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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This Week @ Liberty – December 22, 2014

Hoots, Howls, and Hollersmegan with antlers

Since my last blog, winter happened.  Yesterday was the Winter Solstice…the shortest day of our year.  Among other wintery things the appearance of this day always reminds me of what to be thankful for, of things to come and of thoughts of making each day fulfill its greatest potential.  It is, for me, also a sign of the quickly marching passage of time.  It feels like it just turned 2014 and, well, now it is quickly heading toward 2015!

Looking back I want to thank all of Liberty Wildlife’s hard working staff and volunteers.  The things you have accomplished in just 365 rising and settings of the sun are commendable.  Those final stats will come out as our end-of-the-year report is released, but knowing that we have seen more than 5200 animals this year is enough said.  We still have a week to go and our educators do not take a vacation.  Their ending stats will also be released shortly …more ahhhhhs and wows to come.

I am very grateful to the donors who have stepped up to the plate to assist our wildlife neighbors and to those who donate hard earned dollars to help spread the message about the beauty and  benefits of native wildlife, and the related educational message that makes believers nod their heads, makes young minds care about science, nature, and compassion.  And, glory be to you if you have donated to our new campus, to our capital campaign…you will be rewarded with a state-of-the-art medical and educational facility that will only do more to highlight the importance of the work that we do.  I am so thankful for you all!

Our Board of Directors is behind the scenes watching over all that we do.  They are our connection to the community.  They are guiding stars.  And, they are generous with their time and resources.  I am most grateful for all of you.

I will continue to be thankful for the compassion that I see all around me, for the caring people that I get to hang out with, to the goodness that lurks about us even at times when it seems all good has been squeezed out of the universe…not so, it is right here among the people attached in many ways to Liberty Wildlife.  You nurture my hope.

It is my resolution to you that I will strive to make every day of the upcoming 2015 count toward fulfilling the mission of Liberty Wildlife to nurture the nature of Arizona.

Happy holidays to all of you and to the best New Year ever!  Embrace 2015 with gusto and gladness.

This Week @ Liberty

Posted by Terry Stevens

Posted by Terry Stevens

The intake total for the year is now at 5174.

Just a few things to update in this last posting prior to Christmas. I have a few shots of the wonderful spread set out annually by Claudia for the volunteers. And with the recent cold weather, our intake of torpid (and otherwise injured) hummingbirds has spiked a bit. Plus we took in our first California Condor of the hunting season, number 455, who is now in treatment for, what else, lead poisoning.                                                                               TW@L and HHH will be off next week but will return on Monday, January 5th to start a new year!

Claudia's holiday table!

Claudia’s holiday table!

Food for meat vs. non-meat eaters

Food for meat vs. non-meat eaters

Something for everyone

Something for everyone

Volunteers JoAnne, Tony, and Abby enjoy the spread

Volunteers JoAnne, Tony, and Abby enjoy the spread

Each year, Claudia takes it upon herself to put together a wonderful holiday table of goodies for all the volunteers on duty. This year, the cool weather did nothing to dim the enthusiasm for the occasion. There was something for all tastes whether you were a carnivore, herbivore, or omnivore, including vegetarian and vegan fare.  Thanks, Claudia, for all you do, and thanks to all our dedicated volunteers!

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Condor 155 comes in

Condor 455 comes in

Dr. Orr draws blood for analysis

Dr. Orr draws blood for analysis

Fluids are given as the bird's crop is checked

Fluids are given as the bird’s crop is checked

Jan and Dr.Orr check the blood with a refractometer

Jan and Dr.Orr check the blood with a refractometer

The chelation injection is given

Eddie holds the bird as the chelation injection is given

Now, some quiet time for rest after a stressful day

Now, some quiet time for rest after a stressful day

Last Wednesday afternoon, Eddie Feltes of the Peregrine Fund, brought California Condor #455 in for lead poisoning treatment. The birds are all taken into the PF facility on the Vermillion Cliffs for examination during hunting season each year when they are most apt to find a carcass peppered with fragments of lead ammunition. Several birds were found to have elevated lead levels but all but this 8 year old female were able to be treated on-site. This girl had levels high enough to warrant the trip to Liberty for chelation, in which an injection of EDTA (ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid) is given for a defined number of days. This chemical binds with the lead in the blood and allows the kidneys to remove the heavy metal through excretion. The levels of toxicity then drop until the treatment is stopped for a period of time allowing the bird’s system to rest. During this rest, the lead levels will rise again from lead accumulated in the bone marrow. This process is repeated several times causing the lead levels to oscillate up and down until they drop low enough to allow the symptoms to abate. Thus far, 455 has not required surgery and her weight is stabilizing so we hope she will not require more drastic treatment. Keep her in your thoughts!

