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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This Week @ Liberty – November 17, 2014

Hoots, Howls, and HollersMegan and Libby

This weekend provided perfect weather to complete the job of installing a kestrel nest box and a barn owl nest box in Cornville, Arizona where we released grown up “orphan” kestrels and barn owls.  With a biologist keen eye we located the perfect spots for easy hunting and the perfect orientation for the installation.

We know that when rehabilitating and releasing birds of prey half of the job is putting them in a place that is compatible to their needs.  If the release is an adult we try to always take them back to the area where they were found…if it is still good habitat.  During the breeding season we try to get the adult back as soon as possible in the off chance that there is a mate and even a nest that might need some help.  The habitat is also known to them…the favorite spots to locate prey, water, roosting sites and the nesting sites.  If the raptor is an orphan they will get driven out of their parent’s territory unless they are Harris’ hawks.  Harris hawks unique natural history allows the babies to stick around and help with next year’s babies.

With kestrels and barn owls habitat destruction has made it difficult for them to find appropriate territories that fulfill all of their basic needs.  They are cavity nesters and tree cavities seem to be in greater demand that in existence in many areas.  As a result we encourage adding nest boxes (manmade cavities) that will provide them protection from the elements and a place to raise their babies.

Kestrel boxes built at Intersession 2014

Kestrel boxes built at Intersession 2014

You may recall that one of the outcomes of our Intersession class at Phoenix Elementary Schools was the assembling of kestrel nesting boxes to be added to areas lacking cavities for these little falcons or perhaps a lucky screech owl.

We want to stress that sticking a box up anywhere isn’t the answer. The best location for these nest boxes should be studied.  They should be 15-30 feet up a tree or a pole.  The boxes should be oriented east, north east or south east, never west.   Shade in the desert is important.  If on a pole, a sheet metal plate mounted under the bottom of the box will keep many predators out of the nesting cavity.  If the box can face an open meadow or field the birds will have a ready-made spot for hunting and the piece de la resistance would be a snag or even a wire or power pole providing a spot from which to spot prey.  Finally the poles and other nest boxes should at best be a half mile apart to allow a territory large enough to satisfy the needs of a growing family.

If this is something you might be interested in, you can find plans for building the boxes or you can even order a completed box replete with wood shavings and hanging gizmos.  If you think you have the necessities for attracting and providing for a kestrel family, do your part to help this beneficial little falcon find a cavity to call home.  What a great addition to a wildlife friendly yard.  What a great way to attack the insect and rodent problems that you “might” have, in a totally not toxic way.

What a great way to enjoy wildlife close to home!

This Week @ Liberty

"Here's to reaching 5000!" Posted (Toasted) by Terry Stevens

“Here’s to reaching 5000!”
Posted (Toasted) by Terry Stevens

The total for the year is now at 5026!!! Well, we knew it was coming, but we passed the 5k milestone last week, and we still have over six weeks to go this year. It is ironically fitting that we hit this achievement in what will most likely be our last full year in this location. I hope all volunteers that put in the long hours, hard work, and heartfelt dedication that it took to reach this point feel as proud of their accomplishments as Liberty feels for them! This week we took in an RTH covered with oil/tar from a roofing project,  we see a couple examples of our far-reaching educational efforts in the valley and surrounding areas, and we lose another old friend. Lastly, progresses made at the location of the new facility. Let’s jump into it…

Aurora arrives

Aurora arrives

Having a good time at the Veterans Day parade

Having a good time at the Veterans Day parade

The people love her!

The people love her!

Last Tuesday was Veteran’s Day and the parade in Downtown Phoenix was one of the best in the country – given the weather in the rest of North America! As usual, Joe and Aurora were headliners and got rave reviews by everyone who attended.

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Phoenix Summit Challenge and U Rock Ferstival

Phoenix Summit Challenge and U Rock Festival

Another recent Education Presentation by Liberty and the Ed Team was at the Phoenix Summit Challenge and U Rock Festival. Several of Liberty’s educational ambassadors were in attendance and gave the kids – and the adults – something to remember. Where else can you get up-close and personal with hawks, vultures, and falcons?

