This Week @ Liberty – October 20, 2014

Hoots, Howls, and HollersMegan and Libby

A picnic under the trees happened on Saturday at Liberty Wildlife.  It was a heartfelt thank you to our dedicated Orphan Care volunteers…a lovely party thrown for the group by the outstanding Orphan Care Manager, Susie Vaught (I don’t think there is anything that she can’t do well!) and her equally outstanding and dedicated cohorts, Sharon Sneva and Joan Boatwright.  Thanks to these ladies, volunteers each received a “Liberty Wildlife nurturing nature bracelet”…the first of an annual bracelet… a different color every year, a collector’s item!

The food was wonderful and plentiful.  Recent team members got to reunite.  Hopefully in six months they will all be back for another round of saving lives.  They were a serious and dedicated group dealing with a successful and very, very busy year.  Thanks to all of you including the valuable Daily Coordinators who made it a smooth season for orphans lucky enough to find Liberty Wildlife.

A few other things come to mind that need to be mentioned.  The first is a gentle nudge to each of you to go right now to www.libertywildlife.org .  Click on the pop up.  Make your pledge to Liberty Wildlife in the Birdies for Charity campaign.  It is so easy, and you don’t have to pay until the spring after the golf tournament is over.  You can make a straight pledge right now-a minimum of $20 or you can pledge any amount you want per birdie made at the tournament.  Traditionally there are 1500 to 1700 birdies so at one penny a birdie you would be billed for $15-17.00…or more if you choose to up your per birdie pledge.  Go do it now…don’t put it off until you forget….the big tent calls us, the guests call us…pledge now! www.libertywildlife.org.

BarfAnother announcement has to do with volunteer, Balinda Fortman’s newly published book.  This first in the trilogy is a charming book called, “I Got Barfed on by A Turkey Vulture”.  www.libertywildlife.net.  Go shopping!

And, one more shopping opportunity will happen on November 8th when Liberty Wildlife will bring back its overwhelmingly good rummage sale.  You can donate items that can be delivered priced starting Friday Oct. 31st to November 7th.  The rummage sale will be held in our parking lot at 11825 N 70th Street, Scottsdale from 8-2.  There will be all kinds of treasures that you won’t want to miss and the proceeds will go towards the purchase of a digital x ray for our new facility.

See you there!

This Week @ Liberty

The intake total for the year is now at 4913.

Posted by Terry Stevens

Posted by Terry Stevens

A few new arrivals of first-year animals led the line to the intake window this week. As I’ve said before, the kids are learning the tricks of the trade and sometimes things don’t work out perfectly. That’s where Liberty Wildlife steps in. Along with the usual activity in the ICU, Susie & Company held a “Thank You” picnic for the wonderful, dedicated staff of volunteers who manned Orphan Care this year. The outdoor party was well attended and gave volunteers an opportunity to relax outside of the high pressure OC arena and hear about the new facility. And on THAT topic, the extension of Elwood Road is moving along fairly quickly now, which will allow construction of the facility to begin soon. Let’s have a look…

An injured flicker gets a wing wrapped

An injured flicker gets a wing wrapped

A burrowing owl has his progress checked

A burrowing owl has his progress checked

A couple of smaller birds are in treatment right now, including this flicker with an injured wing, as well as the little burrowing owl that I brought up from Maricopa a few weeks ago. The BUOW with a healed wing fracture near the joint, will be flight tested over the next few weeks to determine if it will remain a candidate for ultimate release.

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The Canada goose hangs on

The Canada goose hangs on

Coming in for Vet Night exam

Coming in for Vet Night exam

The warm foot is a good sign

The warm foot is a good sign

A very concerned gentleman helped Carl rescue this Canada goose recently. The bird is young and had a broken wing and a severe injury resulting from fishing line being wrapped around it’s leg. The wing has healed well but the monofilament had actually damaged the femoral artery. The bird experienced hemorrhaging and still presents the effects of  severe blood loss. The foot remains warm which is a good sign, but her condition remains very serious. Jan, Dr. Wyman, and the whole Med Services team is trying their best so keep the goose in your thoughts.

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Eye drops for a barn owl

Eye drops for a barn owl

A barn owl with an eye problem is also under care in the ICU. Progressing slowly, the bird is given periodic drops to aid in healing the eye injury.

Ron and Greg feed an emaciated juvenile BCNH

Ron and Greg feed an emaciated juvenile BCNH

An extremely thin juvenile black-crowned night heron was rescued from the Lakewood area of Ahwatukee on Saturday. Not presenting any other overt trauma besides emaciation, it’s hoped that a good diet of fresh fish will bring about a marked improvement.

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A California leaf-nosed bat comes in

A California leaf-nosed bat comes in

"Hang in there, Baby!!"

“Hang in there, Baby!!”

Another new species for us came in last Saturday. This injured California leaf-nosed bat arrived and was allowed some cage rest before the arrival of Rebecca, our resident bat expert. Of the 4,000 species of mammals on the planet, almost 25% of them are bats! That just shows how much an advantage it is to have the gift of flight.

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Some bears have all the luck...

Some bears have all the luck…

Recently some of our Education Team members presented one of our awesome Education events up north. Here’s what Linda Scott, Education Coordinator, had to say: “Wendy Bozzi, Cindy Ziegler, and I spent the day at the Red Rock Ranger Station in Sedona. Stunning view of a riparian area, Bell and Cathedral Rocks, a very busy booth for us with lots of tourist visitors. The Smokey Bear statue on the patio stood next to us all day so we thought we’d take a picture.”  (It never hurts to have a ranger hat and a shovel to get the girls…)

OC volunteers have a good time remembering a great season!

OC volunteers have a good time remembering a great season!

A first look at the new facility

A first look at the new facility

Megan explains the renderings

Megan explains the renderings

Last Saturday the Orphan Care Coordinators put together a picnic-style get together to say “THANK YOU” to the OC volunteers who helped make this baby bird season a great success. Lots of food and refreshments were provided and it gave the volunteers a chance to meet and share memories without the pressure of the job. It also gave us the opportunity to present some details of the new facility where the orphans will be cared for after next year – yeah, we still have one more Baby Bird Season to get through in our current setting… BUT all the volunteers were excited about the shape of things to come!

On Friday the cement trucks begin to pour

On Friday the cement trucks begin to pour

The street lights and the wiring ready to go in

The street lights and the wiring ready to go in

An Osprey looking at the new curbing at the entryway to the site

An Osprey looking at the new curbing at the entryway to the site

One of our new neighbors

One of our new neighbors

And speaking of the new facility, the work on Elwood Road is now progressing. Last week the cement trucks were on hand to begin pouring the curbing on the north side of the road. Next, the street light poles will go in as the wiring is already in the ground. On Sunday morning, I drove by and right above the cut-out for the entrance to the facility, a local osprey sat on the telephone pole and appeared to be surveying the progress on the new facility. We’re going to have some cool neighbors!

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***************PLEASE sign up for “Birdies for Charities” to help us fund our new home***************

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This Week @ Liberty – October 13, 2014

Hoots, Howls, and HollersMegan and Libby

A huge bravo goes out to Liberty Wildlife’s Education Team.  After weeks of preparation, the debut of our “Intersession” pilot program ensued.  Intersession is fall break for students who aren’t taking a fall break.  The Phoenix Elementary School District hosted Liberty Wildlife’s handler/educators and their wildlife ambassadors for a week at Capitol Elementary School on 16th Ave.  Here’s how it came down.

Intersession 2014 at Capital Elementary School

Intersession 2014 at Capital Elementary School

Monday through Thursday our carefully planned curriculum covered owls, hawks, falcons, and the “misunderstood”, vultures and reptiles who in reality were big hits with all of the students.  The classes were geared to K-1st grade, 2nd-3rdgrade, 4th-5th grade and 6th-8th grade.  The focus was on natural history, outdoor ethics, active listening, problem solving, critical thinking and creativity.  Each student received a certificate of completion and a personal nature journal for future activities in nature.

