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Dr. Wyman examines a coopers hawk

Dr. Wyman examines a coopers hawk

"I will be taking names..."

“I will be taking names…”

We have been treating a number of injured Cooper’s hawks lately (two of which got released – see below!) We’ve often said how accipiters are likely to collide with objects as they fly in hot pursuit of their prey – almost always another bird. The lucky(?) ones arrive at Liberty for expert medical care until they heal sufficiently to be returned to the wild.

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Jan sutures a wounded peregrine

Jan sutures a wounded peregrine

The wing is then wrapped prior to being X-rayed

The wing is then wrapped prior to being X-rayed

On Sunday, Dr. Sorum brought in his portable X-ray unit

On Sunday, Dr. Sorum brought in his portable X-ray unit, confirming the fracture of the humerus (photo thanks to Alex)

Dr. Sorum wraps a peregrine after the X-ray

Dr. Sorum re-wraps the wing after the X-ray

I remember 27 years ago when I started with Liberty, we thought it was a totally cool thing to see a peregrine falcon. There were not nearly as many of them around back then and it was rare for one to come to us for care. Now we seem to get them quite often, which is also a good news/bad news situation. The bad news is more of them are getting injured, the good news is we are here to get them back into the air! One such patient recently came in with a fractured humerus which was initially wrapped by the Med services team and then confirmed by Dr. Sorum’s portable X-ray machine last Sunday. We’ll try to keep you posted on his progress.

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Stretching for a meal

Stretching for a meal

"I think I'm full now!"

“I think I’m full now!”

The current cutest patient is still the baby fox squirrel. He is fed throughout the day by the Med Services team and will eventually be taken back to Texas when he is big enough. Anybody heading to the Lone Star State anytime soon?

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The "little rascals" prior to release

The “little rascals” prior to release

Cell-mates meet: "What are YOU in for?" (photo by Cindy Zeigler)

Cell-mates meet: “What are YOU in for?” (photo by Cindy Zeigler)

Before they were released, the raccoons noticed a new inhabitant next door as a black-crowned night heron was placed into one of the water fowl pens adjacent to the mammal enclosure. Curiosity ensued…

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Sharon releases a Cooper's hawk

Sharon releases the first Cooper’s hawk

Then a second Cooper's goes free - SPARROWS BEWARE!

Then a second Cooper’s goes free – SPARROWS BEWARE!

Two more Cooper’s hawks were released last week after successful rehabilitation at Liberty. Both of the avian hunters flew well and will soon be terrorizing the sparrows and pigeons (maybe the love birds?) in the area. This is how nature works, and how it should always work. Predators and prey are two sides of the same coin, with predators keeping the prey species healthy and in balance, and the prey ultimately determining the number of predators as their own populations rise and fall.

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455 is almost ready to go home!

455 is almost ready to go home!

Finally, California condor #455, the female that has been in treatment for lead poisoning for the past few months, is now in the flight enclosure. this is the last stop before the trip home to the Vermillion Cliffs and freedom to rejoin the Grand Canyon population of her species. We are all proud of the progress she has made and we will be happy to see her go back home. The male is still in treatment and will remain here for some time yet as he fights off the effects of the lead.

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This Week @ Liberty – February 23, 2015

Hoots, Howls, and Hollers

Megan Mosby

Megan Mosby

In May of 1993 a volunteer at Liberty Wildlife saw him lumbering, as only a desert tortoise can do, down the middle of Cactus and Scottsdale Roads.  Granted those pathways were smaller then…mere roads rather than the major thoroughfares that they are today… but tortoise vs the hurtling beast on wheels is still no match.  He was snatched up in the nick of time and brought in to Liberty Wildlife.

Even at that time he had the look of a weathered old one.  He had a hole in his shell as if he had tangled with a dog or possibly a coyote.  The scales on his front legs were worn as if he had spent time trying to escape from some unknown place.  He looked as if he had been around the block a few times.  And there he was cruising down the road in search of more adventure or a lady friend.

The regulations say that if a tortoise is handled or brought into captivity it cannot be released back into the wild, an effort to prohibit potential diseases from spreading into a wild population of tortoises.  So we applied to have “Grandpa” added to our education group.

Since then he has hibernated half of the year like all good tortoises do and educated a delighted public the rest of the time.  In 2004 we noticed that he was not eliminating correctly and x-rays showed that he had bladder stones. Bummer!  Dr. Orr performed surgery to remove the stones by going through the lateral side on the back leg…easier than the more evasive surgery going through the shell.  He got well and went back to his normal life of sleeping half the year and educating the rest of the time.

We began to notice that he was sleeping longer and often had to be awakened from his hibernation.  Grandpa was getting old.  We noticed again that he was not eliminating correctly and new x rays showed more stones.  Dr. Driggers agreed to do the surgery this time and because of adhesions and scar tissue from the last surgery it was necessary to go through the shell.  Apparently it is possible to tell a lot about a tortoise from the condition of the shell.  And, what we were told was that Grandpa was probably between 70 and 75 years old!!  He is in moderate kidney failure and probably doesn’t have a lot of years left in him.  He won’t hibernate this year and is regularly given subcutaneous fluids to make his life as easy as possible.

Grandpa

Grandpa

Now lest you think this is one sad story, let me tell you, it isn’t.  Grandpa has been one cool beast.  He had a home in the walkway of the eagle enclosure and to our golden eagle, Phoenix, he was a terrifying thing…possibly a walking rock or something worse.  Whenever Phoenix, a grand predator himself, saw the grazing tortoise he would hackle and flee to the rear of his flight cage…Grandpa ruled.  Whenever there was a female tortoise on the property awaiting placement, Grandpa spent relentless hours attempting to escape his enclosure to keep a date with the lady down the aisle way…and guess what…he usually was nabbed scurrying down the way hoping to reach the visitor before he was caught.

He has been around for a long time.  Think what all he has seen in those 70+years….no talk of polluted skies, global warming, polar vortexes, and maybe no atomic bombs…who knows?  What we do know is that among other things he has been a stud-ly guy, a tormentor of golden eagles and an A-One educator.  He will go into semi-retirement and spend hours dreaming about his past adventures, hopefully with a big smile on his face.

Thanks Grandpa.  Your presence has brought so much to the planet.

This Week @ Liberty

Posted by Terry Stevens

Posted by Terry Stevens

The intake total is now at 236.

We’re moving on with a few patients, and doing more Educational programs and training for our volunteers. This all comes along with the usual rehab work and projects that recur during the year. Susie and her OC team are getting ready for the kick-off of the Baby Bird Season at the annual Baby Bird Shower on March 21. The Hyatt shows and the Verde Canyon Rail Road programs are going on nicely, and everyone is preparing for Wishes for Wildlife 2015 in May. If you pledged support for the Birdies for Charities program at the WMPO golf tournament, you should have gotten your statement last week (I guess the weather held down the number of birdies this year as my own bill was smaller than it has been!) In any case, things are moving forward so let’s take a look at what happened recently…

Tony speaks to an advanced rescue class

Tony speaks to an advanced rescue class

A short while ago, Liberty held an advanced class for Rescue and Transport volunteers who wanted to expand their knowledge. The main thrust of the class was waterfowl and some techniques that have been known to work in rescuing ducks, geese and pelicans. It was a full house with SRO seating as the volunteers exchanged ideas and stories about the added challenge of rescuing birds who can swim to avoid capture. Thanks to all who attended!

