This Week @ Liberty – May 30, 2016

Hoots, Howls, and Hollers

Megan Mosby Managing Director

Megan Mosby
Managing Director

This past week I was sitting in my office when I heard a timid knock at the door. I answered it to find my neighbor, Joe, who took a deep breath and explained that “they had a wildlife emergency at their home around the corner from me.”  My first response after he told me a small coyote in obvious distress had hunkered down in their carport right outside their living room…hard to dismiss… was to give him our Hotline number and have someone more qualified than me take over.  He had walked to my house as he was afraid starting his car would frighten the poor animal and force it to do something that would harm it more.  My immediate response to pass on this responsibility melted as his face crumbled.  They would have to wait for a response…what if it died?

I figured I could drive over with him.  That was the least I could do.  They apparently were very concerned, a little frightened, and wonderfully compassionate. I could assess the situation, calm their concerns, and call in the troops.

Not gonna happen.  When I got there the poor little coyote had that look in its eyes.  I know a healthy coyote would disdain contact with human-kind at all costs.  He looked afraid, sick, and helpless.  Hunkered under a wrought iron shelf providing no real protection, he crushed himself against the carport wall…as far from humans as he could get and seemingly hoping to disappear from sight.  I couldn’t leave him there for his sake and for my neighbors.

The good thing was that I have had my rabies shots allowing me to “handle” mammals…a strict requirement at Liberty Wildlife.  I always travel with a car blanket which came in handy again.  Carol grabbed a large box from their storage shed, and I carefully wrapped the little guy up so he could safely be lifted into the box which was then lifted into the back of my car.

No fight, not a good sign…

Arriving at Liberty Wildlife, I was greeted by a dedicated Medical Services staff, and all were relieved to know that Jessie was inoculated and could take over making the coyote comfortable until an assessment could be made.  I left feeling sure he was in as good care as possible.

The main take away from this experience has to do with the multi-faced aspects of a simple coyote rescue.  I don’t get to do this much anymore as my administrative duties are consuming.  I had sort of forgotten how good it feels to be a direct part of helping an animal who is in pain and distress, of helping kind humans who cared enough to take the time to find help, and of being a tiny part of a dynamic and impactful team of staff and volunteers who sprang into action in order to help.

I am very proud of this organization and grateful to be a part of the process.  It just feels good.

This Week @ Liberty

Posted by Terry Stevens

Posted by Terry Stevens

The intake total for the year is now at 3092.

Hopefully everyone is having a safe Memorial Day today.The temperature is climbing and so are the intake numbers. We had desperately wanted to have moved into the new facility before daily 100’s were the norm, but it appears the gods of relocation had other ideas for us. In any case, we are still making preparations to begin the arduous task of transplanting the operation from Scottsdale to the new Rob and Melani Walton Campus as soon as the last minute details of municipal protocol have been accomplished. This update is somewhat brief as my ability to get tons of pictures of what happens each week is a bit limited by activities dealing with the impending move. In fact, once the loading, unloading, and installations begin in earnest, TW@L will be on a short hiatus until at least the electronics and internet capabilities are up and running at the new digs. More about that in a later posting. In the meantime, here’s some highlights of last week…

Now it's going to be green herons that show up daily...

Now it’s going to be green herons that show up daily…

It seems that each specie takes its turn as the “bird-needing-help-du-jour” and the latest might be the herons. Last week the first of probably MANY orphan baby green herons was brought in by Tim from a local lake. We were all commenting on the nest building skill (or lack thereof) of herons from which we routinely get dozens of fledglings each year. It appears wading waterfowl aren’t much better than great horned owls at judging the required size of future offspring when selecting a place to start a family. As they outgrow the nest and fall to the ground, all we can do is bring them in and keep them safe and fed until they are big enough to rejoin the flock!

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Jesse feeding orphan baby bunny

Jesse feeding orphan baby bunny

The onslaught of baby bunnies knows no end as rabbits seem bent on living up to their stereotypical behavior and breeding constantly. Fortunately, we have lots of volunteers who are both trained and anxious to provide surrogate parenting to these little fluffy babies until they can be returned to the wild. Who wouldn’t find this task appealing and rewarding as the bunnies grow rapidly given the proper food and conditions?

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Jan inspects a GHO eye

Jan inspects a GHO eye

Although the deluge of tiny orphan great horned owls may have abated slightly, the arrival of older youngsters from last year (and a few adults!) will keep the Med Services people busy for months. This otherwise good looking GHO arrived presenting symptoms of head trauma in the form of a deformed iris and indications of visual impairment. He is set to make a trip to the eye specialists later this week.

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Tools of the eagle banders trade

Tools of the eagle banders trade

Michelle and the Gainey baby

Michelle and the Gainey baby

Measuring the talons

Kyle measures the talons

The beak is also measured

The beak is also measured

Federal and state bands are fitted and attached

Federal and state bands are fitted and attached for identification

The fledgling is weighed and the result recorded

The fledgling is weighed and the result recorded

Gainey is almost ready to be returned to the nest

Gainey is almost ready to be returned to the nest

Two baby bald eagles share an enclosure for a few hours

Two baby bald eagles share an enclosure for a few hours

We have all been following the birth, growth, and development of the baby bald eagle at the Gainey nest for several months. It seems the little guy has been making a few tentative flights recently to the delight of the neighbors. Then, late last week, he was observed on the ground showing some signs of a possible leg problem. Bad landings when you’re learning how to fly are not uncommon (believe me, I KNOW!) and just to make sure there was nothing seriously wrong with the little eagle, he was brought in for examination to determine the extent of any injury. While he was in our care, he got the full banding treatment from Kyle and Michelle (AZGFD) including measuring certain body parts to determine gender, weighing him, and putting bands on his legs for future identification. Thankfully, x-rays showed no fractures and the little guy was returned to his parents in the nest! (The other little guy came in a few weeks ago and is still awaiting release…)

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(As most of the changes to the new facility are coming slowly now – in the form of changes and modifications, no overt additions happened last week.  As things are finished and added, I’ll post more pictures when they occur!)

 

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This Week @ Liberty – May 23, 2016

Hoots, Howls, and Hollers

Megan Mosby Managing Director

Megan Mosby
Managing Director

Falling in love with an educational animal is collateral damage of being a wildlife educator.  When they leave this earth having been your faithful sidekick, it leaves a scar in your heart and your soul.  There it is…out in the open for all to see.  It happens, and if you are immune to it there is something suspect about you.

This past week we lost a charismatic creature…all full of spit and vinegar…and smart beyond words.  It was Rupert, one of our educational ravens.  There are so many anecdotes about Rupert that I could fill a book and maybe someday I will, but not just yet while the scar is still red and raw.  Suffice it to say, he will be remembered for a long time by many people…those he loved and those he seemed to “loathe” although I am convinced his crabbiness towards some was a front and a bit of a manipulative behavior so he got what he wanted.  Rupert was one smart dude.

Jan and her buddy Rupert

Jan and her buddy Rupert

There is a positive and a negative side to being in an administrative position in a rehabilitation and education facility.  The positive is that I don’t have time anymore to be able to fall in love with an animal I work with every day from the point of trying to save a life, to training that same animal when release was no longer an option and ultimately to presenting that special friend to students of all ages near and far. The negative is that I don’t get to do any of those things anymore.

I know that is an oddly juxtaposed statement.  Why is it good to not be able to do the things that drew me into this business?  It is good because the heartbreak when they are no longer around doesn’t seem so unbearable.  I haven’t been able to get so attached.

From my somewhat sheltered spot now, I can see the grandeur of the education animals as they are being worked with, being taken to educational programs, being heroes in the eyes of eager students…but I don’t have the luxury of the connection…the real “stare you in the eyes and connect” kind of connection.  And deeply that is my total loss.

Rupert Raven 2

There are enough educational animals left that adorned my arm over the years and each one of those have wormed their ways into my heart. That is a permanent condition.  When they move on to their next lives, the spot they held in my heart seeps…I just can’t help it…nor can anyone else who has had the honor to work with these majestic creatures.

Rupert is one of those seepages.  He was a fun, smart, challenging entity.  He will be sorely missed; his maniacal laugh will no longer echo through the enclosures; his trickster words will no longer be heard. But all of us will remember him, and those antics will live in our memories.  Happy trails old guy…you rocked.