Then on Friday the entire bunch came to the auditorium where they were greeted with a continuous loop power point of the students in their morning classes and their activities in the afternoon classes…activities like building kestrel nesting boxes, making owl themed lunch bags, and animal themed sun catchers…using measuring skills, problem solving, active listening and critical thinking skills to complete the tasks.  They loved seeing themselves on the big screen and their giggles and gasps were audible. Then they were introduced to a riveting 8 minute video on wildlife in the wild doing what it was supposed to be doing…and they responded with cheers and claps.  And, if that didn’t cap the day off

What a team!

What a team!

they were next introduced to the eagles, bald and golden.  They were blessed by the wind from eagle wings, learned about these charismatic animals and gazed at their potential strength and obvious beauty!  They were totally taken by the experience. The finale was the release of two American kestrels, a male and a female, who we are hoping will find one of the kestrel boxes that the kids made in their afternoon classes.

The preparation each day was like a staging for a huge production.  The education volunteers assembled at Liberty early in the morning.  Travel boxes were loaded with animals, needed equipment was stacked in cars, and all the materials needed for the day’s education were tucked in bags.  Four classes a day with two educators for four hours a day and with all of the critters they were featuring made for a great deal of pre-organization.  And it pretty much went by without a hitch.

What I have failed to mention is that Terry S. was on hand with two cameras to catch all of the activities.  He assembled the power point, assembled the audio visual equipment and made Friday happen successfully.  This is what I call TEAM WORK.  No one took center stage and yet all starred all week long.

A big thanks goes to Carol S. and Peggy C. for the pre-work and to Peggy for her determination, her amazing organizational skills and for sharing her teaching talents.  All of the educators involved…some old hands and some brand new did remarkable jobs.  From where I stood it looked like every student present took away the message, and I feel sure that message went home.

One brother said, “My brother came home yesterday and said he got to touch a snake!  Will I?”  Yes, you will, and you will get so much more.  Your enthusiasm touches us all. What a great week!

This Week @ Liberty

The intake number is now at 4893.

Posted by Terry Stevens

Posted by Terry Stevens

So, as Megan pointed out above, last week was pretty much spent trying to make the first Intersession a success. We had a full crew of Education volunteers each day and our ambassadors got a lot of exposure – and experience in front of an up-close-and-personal audience. Someone made some totally cool animal cutout posters and hung them around the school to welcome Liberty and get the kids into a “Get Your Wild On” kinda mind. The kids got lots of hands-on with the reptiles and learned a lot about birds and wildlife in general. Rather than filling this week with more text, I thought I’d just post some of the pictures and let you enjoy. All in all, it was a great experience!

The staging area each morning...

The staging area at Liberty each morning…

They knew Bailey was coming!

They knew Bailey was coming!

A desert tortoise greets arrivals

A desert tortoise was among many animals to greet arriving students

A peregrine flys in from above

A peregrine flys in from above

Welcome on the first day

Welcome on the first day

Peggy reads a story

Peggy reads a story

JoAnne explains why falcons are special

JoAnne explains why falcons are special

Kim tells about burrowing owls

Kim tells about burrowing owls

Pat and Cecile introduce two kestrels

Pat and Cecile introduce two kestrels

Anna and the hawk get wrapt attention

Anna and the hawk get rapt attention

The gopher snake makes new friends

The gopher snake makes new friends

Susie shows the dangers of plastic bags

Susie shows the dangers of plastic bags

Learning about feathers

Learning about feathers

Kim makes another gopher snake ally

Kim makes another gopher snake ally

Learning about cactus boots

Learning about cactus boots

Seeing a peregrine first hand

Seeing a peregrine first hand

Hands on was a hit with Speedy

Hands on was a hit with Speedy

Touching the real thing

Touching the real thing

Even the little kids make kestrel boxes

Even the little kids make kestrel boxes

Its a team effort

Its a team effort

A kestrel box comes together

A kestrel box comes together

Kestrel housing development

Kestrel housing development

Budding wildlife artists

Budding wildlife artists

Making turtles

Making turtles

Wildlife activities

Wildlife activities

Everyone gets a Certificate and a Nature Journal

Everyone gets a Certificate and a Nature Journal

Jan and Joe let the kids meet Anasazy and Aurora

Jan and Joe let the kids meet Anasazy and Aurora

Feeling the wind from an eagle wing on your face!

Feeling the wind from an eagle wing on your face!

"Wave if you enjoyed the learning experience!"

“Wave if you enjoyed the learning experience!”

Boy kestrel is on his own...

Peggy sets the male kestrel on his way…

...followed by the little girl falcon!

…followed by the little girl falcon!

 

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This Week @ Liberty – October 06, 2014

Hoots, Howls, and HollersMegan and Libby

Lucky student if you were in school in Bagdad, Arizona this past week.  Liberty Wildlife participated in a scavenger hunt for the students at Bridle Creek created by the folks at Freeport-McMoRan.  The following is a write up about the event sent to us by Tara Woodcock who is an environmental scientist for Freeport-McMoRan in Bagdad.
Outside class“Bridle Creek is a 27 acre, fenced riparian habitat, wholly owned by Freeport-McMoRan Bagdad Inc., that is managed both for habitat enhancement and education outreach. The habitat is certified through the Wildlife Habitat Council under the Wildlife at Work and Corporate Lands for Learning programs. The photo scavenger hunt event was just one example of how we try to get the school and various other community groups involved in the habitat. The idea for the program was to have students bring parents to the habitat and have both students and parents participating in the program by taking photos of items that can be found in the habitat, along with the birds that Liberty brought and the items that AZ Game and Fish had to display. Learning about red tailsThis gets students out in nature and learning first-hand about the habitat and animals they can find there as well as gets their creative and thinking juices flowing. The program was a great success and we hope to make it an annual event and invite schools from the surrounding communities to Bagdad.”
First of all I applaud Freeport-McMoRan for putting aside the 27 acres of Riparian land.  We have little of it in the state so each acre is special.  And, add to that the emphasis on getting the community involved in learning about it, appreciating it, and enjoying it is a homerun.GHO meets the kids
You can see from the accompanying photos that the children were involved and excited.  I am particularly fond of the clever scavenger hunt format.  Each one was given a clue sheet with rhyming clues that had to be deciphered. …”I am big and I’m bald, and sometimes a buzzard I’m called.”  Peggy and BaileyBingo, they guessed a turkey vulture, and around the bend there was one to take a picture of.  Then, adding more depth to the scavenger hunt, a best photo, a second award, was given for the most creative photograph.
They hit on three of the things we seek to address in our educational programs with the schools, problem solving, creativity and the love of getting outside and being in nature.  It would be great to do a program like this every day. I commend the folks at Freeport-McMoRan for recognizing the importance of these things and then acting on it.
Like I said, it was a great day to be a student in Bagdad, Arizona…and a great day for the education group at Liberty Wildlife.  Fulfilling our mission always feels good!  That is what we call a win-win situation!

This Week @ Liberty

The intake total for the year is now at 4857.

Posted by Terry Stevens

Posted by Terry Stevens

Ahhh, a week without a violent rainstorm! So unusual for Arizona…and as the mornings get cooler, we can sense that just maybe, the season is changing. Orphan Care is now closed and only a few small artifacts remain to be wrapped and packed away for a few months until they’re needed again. For now, we treat the juveniles with their accidental injuries and cut back slightly on the expensive food and supplies for a few weeks as we regroup for one more year (hopefully!) at this facility.  Let’s take a slow look at what’s going on right now…

Empty shelves in a now quiet OC area...