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OH BOY, I'm goin' home!

“OH BOY, I’m goin’ home!”

Back on a familiar lake!

Back on a familiar lake!

Speaking of waterfowl, the day after the class was when we got the call about the 5 swans and their encounter with the oil on a lake in Sun City. All five were brought to Liberty for “degreasing” and feeding until the lake was cleaned of the oil which finally occurred last week.  Tim and I drove them back to their home lake in Sun City and we left 5 very happy swans behind as they again cruised their familiar waters, much to the delight of the resident homeowners.

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Rebecca and Alex examine the cormorant for more line

Rebecca and Alex examine the cormorant for more line

A "Gordian knot" of discarded line

A “Gordian knot” of discarded line

Another cormorant arrived last week totally entangled with red fishing line. The nylon string was wrapped around his feet, legs, and neck in what surely would have killed him without our intervention. Luckily, he was found and rescued soon after his exposure and the line had not been on him long enough to cause permanent injury. Rebecca and Alex were able to remove the filament and he was allowed to go into the outside waterfowl enclosure to recuperate and de-stress prior to release.

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"Old MacDonald had a farm..."

“Old MacDonald had a farm…”

The pens on the north side of the facility looked and sounded even more like a barnyard than usual last week as a miniature goat showed up at the door. It seems she was a pet that had gotten loose from a local neighbor, went on walkabout, and followed a man who was out and about himself. Knowing what we do, he stopped by the facility and we took the animal in for safe keeping while posting signs around the neighborhood.  One of our volunteers posted a notice on FaceBook and soon the friendly goat was back with its owners after making some new friends along the way.

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GHO with an injured eye arrives

GHO with an injured eye arrives

Jan applies some ointment

Jan applies some ointment

Recently a great horned owl came in with an injury to its left eye. Calls were made to the clinic that handles our special eye problems and surgery was scheduled. Prior to the operation, Dr. Urbanz prescribed some soothing ointment which the Med Services team applied daily. Last week the owl had surgery on its eye and is now doing well as it recuperates at the Liberty facility.

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Cooper's hawk feathers ready to implant

Cooper’s hawk feathers ready to implant

The donor shaft is cleaned

The donor shaft is cleaned

The internal shaft strut is then glued

The internal shaft strut is then glued

Next it is inserted into the existing host feather shaft

Next it is inserted into the existing host feather shaft

A perfect match!

A perfect match!

Sometimes we have a bird in rehab that is ready for release – except it has damaged some of its flight feathers. If we have a supply of similar feathers on hand, we use a process called “imping” or implanting. This is where a donor feather is mechanically joined to the host bird’s existing broken shaft. A strut of wood or other light, strong material is glued into the new shaft and then the other end is in turn glued into the one still attached to the bird. This natural prosthetic works very well and will remain with the bird until it molts again, replacing it with a whole new feather. Last week, Jan and Rebecca performed this process on several birds at Liberty, including kestrels and cooper’s hawks.

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Donna and Cecile enjoy "Friday Morning Appreciation"

Donna and Cecile enjoy “Friday Morning Appreciation” (photo by Carol Baetzel)

Never let it be said that Liberty doesn’t fully appreciate all of our volunteers – and all they do for us! Recently the Friday team was treated to a buffet of good food by the team lead who wanted them to know how highly they are regarded by everyone! Carol took this picture of Donna and Cecile enjoying the spread of goodies as they worked.

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Toba feeds the fox squirrel

Toba feeds the fox squirrel

Someone from Texas recently brought in a baby fox squirrel that had somehow hitched a ride to Phoenix with them. The little guy has become a favorite in the ICU and is in the running for “Cutest critter on the property” – at least this month!

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This Week @ Liberty – February 16, 2015

Hoots, Howls, and Hollers

Megan Mosby

Megan Mosby

It is Valentine’s Day as I write this blog, and clearly love is in the air….or it should be.  It was brought to my attention that one of our potential education–in-training red-tail hawks, Arya, is an image out of cupid’s little quiver.  Now in the early days of training she wasn’t exactly oozing love vibes…she was demanding, and I guess willful might be a good descriptor.  That is pretty much what a good red-tail should be.  Unfortunately Arya was imprinted by the Good Samaritan who found the helpless baby and didn’t realize how difficult it is to raise a baby raptor alone, without proper imprinting.  An improperly imprinted animal results in a loss correct species identity dooming it to life in captivity.

Arya grew up to be a beautiful specimen of a red-tail.  She will make a great education ambassador, and this year her stunning heart shaped feathers have made her the poster child for Valentine’s Day.  Look at her feathering closely because by next year at this time her role as cupid’s helper will be over and her molted feather hearts will be on the ground somewhere as her new feathers push forward indicating adulthood…red tail and all.

Arya  (photo by Linda Scott)

Arya (photo by Linda Scott)

Linda Scott captured this photo during a training session, and I couldn’t help but share it with you at this romantic time of the year…and while you watch the other birds in the wild start their courtships flights, their nest building activities, the tending their young, please remember that a young animal like a baby bird, needs proper upbringing in order to be safely fledged into the wild.  That is the way it is supposed to be.

One of the saddest injuries is one like Arya’s.  She is stunning.  She is tough. She would be a great hunter, mate, mother.  But, that won’t happen because she doesn’t have a clue that she is all of those things.  Her life won’t be a failure because she will teach a lesson to hundreds of thousands of people over the years, but it would have been better had she been a hunter, mate, mother.

It is close to the Orphan Care season at Liberty Wildlife, our busiest time.  We have succeeded over the years in properly raising and releasing thousands and thousands of orphans.  We know how to do it without imprinting them.  We know the best way, next to mom and dad, to provide for the needs of hundreds of different species of animals.

The take away here is to look at the natural beauty of Arya.  If you find a baby on the ground, give Liberty Wildlife a call.  We will help you do the right thing by the compromised critter.  Let’s be sure we give every animal in need a second chance at a full life.  It is the right thing to do.

Unlike love, Arya, will not be in the air on Valentine’s Day.  Let’s don’t let that happen again.

This Week @ Liberty

Posted by Terry Stevens

Posted by Terry Stevens

The intake total for this year is now at 216.

So, we’re still maintaining the swans, and we’re still getting bunnies almost every day. The California condors are both making progress towards their return to the Grand Canyon, and Aurora makes another starring appearance at the Parada del Sol parade. (Sorry this update is so late. I was trapped in NYC by bad weather and then experienced some technical difficulties. Wadda ya gonna do? FUGGEDDABOWDIT!)

It's a small lake...