This Week @Liberty

Posted by Terry Stevens

Posted by Terry Stevens

The intake total for this year is now at 2777.

OK, so I said we were going to post less frequently due to the move, but until we get that elusive “Certificate of Occupancy,” we’ll probably keep grinding out weekly updates. As soon as we actually start  moving stuff in, we will truncate the publication schedule until we get mostly moved in. In the meantime, animals continually arrive needing care. From hummingbirds to bald eagles and everything in between, the volunteers are steadily busy providing the best medical and supportive care possible. Some animals got released, and one of our long time favorites made the journey over the rainbow bridge (see HHH above). I got to take some shots of the new facility at night last week and I’ve included those today. Here’s the short update for this week…

Little bald eagle comes in (photo by Susie)

Little bald eagle comes in (photo by Susie)

The little guy is finally getting his share of the food!

The little guy is finally getting his share of the food!

We got in a baby (10 weeks old) bald eagle recently. He is really small and it seems he was being bullied by his nest mates. This is not an unusual occurrence in the world of bald eagles but he is lucky he was discovered and brought to us. He was dehydrated and emaciated but otherwise mostly structurally intact. He is now in the condor room back near the eagle enclosures. We’ll keep you updated on his condition.

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Three baby hummers

Three baby hummers

On the other end of the size spectrum, three more baby hummingbirds came in for care. Susie says we are doing really well in terms of success with hummers this year and that’s always good to hear! As we learn more about what works and what needs improvement in out treatment, more and more of these tiny guys will survive until release.

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Red eared slider got hooked

Red eared slider got hooked

I live for the day when people finally get the message about not discarding fishing gear into the environment. This unfortunate red eared slider wound up with a fish hook in his eye which we were able to remove. In most cases, animals like this will swallow the hooks and lures which make treatment much more difficult and dangerous. Spread the word: If you’re going to go fishing, pick up after yourself and never leave unwanted gear in the environment for animals to find. It rarely ends well for them.

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Another hatchling GHO

Another hatchling GHO

Nostril cleaning

Nostril cleaning

Laura flushes the baby's nares and ears

Laura flushes the baby’s nares and ears

The rate of baby owl arrivals has tapered off slightly, but little owlets still come in. This little guy came in presenting infestation with some of the more noxious intrusions that baby owls can acquire. His nose, ears and mouth were all cleaned and flushed and since he is so small, he was placed in a brooder prior to being assigned a foster mom for proper raising and imprinting.

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Jan releases a BuOw

Jan releases a BuOw (photo by Nina)

"The sky looks bigger here..."

“The sky looks bigger here…” (photo by Nina)

Surveying the new world around him

Surveying the new world around her (photo by Nina)

On May 19th Nina wrote:

“Today we released the 23 ADOT owls.  We took them to SCC with their approval.  Dr. John Weser joined us for the release.  Several Abs (Artificial Burrow System) had been previously installed and hopefully the owls will make their new home there.”

Click here for a video of some of the birds going free. (video by Nina)

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Enclosure mates

Enclosure mates

And I just thought this was an interesting shot of two of our RTH orphans sharing a perch in the 60 ft. enclosure. Freedom is that much closer!

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Update on the Rob and Melani Walton Campus

Ed enclosures nearing completion

Ed enclosures nearing completion

Rehab enclosures going up

Rehab enclosures going up

Approaching at night

Approaching at night

Moonlight over Liberty

Moonlight over Liberty

North side at night

North side at night

Peaceful evening

Peaceful evening

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This Week @ Liberty – May 16, 2016

Hoots, Howls, and Hollers

Megan Mosby Managing Dierctor

Megan Mosby
Managing Director

One of the fun things that happened at last week’s Wishes for Wildlife was the distribution of milkweed plants to guests as they left.  I was so impressed by how enthusiastic people were about getting the plug of antelope Horns milkweed or Arizona milkweed.
The distribution was part of the Desert Botanical Garden’s new initiative, the Great Milkweed Grow Out.  The program/initiative is designed to address the conservation of Monarch Butterflies.  Monarchs have been declining in population for decades due basically to loss of habitat, the thief that is stealing a  great number of species from us.

Milkweed is the only plant that Monarch butterflies lay their eggs on and that the caterpillars eat. It is the Garden’s plan to grow thousands of milkweeds to plant across Phoenix and the area beyond to assist the Monarchs as they take on their Herculean migration through the area.

The Milkweed was distributed to guests as they left the event, carefully contained in the tubular plug with explicit directions on how to plant them in the yard…allowing each guest to have a part in the conservation of Monarchs.

Milkweed with Caterpillars

Milkweed with Caterpillars

So, with that in mind I set out to transplant my milkweed into my habitat.  I very much wanted to do my part!  It took me a few days of watering and planning to prepare to plant them.  In the meantime, voila, I had two caterpillars munching away on the leaves.  I was so excited.  And, they were quite beautiful as they munched away in their graceful manner.

I went straight to my resources, my friend Gail, to find out exactly what I was “growing” and found out that even though it was not Monarchs at this time, it was Queen butterflies (regal all the same) easily identified by three sets of antennae while Monarchs have two sets…that is a nifty distinction!

I want to shout out a big applause to Phoenix’s Desert Botanical Garden for the initiative, the Great Milkweed Grow Out and to the Roosevelt School’s Center of Sustainability’s Greenhouse where the milkweed plugs are being grown.

And, I look forward to bountiful butterflies in my future.

This Week @ Liberty

Posted by Terry Stevens

Posted by Terry Stevens

The intake total for the year is now up to 2481.

Now that we’re in “Recovery Mode” from Wishes for Wildlife, plans for the Über move to the new facility advance to the forefront. When you think about relocating a facility as diverse and far reaching as Liberty Wildlife, and the fact that we’ve been in one place for over 35 years, you begin to appreciate the immensity of the task. It won’t happen in a day, a week, or probably even a month, but it’ll be a process only ending when the last animal is heading south to 2600 E Elwood. With that in mind, we’re planning on posting HHH and TW@L on an abbreviated schedule over the next few weeks so we can put more time and effort into the move. If Monday rolls around and you don’t get the usual notification about an update, you can always go to the website and check the bottom button under the “Publications” tab. If there is no update, no notification will be sent – this’ll save us some e-postage as well.  In the meantime, here’s what happened last week…

Dr. Orr works on an injured duckling

Dr. Orr works on an injured duckling

Although most ducklings flow through our care fairly quickly, once in a while one needs the services of one of our top-notch vets. Last week Dr. Orr took some time to repair the damage to the skin on top of this little duckling’s head. When he has healed sufficiently, he will be placed with foster care at one of the rehabbers who have volunteered to take in baby ducks found abandoned in valley pools and back yards this season.

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Screech with head injury

Screech with head injury

A screech owl was brought to our facility last week presenting symptoms of  head trauma. Like most birds, window collisions (along with automobile collisions) are a demonstrable threat to screech owls as they are apt to live in close proximity to human development. ( John Glitsos once found one living in a cardboard box inside his garage!) This little guy might have some fairly serious head issues as his eyesight could be impaired by the head injury. Time and observation will tell…

Palm tree was a screech owl home

Palm tree was a screech owl home

Tim and Denise work to save baby screech

Tim and Denise work to save one of the baby screech owls

Orphan baby screech is examined

Orphan baby screech is examined

We’ve said time and time again that springtime is NOT the proper time to trim trees, especially if the trimming involves cutting the tree down! Last week somebody decided to cut down a palm tree which had served as a home for a family of screech owls and four babies were inside the cavity when the trunk came down. Two of the little owls died as a result, and two more are trying to survive the ordeal – with Liberty’s help. Stressed to the max and dehydrated, the two little birds that survived the removal of their home are in our care and hopefully will be released in the future.

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Examining an incoming bat

Examining an incoming bat

I don't think he likes being examined...

I don’t think he likes being examined…

This little guy came in last week, most likely a free tailed bat, but the jury is still out (there are nearly 1,000 species of bats in the world!). We don’t get many bats at Liberty, and only certain of us are allowed to handle them as they are the No. 1 rabies vector species in Arizona. That doesn’t mean that all bats are rabid, but they are very reclusive, preferring the company of other bats. If you are able to find one in the daytime away from the rest of a large colony, that qualifies as abnormal behavior and indicates that something might be wrong. Remember: never touch a bat without protection. It’s bad for you and bad for the bat! Call Liberty Wildlife for assistance with any bat you find.