Empty shelves in a now quiet OC area…

Empty bins and berry baskets are now packed away until next Baby Bird Season, and the joyful peeping of the hungry orphans are a ghostly – but happy – memory for 2014. Susie, Stacey, Andrea, Cindy, and all of the OC volunteers did a wonderful, tireless job and should be congratulated by all. Well done, folks!

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"Buick" is improving

“Buick” is improving

Gunshot black vulture gets a weekly checkup

Gunshot black vulture gets a weekly checkup

Desert tortoise with bad knee is moved outside

Desert tortoise with bad knee is moved outside

The GHO that rode on the car bumper (latest name is “Buick” but that’s subject to change…) continues to heal. Jan has high hopes of recruiting him for the foster care program as we always get over a hundred orphans each year, stressing the team to the limit. The black vulture with the multiple pellet wounds is acting more like a real vulture every day, barfing on the volunteers as they get him out to treat him – it’s a GOOD sign – really! And the latest desert tortoise we took in with the blown-out knee is still being observed. Dr. Orr and Dr. Driggers are still deciding what the best plan of treatment will be for her. Her leg isn’t broken, but her knee is not able to remain in place with any stress, much like a football injury.

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Another gunshot victim

Another gunshot victim

X-ray pre-surgery

X-ray pre-surgery

Post surgery black-hawk

Post surgery black-hawk

This new X-ray shows the external fixator that Dr. Driggers applied during surgery

This new X-ray shows the external fixators that Dr. Driggers applied during surgery

A few weeks ago, we posted some pics of the cool black-hawk that came to us after being shot. The pellets are quite visible in the X-rays and the fracture of the leg bone happened in a fortunate spot that allowed Dr. Driggers to insert the pins that will hold the bones in place as they grow together and heal. These fixators also show up well in the X-rays. THIS IS WHY WE NEED A DIGITAL X-RAY UNIT FOR THE NEW FACILITY!

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A surprise from Surprise!

A surprise from Surprise!

"Can you help me?"

“Can you help me?”

 

Another "good" break

Another “good” break

Last week we got a call about what was supposed to be a cooper’s hawk out west. When the rescue volunteer went to pick it up, it turned out to be this beautiful prairie falcon. It’s leet was badly fractured, but again, the break was mid-shaft and well suited for a pin. Once again Dr. Driggers got the call and stayed late to do the surgery. We hope this pretty bird will make it back to the wild!

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Claudia and the swainson's ready to release (photo by Donna Jabara)

Claudia and the Swainson’s ready to release (photo by Donna Jabara)

"Thanks for the help!"

“Thanks for the help!” (photo by Donna Jabara)

One of the best parts of what we get to do is the release. Last week, Claudia and Donna Jabara made the trek to Casa Grande to release a Swainson’s hawk that recently completed it’s rehab. Swainson’s are migratory in the classic sense and this one was lucky enough to complete it’s treatment while the migration was in progress. Sometimes, if they have to stay in our care past the end of the migration, they must remain with us until the next cycle so they can join with the thousands of others. This bird was lucky indeed!

 

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This Week @ Liberty – September 29, 2014

Hoots, Howls, and HollersMegan and Phoenix 2

Social media is a mixed bag.  It is great to keep up with family in other towns and with friends you haven’t seen in years. It can send viral videos, jokes, or political messages far flung around the world.  It can be the source of hateful attacks by social media bullies…small minded meanies.  Like I said…it’s a mixed bag. I  have taken to it slowly and am not technically savvy enough to really do more than be a voyeur…But I must admit, it can most definitely be the source of great information spread quickly with just a click of a button.

With the good side in mind, Liberty Wildlife is moving towards using this device at our fingertips to keep you tuned in to the happenings spun out by our everyday activities.  We had originally joined the Facebook family when only individuals were allowed to participate…thus the Lady Liberty page, and you friended by the thousands.  Then in an effort to showcase our precious orphans we started the Baby Liberty page.  You friended by the thousands (who wouldn’t??).

Now we are concentrating our efforts on our business page, Liberty Wildlife, while consolidating all our efforts from the other two pages in one place.  Yes, you will only need to go to one spot to keep up with our busy-ness.  Please like us and keep checking us as there will be new things to see all of the time.

We plan to advertise our educational programs that are open to the public.  You will have many chances to see our educational ambassadors up close and personal.  You will be able to participate in public releases of our rehabilitated wildlife, watching a once injured, ill or orphan critter be returned to the wild…an occasion that can change you, and that you will not soon forget.

There will be more…charming, beautiful photographs, updates on animals introduced in our weekly blog (just in case you might wonder how the tortoise you saw one week might be doing now), or wildlife updates impacting our wildlife neighbors throughout the state, southwest or nation.

Come to our new and enhanced Liberty Wildlife Facebook page now and often. Like us and ask your friends and family to join in the fun.

And, in case you haven’t already done so, visit our website to easily pledge a penny or more for Birdies for Charity.  Help us be one of the 6 charities in the big tent again this year at the Waste Management Phoenix Open.  It is so easy, and you don’t have to pay until spring when the Open is over and birdies are tallied.  Our message will be spread internationally…How great is that?

We need your Facebook attention; we need your Birdies pledges; we need your help!  You are a huge part of the solution…so do it now.

This Week @ Liberty

The intake total for the year is now at 4824.

Posted by Terry Stevens

Posted by Terry Stevens

As you can tell from the weekly numbers, the pace has dramatically slowed from a few months ago. It’s officially Fall now (although from the average temps, you might  not guess it!) and one of the wettest monsoons on record is probably nearing an end. Last Saturday another deluge hit, this time with strong winds which are most likely worse in terms of damage than the rising water in most cases. We were fortunate in not sustaining any major damage from the gusty conditions but the fear is always there – another reason to look forward to our new facility. Again, we took in a couple of injured non-native animals that were in critical need of care and we added a new member to our Educational Team of wildlife ambassadors and we toured some renewable energy facilities with whom we will be partnering to provide wildlife advice and medical care. Let’s take a look…

Jan and Donna work on TS Eliot (photo by Kim Marcchilaroli)

Jan and Donna trim an education kestrel (photo by Kim Marcchilaroli)

Craig and Jan clip talons on one of our GHOs (photo by Kim Marcchilaroli)

“Not too much off that one please!” (photo by Kim Marcchilaroli)

Four volunteers - no waiting (photo by Kim Marcchilaroli)

Four volunteers – no waiting (photo by Kim Marcchilaroli)

As permanent residents – and front line ambassadors to the public – our Education birds get a “Spa Day” prior to the beginning of each Education season. Last week, several volunteers helped Jan provide needed trimming, coping, and other cosmetic and general wellness treatments for our wonderful Ed birds. Some of them take it in stride, while others might not seem to fully appreciate the care that goes into their upkeep (think of an active four-year old getting a haircut!), but they all look and perform better after the work is accomplished.

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Pregnant (is there another kind?!?) bunny is shy

Pregnant (is there another kind?!?) bunny is shy

(Sigh…) OK, another bunny arrived last week, this one is getting ready to have another clutch of babies. She is getting pre-natal care and as soon as she has her litter, the family will all be provided with the food, safety, and love they require for a healthy family of cottontails.

Jan wraps a mockingbird wing

Jan wraps a mockingbird wing

It’s not just the big birds that get the professional care at Liberty, it’s ALL the animals, including this little mockingbird with an injured wing. It takes a sturdy hand and a caring heart to skillfully wrap the small wings and legs that sometimes end up injured by cats – and dogs – and kids – as they try their best to survive in a world of human activity.

A new BuOw comes in

Tony and Jan examine a newly arrived BuOw.