It’s a small lake…

The five swans that have been in our care since last month are doing well, biding their time until they can go back home to their lake in Sun City. We are just waiting to hear that the oil that contaminated the water has been removed and it is again safe for them and the other waterfowl that live there.

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"You can feed me now, please..."

“If you feed me, I’ll grow thiiiiiis big!””

It seems as if we get more baby bunnies in every day. I suppose this is the time of year for it (as if there is ever a time of year NOT for it!) but the Med Services team has the routine down pretty well now and the small bundles of cuteness are all well cared for.

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The duck is vastly improved

The duck is vastly improved

The domestic mallard duck who’s leg had nearly been severed by the fishing line and gear has responded well to all her care. The wonderful job of reconstruction by Dr. Wyman and the Vet Night crew have paid off and her foot appears to be healing, as is her leg. She got to go outside into the pool area and looked like one very happy duck as she played in the water, ignoring the pelican who watched from his kennel.

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A last exam before going outside

A last exam before going outside

A meeting of the minds

A meeting of the minds

The new big girl surveys her realm

The new big girl surveys her realm

A large, beautiful red tail hawk has come a long way since her arrival and last week, she was deemed fit to go into an outside enclosure with other RTH’s. After a final check of all important parts, she had a head-to-head with Joanie and then got to join her new room mates. She is big and aggressive and appeared to take charge of the area almost at once.

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Nina draws net duty for the male

Nina draws net duty for the male

The feeding tube is inserted

The feeding tube is inserted

"I'll remember this!"

“I’ll remember this!”

The male California condor was still being tube fed last week and I captured the routine that takes place a couple of times each day. He is aggressive and strong and after the feeding, the volunteers are exhausted from the procedure. Luckily, the female is more compliant and is eating on her own now and had her “closing” surgery last week.

Alex brings the patient to surgery

Alex brings the patient to surgery

The mask goes on one more time

The mask goes on one more time

The intubation tube is inserted

The intubation tube is inserted

Jan and Alex assist Dr. Orr

Jan and Alex assist Dr. Orr

Dr. Orr reconstructs the crop

Dr. Orr reconstructs the crop

The crop is finally closed

The crop is finally closed

The female California condor (#455) was moving food on her own last week and no longer losing weight so Dr. Orr decided it was time to close her crop. The surgery went well with Alex and Jan assisting. After administering the anesthesia, the field was cleaned and irrigated. Dr. Orr cut off some scar tissue and sutured the fresh ends back into the form of the crop as it will be used by the bird’s digestive system. If all goes well she will recuperate in her enclosure for a time, then on to a flight enclosure prior to being driven back to the Vermillion Cliffs and release.

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Joe and Jan with Aurora at Parada del Sol

Joe and Jan with Aurora at Parada del Sol (photo by Kelly Virtanen)

Joe and Jan took Aurora to the Parada del Sol parade again last weekend and as usual, she was a big hit with the crowd. It seems Liberty Wildlife is becoming an expected participant in most big-time local festivities of this nature.

 

 

 

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This Week @ Liberty – February 9, 2015

Hoots, Howls, and Hollers

Megan Mosby

Megan Mosby

On a glorious day last week I met at our new site with the Park Rangers for the Rio Salado Restoration Area, Ranger Koy and Ranger Brian.  What a delight!

Not only are these two keepers of great information on the area, they are also very excited about the possibilities that come with Liberty Wildlife moving to the area.  They are keenly aware of the synergy of activities that are currently buzzing around in the area.  The Audubon Arizona is about three miles to the west of us.  The City of Phoenix has done lovely things with paths through the restoration area which is lined with gabion seating spots and covered wildlife viewing areas.  There has been an initiative called Beyond the Banks which among many other things encourages businesses to locate the entrances of their facilities to face the Rio Salado to spiff up the appearance as the trails are used by folks for hiking, biking or horseback riding.  It also encourages the creation of attractive spaces for public enjoyment, and the balance of land uses creating places for community recreation and environmental education.  Let’s not forget the Peace Trail goes right in front of our property and will eventually stretch from 19th Avenue to Tempe Town Lake providing wonderful opportunities to be outside doing wonderful things.

The Brooks Community School in the Roosevelt School District is bringing all sorts of opportunities to the neighborhood including Greenhouses that support sustainability issues and provide excellent educational opportunities to see hydroponics, aquaponics, micro-green productions and who knows what else will bloom as this new venture gets roots.  There is an outdoor classroom in Tempe at the Broadmor Learning Patch, a school garden where principles of science are taught in the out-of-doors.

We will be connecting with Gail Morris, the local monarch butterfly guru, to find out how we can incorporate milkweed into our landscape to provide food for migrating monarch butterflies.  We hope to eventually provide an opportunity for breeding stations for these migrants as they follow their several generation migration to Mexico.

One of the things that delights me the most is the information that I received from the rangers related to our resident beavers….yes, I said beavers.  I have been aware of one beaver….have seen him with my own eyes. He was cleverly named Lincoln by Jan…as in logs!  I ignorantly decided he was all alone and worried about him.  But, Ranger Brian set me straight.  There is an EXTENDED family who lives in the waters in front of our property.  The clever little guys have several lodges that they use depending on the level of the water.  They channel the water related to their needs and are able to survive even when times are tough.  They also move up and down the river to survive the harshness of the desert, but our part of the river seems to be a constant water resource for them.  That makes me so happy.  More on this subject will surely follow.

I know, they are doing what beavers do…gnawing the trees…but we are pretty much reedy and small riparian vegetation, and I am happy to share with them if it will keep them around.  They represent one more lesson in sustainability that we will be able to use in our educational efforts.

I can hardly wait to be a permanent part of the landscape in the Rio Salado Restoration Area.  If you want more information just let me know.  I am excited to share the possibilities.

This Week @ Liberty

Posted by Terry Stevens

Posted by Terry Stevens

The intake total for this year is now at 152.

The weather remains mild, and the level of activity is still low-to-moderate. Good thing too, because our Animal Care Coordinator was under the weather for two days! Yes, we all like to think we’re indestructible but ’tis the season to be sick and the smart, thoughtful people stay out and avoid bringing their germs to work! Luckily, the animals cooperated for the most part. We did, however, take in another critically ill bald eagle who still got the best care possible considering his condition. Let’s see what else happened last week…

Injured coopers hawk

Injured cooper’s hawk

Another young Cooper’s hawk is in our care. He arrived presenting a wing injury of unknown origin and after a being wrapped for a period, he was test flown last week.  Although he could fly, his ability to perform the intricate flight maneuvers required of an accipiter appears somewhat compromised at this time. Some additional rehabilitation and flight practice may lead to a better performance in the future and eventual release.

Head injury GHO

Head injury GHO

Great horned owls are highly likely to receive head injuries from collisions with things like windows and automobiles. This guy came in last week with symptoms typical of the type that indicate some kind of  head trauma causing the noticeable asymmetry of his eyes and ears tufts. Despite his injuries, he was able to go to an outside enclosure for further recuperation.