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very looking handled nets... (Photo supplied by Nina)

Very looong handled nets…
(Photo supplied by Natalia)

Recently a coot was found basically trapped in a sump pump pool at the SRP generating station in Gilbert. Like many water fowl, coots have a very high wing-loading and thus require a long take-off roll which the small pool didn’t allow. To add to the danger was the fact that hot water trickled into the pool and periodically a large torrent of the steaming liquid rushed in threatening to boil the trapped bird. Tony and Nina used some ingenuity and finally got the bird free and it was able to run to a more suitable place for an airborne departure.

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Raven beak peeks out

Raven beak peeks out

With lots of raven nest relocations this spring, lots of releases take place. This bird found the one “buttonhole” in the camouflage covering to the box in which it was being transported. Ravens don’t have much in the way of “talons,” but their beaks are to be avoided at all cost! No danger of permanent damage, but PAIN is their main weaponry!

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Many legged quail

Many legged quail (photo by Stacey)

Looking to be the next character in Game of Thrones, this “Many Legged Quail” was photographed by Stacey recently as the daddy bird covered his youngsters as they look for warmth, food, and protection. Nice shot!

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Stacey and Diego (photo by Doris Pedersen)

Stacey and Diego (photo by Doris Pedersen)

And speaking of Stacey, here is a shot of her at recent education event displaying Diego, one of our Education burrowing owls. Even though our Education season is nearly over, we try to meet the public whenever and where ever we can! Diego almost matches the picture of Frodo on her shirt!

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New neighbors

New neighbors (photo by Doris Pedersen)

Another shot by Doris, this time of a wild burrowing owl with the new Rob and Melani Walton Campus of Liberty Wildlife past the bridge in the background! I guess we’ll have some cool new neighbors.

From across the river (photo by Doris)

From across the river (photo by Doris)

Another view of the new facility, this one from across the river…

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Construction update on the new facility

Main Reception area

Main Reception area

North side

North side

Education side enclosures

Education side enclosures

New apron to the wetlands wall

New apron to the wetlands wall

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This Week @ Liberty – May 09, 2016

Hoots, Howls, and Hollers

Megan Mosby Managing Director

Megan Mosby
Managing Director

This has been a busy few weeks with last minute preparations for our annual fund raiser, Wishes for Wildlife.  It was a great success raising money for the operations supporting our mission to nurture the nature of Arizona.  On top of that I was able to make the following announcement related to our capital campaign:

I am thrilled to be able to announce that Liberty Wildlife has been awarded a grant from the Rob and Melani Walton Foundation for $2,000,000 in support of our new facility and ultimately to the mission of Liberty Wildlife.

Rob and Melani have been known here at home and around the world for their generous support of conservation, environmental and sustainability initiatives. They have given of their own resources and of their own spirit and energy to support the mission of their foundation. 

 We are humbled by their generosity and blessed to have them here in our community. INew slide am pleased, and honored beyond words that their names will appear on our new building, which is now nearing completion on the Rio Salado.  Our facility will be known as The Rob and Melani Walton Campus of Liberty Wildlife.” 

THANK YOU ROB!  THANK YOU MELANI!  We are eternally grateful for your trust in us and our work.

And of course, there are many other people to thank for making the wonderful event happen again.  We thank the Benefit Chair, Sharon Sneva, the Honorary Corporate Chairs, Sharon and Ollie Harper, the Legacy Award winners, the Bald Eagle Nest Watch Program, the Omni Montelucia, SRP for printing and Mark Kenger for AV services, Michael Barnard of the Phoenix Theatre, Desert Botanical Garden Great Milkweed Grow Out, Terry Stevens for well, everything, and Carol Suits and her volunteer contingent, all of the donors to our auction, all of the attendees, and ALL OF THE GUARDIANS and their friends and family who helped…all of them corralled by our fearless leader, Peggy Cole.  This event has a bazillion moving parts and couldn’t be done without the help of many…way too many to single out here.

You know who you are, but you might not know how much I appreciate you and all of the energy you put into the success of the event…months and months of energy!

Yes, indeed, creating a good thing, does take a village!  Thanks to all of you.

This Week @ Liberty

Posted by Terry Stevens

Posted by Terry Stevens

The intake total for this year now stands at 2146.

Wow, what a couple of weeks…and what an event! Lots of different species are coming in (it’s migration time!) and some of them are running into problems. Between moving animals, moving Liberty’s facility, and trying NOT to move baby orphan birds, the volunteers are all moving constantly! Some of the birds make it, and unfortunately some do not, but all get the same stellar level of care. If there is an upside, it’s that the Education season is over until the Fall and this takes the pressure off of that area of our operation. Along this line, another successful Wishes for Wildlife is history and we want to thank all of the volunteers who worked long hours to make it the best and most successful one yet!

Pretty western tanager

Pretty western tanager

Yellow warbler gets examined

Yellow warbler gets examined

Two of the prettiest birds that we saw recently were these two migrants who ran into trouble as they passed through Arizona on their long trip. The western tanager and the little yellow warbler were both found and brought to our intake window by observant members of the public who cared about their world and environment. Birds like these not only contribute to the health of the planet, but bring beauty to the world we all share.

Young screech owl

Young screech owl

This little screech owl was brought in, seemingly intact, but exhibiting behavior that suggests a possibly imprinted bird. Further observation will tell the tale…

Softshell turtle with fishing line

Softshell turtle with fishing line

Another turtle that somehow got into a local lake and found some discarded fishing gear came in. This soft-shelled turtle will be x-rayed to determine how big his problem is as all we can see externally is the line (to the right of his mouth in the picture)

Turtle after automobile collision

Jan flushes the wounds on this turtle after an automobile collision (Photo by volunteer)

Fishing line is not the only danger turtles face out in the wild. This red eared slider was crushed by a passing car and then was brought to Liberty. After immediate triage, he was scheduled for surgery which is taking place today (Monday) to repair the broken shell. The full extent of any internal injuries is not known at this time.

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Baby GHO tied up in string

Baby GHO tied up in string (photo by Susie Vaught)

String involvement

String involvement (photo by Susie Vaught)

Usually the birds and animals we take in who are having problems with fishing line and other types of “string” are the water fowl. In this case, however, two baby great horned owls somehow got tangled up in some kind of fibrous material from their nest (formerly occupied by a raven family). The babies were brought in by a biologist from the Salt River Pima reservation near the rodeo grounds.

Mama GHO in an inappropriate place

Mama GHO in an inappropriate place (photo by Nancy Andison)

Nancy with rescued baby GHO

Nancy with rescued baby GHO (photo by John Glitsos)

One of the babies who fell out

One of the babies who fell out (photo by John Glitsos)

John starts to place the new nest in the tree

John starts to place the new nest in the tree (photo by Nancy Andison)

New home for baby gho's

New home – and some food – for baby gho’s (photo by John Glitsos)

The tree with the new nest

The tree with the new nest (photo by Nancy Andison)

Mom is back and seems to like the new home

Mom and dad are back and seem to like the new home

And while we’re talking about baby GHO’s, this nest was found in a somewhat precarious and unprotected position in a tree at the Arizona Biltmore Golf Club. The bag boys who noticed the baby owls who had been blown from the nest by the recent high winds. Knowing of her association with Liberty Wildlife, they called volunteer Nancy Andison who engineered the rescue. She took the fallen babies to Liberty for a check up after which Rescue volunteer John Glitsos was called to install a more robust nest for the owl family. He climbed up a ladder onto the tree and secured a much stronger basket in place with screws which should provide more support in high wind conditions. He then put the babies along with some supplemental food into the basket/nest, and came back later to check on the conditions. The mom and dad had returned and were feeding and looking after the kids. Nice job by Nancy and John!

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Wishes for Wildlife

Wishes for Wildlife

Lots of activity at the registration table

Lots of activity at the registration table (Photo by Lesley Guenther)

Successful bidding requires strategy!