No obvious breaks

No obvious breaks

My third rescue of the week was this little burrowing owl that was the victim of an apparent cat attack on the south side of Maricopa (the town, not the county!) Presenting symptoms of a possible shoulder injury, the bird is doing well considering all it has been thorough and hopefully is on the road to eventual release.

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Unfortunate leopard tortoise is injured by a travel trailer

Unfortunate leopard tortoise is injured by a travel trailer

First step is a betadine bath

Denise and Tim lift her into a betadine solution

Its a full team effort to provide a comforting bandage

Its a full team effort to provide a comforting bandage

Denise administers fluids

Denise administers fluids

Our general policy is not to use resources on lost pets – BUT –  when we rescue a stray or escaped exotic animal needing medical care, we never turn them away. Last week I drove to the southeast corner of Gilbert after a call from the hotline about an injured tortoise. It seems a couple was in the process of loading their travel trailer prior to moving to Queen Creek and unbeknownst to the man, a leopard tortoise had hidden under the wheels of the trailer. This beautiful native of sub-Saharan Africa must have been somebody’s pet that had gotten free and wandered into the desert. When the trailer was moved, the wheels crushed the unlucky chelonian and severely damaged it’s carapace (shell). Extraordinary efforts were applied trying to save the animal by the Med Services team but when photos of the damage (not posted due to their graphic nature) were sent to Dr. Driggers, he sadly told us that nothing could be done for her and she was carefully and gently euthanized later that morning. We can’t save everything that arrives here, but nothing that comes to us is allowed to die violently, alone and afraid.

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Snape - our new educational California King snake

Snape – our new educational California King snake

A handsome guy - even with cataracts

A handsome guy – even with cataracts

The Education Team expanded recently as we acquired a new California King snake. Not that the animal is new – he’s in fact quite mature – but is a nice addition to our educational reptile collection. Old enough to have developed cataracts, Snape, as he was named, is very large for a captive California King and has been in captivity for a long time. He will make an excellent ambassador for his species and will make many new friends for snakes in general over his tenure at Liberty!

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A new partner

A new partner

We tour a solar farm in the southeast valley

We tour a solar farm at Copper Crossing in the southeast valley

Rodents can be a problem

Rodents can be a problem

Just a small part of the wind installation

Just a small part of the wind installation at Dry Lake north of Snowflake

Nina, Jennifer, and Leslie get briefed by Jerry

Nina, Jennifer (APS), and Leslie (SRP) get briefed by Jerry (Iberdrola)

These turbines are BIG!

These turbines are BIG!

Old wind power meets new wind power...

Old wind power, meet new wind power!

Providing wildlife consultation to power companies for several years, we recently began to develop a partnership with Iberdrola Renewables , a large multinational energy company that sets up solar and wind farms across the planet. As with all technology, there are sometimes new interfaces with the natural world that require mitigation and wind and solar power are no exception. Iberdrola fully recognizes and appreciates the impact their equipment makes on the wildlife that shares the land they use and works very hard to minimize the negative interactions of renewable power generation with native and migratory wildlife. Rather than be reactive, they sought us out to partner with them in an effort to provide wildlife expertise and, when necessary, medical help for any animal that is inured by contact with wind or solar generating equipment. Nina, our Lead Wildlife Biologist, and I toured their two local facilities last week to learn more about their efforts to move us away from dependence on fossil fuels and towards a more sustainable power grid with minimal negative impact on wildlife. We will help train their field personnel in species recognition and provide advice and support on natural solutions to the new and unique issues this technology presents. They are trying hard to be good neighbors and we want to aid in that goal.

******************Dont’ forget your pledge for Birdies for Charity******************

************  Do it Now!!!  ***********

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This Week @ Liberty – September 22, 2014

Hoots, Howls, and HollersMegan and Libby

Tonight at 7:29 in Phoenix, Arizona we will gratefully slip out of our official summer and slide smoothly into fall.  The Autumnal Equinox marks the time when the sun shines directly on the equator and the length of day and night are nearly equal.  Too bad we don’t slip smoothly into cool weather where summer clothes are tucked away and fall duds are resurrected with the anticipation of jackets and scarves in the near future….but in time this will happen…maybe by Halloween.

Changes also occur at Liberty Wildlife.  Orphan Care has officially ended; however, someone needs to tell that to the downy little Harris’ hawk that was brought in last week.  Hmmmmmmmmm.  It never fails to happen that when we think it is over, we are surprised (read blessed) with a little dependent creature who seems to have been born late.  Our foster parents never seem to care, and this little one will be sent to foster parents who will raise it for release in due time.

Also at this time of year our Education Team starts gearing up for a busy season.  This one already seems to be teeming with activity.  There will be many public places that you can come to see our educational ambassadors.  Our public calendar found on our web site under Events posts our public appearances. I will try to highlight ones ahead of time that might be enjoyable for the family to visit.

Such an event is coming up on October 4th from 10:30-3:30 at the ASU Art Museum at 51 East 10th Street, Tempe, AZ 85281.  Among other things it will feature our educational display, a release of rehabilitated raptors, along with art displays and activities for the kids.  Events like these are part of the Family Programs supported by the Steele Foundation.  The following week on the 10th we will have a speaker and an educational raptor attending a panel discussion as a part in the Trout Fishing in America and other Stories “exploring the complexity of human-animal interactions and their combined impact on ecologies”.  Both of these events are free and open to the public.  I would encourage you to take advantage of both of them.

And, once again, we are asking for each of you to take a minute to explore www.birdiesforcharityaz.com to make your pledge this year in support of Liberty Wildlife.  The link will take you directly to the page and the instructions are simple.  Basically you are helping us achieve our mission to “nurture the nature of Arizona” by pledging as little as 1 penny a birdie at the Waste Management Open in 2015.  Six charities will be highlighted at the open and will be allowed to be present in the “Big Tent” on one day of the 6 day event.  The top two pledge raisers in terms of most dollars will get the first and second choice of days to attend and the next four charities bringing in the most number of individual pledges will get to choose from the remaining days.  We have been fortunate to attend the last two years and are greatly hoping to go again this year.  The educational animals are a huge hit for all of the guests…many of them coming from around the world.  Not many of those will have an opportunity to see a Gila monster before they go home, much less a bald eagle, a golden eagle, hawks, owls, falcons and yes, vultures….what a great chance for us to impact a huge number of people.  Go right now to www.birdiesforcharityaz.com and fill out the pledge form.  You don’t pay until next year after the Open is over and the number of birdies is known.

Thanks in advance for helping us to be the “hit of the Tent”.

Oh yeah, Happy Autumnal Solstice!

This Week @ Liberty

Posted by Terry Stevens

Posted by Terry Stevens

The intake total for the year has now reached 4785.

As we slide quietly into Autumn, things are slowing down considerably – but that doesn’t mean the staff has it easy! The pace of activity is just a bit lower at this point, giving most volunteers at least time to take a breath before the holidays. As usual, we’re not getting as many orphans at the window now, but instead we see the arrival of yearling birds who are making the mistakes of youth as they learn the survival techniques needed to see them into adulthood. Nature is an extremely tough teacher as a lot of times the test is not just “PASS/FAIL,” it’s “LEARN/DIE” with the only possibility of a re-take resulting from a visit to Liberty Wildlife for a second chance. Our volunteers and staff try everything to save these young animals and give them an opportunity to be among the few that will eventually see their first birthday – and beyond, and when sometimes all efforts fail, the grief is palpable. But it never dissuades anyone from continuing to try…

Another "pet" that needs help...