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Checking the progress on the duck's foot

Checking the progress on the duck’s foot

Dr. Wyman removes the sutures

Dr. Wyman removes the sutures

The duck that had its leg and foot nearly severed by fishing line was examined this week. Last week Dr. Wyman once again exhibited her expertise in the reconstruction of severely damaged tissue and applied carefully placed sutures to hold the delicate tissue together while the foot mends. This week the duck’s foot and leg were unwrapped and the sutures were removed from the foot which had healed well over the last seven days. Now we’ll watch to see how much leg movement the duck will regain as she continues to recuperate.

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Dr. Wyman checks another duck for injuries

Dr. Wyman checks another duck for injuries

A strange injury

A strange injury

The extent of the damage is unknown

The extent of the damage is unknown

As long as we’re talking waterfowl, another little mallard arrived with an unusual injury. She presented apparent trauma to her face where the upper bill attaches to the skull. We are in the dark as to what could cause such an injury and besides maintenance and observation, we can do little at this point. Our main concern is that the bill remains viable and the duck can use it to eat on her own. We’ll try to keep you posted as to her progress.

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New kid in town

New kid in town

The initial exam is begun

The initial exam is begun

Alex draws blood

Alex draws a blood sample

Now time for rest

Now it’s time for rest

Last Thursday we received a call that AZGFD was bringing in a bald eagle from the Saguaro Lake area. Officer John Dickson drove the bird to Liberty where the Med Services team was waiting. The bird presented no obvious trauma but was very “down” in medical terms. Blood was drawn for analysis and fluids were given to the malnourished and dehydrated bird. The blood tests showed signs of significant lead levels and a host of other blood readings that were out of tolerance as well. Many times birds can fight off one or more forms of toxicity, but when lead or something equally debilitating compromises their immune systems, they stop flying, stop hunting, and stop eating which allows other dangerous pathogens, such as aspergillosis, to proliferate. This induces a downhill spiral that eventually overwhelms the body’s ability to deal with the cascading system failures. The eagle fought an uphill battle until Sunday, when unfortunately, he succumbed to these cumulative effects. A necropsy is scheduled to help determine the cause of his death.

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This Week @ Liberty – February 2, 2015

Hoots, Howls, and Hollers

Megan Mosby

Megan Mosby

Our esteemed Education Team did us proud once again at the Waste Management Phoenix Open…and the sun did shine! See TW@L for photos from the event.

Keeping with that theme the Education Team statistics are hot off the press and they are once again most impressive. Check them out:

Number of program requests received           460
Total number of programs provided (a program request may ask for several programs during the same day)            775
Total audience 2,472,518
Total number of hours of programs presented      931.63
Total program miles starting at Liberty and returning to Liberty 28, 456.3
Total miles driven by volunteers to provide programs 58,681.10
Number of Education volunteers in 2014              65
Number of Education volunteers who did a program in 2014              55

This is just a summary of the statistics. Max Bessler, our scheduler and filler of programs, has done a fantastic job of compiling impressive feats of this group. He has lengthy columns of numbers of programs provided by each of the volunteers, by each of the educational animals, by each of the program coordinators. He has enumerated the number of booth settings, school programs, media educational experiences and just about any other relevant number. It makes it so easy to justify our claims of excellence and hard work by this impressive group of volunteers.

I do need to mention that Joe and Jan Miller get the award for doing the most programs but there are others nipping at their heels. This is such a hard-working and dedicated group of people that I just can’t say enough about them…but thank you, thank you, thank you. How lucky Liberty Wildlife is to have such a wonderful group of stars…both human and wildlife.

Here’s to continued learning….we can never know it all…but let’s keep trying.

This Week @Liberty

Posted by Terry Stevens

Posted by Terry Stevens

The intake total for the year is now up to 122.

Happy Ground Hog Day to everyone! The week started off slow, but reached a crescendo as Super Bowl Sunday approached and the rains and fog blew in. It was a big weekend for programs and a couple of them are highlighted in this update. There are also some updates on the continuing treatment of a couple of patients and hopefully everyone will appreciate us taking down the Birdies for Charity pop-up as you log in to the website! Thanks to everyone who signed up for this more-than-worthy cause.

Growing up fast (photo by Jesse Brown)

Growing up fast (photo by Jesse Brown)

The three young raccoons living in the mammal area are growing up strong and healthy. The three little guys are headed for release fairly soon as soon as they are totally able to fend for themselves in the wild.

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Dr.Wyman examines the duck

Dr. Wyman examines the duck

A new wrap - and what looks like a smile!

A new wrap – and what looks like a smile!

The duck with the fishing line injury to it’s leg is improving but a complication arose with blood and fluid accumulating in her foot.  Dr. Wyman was on hand to address that issue and then her leg and foot were wrapped which seemed to produce a positive effect on the bird. She is again outside and we have hopes she will eventually regain use of the leg and foot.

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272 begins to improve

272 begins to improve

The male California condor that recently came in is recovering from his surgery and is now starting to eat on his own little-by-little. He seems to enjoy his diet of calve’s liver and deer meat and is doing well over-all.  The female, #455, is now also doing well, gaining weight and regaining her spirit. Alex says that they hope to close her crop by the week’s end.

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A little injured bunny gets lots of care on Vet Night

A little injured bunny gets lots of care on Vet Night

More expert suturing by Dr. Wyman

More expert suturing by Dr. Wyman

We received a tiny cottontail last week who presented an apparently injured abdomen. The torn skin and tissue might have been caused by a scrape on a sharp object, but could easily have been the result of a cat attack. Bunnies have very thin skin and present a challenge as to the repair required, but luckily Dr. Wyman again proved to be absolutely masterful when it comes to suturing damaged tissue (see TW@L Dec. 8). Last Tuesday was a good time to be at Liberty needing the skill of a talented veterinarian.

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"I dont think that's a real owl!"

“C’mon Tim, I don’t think that’s a real owl!”

Lindsey and Diego impress the kids

Lindsey and Diego impress the kids

Everybody loves owls, no matter what size

Everybody loves owls, no matter what size

Owl selfie

Owl selfie

Tim and Snickers gladly posing with anyone who loves wildlife

Tim and Snickers gladly posing with anyone who loves wildlife

Last Sunday was cold, damp, and very foggy! I headed down to the Superb Owl 5K run with Tim and Lindsey to present a Liberty contingent of owls for the runners and fans. Diego and Snickers were stars and performed well, wowing the kids of all ages. The event was well “run” (no pun here) and had a couple of Liberty volunteers in the race. The birds seemed happy to pose with anyone who showed an interest in wildlife in general, and owls in particular. Thanks to everyone who participated.

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Liberty birds at the WMPO

Liberty birds and volunteers at the WMPO

Joe and Aurora are always  headliners

Joe and Aurora are always headliners

Posing with the crowd

Posing with the crowd

The kids always enjoy the wildlife

The kids always enjoy the wildlife

"Watch the birdie!"

“Watch the birdie!”

Overlapping signs appear to give mixed messages...