Successful bidding requires strategy! (Photo by Lesley Guenther)

Joe and Aurora greet guests (Photo by Lesley Guenther)

Joe and Aurora get the “Cell phone salute” (Photo by Lesley Guenther)

Senator McCain meets Quanah and Sara (Photo by Lesley Guenther)

Senator McCain meets Quanah and Sara (Photo by Lesley Guenther)

GHO release closes the event (photo by Marian Van Dyke)

GHO release closes the event (photo by Marian Van Dyke)

Our annual fund raiser – Wishes for Wildlife – was held last Saturday night at the Montelucia resort in Paradise Valley. A nearly full house enjoyed perfect weather and a chance to mingle with supporters and volunteers (minus the usual covering of t-shirts, jeans, and mouse parts!) in a social setting. After the silent auction and prior to the dinner, Megan announced the naming of the new facility as The Rob and Melani Walton Campus of Liberty Wildlife following their wonderful grant of $2 million. It was truly a magical event on a magical evening!

Click here to see the W4W video for this year.

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New Facility update

The first pieces of furniture (desks) are inside the building

The first pieces of our own furniture (desks) are inside the building

Another enclosure goes up

Another enclosure goes up

Wetlands at sunset

Wetlands at sunset

Sunset on copper wall

Sunset on copper wall

The Rob and Melani Walton Campus of Liberty at dusk

“The Rob and Melani Walton Campus of Liberty Wildlife” at dusk

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This Week @ Liberty – May 02, 2016

Hoots, Howls, and Hollers & This Week @ Liberty

The intake total is now up to 1877.

We’re working on Wishes for Wildlife this week

AND

the move to the new facility.

We’ll return next week with a new update!

 

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This Week @ Liberty – April 25, 2016

Hoots, Howls, and Hollers

Megan Mosby - Executive Director

Megan Mosby – Executive Director

A really big thanks goes out to the hearty souls who helped us shovel the pea gravel in the bottom of our education ambassador enclosures.  Somehow it is always less work when you do it in a group, and you do it for an important purpose.

Terry, Tim, Ken, Amy, Robin, Mary, John, Dick with his Bobcat and I assembled at our new facility at around 7 on Saturday morning (and Doris who came out on Sunday morning!) clad with our sun protection and armed with our rakes and shovels.  Having the gravel nicely deposited into each quad of enclosures made our job much easier…very little wheel barrowing was necessary much to our relief.

It is hard to say that manual labor is fun, but it was because there was such a great sense ofGravel crew purpose.  The enclosures part of the facility is one of the last things to go up, but it’s an absolute necessity to begin our move to 2600 E. Elwood…a great incentive to get the rest of the enclosures up.  We are hoping to keep our old facility functional, but I believe it has gotten wind that we will be deserting it, and there is some serious pouting going on making life not so easy in the meantime…if you get my drift.

One thing that I really liked about our work day was the camaraderie of people with a same purpose… people who might volunteer on different days not really knowing each other…just knowing that the cause made the connection.  The other part that was special for me was that it felt like all of these folks were connected to the new site in a bonding sort of way.  They played a huge part in making it happen.  They are a part of the process which has been long and sometimes a little lonely.  It needs to be shared!

If you missed out on playing a part in the “barn building” sense of belongingness you get another chance to help gravel the rehabilitation enclosures next weekend.  If we get a big crowd, it can be done in a morning.  Come join us with your rake and shovel and sense of spirit and camaraderie and be a part of the completion of our dream.  Please let us know if you want to join us so we can update you if there are any changes. (megan@libertywildlife.org)

On another note, a wonderful thing that I want to mention is that Dr. Kathy Orr, founder of Liberty Wildlife, is going to be recognized by the Arizona Veterinary Medical Association for her dedication and outstanding work for wildlife through Liberty Wildlife for the past 35 years.  Congratulations Kathy!  It is a well-deserved recognition.  We thank you, the community thanks you, and over 80,000 wildlife critters thank you!

And, who will I see next Saturday morning?  Who will be a physical part of the dream?  Who will share in the camaraderie?  Let me know.

This Week @ Liberty

Posted by Terry Stevens

Posted by Terry Stevens

The intake total for the year is now at 1579.

As always this time of year, it’s raining baby owls – both great horneds and barns. Most are just early nest bailers, though some are injured, and some are sick. The Medical Services staff is busy with the ones that need help, and the Orphan Care people are continually feeding and monitoring the helpless baby passerines and other altricial young. Some long term patients are still here getting treatment as they recover, and amidst all this, preparations for Wishes for Wildlife continue as well as planning for our move to the new facility. The level of activity has never been higher, so let’s take a look at what happened last week…

Grandpa finally wakes up!

Grandpa finally wakes up!

Grandpa, our 75+ year old desert tortoise is finally awake after his winter hibernation. He’s still moving a little slowly as he patrols the rear enclosure, but given his age, everybody is just glad to see him again. He has a couple of years on me (he was probably  a youngster when Pearl Harbor was bombed!) and shows some signs of wear but I know just how he feels!

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Wednesday Orphan care

Wednesday Orphan care

Cameron on the Friday OC team feeds some sparrows

Cameron on the Friday OC team feeds some sparrows (photo by Stacey)

Baby verdin gets some care

Baby verdin gets some care (photo by Stacey)

The Orphan Care area is the happiest sounding place at Liberty – and the busiest! Each shift is charged with feeding the seemingly never-ending collection of tiny peeping babies that need temperature control and the proper type of food every few minutes. The good news is they grow fairly rapidly and don’t spend a lot of time in our care. The other side of the coin is they just keep coming! Thank you to all of the dedicated volunteers who spend hours each day continually feeding and then cleaning (what goes in must come out – rather soon!) the berry baskets and bins full of tiny feathered life.

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Lonely orphan barn owl

Lonely orphan barn owl

Slightly older baby

Slightly older baby

Dr. Orr works on an adult barn owl

Dr. Orr works on an adult barn owl

Barn owls can have large families of up to 6 babies. Because each egg is incubated as it is laid and possibly a day and a half can elapse between eggs, there can be almost two weeks difference in the age of the first hatched to the last. Rescuers have all experienced a second (or third) call as the babies from a given nest are found. We have a good team of foster parent barnies to help raise orphans from the little white alien life forms they appear to be in the nest to the beautiful birds they become.

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Carl brings in another GHO orphan

Carl brings in another GHO orphan

Little GHO looks healthy...

This little GHO looks healthy…

...but here's what avian canker looks like before it is cured.

…but here’s what avian canker looks like before it is cured.

One of the bigger problems we see in the avian population is avian canker (or “frounce” as falconers call it). This is a common name for trichomoniasis and is a protozoan parasite of pigeons and doves, raptors, turkeys and chickens. If we find it early enough, it is fairly curable with the proper medicine. But when it is in the later stages, it is dangerous because as the growth dies and is removed, open sores appear behind it and fatal bleeding can result. As it is passed frequently through sharing infected water supplies, periods of low rainfall place birds at greater risk.

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Burned raven makes it outside!

Burned raven makes it outside!

And in case you were wondering, the burned raven remains with us and has recovered sufficiently to be transferred to an outside enclosure. He still has a long road ahead, but his spirit is undaunted and he seems to be relating well to the other ravens in the enclosure. Hopefully he will begin to grow new feathers fairly soon.

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New ICU

New ICU

Surgery lights go in

Surgery lights go in

Water fountains have a recording bottle filler feature

Water fountains have a recording bottle filler feature

Speaking of water,  here's a key part of the rainwater recovery system

Speaking of water, here’s a key part of the rainwater recovery system

Our own solar farm on the roof

Our own solar farm on the roof

Awaiting the arrival of the Auxilliary building

Awaiting the arrival of the Auxilliary building

The second enclosure prototype goes up

The second enclosure prototype goes up

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This Week @ Liberty – April 18, 2016

Hoots, Howls, and Hollers

Megan Mosby - Executive Director

Megan Mosby – Executive Director

Readers we need to talk seriously about baby ducks.  I know, they are so cute that you really want to snuggle them…please don’t.  In fact, I am going to be a real heavy here and advise you to discourage any potential duck encounter if you can help it…scare them out of your yard.

We get calls all spring long from homeowners who thought the duck couple searching for a honeymoon spot in the back yard…as convenient to the pool as possible…was adorable.  The love affair between the duck couple and the homeowners crested when the babies hatched and waddled around the yard until they successfully found water…the pool.  Even in the beginning it was so cute to see the babies floating around with mom…really adorable.