Another “pet” that needs help…

Hopefully, this will be the last time (this year!) that I’ll be talking about exotic pets that show up at Liberty, but last week Toba found this small African sulcata tortoise walking down her street. Realizing it wasn’t healthy, she picked it up and brought it in. Notice the “pyramiding” of the shell segments – this is a clear sign of dehydration and malnutrition. This poor little animal was owned by someone who had not done the proper research into it’s nutritional requirements and it was well on its way to a slow death. Folks, listen up: if you must get an exotic animal for a companion, at least do your research on how to care for it. Better still, go to the Humane Society or local animal shelter and rescue one of the thousands of healthy, affectionate dogs or cats that are available for adoption. They will reward you unendingly with love and companionship – and proper food and care advice is readily available.

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Woodpecker gets a wing wrap

Woodpecker gets a wing wrap

It’s not just raptors that run into trouble this time of year.  This little woodpecker required some repair work on an injured wing and the Liberty volunteers were ready to help. Hopefully this bird will be out banging on somebody’s eaves or gutters in the near future!

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Really? In late September?! REALLY?!?!

Really? In late September?! REALLY?!?!

Big fluid needle for a little bird

Big fluid needle for a little bird

OK, it’s very late in the year for baby birds (I guess they didn’t get the memo about us closing down OC for this year…) so when this nestling Harris’ hawk was brought in last week, it was a bit of a surprise. But Jan said they will sometimes breed into September, so I guess it’s not THAT unusual, but still, I have to believe it has something to do with climate change. In any case, this little guy was in less-than-optimal shape when the ground interrupted his long fall from the nest. Presenting evidence of internal injuries along with possible back problems, the Med Services team went right to work (luckily it was Vet Night!) and we hope he will eventually heal and be released.

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Pretty little green-tailed towhee

Pretty little green-tailed towhee

Evidence of head trauma

Evidence of head trauma

We’ve mentioned several times how accipiters collide with windows chasing after their targets, but migratory songbirds that traverse unfamiliar territory can also come into intimate contact with immovable objects. This pretty green-tailed towhee was the apparent victim of a window collision and is now being treated for his injuries. If he heals swiftly, he may get to rejoin the migration, or he might have to wait for the north bound train next spring if his recuperation is delayed.

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 A common black-hawk arrives

A common black-hawk arrives

Pellet fragments in the wing

Pellet fragments in the wing

More pellets are found

More pellets are found

Jan and Toba work on the black-hawk

Jan and Toba work on the black-hawk

Dr.Wyman examines the leg

Dr.Wyman examines the leg

Getting fitted for a Schroeder-Thomas splint

Getting fitted for a Schroeder-Thomas splint

As it turns out, common black-hawks are not so common after all. This particular bird was out hunting some doves recently, and unfortunately, some other hunters of the human variety were also hunting the same doves. Figuring high tech weaponry was not a sufficient advantage over the small birds, they decided they didn’t want to have any competition at all. What did they do? Shoot the hawk! We’re hoping that since the leg injury is close to being mid-shaft, Dr. Driggers might be able to work his magic and repair it with a pin of some sort. We’re all hoping for a swift recovery for this gorgeous raptor and we’ll keep you posted!

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Wrapping a small leg

Wrapping a small leg

"Got milk?"

“Got milk?”

Another bunny is in our care – following a run-in with either a dog – or a cat – or a kid – or a car – or something! This little guy has a broken front leg and got a splint wrapped to it last week.  I was taken with his “milk mustache” coloring while Jan was wrapping the leg and got his close-up.

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"If I can only stay on for 8 seconds!"

“If I can only stay on for 8 seconds!”

Recently out in the small bird aviary, this white wing dove was seen hitching a ride on the shell of this desert tortoise. I’m not sure where he thought he might be going, but the tortoise didn’t seem to mind his rider as he slowly meandered around the aviary.

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This Week @ Liberty – September 15, 2014

Hoots, Howls, and HollersMegan and Libby

A couple of things kept us busy last week…not really things that we should have been dealing with but sometimes odd things come with the turf.  Both of these activities were the result of uncaring people dumping non-native animals to become some caring person’s problem.

One incident concerns the dumping of three mutt ducks at a lake on the west side of town.  They were very nice ducks, very bonded ducks, very misplaced ducks. The lady that contacted us was terribly concerned because she felt like they were “crying” all of the time.  While I am not sure what that means, she perceived that they might not be able to feed themselves and were very unhappy with their new station in life.  She wanted them rescued and placed in a better situation.  Duck rescues facilities were full.  She contacted us.

ducksNow anyone who knows uninjured ducks knows that they are difficult to catch because, guess what, they swim, run, and fly….and at least one of those is out of our league and depending on the shape and agility of the rescuer the other two options can be a problem.  I speak for myself and long ago gave up trying to rescue water birds….too embarrassing for me and too frustrating for the birds and the other people watching.  Gratefully we do have some very capable people to do this….but in most cases dumped ducks do fine where they are and after much machinations the lady who called decided that she would watch over the ducks and try to keep them out of harm’s way.  That was undoubtedly the best solution.  The bottom line is….don’t get a duck if you don’t plan to keep it forever!

The second incident involved an amazingly caring gentleman who happened upon 8 youngRescue bunnies domestic bunnies who had been dumped in a wash in the North Mountain area near his home.  They were huddled together and terribly lost in their new and hostile surroundings.  There were no pellets, no water, no greens, and no protection from predators.  Their fate was caste until they were discovered.  The rescue garnered six of the eight bunnies.  He wasn’t sure what happened to the two that escaped his efforts, but it is fairly certain that they aren’t going to be as lucky as the remaining six.

He set them up in carriers for indoor housing and a portable dog pen that he moved around the yard during the day re-crating them in the house in the evening.  Then his frustration began.  He called all of the bunny rescue places in the valley and all of them were full.  How sad that there are that many unwanted “pets”.  A Facebook query sent him to our web site and ultimately to me.

In a flurry of activities, phone calls, pleas we were able to find a clinic and vet who would help us with the neutering which he generously suggested paying for.  Then we located a family with a desire to add to their domestic rabbit pet population (a truly fabulous placement.)  And, best of all we were able to help this very nice person who didn’t look the other way.

There should be more caring people like that.

This Week @ Liberty

Posted by Terry Stevens

Posted by Terry Stevens

The intake total is now at 4745. (I’m not reporting releases any more for this year as pretty much everything except the raptors have been released!)

Well, the intakes have dropped off considerably as the Baby Bird Season draws to a close. We had another HUGE rain storm as Hurricane Norbert grazed the west coast, and a couple of new intakes were of interest – for various reasons. Once again, non-native species seemed to top the list of stories that bear repeating, but their connection to individuals who care about wildlife tremendously, take action in spite of long odds, and learn from the experience gives us all hope for the future (see HHH above).

Let’s take a look at the week that was September 8, 2014…

Bumper owl continues to improve

Bumper owl continues to improve

The GHO that was brought in after being impaled on the grill and bumper of a car is steadily getting better.  His leg is healing as is his wing with great improvement to the head trauma he presented upon his arrival. His suitability for release is still in question, but his recovery is certainly headed in the right direction.

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Joanie handles a polydactyl swainson's

Joanie handles a polydactyl swainson’s

Man, that's a lot of toes!

Man, that’s a lot of toes!

Our good friend Christy vanCleve in Sierra Vista took in this Swainson’s hawk recently which I picked up from her in Tucson. The most interesting thing about this particular bird is the fact that he has twelve toes! Eight is the normal allotment, but this young bird seems to have a similar genetic mutation as a kestrel we saw a few months ago. Our suspicion is that both of these birds’ parents were exposed to some type of insecticide  causing this phenomenon. As both of these species consume large quantities of grasshoppers and other insects with an affinity for  agricultural areas, we are doing some research into what is going on with the environment here and in Argentina where the Swainson’s breed.