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And now, the other end of the size spectrum...

And now, the other end of the size spectrum…

Dr. Orr feeds a hungry hummer

Dr. Orr feeds a hungry hummer

Wow! That was fast!!

Dr. Orr gets to do a release!! (That’s the bird in the frame above the black car in the background!)

So a few minutes after the condor arrived, a gentleman brought a hummingbird to the intake window (one of two that afternoon!) He had been in the clutches of a cat and appeared to be injured. I placed the tiny bird in a brooder to rest as the Med Services staff worked on the condor. When they were done with the big girl, I asked Dr. Orr to look at the little hummer. The bird was hovering around inside the brooder! It seemed that the cat had only gotten the bird’s tail feathers and besides being somewhat cold and a little hungry, he was structurally OK. After giving him a physical examination and some nectar, Dr. Orr took him outside and allowed the bird to fly off. She said that being outside was much better for him than being stuck inside our hummingbird cage in the ICU for a length of time. I had my camera set for high speed shooting – 20 frames per second – but still only caught a blurry shadow as he flew away. (It looked like most photos of UFO’s as seen in the National Enquirer!)

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One of our tiniest intakes...

One of our tiniest intakes…

One of our largest!

One of our largest!

It’s difficult to imagine the difference in the sizes of our smallest patient to our largest, both of which arrived within 20 minutes of each other last week! The humming bird is dwarfed by three fingers on one hand, and the condor requires three people for the required treatment.

********************  Happy Holidays from HHH and TW@L *****************

(BTW, you still have one week to pledge a penny to the Birdies for Charity campaign! PLEASE sign up if you haven’t done so already! We truly need your help!!)

CLICK HERE TO PLEDGE!!!

 

 

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This Week @ Liberty – December 15, 2014

Hoots, Howls, and HollersMegan and Libby

Pigeons have been worshipped as fertility goddesses and revered as symbols of peace. Domesticated since the dawn of man, they’ve been used as crucial communicators in war by every major historical superpower from ancient Egypt to the United States and are credited with saving thousands of lives. Charles Darwin relied heavily on pigeons to help formulate and support his theory of evolution. Yet today they are reviled as “rats with wings.” Author Andrew D. Blechman, The Pigeon:  The Fascinating Saga of The World’s Most Revered and Most Reviled Bird.

This book on pigeons was published a few years ago providing food for thought about the current state of pigeons in the minds of humans.  Granted they can be most irritating when they gather en masse with their leavings marring the recently cleaned patio or porch.  They can be bullies at the bird feeder or at the bird bath.  It doesn’t matter that their iridescent feathers and unique coloring presents a handsome, strutting bird.  Ultimately they still fall prey to the fact that they have the dreaded non- native status.  As a result pigeons have a limited following at this point in their history.

If you fall in this category you might decide to re-think your feelings when you learn about Cher Ami, a carrier pigeon and a genuine hero from World War I.  As the story goes on October 4, 1918 during the Battle of Argonne, 500 soldiers from the 7th Division had been cut off and were being bombarded from both their own artillery and from that of the Germans.  Lacking the current sophistication of today’s communication abilities carrier pigeons were used to send messages back and forth.  Two pigeons were sent with messages attached to their legs to the artillery unit asking them to stop the bombardment.  Neither made it; both were killed.  A third and desperate attempt was made by sending Cher Ami with a message to stop the bombardment.  The distance she had to go was 25 miles which she accomplished…no matter that she was blinded in one eye, shot in the breast, and had one leg practically blown off (the leg carrying the message no less)!

She made it alive; delivered the message; the bombardment stopped; many lives were saved.

As a result of her heroism she was returned to the U.S. where she lived until June 13, 1919.  Cher Ami now resides in a taxidermy-ed state in the Smithsonian Institution.

I just can’t help but admire this bird….one tough feathered soldier!  You might want to read the book now if you don’t mind challenging your current notions. I imagine I am going to catch some flak for this, but I don’t care.  I am still impressed….go Cher Ami, strut your stuff.

This Week @ Liberty

The intake total for the year is now at 5146.