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Oily RTH arrives

Oily RTH arrives (photo by Amy Ford)

A thorough exam precedes the first cleaning

A thorough exam precedes the first cleaning (photo by Amy Ford)

Med Services scrubs off the oily coating

Med Services scrubs off the oily coating (photo by Amy Ford)

Getting a bit cleaner by Tuesday

Getting a bit cleaner by Tuesday

Last week a red tail hawk showed up after having been found on a building that was having some roof work done. It was apparent that the hawk had somehow gotten involved in the oily tar that was part of the roofing process and was entirely coated with the sticky substance. The biggest danger is that the bird will try to preen it’s feathers and ingest the toxic oil so speed is of the essence. Copious quantities of Dawn detergent was used to get the worst of the stuff off, after which the bird was allowed to rest and de-stress. As of last Tuesday, he was doing better but not yet out of the woods.

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A flicker gets a wrap

A flicker gets a wrap

This little flicker arrived presenting a fractured wing and received a sporty pink wrap from the team on duty in the ICU. One person is assigned the “Hold the beak so we don’t get stabbed” duty while the other did the actual work.

Dr. Wyman checks for canker

Dr. Wyman checks for canker

A Harris’ hawk with a case of canker was reviewed last Tuesday by Dr. Wyman. After the determination was made that the bird was negative for the disease, he was given a band and allowed to be transferred to an outside enclosure on his way towards eventual release.

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Amyra and Tony assessing the local HaHa

Amyra and Tony assessing the local HaHa

HaHa X-ray showing three bones broken

HaHa X-ray showing three bones broken

The little Harris’ hawk I rescued during the Rummage Sale was X-rayed by Dr. Sorum last weekend. The  radiograph showed that all three major bones in it’s left wing were fractured. The radius and ulna were pretty well aligned but the humorous will most likely need a pin to hold it in place while the young bird heals. This is one of the local family of HaHa’s that resides in the trees just north of the facility.

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Our old friend, Quintus... (photo by Carol Marshall)

Our old friend, Quintus…
(photo by Carol Marshall)

One of our oldest kestrels, Quintus, died peacefully in his sleep last week. Quintus arrived in 2002 and spent the next 12 years doing hundreds of educational shows with various Liberty volunteers and teaching countless children and adults about birds in general and falcons in particular. He was a stalwart trooper, doing shows right up until the end and was scheduled to do a performance the morning he passed away.         “Vale, mihi erat amicus, quod aucella”

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Paving begins

Paving begins last Thursday

On Friday, we have a road!

On Friday, we have a road!

The view from 24th St.

The view from 24th St.

Progress might seem slow, but it’s steady! The paving of Elwood in front of Liberty’s new home was finally begun last week. Some finishing touches need to be completed and then the landscaping comes. Hopefully this means the real construction will not be far away.

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This Week @ Liberty – November 10, 2014

Hoots, Howls, and HollersMegan and Libby

Saturday and the week before showed me what people are made of.  I won’t be able to name everyone who dedicated hours of time preparing for our Rummage Sale, but a few standouts must be named.  Nina and Brian Grimaldi, Kathy Edwards, Alex Stofko, Stacey Rohr, Sharon Sneva, Joan Boatwright, Susie Vaught, and Terry Stevens who gathered, priced, organized, advertised, set up, sold, and cleaned up…If I have omitted any of the standouts please let me know so that I can rectify it.

Then, there were all of the volunteers who showed up to help man the event….Thank you, thank you, thank you!  Kudos goes to all of you who gathered from your own stash, your family’s stash, your neighbors stash to fill the coffers.  There were collectibles, kid’s things, housewares, electronics, camping gear, and lots and lots of clothes.  I was determined to leave empty handed…and we all know where that landed.  I might even have bought stuff that I donated…pathetic.

Setting up on Friday

Setting up on Friday

This sale was the first of several efforts that we are using to gather funds for a digital x ray for our new facility.  This state of the art equipment will be a crucial piece allowing us to more quickly diagnose injuries and other incapacities. It will allow us to determine the success of a procedure during surgery insuring the best alignment of broken bones or the elimination of lead pellets, or obstructions, etc.

The totals aren’t in yet, but it was looking like a pretty good start when I left.  Maybe it will become a regular mini-fundraiser for us as we target other items to enhance our new hospital.  Keeping that possibility in mind you might want to cull your treasures with us in mind…but no decision has been made just yet.  The items that don’t sell today will be donated to The Humane Society for their thrift stores…the good continues!