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Another zone-tail comes in

Another zone-tail comes in

An uncommon visitor

An uncommon visitor

We don’t see many zone-tail hawks here in Phoenix, and when one shows up, it’s cause for notice. They are more commonly found in arid, semi-open country, especially open deciduous or pine-oak woodland, often nesting in tall trees along streams. The Zone-tailed Hawk looks very similar in flight to Turkey Vultures, and it often flies with them. It has been suggested that the hawk is a mimic of the vulture and uses its similarity to sneak up on prey that is desensitized to the presence of vultures. Because of the extent of this bird’s wing injury, Rio, our current zone-tail ambassador, may possibly get some help on the Education Team.

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Hurricane Norbert contributes to the deluge (photo by Kim Marchiaroli)

Hurricane Norbert contributes to the record rainfall (photo by Kim Marcchiaroli)

Dr. Wyman and Joanie examine the injured harrier

Dr. Wyman and Joanie examine the injured harrier

Beautiful tail beginning to change

Beautiful tail beginning to change

His beak is still muddy

His beak is still muddy

Around 9PM in the evening following the millennial rain last week, I got a call from the hotline which sent me on an almost 100 mile rescue to Florence, dodging flooded roads and washes all the way. This kind woman had found this injured juvenile male northern harrier and had placed him in a cage. After carefully transferring the bird to a carrier, I drove him north, ultimately to Liberty where he was examined before treatment could begin. I knew from looking at him in the dark that his wing was severely broken near the shoulder but our vets are wonderful and I hoped that even if he could not be released, perhaps they could pin the wing and he would make a good Educational bird. Under proper lights, the extent of the damage became apparent and my hopes faded. We waited until Dr. Wyman could examine him and she determined that the break had occurred many hours prior to my rescue. I watched as the vet-night team really tried to find some way to save the bird but the fracture of the humerus was catastrophic leaving the dead bones unrepairable and he was respectfully euthanized. Some might suggest that my long trip late at night was a waste of time, but I absolutely do not agree. As long as there is a chance to save an animal from dying alone, frightened, and in pain, I’m going to keep going. It may not have been the best of endings, but it was far from the worst it could have been.

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Orphan Care closes for 2014 (photo by Cindy Ziegler)

Only three left as Orphan Care closes for 2014 (photo by Cindy Ziegler)

This baby goldfinch is one of the last orphans to come in

This baby goldfinch is one of the last orphans to come in

“Orphan Care 2014″ is history!  The season officially ended last Sunday (yesterday) as only three little birds remained to fledge.  They will now be cared for by the Med Services team as we pack up brooders, incubators, and berry baskets until next spring – which is really not THAT far into the future! It was a great year and our heartfelt thanks goes out to all the OC volunteers who spent hours each day for months, dutifully feeding and caring for thousands of little peeping babies as they rapidly grew into joyful hummers, mockers, thrashers, doves of all types, and various LBBs around the state. The world is a better place because of the work you put in!

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"Rango" was our guest

“Rango” the bearded dragon was our guest

Who wouldn't love this face?

Who wouldn’t love this face?

A happy reunion

A happy reunion

"Rango" finally in his own home

“Rango” finally in his own home

OK, here’s another story for a future Disney movie. Somebody found this bearded dragon (a native of Australia) and he wound up at the Liberty facility recently.  Once again, we normally do NOT take in lost pets, especially non-native species like this, but he quickly became a popular visitor in the ICU. I’ll let Shannon, his owner , tell the story:

It was the end of July and Rango, our bearded dragon, was roaming in the yard when a friend stopped by with their new puppy. Needless to say Rango did not know what to think of the dog and took off. My boys ran in the house to get their shoes on and came back outside and searched for hours and could not find Rango. He had never left the backyard before in two years so we didn’t think to check out front that same day. The next morning and several mornings after we would search the neighborhood and could not find him. We passed out flyers with no luck. I called several locations asking if they got a bearded dragon in and again no luck. Seven weeks after he had been missing we finally got a call from Tammy (on the Liberty Hotline) who told us they found Rango. We had given up hope but we are very glad we got him back. We live at 35th Ave. and Union Hills and he was found at 30th St. and cactus floating in a swimming pool.
Thank you Liberty Wildlife for what you do.

For those of you without Googlemap, that’s over 10 miles!

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This Week @ Liberty – September 08, 2014

Hoots, Howls, and HollersMegan and Libby

Every once in a while someone comes along who just innately gets it.  Matt is one of those people.  He clearly cares about the environment and birds in particular…that’s a point for him right off.  He is keenly aware of the avian wildlife in his world.  As a result of this interest he had built and installed a barn owl nest box on his property.  It attracted a pair of parent owls who promptly laid eggs and hatched three baby barn owls.  As luck would have it in mid-May conditions turned bad and the nest got in trouble.  One of the babies bailed out of the nest early.  When he explored the situation he found the baby on the ground, a dead baby in the nest and a third baby still in the nest.  He rescued the baby on the ground and brought it in to Liberty Wildlife.  It was found to be very dehydrated, depressed and thin.  Two days later he found the remaining baby on the ground with a cut on its head, dehydrated and thin.  It was brought in to Liberty and placed with the first sibling.  They looked pretty sad.

A brief reunion with his rescuer

A brief reunion with his rescuer

So, Matt was thrilled when he called to find out that the two he brought in, who had been at death’s door, were indeed thriving and going to be released.  As a photographer, he was thrilled even more when it was suggested that he participate in and document the release.  It was agreed that taking them to suitable habitat was better than returning them to his property where the parents would undoubtedly run them off.

And then we received this e mail from him:

A friend of mine saw a location on her drive home.  It is the north side of Queen Creek

Betty meets her owl

Betty meets her owl

between AZ Ave and McQueen.  It’s a farm with about 5 buildings, hay stacks, etc.  I drove by there on the way home tonight.  I loved it right away.  I rang the bell and met Betty.  

My guess is that she is in her eighties.  Her husband Bill, the foreman of the farm, was sick and could not come to the door.  She told me that she just lost her 60 year old son this past weekend.  I told her who I was and the release story and she smiled ear to ear.  I am going by again tomorrow and will take and send pictures.  You will love this place and Betty too.  I really hope this works out, Betty really needs a lift.  She started telling me of a GHO (great horned owl) from 30 years ago.  

When the subject of a barn owl nest box for Betty came up, here’s what Matt had to say:

“I built the box myself and have enough lumber to create a new one.  So instead of moving the old one, I will give it to Betty and build a new one for me.  I will have to scope out where to mount it.  Not an easy task because of the weight.  We will see.”

So, not only is Matt a good wildlife citizen, he is also a caring and thoughtful good human citizen.  The release is on for tonight (as I write this it is Sunday), and I can only imagine how thrilling this will be for Matt, Betty and her husband, and the lucky barn owls. I am sending my thanks and good wishes for all of those involved to the heavens on the silent wings of these two fortunate barn owls.

I wish every story had this kind of an ending!  Thanks Matt for happening in our lives!

This Week @ Liberty

Posted by Terry Stevens

Posted by Terry Stevens

The intake total for the year is now at 4690.  Released on 09-04: 2 grackles, 1 lesser nighthawk, 1 curved-bill thrasher, 5 Gila woodpeckers, 2 Gamble’s quail, 26 misc. doves.

A couple of interesting stories this week as we experience the highest one day rain total EVER at Sky Harbor. They are actually calling this a “1,000 year storm.” As Susie stated in her text to me updating the conditions at the facility this morning, “All is well here…DC does a great job!”  Our volunteers can handle just about anything.  The outing to the D’Back’s game was a fun time last week, the Tropicbird went home, and amidst the usual arrivals and rehabilitation efforts, two orphaned barn owls got to go free ahead of the storm. Not only did several birds leave us, but we bid a “farewell” to a long time valued volunteer who is also moving on to a new habitat…

Jenn Malnic on her last day at Liberty

Jenn Malnic on her last day at Liberty

Jennifer Malnic who has been a stellar volunteer for several years is moving on to cooler climates. She’s heading north to Oregon and her knowledgeable and expert service will be greatly missed. Carol Marshall bought one of our “Phoenix attacking” sweatshirts for her as she might actually get to use it in that climate. Good luck, Jenn, and keep in touch!