Overlapping signs appear to give mixed messages to Chaco

Once again, Liberty presented an educational display on Sunday at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. After two days of inclement weather, the rain and fog finally gave way to blue skies and the crowds arrived. A variety of local birds of prey were introduced to the public who seemed thrilled to be educated about their state wildlife. Listening to comments by people walking from the event, we were struck by the impact Liberty’s birds had on those attending who were not discussing golf at all, but the amazement they felt at seeing a bald eagle up close!

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Claudia displays Quannah (photo by Kim Macchiaroli)

Claudia displays Quannah (photo by Kim Macchiaroli)

Superstition peregrine release (photo by Kim Macchiaroli)

Superstition peregrine release (photo by Kim Macchiaroli)

Finding a new home close by! (photo by Kim Macchiaroli)

Finding a new home close by! (photo by Kim Macchiaroli)

At a recent Don’s Club weekly kids’ outing in the Superstition Mountains, volunteers Claudia Kirscher and Kim Macchiaroli did the normal series of  presentations to the various groups of area children. But in addition to the usual displays, they also released a pair of peregrine falcons that Liberty had rehabilitated after injury. The two birds, a male and female, flew up into the cliffs above the site, joined in formation, and flew off into the mountains together. Not many education presentations provide such a touching finale! Nice job, Claudia and Kim!

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This Week @ Liberty – January 26, 2015

Hoots, Howls, and Hollers

Megan Mosby

Megan Mosby

We had a small event at our new property yesterday…a prize to the winning Eagle Team from our Wild Things game at Wishes for Wildlife, 2014.  See This Week @ Liberty for more information about this happening.  It was fun to see people standing in what would be the Children’s Interactive room or the Surgical Suite or the Wetland Overlook.  What you couldn’t see, of course, because there is only the outline of the building, are the many things designed to make our building and total operation as sustainable as possible.  We will be chasing LEED certification….hopefully at the Platinum level.

One of the important things for us to concentrate on is water and watershed management.  We live in the desert…remember.  From the ‘get go’ we have concentrated on sustainable features.  We chose a piece of land that is pretty much the center of the Valley.  We want to be easily available to schools, visitors, animal drop offs, volunteers, so that facility availability works for as many people as possible.

We chose a piece of land that is rehabbed.  We didn’t seek a pristine piece of desert and scrape it for a building and enclosures.  No, we took a piece of land that had been destroyed by the mining of gravel.  It was restored to a strip of land ready to be ‘fixed’, and it will be fixed.  You might say that we have a very clean pallet on which to place precious plants that might have been there before the mining happened.  We are following all of the requirements placed on development of the area by the Rio Salado Restoration Area guidelines.

Back to the water, it is important that the spongy ground percolates, and that there isn’t a major run off of water into the river. (Run off is diverted to bio-swells in our landscaping plan.) No one wants unknown stuff coursing through the river and neither do we.  We are all about renewing the river and re-creating the ribbon of water and riparian habitat that used to meander through our desert.  Our building grounds are designed to have retention basins that will allow the water to seep into the ground in a timely manner.

Our building is designed with a roof that collects the water and guides it into an underground storage area to be reused on our natural desert landscaping.  The water that we use to clean enclosures will be re-used to water vegetation and to add to the nutrient that feeds the thirsty, hungry desert plants.  Our wetlands area will be designed to contain water also.

The plumbing features in the building will all be designed to conserve water and to minimize water that eventually goes to the sewer systems of the city.  Policy will be initiated that is designed to limit water usage where it is possible and when possible that water that can be re- used will be turned into ‘gray water’ that will be transferred to other areas of the facility and grounds.

Finally, our educational message will have a major water conservation element to it, and all of the features in our design will be highlighted to show the public what can be done without a lot of expense…simple things to help save our quality of life in the desert…for all living things.

We look forward to spreading this important message to everyone who will listen.  And, that should be every one of us.

This Week @ Liberty

Posted by Terry Stevens

Posted by Terry Stevens

The intake total for this year is now at 93.

OK, this is supposed to be the slow time of year for Liberty, but last week was anything but slow.  Along with the first baby bunny of the year, we took in a second California condor, an adult brown pelican, and 5 mute swans!  While all this was going on, we were also planning and arranging for our show at the Waste Management Phoenix Open golf tournament, and the first ever event at the site of our new home on the Rio Salado plus a special training session for advanced rescue techniques involving waterfowl. It was a BIG week for sure, so let,s jump right to it…

The first baby bunny of the year

The first baby bunny of the year

Yes, rabbits breed like, well, rabbits!  The first of many to be sure, this little guy is currently getting neonatal care from the Med Services volunteers until he gets big enough to move outside prior to release down the road. (It’s gonna be another long year!)

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A gorgeous prairie falcon

A gorgeous prairie falcon has his wrap removed

Dr.Wyman flushes a Harris' hawk's nasal cavity

Dr.Wyman flushes a Harris’ hawk’s nasal cavity

Checking a kestrels eye

Checking a kestrel’s eye

He gets a leg band and goes outside

He gets a leg band and goes outside

The usual work of medical care for some serious injuries continues with some treatment of a few raptors. The Prairie falcon had his wing unwrapped revealing an apparently fused joint which, while not life threatening, would most likely jeopardize his candidacy for release. The Harris’ hawk was another victim of avian canker which caused some damage to the sinus area. This is slow to heal and he is fighting recurring infections but with the help of Jan and Dr. Wyman, is improving slowly. The kestrel presented a head injury with blood in his eye. He is also improving with care and was able to join other kestrels outside last week.

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Alex and Jan remove fishing line from a duck's leg

Alex and Jan remove fishing line from a duck’s leg

Now we just have to wait and see

Now we just have to wait and see if the leg recovers

Juvenile cormorant with a deformed beak

Juvenile cormorant with a deformed beak

On to waterfowl!  We took in a duck with the ever present bane of local water birds – fishing line!  The gentleman who brought her in had already removed the hook and some of the line which had broken through the skin and was nearly severing the leg. We hope the circulation will return and the leg can be salvaged.  The little cormorant has a serious deformation of the upper mandible. We’re not sure whether this is a genetic anomaly or the result of an injury, but the bird is apparently able to eat on his own. This would be a surprising adaptation and we will watch him closely over time to determine if he is releasable.

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A pelican arrives in the back seat of a DPS cruiser

Laura holds a pelican that arrived in the back seat of a DPS cruiser

Adult brown pelicans are really amazingly beautiful birds

Adult brown pelicans are really amazingly beautiful birds

Laura and Jan hydrate the big guy

Laura and Jan hydrate the big guy

We got a call last week that DPS was bringing in a pelican who was found wandering on  the 202 near Tempe Town Lake. When the officer arrived in his cruiser, I met him and went to take out the box with the bird, only to discover that there was no box, just a large adult brown pelican sitting in the back seat of the car (now I know why the back seats of police cruisers are plastic!) Presenting a wing injury of unknown origin and severity, the bird was hydrated and his wing was wrapped. We’ll keep you posted on his progress.