Thanks to all of you who brought the Rummage Sale to the public, to those of you who donated items, to those of you who purchased items and to those of you who helped close it down.  You are each the very best there is.

And, while you are in that giving mood, go to our web site, www.libertywildlife.org  and click on the pop up….remember Birdies for Charity pledges need to be made now, before you forget…don’t say you’ll do it later…you will forget.  You can make a straight pledge or as little as a penny a birdie.  The birdie pledges will be collected after The Open is over…it is so easy and so helpful.  This can all be more money toward our digital x ray.  Go now.  Pledge now.  Mark it off of your “to do” list.  Then I can stop nagging.

We’ll all be happy about that.  (Incidentally, I can see the list, and I know who has pledged….just saying.)

 

This Week @ Liberty

Posted by Terry Stevens

Posted by Terry Stevens

The intake total for the year is now at 4987.

It was a busy week between the usual business of taking in and treating injured animals, doing lots of Education Presentations, and preparing for and producing the Rummage Sale that took place on Saturday. In fact, I did a rescue and brought in an injured hawk while I was monitoring the sale. A big thanks to Nina and her husband who did a monumental job putting the sale together, and to Alex Stofko, Kathy Edwards, Kim Macchiaroli, Stacey Rohr, and all the other volunteers who worked so hard all day (and really all week!) to make it the success it was.

Still feeding baby hummers

Still feeding baby hummers

Although it’s very late in the year, we still see the arrival of baby hummingbirds. The little birds have to be fed nearly constantly during the day, and fortunately, there are always volunteers on hand to provide the care needed.

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A bath after eating

A bath after eating

Proving once again that Liberty provides rehabilitative care for all native species, no matter how big or small, or on which end of the food chain they exist, we offer this example of an Arizona pocket mouse (or a deer mouse, or a kangaroo mouse – feel free to offer your vote!) These two babies came in recently and are being cared for in the ICU.

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RTH with a beautiful tail

RTH with a beautiful tail

Another RTH wing with a gunshot wound

Another RTH wing with a gunshot wound

It’s difficult to believe that anyone would shoot at a beautiful red-tailed hawk, but sadly it happens. No matter how much we stress in our Education Programs that it’s illegal to shoot any protected species (and that covers ALL raptors), we still see X-rays showing pellets, BBs, and other bullet fragments embedded in these gorgeous birds. All such incidents are reported to AZGFD and USFW to be investigated and hopefully, prosecuted. Our biggest hope is that the bird can be released after treatment.

Dr.Wyman draws blood on the black hawk while Susie and Jan hold

Dr.Wyman draws blood on the black hawk while Susie and Jan hold

Yet another victim of gun violence is the common black hawk that is in our care. His X-rays were in a recent posting of TW@L and last week Dr. Wyman was able to take a  blood sample to determine if any other treatment is going to be required. We still have hopes that the bird might be released when the healing process is complete.

Looking for the pellet

Looking for the pellet

Cooper's hawk with another pellet

The X-ray shows it’s in there…

The cooper’s hawk from last week was confirmed to be another shooting victim. Not only was there an entry and exit wound in his leg, but X-rays showed that once the bird was shot down by the leg bullet, another pellet was pumped into his chest, probably after he hit the ground. It’s sad that lots of cooper’s hawks are most likely shot by people who think they are “protecting” their bird feeders from this predator. They don’t realize that cooper’s are also protected species, and they provide a service to the songbirds who eat at backyard feeders everywhere. This is how nature keeps disease and genetic defects from proliferating in flocks of small seed eaters.

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Prairie falcon pins and external fixture

Prairie falcon pins and external fixator

Time to remove the hardware

Time to remove the hardware

The stabilizing epoxy is removed

The stabilizing epoxy is removed

The last external pin is clipped and removed

The last external pin is clipped and removed

"Boy, am I glad THAT'S over!"

“Boy, am I glad THAT’S over!”

The prairie falcon that arrived recently was taken to Dr. Driggers the day he arrived. Several pins and external fixators were applied to the badly broken leg (see X-ray) and the bird healed well. Last Tuesday, Dr. Wyman along with the Vet Night team removed most of the steel pins and resin stabilizers so the healing process could continue. The bird is doing well and will now be watched to determine if any mobility was lost.