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Gayle feeds another cottontail baby

Gail feeds another cottontail baby

OK bunnies, listen up! You can STOP breeding now! Believe it or not, we are still getting baby cottontails at the window. All stereotypes about rabbits aside, the lagomorphs need to cool it! But as long as they come in, Liberty is here to care for the little orphans without regard for their questionable timing…

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Liberty enjoys the D-Backs game against the Rockies

Liberty enjoys the D-Backs game against the Rockies

Our ambassadors at Chase Field, pre-game

Our ambassadors at Chase Field, pre-game

Joe and Aurora on the Jumbo-tron!

Joe and Aurora on the Jumbo-tron!

Assuming you’ve seen the pop-up ads for the D-Backs tickets for the last few weeks, the event came off a week ago on Sunday with more than a dozen volunteers and supporters attending along with several of our Educational Ambassadors. As we walked around the stands on the way to our seats, we could overhear people talking about the owl, eagle, snakes, and other animals on display. During the National Anthem, Joe and Aurora were shown on the main Jumbo-tron above center field.  And the best part was that in addition to a donation from the club, the Diamondbacks won!

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Jan wraps the bumper owl

Jan wraps the bumper owl

Dark GHO spreads his wings

Dark GHO spreads his wings

The GHO that arrived after being impaled on a car grill is doing well. His leg and wing are healing and his head trauma is much improved. In addition, another young great horned owl presenting unknown injuries came in sporting very dark, beautiful plumage. Both of these owls have optimistic prognoses.

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Sara holds while Ed removes the band

Sara holds while Ed removes the band

"Once more into the breach...er, box!"

“Once more into the breach…er, box!”

Betty and her new friend

Betty and her new friend

"Have a great life!"

A perfect release

"Now, where are those mice?!"

“Now, where are those mice?!”

Matt says good-bye after a brief reunion

Saying “Farewell” after a brief reunion

Matt sends his orphan into a beautiful evening

Matt sends his orphan into a beautiful evening

Another great release

Another great release

Not much I can add to Megan’s story  (HHH above) except the pictures. Both Matt and Betty seemed to be very pleased to be able to complete the rescue of these two birds who lost their home last spring. A total success!

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Tropicbird prepares to head home

Tropicbird prepares to head home

Capt. Al gives the tropicbird a ride to San Diego (photo by US Airways crew)

Capt. Al gives the tropicbird a ride to San Diego (photo by US Airways crew)

As noted in the Aug 25th TW@L, I was able to arrange a trip to San Diego for the Red-billed tropicbird that came to us in August. US Airways is still providing wonderful support to Liberty Wildlife and the animals we take in by allowing the ones that need to travel to new homes (or back to their previous homes!) to ride on one of their scheduled flights. Capt. Al Medina and his crew were nice enough to allow the bird to “jumpseat” to San Diego where he was picked up by SeaWorld San Diego for final examination and transport to release.

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This Week @ Liberty – Sept 01, 2014

Chillin' on Labor Day

Chillin’ on Labor Day

In honor of Labor Day, we’re doing what Americans do today – not laboring!

TW@L and HHH will be back next Monday as we press on through the late summer heat!

Stay cool and be careful. See you next week!

(The intake for the year is now at 4641.)

 

 

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This Week @ Liberty – August 25, 2014

Hoots, Howls, and HollersMegan and Libby

Hear ye, hear ye….We are in search of an electrical warming plate…the kind that has a glass top, not open burners and not tea lights powered…electrically powered that heats up to 90-102 degrees (temp control to these limits is essential).  We use this nifty piece of “high tech” equipment in our orphan care area.  Unfortunately, before the end of the season our old one died.

I am betting that someone out there has a vintage (or not) warming plate that is sitting in an attic, garage, or pantry just waiting for a new use…warming food for voracious baby bird mouths.

And if you don’t have one yourself, perhaps you have seen one in a re-sale store, at your aunt’s house or at a garage sale.  Help us replace this piece of valuable equipment to allow us to make it through to the end of this year’s very busy orphan care season.  You can call 480-998-5550 and leave a message, e mail me at meganm@libertywildlife.org or leave a comment on this blog.

Now go out to your garage or storage room and retrieve that unused-in-years warming tray to donate to a new use and a great cause.

And one more reminder…don’t forget to buy your ticket to the Diamondback’s game, August 31 (at 1:10) with the Colorado Rockies.  It will be a cool way to spend a Sunday afternoon.  Liberty Wildlife will be recognized on the Jumbotron during the third inning.  It would be great to see you there and hear you cheer for Liberty Wildlife as well as the Diamondbacks.  Our education ambassadors will be there to greet the guests as they come in…spreading a lot of education about other native wildlife besides diamondbacks.

Maybe Baxter will wander over to check out the competition.  I hope so.

This Week @ Liberty

Posted by Terry Stevens

Posted by Terry Stevens

The intake total for the year is now at 4567. Released on 08/21: 4 Black-crowned night herons, 12 grackles, 9 ducks, 1 mockingbird, 1 curved-bill thrasher, and 84 misc. doves.

Last Tuesday was not only “Vet Night” at Liberty, it was also the day the big storm hit. As the deluge raged outside, birds and mammals were treated inside – after our desert tortoises were rescued from the rising water!  An unfortunate little fox was brought in and examined thanks to R&T volunteer Tony Sola. Earlier in the week we got in a very rare visitor (so rare infact, Troy Corman had to verify it’s species), and the GHO that was impaled on a car bumper last week makes some remarkable improvement….

Marilyn is now spending her days outside - when it's not pouring rain!

Marilyn is now spending her days outside – when it’s not pouring rain!

The fast-growing moorhen (which was named “Marilyn” by the volunteers in Orphan Care) has graduated to an outside enclosure during the day. She is enjoying the sun and open air – when it’s NOT pouring rain!

This BCNH looks like he just came from DSW...

This BCNH looks like he just came from DSW…

One of the several black-crowned night herons in our care has had some foot and leg issues. In an effort to keep him improving, some special “shoes” were fashioned for him last week which should help alleviate his foot and leg problems.

Bumper owl improves

Bumper owl improves

The young great horned owl that was hit by a car and carried on the bumper for an undetermined distance continues to improve. His fractured leg and broken wing are still mending, but his head trauma is much improved and his prognosis is better than it was upon his initial assessment.

A tiny barn owl arrives for care

A tiny barn owl arrives for care

A little barn owl came in with an injured wing last week. Normally I throw in the term ‘little’ as a standard adjective for birds and animals but with this bird, when I say little, I mean LITTLE! Everyone who saw this bird was struck by his diminutive stature and we all hope his injuries heal so he can rejoin the wild population as soon as possible.

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Red-billed tropicbird is visiting from far south

Red-billed tropicbird is visiting from far south

He's a handsome juvenile bird who needs to go home

He’s a handsome juvenile bird who needs to go home

Recently someone up in Gila County near Payson found a strange white and black bird. Luckily, this person has a biology background and knew what he had found. It was a red-billed tropicbird, the first one ever recorded in Gila County! A call was made and the bird was brought to Liberty for examination and eventual transport back to it’s normal range along the Pacific coast from California south along the Baja and south along the coast of Mexico and the Sea of Cortez. Next week, I will put the bird on a US Airways/American flight to San Diego where Sea World will complete his release.