Posted by Terry Stevens

Posted by Terry Stevens

As we begin to close out the year 2014, let’s remember the reason Liberty is still here after 34 years of serving the community that is Arizona – the wildlife population, the human population, and the environment we all share in this absolutely marvelous state. We – and I mean the outstanding volunteers who give so generously of their time and skill,  and the staff who often work far beyond the call of duty, keep doing the rehabilitation thing even though the patients we treat rarely (if ever) show their appreciation for our efforts, as well as the education thing which is equally as important and is actually more likely to bear fruit in the long run in terms of making this state, country, and planet a better place for all of its inhabitants. All requests for programs are considered and honored to the best of our abilities, and all creatures who arrive at our facility are given the best care we can provide, no matter what the species. TW@L wishes everyone reading this a very happy holiday and a wonderful new year!

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Amyra and Elisa work to help a rock dove (ok, a pigeon...) who is in pain. (photo by Kim Macchiaroli)

Amyra and Elisa work to help a rock dove (ok, a pigeon…) who is in pain. (photo by Kim Macchiaroli)

Its foot is constricted by string

The string is carefully removed  (photo by Kim Macchiaroli)

The offending string (photo by Kim Macchiaroli)

It doesn’t take much to cause great harm (photo by Kim Macchiaroli)

OK, so lots of people hate pigeons, but read Megan’s essay above before passing judgement. We don’t release non-natives, but we also don’t permit an animal, regardless of the species, to suffer needlessly. This bird came in with string tightly wrapped around its foot and was suffering from it’s entanglement.  Med Services volunteers Amyra and Elisa carefully removed the string and allowed the foot to begin healing. Non-native species are transferred to other groups who complete the treatment and place the animals into humane environments.

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Duck with new shoes

Duck with new shoes

This mallard had a bad infection in both of its feet. The Med services team wrapped the feet with medicated “shoes” to allow the appendages to heal. As of this posting, the bird has been released.

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The oily red tail is still with us

The oily red tail is still with us

Another round red tail hawk is treated.

Another young red tailed hawk is treated.

RTH’s (red-tailed hawks) are among the most common raptors in North America and as such they show up in our facility quite often. This is especially true in the Fall when the young birds are out trying to learn the skills that they will need to survive for years to come. The hawk that found its way into some roofing tar is still with us and will probably be here for some time as it molts into new plumage to replace the feathers stained and damaged by the oil. Another youngster is also in our care and is recovering from unspecified injuries  and is now in an outside enclosure prior to being released.

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Injured California leaf-nosed bat

Injured California leaf-nosed bat

Splinted wing

Splinted wing

We recently received a California leaf-nosed bat with a broken bone in its wing. Bats can be problematic as they are considered one of the top rabies vector species in Arizona. As such, if anyone from the public touches the animal, it will be euthanized and tested for rabies. This bat had a broken wing and the broken bone was able to be splinted in hopes that it will heal and it can be released sometime down the road. Bats are essential to the health of the environment and we try to educate the public as to their beneficial nature whenever possible.

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David Gort helps Jan with a HaHa

David Gort helps Jan with a HaHa

One of our long-time volunteers, David Gort, returned for a visit this week and got to help the Tuesday Vet Night activities while at the facility. David is currently studying to become a commercial helicopter pilot and is a trained rescue volunteer. Liberty has long been like the Hotel California – “You can check out, but you can never leave!”

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Dr. Wyman examines a GHO wing

Dr. Wyman examines a GHO wing

A bad break

A bad break

A little great horned owl is currently one of our patients.  Jan and Dr.Wyman both diagnosed a badly fractured wing but the true extent of the injury was only apparent when the bird was x-rayed by Dr. Sorum.  The bird as since been moved to an outside enclosure to better assess his flying ability but he might end up as a new GHO foster parent for the next orphan season.

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Little barn owl gets checked

Little barn owl gets checked

Dr.Wyman inspects her work

Dr.Wyman inspects her work

Last week’s update posted several pictures of Dr’ Wyman applying numerous sutures in an attempt to reattach the patagium to the wing of a small barn owl. This week, the bandages were removed and the stitches had held – at least for now. The wing was carefully rewrapped and will be examined again next week so hope remains that the repairs made to the wing’s tissue will continue to be viable.