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Tony and Tim as part of the Liberty Navy in Sun City

Tony and Tim as part of the Liberty Navy in Sun City

Large carriers are needed as swans are LARGE birds!

Large carriers are needed as swans are LARGE birds!

You can see the tinge of the oil on the bird's neck and head prior to washing

You can see the tinge of the oil on the bird’s neck and head prior to washing

"We wanna go home!"

“We wanna go home!”

One of the largest single rescue efforts in recent memory was mounted last week as a fountain in a Sun City lake began spewing oil after being repaired. The oil formed a slick on the lake which eventually killed over 25 ducks and coated five large swans living at the lake. A rescue team was formed consisting of myself, Tim, Tony, and Carl who went to the lake the next day and with the help of two residents with electric boats, were able to capture the remaining birds and transport them to Liberty for cleaning. As soon as the oil can be removed from the lake, they will all be returned to their home to the delight of the residents.

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Condor # 272 arrives for treatment

Condor # 272 arrives for treatment (photo by Alex Stofko)

Amid all the other activity, another California condor, number 272, arrived for lead poisoning treatment. One of the older birds to come in, this guy is quite aggressive and had been in treatment at the Vermillion Cliffs facility prior to being brought to Liberty.  He now joins condor 455 at Liberty for continued care and treatment.

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The release of a hawk at the site of the new facility

The release of a hawk at the site of the new facility

Yesterday, Sunday January 25, we held a mini-event at the site of the new Liberty Wildlife on the Rio Salado to release a red-tailed hawk by the winners of the game show at last year’s Wishes for Wildlife. The weather was perfect, the crowd was intimate, and it seemed everyone enjoyed the experience of seeing where we will be going next year. I had too many photos to add so I made a short slide show which I hope you will watch by clicking HERE!

 

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This Week @ Liberty – January 19, 2015

Hoots, Howls, and Hollers

Megan Mosby

Megan Mosby

It occurs to me that we have a statistic that is never measured but is powerfully important.  We talk about the number of animals that we save, but we never mention the number of people who are “saved” in the process.  Here’s what I mean.

Over the years we have had a number of volunteers who have come to us after a negative scrape with the law.  Some of these “scrapes” ended up with community service requirements.  We have provided it.  Some of these “scrapes” have ended up with incarcerations that have made it difficult for the person to get a job or find a volunteer experience to finish off their legal requirements.  Many of those have ended up at Liberty Wildlife for a different kind of rehabilitation.  You might be surprised by the number who have stayed with us for a very long time…maybe even been employed by Liberty Wildlife and as they have stabilized and moved on to other pursuits and have had Liberty to “blame” for giving them a second chance.

We have other kinds of folks who come to us with a vague, or even absent an idea of what to do with their lives.  Many students show up at Liberty who haven’t had enough life experiences to really know what they want to do in life; they don’t have the resources to “experiment in college” so floundering in and out of jobs leaves them blasé and bored.  We had one 16 year old who started in our orphan care department who is now on her way to Veterinary school.

A fairly new recruit came to the state to go to NAU  to study zoology only to find the department disappearing.  His ennui palpable…he then found Liberty Wildlife and his passion exploded.  He will be going back to school at the University of Arizona to study advanced biology with a renewed passion that will surely lead to big things….our loss, his gain and the potential for world gain with passion like that unleashed.

There is another kind of saving that happens at Liberty Wildlife.  It has to do with the huge group of people called “retired”.  If you could see this group in action you might want a re-definition of retirement.  We have a contention of folks who knowingly or not wanted to be “teachers”.   Maybe not in the traditional sense…these might have been people who couldn’t go to college to earn that degree, or had families that took their time and energy, or they just didn’t realize what a great career teaching can be especially if you have a tool like a hawk or owl on your arm and knowing that you can reawaken the love of nature in students of all ages.  Or maybe you always wanted to be a veterinarian,  a vet tech, or some other hero helping animals in need…and you found Liberty Wildlife where training was provided and opportunities abound…you too would feel saved.

It’s all about finding and following your passion.  That is indeed a life-saving move.  See what I mean.  We have saved way more than animals over the years…in fact those animals have saved many of us.  It is all about providing a second chance….to whomever needs it.

This Week @ Liberty

Posted by Terry Stevens

Posted by Terry Stevens

The intake total is now at 67.

It’s been fairly cool the past week and as we prepare for a really busy couple weeks, the pace is calm, but building. We said farewell to one of our interns and did some more surgery on condor 455. Lots of education is going on and will go on at some big events over the next few weeks. This update will highlight some of these programs and the people who are presenting them. Most of the larger shows are open to the public, so check out our calendar and try to attend one or more. These include our booth at the Phoenix Open golf tournament on Feb. 1st, the “Superb Owl Shuffle” on the same day, the Verde Canyon Rail Road ride with Sonora the Bald Eagle on Feb.7th, and the Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show Feb. 13th – 15th. These are in addition to the usual array of school presentations made by our Education team.

Intern Kristina Ewers goes home

Intern Kristina Ewers goes home

Last Friday our intern finished her stint at Liberty Wildlife and is now going home to Bad Münstereifel, Germany. Kristina Ewers was here for 6 weeks and helped out in Daily Care and wherever she was needed in our operation. She said she enjoyed it and hopefully she will have some great stories to tell her friends and family when she gets home.  Thanks, Kristina! You did a great job and we will miss you! Auf wiedersehen!

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Remember this little guy with the severely damaged patagium?

Remember this little guy with the severely damaged patagium?

He's getting better!

He’s getting better!

Dr. Wyman's skill at reconstruction appears to have worked.

Dr. Wyman’s skill at reconstruction appears to have worked.

The little barn owl that came up from Sierra Vista in early December is much improved.  His right patagium was an ugly mess when he arrived and although Dr. Wyman worked hard to suture the tissue back together, it was looking doubtful that he would heal. Now, he is doing really well and looks a lot better after his time in the ICU. A big high-five to Dr.Wyman and the Med Services team on this one!

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One more time for the anesthesia mask...

One more time for the anesthesia mask…

Dr. Orr performs surgery on 455's crop

Dr. Orr performs surgery on 455’s crop

Resting under a heat lamp in her enclosure (photo by Claudia)

Resting under a heat lamp in her enclosure (photo by Claudia)

California Condor 455’s lead levels have dropped but she was still having trouble gaining much needed weight. Dr. Orr decided to do one more surgery on her to remove some lesions on the inside of her crop. It was hoped this would make it easier for her to recover from the effects of the lead poisoning. As of this writing, she seems to be doing slightly better and is beginning to move food through her system.

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Two boys make Eagle Scout

Two boys make Eagle Scout (photo by Rich Murset)

One of the many types of presentations Liberty Wildlife does during the year is bringing some of our education eagles to special “Eagle Courts of Honor.” These are ceremonies at which young men are awarded the highest rank in Scouting, that of Eagle Scout. Recently I took Libby to one of these programs in Gilbert and had the boys meet a real “Eagle” during the event. Libby was great and everyone seemed to enjoy her visit.