And then it happened!  The voluminous poop began to fill the pool and to make it worse the babies couldn’t get out of the pool; there was no food in the pool; the chlorine—an issue; and then the first baby got sucked into the skimmer to its peril.  Now the homeowner wants a divorce from the happy couple and their spawn.

Our hotline starts ringing with demands for help.  Here’s the rub.  Ducks are considered migratory birds, and they are protected by the law as are their nests and offspring.  That means you have to get permission from the US Fish and Wildlife Service to do anything with them.  We are bound by permits not to disturb the nest, eggs, and babies without permission.

Now if they are in your pool, you can scoop them out to save them and keep them from doing too much more damage, but the critical thing here is that you really, really need to get the mother duck and get her first.  When you catch her, and it is tricky business, be sure she is secured in a closed box or carrier because they are very slick at escaping containment and once gone you will probably not get a second chance.  Remember ducks can walk, fly and swim and are by far, along with other water fowl, not the easiest birds to capture!

After you have nabbed the mom (remember to get a strategy before attempting the capture) you can get the babies. I would advise putting them in a separate box to keep the mom from escaping when you try to put the babies in.  When you have the mother and babies, give us a call.

Canada geese are a little different.  A Canada goose that nests between March 1st and June 30th in the Phoenix area is not considered migratory and a homeowner can apply to the US Fish and Wildlife Service for a depredation order on line in order to get the geese and eggs out of your yard.  Go to US Fish and Wildlife Service Code of Federal Regulations 50 CFR 21.50 to apply for the order.  Be sure to read all of the conditions of the order before doing anything.

I know, I know.  It is so complicated!  That is why I encourage you to scan your yard for the honeymoon couple and discourage them from choosing your yard for rearing their off spring.  You will thank me for my seemingly cold approach.

 And remember, we usually only send rescue and transport people out to rescue raptors or other potentially dangerous to the public critters.  Save everyone a lot of heart ache.  If you fail at discouraging nesting, be sure you are prepared to catch mom.  It is better for the babies, the mom and for you! If you feel really uncomfortable about catching the mom, call and talk to our hotline first…we may be able to help with that.

This Week @ Liberty

Posted by Terry Stevens

Posted by Terry Stevens

The intake number for the year is now at 1297.

This’ll be another short update as we’re all getting busier by the moment.  This year’s Wishes for Wildlife is in less than 3 weeks and preparations are racing towards another great show. Plus, we are getting really close to finishing work on the new facility and planning for the big migration south is filling up the spare minutes in any day. Along with all this, the rescues are coming fast now, keeping the Hotline and the R&T team hopping. More training along these lines was accomplished last weekend as the temperature and the intake rates both rise. It’s gonna be a long year…

The Prices gets to rescue in some beautiful locations (photo by Carl and Mary Price)

Canada Geese and their goslings at a local lake (photo by Carl and Mary Price)

Canada geese present a special challenge to both the Hotline and the Rescue team. The big question is whether Canada gees are considered migratory or not. Since so many of them have found our area so inviting and live here all year, there are now two official classifications: Migratory and Resident. If a Canada goose is nesting here from March through June, or living here from April through August, they are considered residents and lose some of the protection offered by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Resident Canada geese are subject to having their nests and eggs removed by anyone who has registered with the USFW Depredation Order. This is available online and requires a report each year on what actions were taken under the order.  This rescue and rehabilitation business is getting more complicated all the time!

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Big turnout for advanced rescue class

Big turnout for advanced rescue class

One of the many classrooms that will host future training events!

One of the many classrooms that will host future training events!

Because some rescues are more involved than others, an Advanced Rescue class was held last weekend at Liberty. Among the topics covered were waterfowl in general, fireplace extractions, and duck families in swimming pools (see H3 above!) Attendance was impressive and a team is forming to handle one of the most difficult rescues, a duck family in a back yard pool! The good news is that this will most likely be one of the last training events to occur under the overhang at the present site as several classrooms of various sizes will be available at the new facility.

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Kyrene Aprende Middle School Science Fair

Kyrene Aprende Middle School Science Fair (photo by Kris Berling)

Future programs can be presented at our own Amphitheater

Future programs can be presented at our own Amphitheater

Recently Doris Pedersen and I presented birds at the Kyrene Aprende Middle School Science Fair. The event was well attended by both students and parents who all seemed thrilled and interested by Acoma and Jester as well as the Educational display material. Next season, we hope to be able to put on similar programs in the Amphitheater on our own property.

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Neuton with "false eyes" displayed (photo by Claudia)

Newton with “false eyes” displayed (photo by Claudia)

Newton, "full frontal"

Newton, “full frontal”

Several of our small education birds display Ocelli or “false eyes” on the back of their heads. Long believed to be a defense mechanism, there is another theory of late, recounted here by noted bird photographer Ron Dudley: It has long been presumed by many that the function of ocelli is to provide protection against attack by predators from the rear.   Having been warned that the “owner” of the ocelli has likely seen them coming and will retaliate, a predator may abort an attack.  But another somewhat related alternative theory has also been proposed.

Many raptors with ocelli prey largely on passerine birds.  The “false face” may function in the hunting of small birds by provoking (or manipulating) their mobbing response.  The advantage to the raptor may be immediate because it’s relatively common for mobbers to be killed and eaten by the raptor being mobbed.  It’s also possible that the benefit to the raptor may be postponed if the raptor is actually using mobbing as a method of evaluating hunting prospects in the area.

Proponents of this second theory use research on pygmy owls as evidence.  There are 26 – 35 species of pygmy owls worldwide (the exact number is disputed) and some of those species include a high proportion of small birds in their diets while others do not.  Those pygmy owl species that prey mainly on passerines tend to have ocelli while those that do not, lack them.  It is claimed that these findings are most consistent with ocelli being used to deceive mobbing birds so they can be more easily preyed upon.

You make the call…!

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Another injured orphan GHO comes in

Another injured orphan GHO comes in

Not really injured, this one just needs some time to grow up a bit...

Not really injured, this one just needs some time to grow up a bit…

This time of year we are usually buried in baby great horned owls. Some are injured, some not, but the decision is always if we need to take them in and place them with foster parents or not. It’s always best to allow the parents to tend to them if possible, even if it’s on the ground. What will influence the decision is the situation concerning the surroundings. Kids, cats, dogs, pools, and cars in close proximity to branching GHO babies usually won’t end well for the little owl and our rescue volunteers are trained to evaluate the surrounding conditions.

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Hatchling baby ravens

Hatchling baby ravens (photo by Alex)

Two more baby ravens hatched this morning and got their arrival into the world baby pictures taken by Alex. They will join the crowd that has been growing of late, being fed by volunteers on a regular basis with a special high protein mouse purée. It’s truly amazing how fast the little birds grow!

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Dr. Wyman treats an adult raven with issues...

Dr. Wyman treats an adult raven with issues…

The raven that was severely burned is still with us and gets regular checks on his condition. At least every Tuesday afternoon, the bird is checked for progress in growing feathers and any additional sloughing of tissue due to the burns. It’s going to be a long haul for the bird but he’s trying hard to recover.

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Dr. Orr treats a kestrel leg

Dr. Orr treats a kestrel leg

Dr. Orr is frequently in attendance on Tuesday Vet Night, lending her expertise and knowledge of wildlife in general and birds in particular. From the largest California Condor to the smallest kestrel, any bird getting care from Dr. Orr is lucky indeed!

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New Facility Update

Main volunteer entrance and animal drop off

Main volunteer entrance and animal drop off

Lockers for 27 volunteers at a time

Lockers for 27 volunteers at a time

Main lobby and reception

Main lobby and reception

The north side

The north side

Our first road runner comes to check us out!

Our first roadrunner comes to check us out!

It’s almost scary how close we’re getting to finishing the new structure.

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This Week @ Liberty – April 11, 2016

Hoots, Howls, and Hollers

Megan Mosby - Executive Director

Megan Mosby – Executive Director

Sometimes a person needs to speak up, to act when injustice rears its ugly head.  When things seem to go this awry, a person just can’t be silent.  That would be wrong.  Climbing on my soap box now…

Recently, we have found out that Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center is under attack.  The sanctuary has been in existence in its current home for 22 years.  On ten acres near the McDowell Mountains reside around 300 animals including mountain lions, bobcats, bears, wolves, coyotes, javelina and other desert mammals that have for no reason of their own been deemed non releasable, and will never see wild places again.