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The scene in OC last week

The scene in OC last week

Part of the Saturday crowd

Part of the Saturday crowd

Never missing an educational opportunity

Never missing an educational opportunity

The shows must go on

The shows must go on

The big event last week was the rummage sale which took place on Saturday. Donations were accumulating in the OC area all week and began to spill over into the feather trailer and the mammal run by Thursday. On Friday afternoon, the volunteers began to set up out in the parking lot and the sale hit full swing Saturday morning. The Ed Team was on hand to provide some educational moments to the shopping crowd. Megan has the full scoop above in HHH.

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Getting closer to paving

Getting closer to paving

From the 24th St. side

From the 24th St. side

Just as an update, the work on Elwood in front of our new facility is progressing and it appears that paving is imminent. Stay tuned for future developments!

 

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This Week @ Liberty – November 03, 2014

Hoots, Howls, and HollersMegan and Libby

As we near breaking ground at our new facility, I have been thinking about the look of things.  Because of where we are to be located, a rehabbed piece of land on the south bank of the Rio Salado, we have a very clear palette on which to create a beautiful destination point.  The Peace Trail (a pedestrian, bicycle, and horse trail will stretch from 19th Avenue eventually to Town Lake in Tempe) meanders right in front of our soon-to-be courtyard.  The City of Phoenix has already planted it with trees and other desert plants designed to provide shade and beauty to the riverside.  I can hardly wait.

A grant from the Steele Foundation has provided funding for our landscaping and now with utilities to the property, I look forward to planting as soon as possible.  One thing I am envisioning is a plethora of milk weed plants.  The City of Phoenix Parks and Recreation has previously partnered with other organizations to provide milkweed plants along other parts of the river with the intent of attracting monarch butterflies.  Hearing about the plight of the monarch along with other pollinators engenders the urgency to provide for these critical pollinators whenever possible…bats, bees and butterflies…among other critters.

It seems so easy to forget about the insects…mosquitos are just annoying and with West Nile in the picture they are infuriating, flies are nasty, and spiders creep me out…however they all have a purpose, and it seems we underestimate the role that they play in keeping the balance.  But, the pollinators are critical!

I have already made some forays into partnering with the Roosevelt Community School Greenhouse to grow milkweed and hopefully have students involved in planting the plugs when they are ready.  The Parks and Recreation folks have agreed to have a part and Liberty will provide the ground space along with spreading out along the upper river bed when appropriate and possible.  I think it could morph into a wonderful educational opportunity, and if successful we could perhaps provide a butterfly banding station.

In California recently several butterflies were spied in the Big Sur with banding tags from an effort in southern Arizona.  That would be a noble goal for us to have raised milkweed from plugs, plant them at our facility, band the butterflies that stop by during their migration, and follow them to another spot along the way.

So many new opportunities await us.  Stay tuned.

This Week @ Liberty

The intake total for thew year is now at 4964.

Posted by Terry Stevens

Posted by Terry Stevens

This is going to be the “Cooper’s Hawk” special edition – mainly because I got pictures of two cooper’s hawks under treatment (the intake rate is slow this time of year!). We also got in a few cormorants – indicating that they are migrating and on the move which is necessary but usually problematic to most species.   Next Saturday is the Liberty Wildlife Rummage Sale (what exactly is ”rummage” anyway?) to jumpstart the fund drive for a digital X-ray unit for our new facility. The staff has been accumulating donated items and the OC area looks like a room at Filene’s Basement. If you want to get in some early Christmas shopping, this will be a great way to help Liberty out in the process! Come early as parking will be at a premium!  Now, let’s take a look at the aftermath of Halloween…!

Young coopers hawk gets treated

Young coopers hawk gets treated

We don't get a lot of banded birds

We don’t get a lot of banded birds

Jan and Alex install a tail guard

Jan and Alex install a tail guard

"This is somewhat humiliating..."

“This is somewhat humiliating…”

A small bird's nightmare

A small bird’s nightmare

One of the two cooper’s hawks that arrived for treatment (the one that wasn’t shot) had a federal band on his leg. This youngster had a severely broken leg plus possible internal injuries from a collision with something hard. We get banded birds in every so often and after we contacted the proper agencies, we learned that this bird was about a year old and came from the Sausalito, California, area.