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Peggy with Anasazi at the VCRR

Peggy with Anasazi at the VCRR (photo by Ellen Roberts)

Susie displays Ace at the Rail Road

Susie displays Ace at the Rail Road (photo by Ellen Roberts)

One of our top partners in education is the Verde Canyon Rail Road. Last week Peggy, Claudia, and Susie took Anasazi, Chaco, and Ace up to display the birds at the terminal before the train rolled out. It’s a great show for the passengers and they get to learn about the birds they might actually see from the train as they travel northward along the river.

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John and Joe at Anasazi School

John (with Maggie) and Joe at Anasazi School

Hey Joe, that's not an eagle...

Hey Joe, that’s not an eagle…

John and Chaco

John and Chaco

New best buds

New best buds

The big girl shows off

The big girl shows off

Joe and Aurora are a popular team

Joe and Aurora are a popular team

3rd grade Anasazi teachers pose with Anasazi, the golden eagle

3rd grade Anasazi teachers pose with Anasazi, the golden eagle

Last week, among other shows, John Glitsos and Joe Miller went to Anasazi School in North Scottsdale and wowed the third graders with Maggie, Chaco, Jester, and two eagles – Aurora and Anasazi (which was the name of their school!) It was John’s debut presentation with Anasazi and he and ‘Sazi did a great job! Joe and his birds were also in top form, getting photographed by most of the adults. The school gave a car full of donations – no really, they filled up my Prius!! Thanks to the kids, the teachers, and the parents of Anasazi School!

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READER PHOTO OF THE WEEK!

"Doves on a bike"

“Doves on a bike” (photo by Wendy Bozzi)

You’ve heard of (or seen) the movie “Snakes on a plane”? Well, here’s Liberty’s version, “Birds on a trike!”, submitted by Education volunteer Wendy Bozzi.

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This Week @ Liberty – January 12, 2015

Hoots, Howls, and Hollers

Megan Mosby

Megan Mosby

WE MADE THE BIG TENT!…THANKS TO ALL OF YOU WHO PLEDGED TO BIRDIES FOR CHARITY…Now, come out to the Waste Management Open on Sunday, February 2nd  to see our education group extol the beauty and benefits of native wildlife.  We’ll be there to greet the comings and goings of guests.  And, yes you will still be able to get home in time to watch the Super Bowl later in the day.

Now on to other things…I went to an event this week that featured the Dean of the ASU Mary Lou Fulton Teacher’s College.  It was inspirational.  The school’s accomplishments are many making me proud to have gotten my Master’s Degree from this school….albeit a while back.  One of the main things discussed was the importance of early childhood education as far as placing young students in situations where their interests are peaked either in sciences which is so big now or tuned into other personal yearnings.  It seems to me the job of early education among other things is to explore the passions of young children, yet unformed and inexperienced…they kind of need to be exposed to it all.

At a recent Liberty Wildlife program it was easy to see the disparate examples of this.  One family had a young boy who was clearly enthralled by the raptors.  His excitement was palpable.  When the first bird, the great horned owl, was presented he could hardly contain his excitement.  And, then it happened.  I want to believe that the parents were reacting to something unseen…some other appointment…some other behavior…some other need.  Before the next bird could be presented they grabbed him by the arm and dragged him out.  He was bereft.  He was wailing.  He was so sadly disappointed.  That seems an example of potential dashed passion.  I just hope he will be able to have another opportunity to discover the root of his enthusiasm.

At the same program another family demonstrated a totally opposite demeanor.  The kids were being home schooled, and the parents took this decision seriously.  They were traveling for two months to let their children experience new and different places.  The deserts of Arizona were clearly a favorite and part of a very important learning experience.  One of the boys in particular was enchanted with the bird of prey show.  Not only were they allowed to stay for the entire program, they also were allowed to stay after and ask all of the questions that they had at the time.  To further support their curiosity and learning the parents have made arrangements to bring their children by Liberty Wildlife for a personal tour.  We will make sure they get to see everything they want, to answer all of their questions, to help them continue to follow their passions.

We never know where an educational experience will go.  I like to think of our programming as a “gateway” experience to the sciences, to a desire to help the planet, to a giant step in helping to keep the balance, to strive for resilience and ultimately to sustainability.

This Week @ Liberty

Posted by Terry Stevens

Posted by Terry Stevens

The intake total for this year is now at 45.

Things are calming down now after the holiday rush, and the facility is settling into our long established routine for what we hope will be our final year in this location. We are seeing some interesting animals arriving for help and the volunteers, as always, are stepping up to the plate and doing a phenomenal job of providing care for whatever comes in.  The year is beginning with a glorious profusion of species from the kingdom Animalia: mammals, reptiles, and birds of all sorts – all receiving the best care possible from volunteers who are all dedicated to the wildlife of Arizona.   Let me add my thanks to all who were kind enough to contribute to the Birdies for Charity campaign. I’ll try to get some good photos at the event so you can see what you have brought about through your generosity.

"Do I really have to do this?"

“Do I really have to do this?”

Frieda gets examined

Frieda gets examined

Dr. Urbanz examines a sharp-shinned hawk

Dr. Urbanz examines a sharp-shinned hawk

Injured moorhen is checked

Injured moorhen is checked

Three of our birds were taken by Andrea to the eye clinic last week. Dr. Jennifer Urbanz, veterinary ophthalmologist at Eye Care for Animals just north of Liberty, checked out some eye problems presented by a sharp-shinned hawk, a moorhen, and one of our own education burrowing owls, Frieda. Some birds can manage with diminished vision due to one eye being damaged or lost while others that depend on binoculars vision would not survive being so compromised. Knowing the exact status of a bird’s eyesight is important to its prognosis and eventual disposition. We’re very grateful for the assistance or Dr. Urbanz and the staff at Eye Care for Animals.

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Northern shoveler in the ICU

Northern shoveler in the ICU

An uncommon patient was brought in last week for treatment. This Northern shoveler was apparently involved in some kind of collision and is suffering from as yet undetermined internal injuries. These duck-like birds dabble in shallow water for seeds of sedges, bulrushes, saw grass, smartweeds, pondweeds, algae and duckweeds, as well as aquatic insects. Shovelers have a unique wide, spoon shaped bill that allows the bird to strain small mollusks, crustaceans and other small organisms from water that is taken in at the tip and then jetted out at the base. The wide shape of the bill gives this pretty bird it’s name.

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The three amigos

The three amigos (photo by Nina)

(Sigh…) OK, we have three more young raccoons at the facility. The three youngsters were incarcerated by the management at the the Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport (formerly Williams field) and we suspect that the mother was nearby but she eluded capture. They will be released into an appropriate area as soon as they are old enough to survive on their own.

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This yellow bat is not happy

This yellow bat is not happy

Check the teeth!

Check the teeth!

Another not-very-common visitor to our facility last week was this Western yellow bat. It seems as though we see a lot of different types of bats, probably because we do. There are 28 species of bats found in Arizona. This guy was larger than most of the bats we see and he was picked up by Rebecca for treatment as she is our go-to bat person at Liberty. His size (and that of his teeth!) was quite impressive.