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RTH is examined

RTH is examined

A young wing is splinted

A young wing is splinted

The bird is checked prior to returning him to a brooder for cage rest

The bird is checked prior to returning him for cage rest

A small red tailed hawk came in last week after apparently being the victim of an automobile collision. The bird appeared near death upon arrival and little hope was given for his recovery. But, the Med Services team didn’t give up and went to work. This week, the bird is doing much better and is standing on his own in the cage. This is one more example of how wonderful our volunteers are and the seeming miracles they perform in saving the patients that arrive at our window. He’s not out of danger yet, but his prognosis improves with each passing day.

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The traditional "Liberty Wildlife Christmas Tree"

The traditional “Liberty Wildlife Christmas Tree” (photo by Alex Stofko)

Each year the volunteers of Liberty Wildlife bring out the single bulbed “Charlie Brown Christmas Tree” to symbolize our dedication to hope in the face of overwhelming odds at this time of year. Pain and suffering know no season and take no time off for the holidays, but our hope never dims.

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This Week @ Liberty – December 08, 2014

Hoots, Howls, and HollersMegan and Libby

So another year has pretty much flown by.  Another year of incredible volunteer engagement in assisting Liberty Wildlife to fulfill its mission is nearing an end.  And, another Volunteer Appreciation Picnic is in the history books.  Yesterday the staff gave a bash to let the volunteers know how much they are appreciated.  This was the best one ever.

The attendance at the Pera Club was impressive; the weather was picture perfect, and theLots of food food was very, very impressive.  It seemed as if all contributors put on their serious aprons and concocted their specialties to share with the group.  I, for one, might have eaten too much, but it was worth every calorie consumed!

Checking in for prizesThe “swag” table this year seemed to have grown with a Liberty Wildlife t shirt for each volunteer, a new lanyard for badges, a Liberty Wildlife bracelet, and hot off the presses was the annual magazine, WingBeats, for everyone’s perusal.  There was a table with cards for sale.  They will be in the store for your Holiday shopping…a must see, must buy for stocking stuffers or outright gifts.  Last but certainly not least was a copy of “I Got Barfed on by A Turkey Vulture” by our own Balinda…a perfectly charming gift for any kid’s enjoyment…or any adult’s for that matter.  It will also be on the Liberty Wildlife store’s website, www.libertywildlife.net  .

Santa arrivesThe highlight of the event was the appearance of Santa Claus….our own version in the snappy Santa outfit, John Glitsos, with his sharp wit and fun games. The Name that Tune game garnered winners and prizes, and the Girl Band did a sing along to add to the entertainment. Zoomba 2

Wendy tried valiantly to get the over-sated attendees to Zumba with her. The bolder of our troops Zumba-ed along ….I was so impressed.

There were opportunities to play wildlife bingo, to win counting games, raffles for beautiful photos, and the privilege of releasing a rehabbed Cooper’s Heading home for the holidayshawk.  Let’s not forget that Stacey took photos of Joe and Aurora with individual volunteers for personal Holiday cards.  What a special opportunity that was.

It was a memorable event for a memorable group of people. We recounted some of the stats for the year to reinforce what we already knew.  It was a fantastically busy and successful year.  Some of the stats follow.

  • Total animals helped this year to date: 5,101

Last year’s final numbers:

  • Total orphaned animals assisted: 1,906
  • Number of species helped: 121
  • Total calls taken: 18,213
  • Total rescue/transport volunteer hours logged: 4,331
  • Total education programs delivered: 827
  • Total audience reached: 247,414
  • Some numbers from the shopping list re:

Mice – 128,850

Seeds – 1,650 lbs or .83 tons!

Trout/caplain – 1,100

Chicken – 900

Fruit/Veggies – 4,120 lbs or 2+ tons

As you can see, it was a busy year with busy volunteers adding success to the mix.  Congrats and thanks to all of you. Special thanks go to Carol Suits, Volunteer Coordinator for her organization and attention to detail….great job!

This Week @ Liberty

Posted by Terry Stevens

Posted by Terry Stevens

The intake total for this year is now at 5112.

It’s good to be back after the Thanksgiving break and much has gone on so the update will be on the large side this week. As Megan pointed out above, yesterday was our annual Volunteer Appreciation Picnic and I put a couple of additional photos below. Another release went well at ASU, a tiny young barn owl came up from Sierra Vista with fairly severe wing damage, some more waterfowl came in with injuries from fishing gear (sigh…) and the prairie falcon is making some progress. All this and more as TW@L becomes “These (2) Weeks At Liberty”!