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Vivian gets new shoes

Vivian gets new shoes

Viv gets vocal

Viv gets vocal

This time of year the shift from trying to keep up with intakes to putting out top quality education programs dictates that all of our Ed birds get periodic maintenance, including the hardware that they use. As part of this program, Vivian, one of our Education merlins, got new anklets and jesses last week.

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Gunshot coopers hawk is treated

Gunshot cooper’s hawk is treated

As I mentioned above, another cooper’s hawk that came in was the apparent victim of a gunshot. The bullet (or pellet) went through the bird’s leg causing some serious – but repairable –  damage. Cooper’s hawks are sometimes the victims of people who feel justified in shooting them because they might be predating the songbirds around bird feeders. We try to instruct these folks that this is how nature works – you don’t just feed the little seed-eaters, you also feed the predators that eat the birds that eat your seeds. This is how the health of the flock is maintained. Be happy in knowing that you are helping keep the balance of nature…

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Alex dresses up for Halloween

Alex dresses up for Halloween

Stacey is a Mario Brother

Stacey is a Mario Brother

Guess who...?

Guess who…?

As we went through another Halloween at Liberty, some of the staff joined in the festivities by “dolling up” for the day. Among others, Alex, our Daily Care Coordinator, came in appearing as “Elvira – Queen of the Yet-to-be-rehabilitated”, while Stacey worked in the office as a Mario Brother. The bottom photo is this week’s quiz – Name those Liberty folks!!

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2014 Ed Class graduates!

2014 Ed Class graduates!

The new Education volunteers finished their classes and graduated last week. Thanks to Linda Scott and all her helpers in preparing these new “teachers” to jump into the fray and face the world of wide-eyed, inquisitive third and fourth graders, eager to learn about the natural world and to gain a better appreciation for who’s backyard we’re living in!

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The lights go in

The lights go in

Progress on Elwood Road (the street in front of the new facility) has been moderately steady. Last week the street lights lining the road were installed and the driveway aprons were poured. Hopefully the next step will be the actual paving of the road which will allow the real construction to begin!

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This Week @ Liberty – October 27, 2014

Hoots, Howls, and HollersMegan and Libby

Joe and Jan helped me assemble an above ground pond in my yard recently.  It has become the source of great enthusiasm and pleasure for me.  Pretty much all of my acre-sized yard is made up of mature desert plants that I love.  They don’t demand much of me, draw in interesting desert animals and provide a coziness that only mature landscaping can do.  My trees are shady, my cacti bloom brilliant blossoms and my water bill stays fairly sane year around.

However, tucked inside the walled part of my yard is a new performance art installation…my pond.  It sports some native rush, but for the most part it is exotic.  And, I can’t take my eyes off of it.  The first stage was an empty container which was filled with water and allowed to sit for a week.  I was thinking…hmmmmm what is going to become of this?  Then with the addition of the first group of plants the performance art piece began to take form.  The papyrus and calla lilies gave height and background.  The large river rocks provided ballast and a place for roots to go.  The bacopa spills over the side and presents me with charming, small white blossoms.  I am in love.

In about a week came the piece de la resistance, the exotic water lily, a Lindsay field tropical lily with its stunning purple flowers that unlike my hardy cactus with a one day flower span, open and close several times during their lifetimes and spew their beauty all over the pond.  But what I find so beguiling are the lily pads.  I thought I understood lily pads, but I didn’t.  They are other worldly to me…much like the rest of this exotic plant.   In my horror dreams this lily pad could consume large animals and take over the world which is what it probably would do if left uncontained as mine is not and will never be.  I am simply fascinated by everything about it, particularly, the way the leaves rise in a thin tubular point to unfurl slowly and showily like sentient beings to cover what was left of exposed water.   The fish are yet to come.

But, one of the best parts of this whole adventure into a foreign territory is what it has done to tickle my sense of observation.  I check it out first thing in the morning to see what it has done overnight.  I am consciously observing all of the visitors to the pond.  So far hummingbirds have been spotted, while honey bees, butterflies, and dragonflies are other frequent visitors.  As my resident wildlife neighbors hone in on its presence I am quite sure I will see more and more activity.  I can’t wait.

I have lived in my house since July, 1976 and have been a pretty consistent observer of the nature that abounds in my surroundings encouraged by me and the general terrain in the neighborhood.  This foreigner has brought a new focal point that has awakened my powers of observation, and for that I am very grateful.  I need to hasten to say, that this exotic will remain contained and not become a noxious neighbor.  I promise.  I am just wading in to inclusivity and diversity!