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Desert spiny lizard

Desert spiny lizard

Among the interesting species that currently call Liberty home – at least temporarily – is this desert spiny lizard. He is with us with unspecified injuries, possibly suffering from exposure to some environmental toxin. Just as the birds suffer from contact with animals that have ingested rodenticide, these little animals also consume prey that is the target of human-generated poison, most likely insecticide. As always it’s important to remember that there are no species-specific poisons. What is toxic to one life form is going to be dangerous to many others in the food chain.

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Condor 455 is still hanging on.

Condor 455 is still hanging on.

Finally, just a quick update on condor 455. She is still with us, still in treatment for the effects of lead poisoning, and making very slow, incremental progress. We had hoped she would be recovering more rapidly, but although her lead levels have dropped, she is not gaining weight as we would like to see her doing.  Alex and the crew are feeding her almost 5 times each day so everyone keep the fingers crossed!

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This Week @ Liberty – January 05, 2015

Hoots, Howls, and Hollers

Megan Mosby

Megan Mosby

Happy New Year to all of you!  And, many thanks to those of you who stepped forward to pledge to our Birdies for Charity campaign and to you who remembered us financially during the past year.  The outcome of the Birdie Campaign will follow next week.
I was pondering the coming of the New Year.  I am not too big on resolutions, but I did stumble across a fairly esoteric thought on hopes for 2015.  I read a prophecy from South America that seems like an appropriate message to contemplate for the upcoming year.  Get ready…it is a big one!  And, it might be just a bit too airy-fairy…but I am sticking to it.
This ancient prophecy from the indigenous people of the Amazon goes something like this.  The universe is basically divided into two main groups of people: the eagles and the condors.  (We are currently rehabbing each of these species at Liberty Wildlife…so it seems significant to me…)
The eagle people at this point in time have reached the zenith in perceiving things through the use of their minds.  They have solved complicated problems; they have invented ways to technically perceive the world; they have made huge strides in scientific achievements.  They are currently people like us who see the world mainly through the miracles of the mind. This group of achievers is wealthy, materially bountiful and scientifically innovative but perhaps a bit out of balance…perhaps to their peril.
The other category referred to in the prophecy is the condor group.  The condor people are represented by the indigenous people of the world who are mainly characterized by the use of their five senses and intuition.  They too, have reached a pinnacle in their capacity to interact with their world, utilizing the knowledge of and relationships with their kin, their plants, and their animals, primarily using their senses and intuitions…their hearts.  Unlike the eagle people they are heart wealthy, but materially impoverished…perhaps to their peril.
The prophecy continues with the notion that we have reached a very special period of time when the condor and the eagle will start to remember that they are one.  With this remembrance they will realize that they can both share the same sky…that they can unite and fly off together bringing the world back into balance…to the ultimate benefit of both eagle and condor people…and to the ultimate benefit of the planet.
Now you will totally recognize the elements of the myth-like prophecy, but who amongst us doesn’t think it would be a wonderful prophecy for the upcoming year? Uniting the heart and the mind, restoring the balance, seems to be the ticket that we need as we move forward in time…let’s release our inner condor and inner eagle to share the same sky for the upcoming year and future.  For 2015 let’s work to gain and maintain a balance.  Sounds like a plan to me.

This Week @ Liberty

Posted by Terry Stevens

Posted by Terry Stevens

The intake total for the year 2014 ended up at 5214 – a new record!

The intake for the new year is now at 19.

We’re baaaaack, and I hope everyone had a great holiday season! The weather has been COLD during the past weeks, and I hope everyone remembers the chilly temps when July rolls around.  The year is starting off with a bang as condor 455 continues her treatment for lead poisoning and a young bald eagle from the Oak Creek nest that had recently been released came in for some additional evaluation.                                                   Thanks to all you wonderful folks who joined with Liberty and contributed to the Birdies for Charity campaign! We’ll let you know how we fared when the final results are tallied by the administrators of the program.

Another raccoon comes to visit (photo by Nina)

Another raccoon comes to visit (photo by Nina)

Another young raccoon showed up last week and is in residence in the north side run. I actually met somebody during the holiday break who was unaware that we had raccoons in Arizona! If people only knew how many of these little guys are out there, they might be surprised. Hopefully this one will get to be released soon.

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 455 is readied for surgery

455 is readied for surgery

The mask goes on

The mask goes on

"Count backwards from..."

“Count backwards from…”

Dr.Orr tapes the feathers up

Dr.Orr tapes the feathers up

The surgical team - Anita, Jan, Alex, Rebecca, and Dr. Orr

The surgical team – Anita, Jan, Alex, Rebecca, and Dr. Orr

The crop is opened and cleaned

The crop is opened and cleaned

Now on her back, the operation continues

Now on her back, the operation continues

Dr. Orr sutures the crop

Dr. Orr sutures the crop

Checking the opening to the stomach

Checking the opening to the stomach

Food high in protein and calories is pumped in

Food is pumped directly into the stomach

The tube is removed as she wakes up

The tube is removed as she wakes up

When condor 455 first came in, it was hoped she could go through the chelation treatment without the rigors of surgery, but though her lead levels were dropping slightly after the initial round, Dr. Orr decided it was necessary. Last week, with the assistance of Jan, Alex, and Rebecca, and the help of Anita and myself, the bird’s crop was opened and cleaned, then sewn open. This leaves access to the stomach through which a slurry of high protein, high calorie food is pumped in. This by-passes the crop which is inactive due to the effects of the lead poisoning. Now one of the biggest challenges is to get her weight back up as the level of lead in her blood drops. When the crop again begins to function, it will be closed surgically and she will be ready to return to the skies north of the Canyon, hopefully to join the breeding population next year.

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A young bald eagle returns

A young bald eagle is recovered

Sabrina and Jessica assist Kurt

Sabrina and Jessica assist Kurt

Kurt draws blood

Kurt draws blood

"I am soooo hungry!"

“I am soooo hungry!”

The Eagle Management team at AZGFD recently released a young bald eagle that had been  banded after prematurely leaving his nest. He was released up near Horseshoe Reservoir and unlike most balds released in that area, he flew south, ending up over 250 miles away in the town of Wilcox. He was then recaptured by a Wildlife Management officer who said the bird was being fed by some kids in the town. I made the 5 hour round-trip drive last Saturday and brought him back to Liberty for evaluation and rehabilitation. Among other things, he appeared dramatically underfed, weighing in at only 5 1/2 pounds.

 

 

 

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This Week @ Liberty – December 29, 2014

Hoots, Howls, and Hollers

Megan Mosby

Megan Mosby

This Week @ Liberty

Posted by Terry Stevens

Posted by Terry Stevens

 

 

 

 

 

 

TW@L and HHH are off for the New Year break, but will return next week for the first update of 2015! In the meantime, please enjoy this year’s issue of my annual recap slide show –

click here: “This Year @ Liberty – 2014″

*****************HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL!**************

 

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