Hoots, Howls, and Hollers
This has been a busy week for our eagles (and handler/s). It started out last week in Buckeye at the dedication of a monument honoring First Responders. It was held on the anniversary of the Yarnell fire tragedy. It recognized fire, military, police, EMT’s and other heroes who respond to disasters that come in many forms. Aurora, the Bald Eagle and her handler, Joe Miller were invited to watch over the ceremony and allow Aurora to strut her stuff during the National Anthem. They were warmly welcomed, to say the least.
Next came the annual Fourth of July parade held in our neighborhood. Joe and Aurora, the bald eagle, led the parade of neighbors astride their horses, leading their dogs, goats, and other farm animals, along with kids on bikes, in wagons and convertibles all in costume appropriate for the holiday. If you want to talk about a fun representation of American pride, take in this annual parade if you can. It seems this neighborhood has been honoring America for a number of years in such a fun and patriotic event. Once again, our eagles have made it perfect. And let’s not leave out all of the other Liberty Wildlife Ambassadors and educators who greeted the parade goers with a bit of education about the eagles, hawks, owls, falcons, and vultures who inhabit our state. This is not your ordinary parade…no sir-eeee.
Then, later that day Joe and Jan with Sonora went to ride the rails at the Verde Canyon Rail Road. Imagine the excitement when passengers had the honor to see that Sonora, a symbol of all things American, present in the open car providing an educational program that allowed riders to get a glimpse up close of this magnificent creature. If luck smiled on you, you might have had a pic shot in close proximity to a powerful bald eagle! How great it was for the train’s naturalist to be able to point out bald eagles in the canyon. Seeing them in the wild is always greatly enhanced by an ‘up front and personal’ experience in the open train car.
What do you suppose is the pull? Why do we get so many requests for our eagles to provide experiences for folks all over the state? I suppose there are lots of reasons none of which demean the other powerful winged creatures that we work with. It is just that for eons, the eagle has represented freedom, strength, integrity, independence, and to Native cultures the spirit of Godliness. Who wouldn’t want to be reminded of all of these characteristics?
For me, the first time I looked head on to an eagle…close enough to feel the winds from his wings, I felt like I had been seen like never before. I had been looked at by eyes that knew it all. Corny…ok, but I bought it and was totally hooked. I get why we have so many requests for eagles to do educational programs. I feel pretty sure others have had or at least should have had, the same experience.
Looking eye to eye at a bald or golden eagle simply changes your life. It is indeed these charismatic animals…wolves, bears, lions, eagles that capture our souls and make us care and want to help the world that we all live in…Try it…look into the eyes of one of these animals and tell me that you don’t care. I dare you to. If you can look and still be unmoved, we probably won’t be won’t have much to talk about.
Oh yes, go USA Women’s World Cup Champions!!! Maybe we could share an eagle with them. Perfecto!
This Week @ Liberty
The intake total for this year is now up to 4589.
It was a hot one even after the storm last week, and now the humidity is on the rise. There was the expected spike in intakes the day after the storm, but it soon leveled off and the rate of arrivals was steady but not torrential. Another bird arrived from down south and we got in a young hawk from a falconer who brought the bird in already gift wrapped! The week was capped by the annual Fourth of July neighborhood parade on Saturday morning and as usual, the birds of Liberty were a big hit!
While the new arrivals get lots of attention, our permanent residents also are cared for constantly. Beau, our 19 year old Swainson’s hawk is having some problems with his feet (NOT bumble foot) and came in last week to get a soothing foot bath and medication from Alex and Jan. He came to us in 1996 as an imprinted fledgeling. Presenting folding fractures due to an improper diet during his captivity at a farm in the Sulphur Springs Valley, he could not even stand up when he arrived (originally we called him Bo because of his legs being bowed!) But with proper treatment, he became otherwise healthy, joined the education team and has been with us ever since.
Whenever the monsoon begins, we get a spike in intakes from birds being blown from their nests by strong winds. Last week a windstorm hit which may or may not have been due to monsoonal activity, but the effect was the same. The mostly small birds ended up being cared for by the wonderful Orphan Care volunteers until they can be taken outside and eventually released.
The ever alert OC team discovered this little bird had developed a case of pox. The cutaneous form of pox causes warty growths on unfeathered skin, sometimes in large clusters. The size and number of growths depend on the stage and severity of infection. Birds can survive Avian Pox with proper care and supportive treatment of the pox lesions. Food, water, and protection from additional infections are keys to a bird’s successful rehabilitation. In some cases, the pox lesions can resolve on their own in a few weeks. Thanks to the vigilance of the OC team, this was caught in it’s early stages.
An injured Harris’ hawk was brought in last week by a falconer who found the bird in the desert. Using his own falconry equipment, he wrapped the bird which helped immobilize against further injury to the broken wing. We don’t usually get animals pre-wrapped when they arrive…
Christy Van Cleve sent us another little bird this week as she got this baby Swanson’s hawk from some people who have a nest on their property near Sierra Vista. They found the bird on the ground after a storm and held it for several days feeding it hamburger by hand. We hope the baby will gain strength and not suffer permanent damage from this diet and feeding regimen.
Tuesday was a “Three Vet Night” at the facility as Dr. Orr, Dr. Becker, and Dr. Wyman were all attending in the ICU. With the level of activity due to the number of recent intakes, the extra help was certainly appreciated. We also had a full staff in OC that afternoon, bringing out the obvious need for more space which we will certainly use when we occupy the new facility next year.
Among the other patients examined and treated on Tuesday was this newly admitted red tail juvenile. What sets him apart is his remarkable dark plumage – even for a youngster! When he gets his adult feathers, he will make a handsome bird that needs to be in the gene pool!
The neighborhood Fourth of July parade around the Liberty Facility went off on Saturday morning and drew a large crowd, as usual…
This was, in all likelihood, our last 4th of July parade at this location. But that didn’t dampen the festivities as a large crowd of neighbors came by to look at the birds and say “Hi” to the volunteers on hand. We hope everyone had a safe, cool, and fun 4th of July!
And a “Standing O” for Team America’s victory in the Women’s World Cup yesterday!!!