Southwest Wildlife has provided these animals with medical care, habitat, and nourishment that makes this life of captivity as quality and tolerable as possible and has also provided people from near and far a glimpse up close of these charismatic creatures…creatures that would not be alive otherwise.

Here comes the rub.  A neighbor, one man, moved in next door fully aware of the fact that he was sharing the habitat with a wildlife rehabilitation center and a sanctuary…fully aware!  One lone man who decided that having to listen to the melodious howls of wolves and coyotes was keeping him awake.  It goes without saying that most of the people that I know would find great pleasure in snoozing to music from the wild…but then we aren’t that one man.

He continued to froth about yet another gripe…the dust on the road stirred up by visitors to the sanctuary.  Perhaps he could have helped with a solution to this problem, but instead he, this one man, had the sanctuary’s touring rights snipped off, excising a major part of their ability to care for the animals and successfully maintain the sanctuary with the help of tourist donations.

Now, through emergency funding from the Nina Mason Pulliam Foundation and donors including other neighbors, the sanctuary is able to continue to cover its needs, but hearings with the county supervisors in early June will decide whether or not the tourist activity will be allowed to continue with its needed revenue stream.  The Sanctuary is now drastically reduced in the number of tours that can come through which not only limits the funding that is needed but also limits the education and exposure that the public needs and deserves.

If the sanctuary found that it had to close its doors, what would happen to all of those animals already displaced once?  They all have names; they all have histories; they all have fans in the public who have visited them.  What will happen to them?  Liberty Wildlife couldn’t take them.  No place else that I know of has that kind of room.  Euthanasia????  That isn’t acceptable.  They are in captivity through no fault of their own, and they deserve better than this.

Hmmmmmmmm…all because of one lone man.  Speak up now for voiceless animals and for the folks trying to do right by them…one lone man…really!  Baaaaad Karma!

This Week @ Liberty

Posted by Terry Stevens

Posted by Terry Stevens

The intake total for the year now stands at 1017.

Yes, we took in the 1000th intake on Sunday, which puts us ahead of last year’s intake pace. Maybe the animals know we’re going to be in a bigger place soon… In any case, the day of our migration is fast approaching, as is Wishes for Wildlife 2016. If you haven’t gotten your tickets, you might want to get them soon Last year we sold all tables! This year’s event has lots of fun scheduled so don’t get left out! Most of the pictures this week are orphans and the like. I was doing a program last Tuesday during Vet Night and didn’t get many shots. On top of that, it was raining on Sunday when I went to get updates from the new facility, but it didn’t matter as the place is now locked up and we have no keys as yet. We’ll have to work on that. Just know that it’s getting very close to being done so don’t lose enthusiasm! Thanks to everyone who sent in photos for the blog. I’ll try to do better next week.

Number 1,000 for the year (photo by Alex)

Number 1,000 for the year (photo by Alex)

Young hummingbird comes in

A beautiful hummingbird comes in

Two of the smallest intakes we get, a hummingbird and a newly hatched duckling arrived recently. It’s always amazing to me that these diminutive birds are actually found by the public as they are so easily missed unless you know what you’re looking for. Of course, the duckling will grow into a full sized duck in a few months and the hummer won’t get much bigger, but both sometimes require help to make it through the night and Liberty is there for them.

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Sick little orphan

Sick little orphan

Jan and Dr. Wyman work on the baby gho

Jan and Dr. Wyman work on the baby gho

Flushing out his eyes

Flushing out his eyes

"That feels better"

“That feels better”

It always seems that at some point in the spring, the sky opens up and it begins raining baby great horned owls. Most of them can still be cared for by their parents in a process called “branching out” but sometimes there are other factors involved. Sometimes the places the parents decide to raise their families are inappropriate and unsafe for the babies (and people nearby), and sometimes disease is present in the nest. Avian canker (or trichomoniasis) is brought home by parents feeding infected food to their young and if caught in time, can be treated and cured. Periods of drought such as we have seen in Arizona can exacerbate the spread of this by limiting the availability of water supplies which are often prime sources of the organism. Owls, kestrels, doves, hawks, are all susceptible to this potentially deadly condition. Our new facility will provide a special “isolation” room to better treat these animals and keep others from acquiring the disease.

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Raven nest in a bad spot (Photo by Nina)

Raven nest in a bad spot (Photo by Nina)

Climbers are called in (photo by Nina)

Climbers are called in (photo by Nina)

The ascent (photo by Nina)

The rescue box goes up (photo by Nina)

It's a long way up (photo by Nina)

It’s a long way up (photo by Nina)

Baby birds and eggs are collected (photo b y Nina)

Eggs are collected and lowered to Liberty R&C staff (photo b y Nina)

Recently ADOT was planing to replace the deck on a bridge on I-40 just west of Seligman. Upon inspection, an active raven nest was discovered under the old deck and the decision was made to relocate the contents of the nest, 6 eggs. Since the nest was in an inaccessible spot on a trestle under the bridge, a professional climbing crew was employed to retrieve the eggs and lower them to Nina and the R&C team she was heading. The eggs were transferred to a portable incubator for the trip to Liberty and then placed in one of our high-tech incubators in the ICU. Hatching has been occurring since their arrival!

Baby Raven starts to emerge

Baby Raven starts to emerge

An hour later, he's here

An hour later, hatching is done

"Welcome to the world"

“Welcome to the world”

Feeding is nearly continuous

Feeding is nearly continuous

As the baby ravens hatch, they are placed in a brooder and fed a special diet of mouse purée (yes, we’re not kidding!) at regular intervals. They are accompanied in the brooder by a stuffed raven to reinforce the natural imprinting process as the camouflaged hand feeders distribute the food.

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Darwin with foster

Darwin with her foster

Thankfully, most of the orphan baby GHO’s we take in don’t require hand feeding by volunteers. Instead, we have several adult great horned owls who serve as foster parents for the rapidly developing owlets who get the benefit of having the proper species caring for them during this critical phase of their lives. If there is a down-side, it’s the depletion of GHO’s from the Education team this time of year. Normally we have 5 great horned owls on the Ed team, but given the needs of foster care, we now have one!

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Update on the New Facility

I was unable to get new pictures this week as A) It was raining. And B) the doors are all locked now and I don’t have a key as yet. These are from last week.

West wing north side

West wing north side

Wetlands panorama

Wetlands panorama

 

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This Week @ Liberty – April 04, 2016

Hoots, Howls, and Hollers

Megan Mosby - Executive Director

Megan Mosby – Executive Director

We see a lot of feathers at Liberty Wildlife.  What an amazing structure, the feather…amazing, functional and powerful.  For the birds, feathers offer an outer covering of vaned feathers with downy feathers beneath them and next to the body.  These provide the birds with insulation and waterproofing as well as color and are critical to the intricacies of flight.  They also play a part in communication with other birds and offers a means of protection.  If you look at an owl in a tree it pretty much can disappear due to the patterns of the feathers…camouflage. Or, on birds like Kestrels fake eyes made by feather patterns on the back of their heads misdirects predators from the real eyes.  Sweet!

Feathers that are off the bird have assumed other purposes.  For one thing, they line nests.image2  In some cultures, they are used in traditional medicinal practices.  In the past they were used as fashion statements for hats and coats and other décor.  Fishing lures and hair ornaments have also made use of feathers.

However, many of the early uses of feathers caused a negative impact on certain bird species and eventually laws were passed to protect migratory birds from the rapacious demand on feathers, molted or mostly taken from carcasses of birds killed to feed these trendy purposes.  This was a great move for the protection of species, but it created a hardship on Native Americans who depended on the use of these feathers for religious and ceremonial purposes.  The sad outcome was that birds were taken illegally when no other source of feathers was available.

image5The eagle feather was considered particularly sacred by many of these cultures so The National Eagle Repository was created by the US Fish and Wildlife Service to provide feathers to legally recognized tribal members.  But, since the 1990s there wasn’t a legal method of obtaining feathers from all of the other native species.  In 2010 in an effort to address the issue, Liberty Wildlife signed a Memorandum of Agreement with the USFWS to start a pilot program, the Liberty Wildlife Non-Eagle Feather Repository (NEFR).  At the end of the pilot period and after being awarded the Partners in Conservation Award, NEFR was made a permanent program.