A Cooper's hawk release at ASU

A Cooper’s hawk release at ASU (photo by Dick Fry)

Megan officiated at the release of a Cooper’s Hawk on Monday afternoon, December 1st, at the ASU Wrigley Building. The viewers were class members of the ASU School of Sustainability.  The person doing the release was Mick Dalrymple who is the Senior Sustainability Scientist for “Walton Sustainability Solutions Initiatives”. (Story by Dick Fry)

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Dr. Wyman checks a HaHa for injuries

Dr. Wyman checks a HaHa for injuries

Erzatz jesses and home made leash

Erzatz jesses and home made leash

Not too much worse for wear...

Not too much worse for wear…

Mantling in the cage

Mantling in the cage

Last week we took in a Harris’ hawk that had apparently been illegally held by some individual. The bird had a makeshift jess made from a velcro tie wrap on one leg, along with a piece of string which was probably used as a leash. This is not the first time we’ve seen birds be the victims of would-be “falconers” who take them from the wild and make their own equipment, most of which causes painful injuries to the birds. Luckily this hawk got free and was rescued and is now recuperating from his ordeal. Obviously he didn’t forget what he was or how to react as he mantled his food in the enclosure just like a wild hawk would do!

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"Say 'Ahhhh' for Dr. Wyman" - Checking for canker

“Say ‘Ahhhh’ for Dr. Wyman” – Checking for canker

Feathery weapons of mouse destruction

Feathery “weapons of mouse destruction”

A smallish great horned owl is in our care and seems to be doing well. After treatment for canker, it appears the problem is fixed and he is now free of the growth. The volunteers were impressed with the thickness of the feathers growing on his feet and toes. Owls have feathers covering most of their bodies, including feet and toes to assist in flying silently as they approach their nocturnal prey.

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Jan wraps a prairie falcon

Jan wraps a prairie falcon

Our recently arrived prairie falcon is making progress after his extensive surgery. The leg is healing and now it’s time to focus on his wing issues. This bird is absolutely beautiful and we hope our efforts will allow him to be released someday soon.

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Sharp shinned hawk is examined

Injured Cooper’s hawk is examined

It appears that the accipiters are migrating as we’ve had a large influx of Cooper’s and sharp-shinned hawks lately. One of the Cooper’s was apparently shot as he foraged in the area. People sometimes think that since avian specialists such as Cooper’s and sharpies hang out around their feeders, preying on songbirds, that they are fair game for backyard hunting.  NOT SO! Remember, all native and migratory birds are protected by law. Not only that, but they contribute to the health of the songbird population by removing injured and sick birds from the flocks. Let’s give nature a chance to work!

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A consummate professional fisherman nearly killed by a rank amateur

A consummate professional fisherman nearly killed by a rank amateur

The offending weapon

The offending weapon

Recently this young cormorant was brought in with fairly serious injuries from entanglement with a discarded fishing lure. The multi-hooked plug had pierced the bird’s throat, wing and feet before he was rescued and transported to Liberty. The Med Services team was able to cut the hooks and line preventing further damage as the bird struggled. Thankfully he will most likely fully recover and be returned to the wild soon. As always, we remind all fishermen not to leave hooks, lures, line, or other equipment in the environment after they leave. Let’s keep the planet clean and safe for all!

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The cutest little barn owl has arrived from Sierra Vista

The cutest little barn owl has arrived from Sierra Vista

Severely damaged patagium

Severely damaged patagium

The damage is assessed

The damage is assessed

Dr. Wyman cleans the wound and tries to determine how to proceed

Dr. Wyman cleans the wound and tries to determine how to proceed

Reconstruction requires lots of sutures, masterfully and carefully applied

Reconstruction of the patagium requires lots of sutures carefully applied – it’s a work of art!

Jan does the final wrap

Jan does the final wrap

You don't often get to see filoplumes!

You don’t often get to see filoplumes!

Recently, Christy van Cleve met me in Tucson with this little (VERY little!) young barn owl. Suffering injuries of unknown origin to both wings, the bird could not fly and was very thin. Upon examination, it was discovered that his left wing was badly bruised at the elbow, and the patagium on his right wing was mostly torn loose and was hanging as a flap of tissue. The damage was so severe that it took Dr. Wyman several minutes to clean the wound and figure out what could be salvaged and what needed to be attached where. After closely inspecting the area, she spent nearly 30 minutes suturing the flap back in place between the bird’s shoulder and elbow. Now, we have to wait to see if the tissue heals and the patagium is viable. Fingers crossed, everyone…

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And now, a few more pictures from the Volunteer picnic on Sunday…

The best turn-out ever!