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Little fox arrives with unknown injuries

Little fox arrives with unknown injuries

Anesthetic is applied (photo by Toba)

Anesthetic is applied (photo by Toba)

Blood is drawn for testing (photo by Toba)

Blood is drawn for diagnostic testing (photo by Toba)

Dr. Wyman checks a paw (photo by Toba)

Dr. Wyman checks a paw (photo by Toba)

"Time to wake up" (photo by Toba)

“Time to wake up” (photo by Toba)

Back into the safety of the carrier (photo by Toba)

Back into the safety of the carrier (photo by Toba)

Just prior to the arrival of the big monsoon, Tony brought in a small female fox from the west side. Presenting conflicting symptoms, she was anesthetized and examined by Jan and Dr. Wyman for any obvious trauma. No real damage was found and blood was drawn for testing. After she recovered from the anesthesia, she was replaced into her carrier to keep her quarantined from other animals pending the results of the blood tests. Then next morning her condition had deteriorated and sadly, she eventually died peacefully before any further treatment was administered. The blood tests all came back negative for any of the expected diseases and we now suspect that she had been poisoned.

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The storm begins at 12:20PM

The storm begins at 12:20PM

A desert tortoise is rescued

One of our tortoises is rescued

"At least it's dry in here!"

“At least it’s dry in here!”

The high water mark is reached within 90 minutes

The high water mark is reached within 90 minutes

Dr. Orr's front yard

Dr. Orr’s front yard

"Lake Liberty" - our parking lot after the water began to recede.

“Lake Liberty” – our parking lot after the water had actually been receding for almost an hour.

At least once each monsoon, the Phoenix area makes the national news with a bad storm and this year’s edition was last week.  Just after noon on Tuesday, the sky opened up and a torrent of rain came down flooding many areas of the valley including the Liberty facility. The good news is, we needed the rain and no injuries were sustained – although Jan and Susie had to run out and bring in the desert tortoises who were cornered by rising water in the compound. Within an hour or so, the water levels began to drop at least at Liberty, although several volunteers had a hard time getting to and from their homes dues to flash flooding of some local washes.

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This Week @ Liberty – August 18, 2014

Hoots, Howls, and HollersMegan and Libby

Recently I have noticed a plethora of large hulking lizards.  It seems like the rocks have burped up spiny lizards everywhere. In the past if I saw one or two in the summer it was memorable.  For some reason, unknown to me, I am seeing them everywhere.  We even had one brought in to Liberty after being stepped on by a horse.  There’s a testament to the size…it survived the assault.

They are a very pretty if sullen looking reptile.  Both the males and females sport a noticeable black collar under or around the neck.  The males are easy to notice with the psychedelic splash of turquoise, green, blue scales on the ventral side with a gray to tannish topside.  The females, equally impressive in bulk and sulk have a tendency to an orange-ish head in breading season. If you look closely both have a splash of yellow scales on their sides….

Spiny lizard

Spiny lizard

Spiny lizards are found throughout the southwest, mainly on the ground and most often in a rocky substrate.  They lay 4-24 eggs in the summer that take 60-75 days to hatch.  Like many lizards they are metachromatic which means they change colors related to the ambient temperature…with a darker tint to absorb sun/heat in the cooler times and lighter color to reflect the sun/heat.  They live on small insects, small lizards and small plants.

I am wondering if the supply of food has something to do with the plentitude of spiny lizards that I am seeing…which brings me to the lizard I miss the most…the regal horned lizard.  I used to see them all of the time.

Horned lizard

Horned lizard

They look like fierce little dinosaurs.  They have a frowny face with these wicked looking horns on their heads.  They are about the size and shape of a man’s palm with a tail…and lots of nasty looking spikes covering the body.

While they have the same basic characteristics of other lizards their defense is the one that most appeals to me.  They spit blood out of their eyes…you have to admit that is one cool defense. (Don’t you kind of wish you could do that every once in a while?)   It must have a nasty flavor to a predator or just be surprising as heck!  If that doesn’t work they suck in a lot of air and puff out their bodies and using appropriate motions try to stab and scrap the predator with their pointy, nasty horns.  Nature is so cool.

Their scarcity is probably because their favorite food, harvester ants (eating 2500 at one meal) is one of the first “pests” homeowners remove from their property when they move in from somewhere else.  At 2500 ants a meal, it would seem to me that to have a bunch of “horny toads” around would be much more fun and entertaining and way better for the environment than toxic pesticides.

I wish I could see a plethora of “horny toads” from now on.

This Week @ Liberty

Posted by Terry Stevens

Posted by Terry Stevens

The intake total for the year is 4440. Released of 08/14/2014: 62 misc. doves, 31 quail, 6 Gila woodpeckers, 3 curved bill thrashers, 1 gilded flicker, 1 cactus wren, 1 mockingbird, 1 misc.LBB

This week will be the first  herpetological H3 and TW@L in which we present examples of animals mostly within the Testudines (turtles,  and tortoises) and Squamata (snakes and lizards) suborders that have come into some kind of close contact with Liberty. The one exception is the GHO that come into close contact with a car bumper and subsequently arrived for treatment. Let’s take a look at these interesting ectotherms who got injured in their unfortunate confrontations with humanity…

Post surgery slider

Post surgery slider

High tech patches with an opening to allow internal healing

High tech patches with an opening to allow internal healing

An elaborate bandage for a unique injury

An elaborate bandage for a unique injury

The red eared slider that had been run over by a car was surgically repaired by Dr. Todd Driggers recently. The turtle came in with large pieces of her shell broken and hanging out, exposing several internal organs including a lung. Dr. Driggers patched most of the shell with resin and reinforcing fiber to hold it together while the lengthy healing process goes on. In the meantime, a special bandage keeps medicine in and infection out while the unfortunate animal continuous it’s battle to survive. Although no creature is turned away from Liberty Wildlife,  some are never released, notably non-native species such as former pets like turtles. They are placed with permanent care-givers or placed in closed environments preventing their escape into the wild.

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Yet another damaged shell

Yet another damaged shell

Everybody watches closely while Jan cleans the wounded area

Everybody watches closely while Jan cleans the wounded area

Was he "hammered" by someone? The hole looks suspicious

Was he “hammered” by someone? The hole looks suspicious

Dr. Wyman examines the damage

Dr. Wyman examines the damage

The toroise gets a bandage prior to surgery by Dr. Driggers

The toroise gets a protective bandage prior to surgery by Dr. Driggers

Just as the slider starts her treatment, a native desert tortoise arrived with a suspicious hole in it’s shell. The investigation is ongoing, but since the wound is so localized, symmetrical, and without much collateral damage, it appears it could have been caused by a hammer. In any case, this little native Arizonan also made the trip to Dr. Driggers in Gilbert for another surgical procedure to repair the damage to the carapace. Since desert tortoises that spend any appreciable time in the custody of humans are no longer releasable and must be adopted, this one is another candidate for long-term care before placement in a permanently sequestered habitat.

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Grilled Great Horned

“Grilled Great Horned” (photo by Shane Crabtree)

 

The next day he looks better

The next day he looks better

"I've been through a lot!"

“I’ve been through a lot!”

"Thanks for being there, Doc"

“Thanks for being there, Doc”

Dr. Wyman examines the injured eye

Dr. Wyman examines the injured eye

A little food always helps

A little food always helps

A week ago on Saturday, R&T volunteer Shane Crabtree and his son went out to retrieve a juvenile great horned owl from the grill of someone’s car. The owners must have hit it the night before and thought it was dead. Amazingly, he survived the collision, the subsequent drive home, and the night impaled on the bumper and grill. He has a broken wing, a fractured leg, and a head injury of unknown severity. All of this is believed to be repairable – if he survives the head trauma. The next day he appeared much improved and is now being treated for the multiple injuries, including some eye problems caused by the impact to his head. We’ll keep you posted.

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