Since October 2010 we have received 3276 applications for feathers filling 2506 for an average filled of 76.5%.  We have sent feathers to 43 states to about 200 federally recognized tribes of which there is a total of 567; therefore, 35.6% of all federally recognized tribes have feathers from Liberty Wildlife.  The youngest person to receive an order was 20 while the oldest was 81 years old.  In 2015 alone, we sent out feathers of 38 different species.

Feathers, recycled legally, are a success story for the species, the Native Americans, and our shared world.

This Week @ Liberty

The intake total for this year is now up to 821.

Posted by Terry Stevens

Posted by Terry Stevens

We’re all getting pretty busy around the facility as Baby Bird Season ramps up into full swing and our move to the new facility gets closer. We pride ourselves on providing training for our wonderful volunteers so they have the experience to provide the best service for the wildlife we are called upon to help. This begins with a call to the Hotline, followed closely by a rescue effected by an R&T volunteer. We also provide continuing care for our animals by keeping them safe from diseases they might acquire from exposure to the environment. All of this was displayed last week with training classes for Orphan Care, Rescue & Transport, and West Nile Virus vaccinations provided for the animals in our care. And while all this is going on, planning for this year’s Wishes for Wildlife is on everyone’s mind…

It's not just raptors who get shoes

It’s not just raptors who get shoes

If you’ve been following TW@L over the last few weeks, you’ve seen a couple of hawks receiving specially constructed “shoes” made to help treat foot and leg problems. Just so you don’t think we only provide this specialized care for the larger birds, I took this picture of a little dove last week who had a “shoe” fashioned for it to help correct a foot deformity which interfered with its ability to walk properly.

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Gun shot raven gets an exam from Dr. Orr

Gun shot raven gets an exam from Dr. Orr

The gunshot raven that arrived from Kingman recently was checked by Dr. Orr last Tuesday and appeared to be healing. As you remember, a pellet was lodged in the bird’s wrist and the joint was severely damaged by the projectile. The bird will, unfortunately, not be able to fly when the wing is healed, but since he is otherwise intact, he will be placed in either Education or another facility doing similar work.

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Two of Maggie's foster kids

Two of Maggie’s foster kids

The population of babies being raised by our teams of foster parents is growing rapidly. Here are only a couple of orphan GHO’s who will be imprinted by Maggie and eventually be released as strong, aggressive, and fully fledged great horned owls. This program is vital to our efforts to safely raise orphans that can be released into the wild with every chance to successfully join others of their species in the skies of Arizona.

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WNV vaccine

WNV vaccine

Ready to innoculate

Ready to innoculate

Birds are protected

Birds are protected

Talon trimming is also accomplished now

Talon trimming is also accomplished now

Beak coping is an art

Beak coping is an art

Once each spring, all of our birds are inoculated against Wet Nile Virus. This disease showed up in Arizona a few years ago and a few of the wild birds that have come in since then have presented symptoms of the virus. With this in mind, Dr. Sorum has been providing Liberty with enough vaccine to protect all of our resident birds each year. Usually they are all done on the same day and are injected on an “assembly line” arrangement by Jan Miller and her staff. While each bird is in hand, their talons and beaks are also trimmed during this visit to the “Day Spa” to prevent overgrowth and the problems this might cause. Living in the wild, birds wear down their own beaks and talons through normal activity but when in captivity, we often have to help nature along with this process.

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More Orphan Care training

More Orphan Care training

As the Orphan Care season moves along, new volunteers are continually being trained to join the team. The classes include species identification, types of food for each, and how to handle basic medical questions. We truly appreciate all of our Orphan Care volunteers and the effort they make to provide care for these fragile little lives.

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Not a great place for ducklings

Not a great place for ducklings

The release

The release

A better home

A better home

I’ve always said that of all the animals I’ve rescued in the past 26 years, ducks are the hardest with duck families in swimming pools heading the list. Here is a story by volunteers John and Balinda who did a fantastic job last weekend with just such a rescue: “Candice called around 11 AM with a duck in the pool relocation request.
The manager, Rick, would meet us to let us into the pool area.
When Balinda and I got there, there were a number of people from the surrounding apartments who wanted to see us capture the ducks.  Rick had tried numerous times and could not catch the mother, much less the 12 babies who were swimming in 12 different directions including down to the bottom of the pool.  They must have thought it would be an easy job for “professionals” from Liberty Wildlife.  Little did they know that this is one of the hardest rescues we do… there is nothing like a Mallard duck mother when she is threatened.  They can shoot out of the water straight up, or along the ground like a bottle rocket.  You just never know what they will do, and they are incredibly fast.
Balinda approached the mother from one end. She flew under my swinging net, and into a patio area next to the pool.  This gave me a bit of cover so I was able to sneak up on her and do a quick netting as she took off.  Balinda ran over with the box and some gloves to wrestle her in.  
Now for the babies.  We both started scooping them up every time they surfaced.  One by one we were catching them, but Balinda’s net was a little too big and they were squirting out after being netted.  So we used my net to capture all 12 of the little ones.  Then, into the box with mom… or so we thought.  Even though we were careful, mom flew out as the babies went in.  I was lucky to grab her in mid air as she flew!  Back in the box for the long ride to Scottsdale.
Balinda said, “too bad we didn’t bring some food for them so they have something to eat when they are released.”  I remembered Wild Birds Unlimited at Scottsdale Road and Indian Bend.  About a year ago they called and I had captured a hummingbird that was inside their store and moved it outside.  So we took the box ‘o ducks in and talked to the owner, Gretchen.  She took one look at the cute little guys and handed us a bag of wild bird food, on the house!  Thank you Wild Birds Unlimited!
Off to Marguerite lake, where Balinda carefully turned the box on its side, and released the box latches, but did not open the box (per your directions, Terry).  The mom stuck out her beak then made a break for the water, stopping to look over her shoulder to see that the babies were following.
In the mean time, we had told an elderly wheelchair-bound lady and her caregiver what was about to happen. They stopped and were watching with delight. 
All of us were spellbound as the momma duck sat by the water’s edge until all 12 babies scooted across the grass to her.  Then, into the water the whole brood went!  Wow!  A couple of smart baby ducks were riding on mom’s back as they went along the shore and checked out their really cool new digs in the huge Scottsdale lake that is their new home.
The elderly lady and her caregiver were ecstatic and thanked Liberty Wildlife for what we do.  A great feeling, a great day, and hopefully a grateful mother duck and 12 babies.”

Here’s a small video of the release by John:

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Peggy with Anasazi

Peggy with Anasazi Photo by (Doris Pedersen)

Doris and Diego

Doris and Diego (photo by Rodie Purcell)

Duck rescued by two young  boys

Duck rescued by two young boys (photo by Sherrill Snyder)

Peggy Cole and Doris Pedersen did a program on the west side last week. But there was more to the story as Doris writes:

“We did three programs on 4/1 at Estrella Mountain Elementary School. These boys were part of the 5th/6th grade presentation. That afternoon, they saw a hurt duck and called the LW hotline. The call went out to Sherrill. When she asked them how they knew to call LW, they told her that they had just had a program at school today. She walked them through how to get the duck without getting hurt. They got a towel, did a dumpster dive for the box and called back. By that time it was getting dark, and even though Sherrill had been on other calls and running around all day and was tired, she drove all the way out to Goodyear to get the duck that night. She really wanted the boys to feel like they were making a difference.  

Between Sherrill, Alexa and I we are keeping an eye on the duck and will give it back to the boys for release once it is ready. it’s just awesome to see everything come full circle!”

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"Chim chim cheroo..."

“Chim chim cheroo…” (photo by Paul Halesworth)

And while we’re talking about rescues, last night I went out to Laveen around 7PM. There was a bird in a chimney that turned out to be a grackle stuck in the draft box over the fireplace. The ashes had been removed from the floor of the fireplace, but the top (flue, chimney, etc.) had not been cleaned in some time. I finally got the bird out, but it took me around 40 minutes in the shower to get in shape to go to bed, and I’m still sneezing black gunk this morning! Hey, it’s cheaper than Grecian Formula!

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Progress Update on the New Facility

Parking areas and more foliage

Parking areas and more foliage

Water in the wetlands

Water in the wetlands

The north side of the west wing

The north side of the west wing

Amphitheater takes shape

Amphitheater takes shape

We had our first avian visitor!