The best turn-out ever!

Megan heads the show!

Megan emcee’s the show!

Santa (aka John!) was on hand to entertain the crowd and award raffle prizes.

Santa (aka John!) was on hand to entertain the crowd and award raffle prizes.

Once again, Carl Price was late due to performing a rescue on his way to the picnic! Talk about dedication!!

Once again, Carl Price was late due to performing a rescue on his way to the picnic! Talk about dedication!!

Volunteer Lindsey Boyd does a perfect release!

Volunteer Lindsey Boyd does a perfect release!

The perfect ending to a perfect day

The perfect ending to a perfect day!

Hopefully everyone had a great time  Thanks for being there.

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If you haven’t yet pledged for Birdies for Charity NOW IS THE TIME!!

C’mon people, just 1 penny is all it takes. We need numbers – if you want to donate 2 cents, do it as two people (sign up your husband/wife/significant other/etc) as the number of pledges is what we need to maximize!

Birdies for Charity

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This Week @ Liberty – December 1, 2014

Megan and LibbyHoots, Howls, and Hollers &

This Week @ Liberty

Posted by Terry Stevens

Posted by Terry Stevens

Due to the proximity to the Thanksgiving Holiday, HHH and TW@L will be on a short break this week. We’ll be back next week as usual.

In the meantime, If you have a few pennies left after Black Friday and Cyber Monday, why not consider sharing just a few cents with the wildlife of Arizona that continually need your help? Sign up for Birdies for Charity, one of our more important drives for the year. Just one penny pledged is all it takes! We are critically in need of numbers so before you forget, DO IT NOW!!!

Click here:       birdiesforcharity

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This Week @ Liberty – November 24, 2014

Hoots, Howls, and HollersMegan and Libby

As I have mentioned many times before, our esteemed Education Team goes above and beyond the call of duty to educate the public about the beauty and benefits of our native wildlife neighbors.  We receive many responses from young and old extolling the jobs that they do.  Last week was no exception, and it exemplified the extremes of responses…from glowing to downright glowingly hysterical.  Here are examples of both.

The first came from a teacher who wanted us to know how wonderful Joe Miller and Aurora (like we didn’t know that already, but it was good to hear it again) were at a school presentation celebrating Veterans’ Day:  Here is what she said:

Wow! What an amazing morning we had with Joe Miller and Aurora. We had Joe out to our school Terramar Elementary, on Thursday November 20th for our Veterans Day Assembly.  The Veterans Assembly started with Joe and Aurora in our library with our Veteran guests in a more intimate environment. He was able to give information and answer questions. After all our students were ready for the assembly to begin waiting on the basketball courts, Aurora and Joe led the Veterans to the Saber team to be honored as they walked through to be seated. After our assembly, Veterans and their families were able to take pictures with Joe and Aurora. 

Joe was a spectacular handler and eager and willing to answer all questions. All our students were in awe as I am sure most of them had never seen a Bald Eagle up close. 

It was an honor to have Joe and Aurora at our assembly and I can only hope that he will come back next year for our 2015 Veterans Day Assembly.

Please pass on my thank you to Joe Miller.

Thank you so very much and have a fantastic Thanksgiving.

This was so adult and totally well-received.  And, then there is the other extreme that will take a little explaining.  Obviously this is from a student who had the great fortune to have Carol and Cecile present to their class.  The student clearly recognized how “smart” they were even if they were “old” (and they aren’t).  My favorite part is that the student heard an enchanting fact that needs some interpretation.  The last sentence, “I learned that a bird that has dots is on email. Now we all know Cecil and Carol didn’t say that.   They explained that often the species of bird they were showing is identified as a female if it is has “dots” on its feathering.  Is on email, is a female…well maybe?  Interesting what we hear based on our perspective…hmmmmmmmmmm, a lesson learned by all of us.

letterWe have a plethora of endearing, heart-warming, provocative, impressive and yes, funny, thank yous….all well-deserved….some more impressive than others, some funnier than others…“Dear Carol and Cecile, Thank you for bringing the animals. You are very good learnears. You are smart even thow you’r old but you’r so so so smart. My favorite part was the owl and what I learned that a bird that has dots is an email” 

This Week @ Liberty

Posted by Terry Stevens

Posted by Terry Stevens

The intake total for the year has reached 5055.