In the meantime I am remembering how great it is to take time to observe my world, and I would encourage each of you to look/see/sense the beauty around us…it does so inspire.

Have a safe and happy Halloween and don’t forget Birdies for Charity…go to www.libertywildlife.com.  Now…thanks.

This Week @ Liberty

The intake total for the year is now at 4945.

Posted by Zombie Stevens

Posted by Zombie Stevens

This is the Halloween edition of TW@L…. time for zombie-selfies, spooky costumes for kids of all ages, and a few words of caution about the appropriateness of certain decorations. I’ve decided to go with the beauty of autumn in Arizona rather than ghosts, ghouls, and skeletons. A few more reptiles of the order Chelonia (er…Turtles!) found their way to Liberty as well as a couple of new injured avians.  The work on the new facility nears as the road construction progresses as we prepare for the first event to take place at the property location.

Oil soaked kestrel struggles to survive

Oil soaked kestrel struggles to survive

Oil might be the most sought after commodity on the planet, but it’s no friend of most wildlife. This little male kestrel was brought in last week after somehow getting totally soaked in oil. The biggest problem with oil on birds is, among other things, the toxic effect of swallowing it. As the bird attempts to clean itself through preening, the substance is ingested and begins to affect the bird’s internal systems including thermal regulation. Then, as the animal is washed with detergent (Dawn), they become hyperthermic which adds to their stress. Unfortunately, despite all our efforts to save him, this little bird died while in the brooder in ICU.

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Sharon wraps an inca dove

Sharon wraps an inca dove

Dr. Wyman has a leg wrap

Dr. Wyman has a leg wrap

Wrapping is standard treatment to immobilize an injured bone. From the tiny wing of an inca dove (top photo), to a bone spur on the heel of Dr. Tanya Wyman, the only thing that changes is the size and material of the wrap used to keep healing bones from becoming misaligned during the healing process. Hopefully both patients will be better soon – and get released!

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Determining the species

Determining the species

Comparing markings

Comparing markings

"REALLY?!?"

“REALLY?!?”

Once again, we found ourselves the recipients of some former pet turtles. Someone brought three turtles to our window stating that these three were attacking her red eared slider and they had to go. After contacting James Badman, our go-to reptile expert, it was  determined that these three were also red eared sliders. The three brought in were, however, very old and were males. The thought is that the one being “attacked” was probably a female and was the object of amorous advances by the old guys! In any event, we will place these non-native turtles with people who know the species and will take care of them properly. (Thanks for your help James!)

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Endoscopy duck

Endoscopy duck – the red circles show the fish hooks, the arrow points to the attached plastic bobber (X-ray by Heidi Schaefer)

"Aflac" doing well after hook removal

“Aflac” doing well after hook removal (photo by Kim Macchiaroli)

A white domestic duck was found recently with a plastic fishing bobber dangling from line hanging from it’s mouth. Volunteer Heidi Schaefer took the bird to Hillside Animal Hospital where she works and they performed an endoscopic procedure to remove the two hooks which showed up well in the x-ray. Once again, thanks to Heidi and Hillside Animal Hospital for saving this duck’s life. The bird is recuperating at Liberty and should be fine in a short time. Fishermen: Clean up after yourselves! Not all animals will be as lucky as this duck!

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Dangerous tempting treat for wildlife!

Dangerous tempting treat for wildlife!

And while I’m on the subject of being careful what you leave in the environment, I have noticed a lot of the “fake spider web” Halloween decorations up this year. Throw in a couple of rubber spiders and you have a deadly lure for screech and other small owls and other insect eating birds. Many times in the past we have found and treated birds who were caught in the artificial filament while attempting to grab a rubber bug for a quick meal. Some were saved, others were not so fortunate. Please, think twice about buying and using this particular type of decoration as it can be fatal to hungry birds.

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The sidewalks and they entry pad are in!

The sidewalks and they entry pad to Liberty Wildlife on the River are in!

The work on Elwood is moving along! The sidewalks along the north side of the road are in and the cutouts for our entry drives have been poured. Next up will be the street lights. We’ll keep you posted on the progress as we approach the “Team Eagle Award and Release” event scheduled for next week.

 

 

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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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