The wetlands has its first avian visitor!

The new trees included this nest

The new trees included this nest

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This Week @ Liberty – March 28, 2016

Hoots, Howls, and Hollers

Megan Mosby - Executive Director

Megan Mosby – Executive Director

I often go out to visit the new site when there are no workmen around when it is quiet.  I can really imagine (read dream) about what it will be like to move in and be a part of splendor…and it is getting more and more splendiferous.  In addition to that I take a hike down the peace trail, sometimes west and sometimes east.  Yesterday I went east.

There is a wet land, intentional or not, that appears just beyond the 32nd St. bridge.  It always becomes a meditation for me.  On first approach I feel a thrill at a nook of water even though at first glance it seems empty and still.  However, as in any meditation if you stop, be very still, things begin to emerge.  It never fails.

Yesterday, Easter Sunday, was no exception.  My attention was first snagged by what turned out to be just a reflection.  But we settled in.  Red winged black birds, finches, sparrows flew busily along.  Merganser ducks floated quietly by.  Black necked stilts stood stoically doing their thing.

Settle a little more…a greater egret standing statue-like only feet from another white treasure in a snowy egret.

Settle more…a couple of mallards dive and drift, dive and drift.

Go a little deeper and the prize lifts its heavy body off the shore and does a flap, circle, circle, flap, rise and circle, and indeed the jewel reveals itself like it does in any meditative wisdom…a three-year-old bald eagle was working the wetland.  YAY!

I am in the process of compiling my Peace Trail and Liberty Wildlife bird list.  It is getting more and more impressive.  Harriers, peregrines, great blue herons, cormorants, red tailed hawks, ospreys to name a very few.  Do you think they know we are soon to be there?

And, just in case….

The invitations are out.  Wishes for Wildlife is upon us.  If you didn’t get an invitation in the mail, speak up and let us know where to send one to you.  YOU ARE INVITED!  We would love to have a full house again, and we would love the opportunity to introduce you to our education ambassadors, our silent auction, the beauty of the Montelucia, our fun program, and the dining delights of Chef Michael.

Maybe you would like to add something to our silent auction.  This auction is different.  There are unusual items that you won’t find anywhere else.  The Garden Section will delight the apartment/condo dweller or the manor home and anything in between…something wonderful for everyone.

And it is a way to support the mission of Liberty Wildlife…to nurture the nature of Arizona.  Be a part of our mission by joining in on the fun.

This Week @ Liberty

The intake total is now up to 681.

Posted by Terry Stevens

Posted by Terry Stevens

Orphan Care opening is imminent, and training has begun.  The number of baby birds is increasing daily and hopefully this will be one of the first operations that will move and begin activity in the new facility within a few weeks. It was amazing to see the number of people in the OC area last Saturday getting hands on training in feeding babies and logging in new arrivals at the intake window. Preparations for both the move and our fundraising gala Wishes for Wildlife 2016 are moving along in parallel and timing being what it is, both will occur nearly simultaneously. As the move approaches, my ability to be there for all the activity in the ICU is becoming more limited hence the brevity of the updates you’ll see. I’m relying on volunteers to provide photo-journalistic pictures for this blog and with the proliferation of iPhones and their amazingly good quality cameras, so far it’s been working. Keep the pics coming folks!

"Nike" girl doing fine

“Nike” girl doing fine

OK, if you’ve been following TW@L for the past couple of weeks, you’ve seen the progress that was made with this large Harris’ hawk. Her feet were not working well as she came in and special orthopedic shoes were made from styrofoam sheets to correct her malfunctioning toes and talons. Last week, she was moved to an outside enclosure with two other HaHa’s, her feet apparently working as well as ever after her treatment. Another success story for the Med Services team at Liberty Wildlife!

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Alex's info board (photo by Alex)

Alex’s info board (photo by Alex)

Our Daily Care Coordinator, Alex Stofko,  realized some newer volunteers might not be aware of the dangers of some of the things lurking around the property as the temperatures climb. Recently she put this board together to alert the volunteers as to what to be careful of as they go about their tasks at the facility. We’re all hoping that a lot of the creepy crawlies that inhabit the current facility will stay behind when we move to the new property!

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A good crowd for OC training

A good crowd for OC training

Hands on demonstration

Hands on demonstrations

Let the baby feeding begin!

Let the baby feeding begin!

Gail V feeding hummingbird

Gail V feeding hummingbird (no training needed here – she’s been doing this for months!)

The orphans are arriving in larger numbers each day and the training of the new OC volunteers began last weekend. A huge number of volunteers showed up on Saturday for Day#1 of hands on training from Susie and Andrea and some other experienced baby bird handlers. Everyone seemed attentive and excited about the opportunity to help the little creatures survive their first year.

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Dr. Wyman makes a shoe for the prairie

Dr. Wyman makes a shoe for the prairie falcon

Joanie has a way with the animals

Joanie has a way with the animals

It seems as though foot problems are common among birds that we see at Liberty, but since most birds of prey make their living by using their feet to obtain their food, it’s important for these appendages to work properly. The prairie falcon that we got from the vet clinic near Kingman has healed enough that now we are trying to rehabilitate the injured foot (see TW@L February 22, 2016). Since the “shoe” that was constructed fore the injured Harris’ hawk worked so well, Dr. Wyman made some more corrective footwear for this falcon to improve its ability to use the foot that was broken.

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Tim works on a wounded duck (photo by Denise)

Tim works on a wounded duck (photo by Denise)

Another fish hook injury (photo by Denise)

Another fish hook injury (photo by Denise)

Yet another case of discarded fishing gear causing problems to wildlife was brought in last week. This mallard was found with a fish hook complete with a couple feet of monofilament line embedded in his wing. This bird was fairly lucky as Tim and Denise were able to remove the hook and the line before more damage occurred. The duck will be released after a short period of observation and medication.

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Road runner with netting damage to its leg

Road runner with netting damage to its leg

An unfortunate roadrunner came in with a leg injury last week. It appears the bird had gotten inextricably tangled in some netting at a local grocery store. Nylon netting is used for a number of reasons including protecting plants and produce from birds and animals. Sometimes it is used on the roofs of buildings to keep pigeons away but as with poisons, they are not species specific and when it is encountered by any wildlife, there is usually a bad outcome for the animal involved. The prognosis for this bird is currently guarded. We’ll try to keep you posted.

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First orphan GHO of 2016

First orphan GHO of 2016

On the way to meet his new mom

On the way to meet his new foster mom

Dr. Wyman places the baby in Heddy's enclosure

Dr. Wyman places the baby in Heddy’s enclosure

Waiting for momma Hedwig to come down

Waiting for momma Hedwig to come down

Orphan great horned owls are among the most numerous of the raptor babies we see each year and this year promises to be no exception. The first one arrived last week, followed in quick succession by several others including the family of four seen on TV after the mother was shot by a homeowner. This little guy came in alone and was the first baby to take up residence with Hedwig, one of our wonderful foster moms who is now caring for the little one – and a couple of others that arrived later on in the day.

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Some wonderful people help Liberty Wildlife at an Easter event

Some wonderful people help Liberty Wildlife at an Easter event (photo  by Chris Bogus)Sonora greets some Easter visitors to Sharon's event

Sonora greets some Easter visitors to Sharon’s event (photo by Chris Bogus)

Some friends of Sharon and Tom Sneva decided to focus their annual Easter Sunday event on Liberty Wildlife. Sharon is an unbelievable volunteer who never ceases to amaze us all with her drive and attitude and she convinced the people who produce this event to make Liberty the recipient of this year’s proceeds. Joe and Jan took eagles that wowed the attendees, and Sharon released a rehabilitated red tail hawk for the edification of the crowd.So far, $800 has been raised with more on the way.  Thank you, Sharon and Tom! (CLICK HERE FOR A VIDEO OF THE RELEASE)

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Progress update on the new facility

Amphitheater seating progresses

Amphitheater seating progresses

Another view of the front of the new facility

Another view of the front of the new facility

Admin corridor

Admin corridor

No more window/wall units for cooling!

No more window/wall units for cooling!

Wetlands and rear entrance

Wetlands and rear entrance

The new place as seen from the Peace Trail

A panorama of the new place as seen from the Peace Trail

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