OK, we’re approaching the holidays and things (except for Education) are winding down a bit. The two eagles in the flight enclosures are getting ready to be released and are building their endurance for that event. We are seeing an influx of juvenile birds that are coming in with injuries sustained from collisions and emaciation – in short, the usual things young birds suffer in their first year. Two little owls are now in our care, and Grandpa’s X-ray shows he has a geriatric ailment that will keep him up for the winter. And speaking of age related problems, Apache was having some difficulties last week and was brought inside for warmth and observation – another member of Liberty’s AARP (Advanced Age Raptor Population.) He is doing better and seems to be enjoying the attention. And, since Thursday is Thanksgiving Day, I have put in a link to a Thanksgiving video I posted 7 years ago tomorrow. I hope everybody enjoys their holiday!

Almost done with the program

Eagle #1 – Almost done with the program

"I'm ready"

Eagle # 2 – “I’m ready!”

Practicing the art of aviating

Practicing the art of aviating

Two early fledging bald eagles have been with us for a few months and are nearing release. They have been in the big (60ft) flight enclosures and have been learning how to find their own food for several weeks now. We have been advised that on Wednesday this week, they will be taken up to a spot near Horseshoe Reservoir and released by AZGFD. Two more Bald Eagle success stories in the annals of Liberty Wildlife!

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Jan and Sharon work on a red tail's beak

Jan and Sharon work on a red tail’s beak

Jesse and Sharon do some trimming

Jesse and Sharon do some trimming on an Ed bird

All of the birds we care for from the Education Team to a couple of young (first year) red tail hawks currently in treatment, periodically need to have their beaks and talons trimmed and honed to the proper shape as sometimes in captivity, these “tools of the trade” become overgrown. In the case of wild birds that are candidates for release, this gives them the best advantage as they meet the world on their own. For the Educational birds, it is just a question of routine maintenance.

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Juvie from down south

Juvie from down south

I made another trip to Tucson last week to pick up this little RTH from our friend and operative Christy Van Cleve in Sierra Vista. She found the bird on it’s back in a park and made the call to Liberty. It appears the hawk is just a kid who was not very successful as a hunter and required some dietary rehabilitation. The patient is doing well and will go outside very soon.

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Fractured humorus

Fractured humerus – the “arrow” end should line up with the circled end!)

Dr. Sorum prepars to give fluids

Dr. Sorum prepares to give fluids

Sara splints while Andrea holds

Sara splints while Andrea holds

Another young red tail arrived last Sunday presenting a fractured humerus (see the X-ray) as well as being involved with some more of the sticky oil that affected another RTH the previous week. Dr. Sorum was on hand with his portable digital X-ray unit which showed the extent of the injury better than any other diagnostic technique. Now, the proper treatment can be prescribed.

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Granpa's bladder stone

Granpa’s bladder stone

Grandpa, our 20+ year old education tortoise was recently diagnosed with a bladder stone. He has had these before, but this time we were able to confirm the presence of the stone and determine the treatment for it.  Surgery will soon be scheduled to remove the stone with the only downside that he will not be hibernating this winter and will most likely be kept inside until next summer.

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Pygmy owl gets weighed in

Pygmy owl gets weighed in

Peeking out

Peeking out

Saw Whet

Saw-whet

Two little owls showed up recently, a Northern Pygmy owl, and a Saw-Whet. This demonstrates once and for all that: A) Most owls in Arizona are small and, B) On a cuteness scale of 1-10, 1 being butt ugly and 10 being the cutest thing in the world, these guys are a 13. Both are doing fine!

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Frieda is boxed

Frieda is boxed

Off to a show

Off to a show

And on that thought, here’s a shot of one of our own little burrowing owls, Frieda, going to a show in one of our “Sponsor Recognition Carriers” recently. Now the world can see who is helping us get the word out.

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Apache enjoys the sun with Joe

Apache enjoys the sun with Joe

Apache, our senior golden eagle (well, actually, our senior Eagle!) recently exhibited some signs of his advanced age. We brought him inside to keep warm on these cooler nights. He is doing fine and was outside with Joe enjoying the sunshine yesterday. A few years ago, we had a segment for “My favorite bird at Liberty” in the Nature News and Apache was everybody’s favorite, hands down!

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Happy Thanksgiving from TW@L! click this link for the video from November 25, 2007!

Thanksgiving video reprise from 2007.

 

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