This Week @ Liberty – March 30, 2015

Hoots, Howls, and Hollers

Megan Mosby

Megan Mosby

It seems hard to believe, but our Orphan Season has begun….didn’t it just end?  The babies are appearing even though the official start date hasn’t arrived yet.  I guess calendar dates don’t rule!

There are some reminders related to the season that I want to share with you again this year.

  • If you find a baby bird on the ground, by all means, if you can, if it is safe, if the parents are still around, put the baby back in the nest.  Natural parents are hard wired to raise their babies and despite what you heard as a child, the parents won’t reject them if you have touched them.  In fact they will be thrilled to have the babe back.
  • One of the hardest things we have to do is take eggs or nestlings from parents who have invested so much time and energy in a nesting season.  It does happen that nests are destroyed, that buildings housing nests are to be destroyed, that cactus homes fall to the ground… unfortunate things happen, and it is a hard, hard decision to take the bounties of the nest while the parents do what they can to stop you.  So, if you don’t have to disturb a nest, don’t.  Wait until the season is over.  It isn’t that long.
  • That leads to trimming trees.  Just don’t do it during this time of year.  If you prune a nest from the tree, you are responsible for the lives of those eggs or nestlings.  Bottom line, don’t trim your trees until late fall.
  • As for baby mammals, the parents can’t stay with them all of the time.  When you think they are abandoned, more than likely the parents are out foraging and are very close by.  You must make sure, completely sure that there are no parents before you “heroically” rescue them.
  • Hummingbirds are notoriously nabbed by well-meaning folks who have been watching a nest and then all of the sudden the babies hatch and there is no room left for the parents.  The parents move to a nearby perch and watch over their young…often watching as a good soul unnecessarily rescues them.  Heartbreaking!

Now, this is not meant to discourage you from coming to the rescue of an animal in need.  Our Hotline can answer many questions for you, so don’t hesitate to call and ask for advice.  They can talk you through the processes of how to help, when to help, if to help.  Call 480-998-5550.  They will call you back.  We have a huge volume of calls during this busy season, but we have incredibly well-trained volunteers who stand at the ready to make your life easier.

And, if you really want to help you can volunteer to do a shift in Orphan Care.  We will train you and set you up with what you need to give wildlife a second chance.  Go to www.libertywildlife.org , to the volunteer menu and start the process.  We welcome your energy and your compassion.

This Week @ Liberty

The intake total for the year is now at 572.

Posted by Terry Stevens

Posted by Terry Stevens

As Megan pointed out in H3 (above), we didn’t transition to Baby Bird Season this year, we were engulfed by it! If you’re keeping track, you’ll notice that the intake number jumped by a 100 from last week. So, we’re in it now, and there’s little to do but what we do best – press on and keep the little guys alive! This amid the heaviest part of the education season as we approach Earth Day and the end of the school year. On top of this, most of us are scrambling to finish preparations for this year’s Wishes for Wildlife event coming one month and 4 days from now. So, if you notice a lot of hectic activity around and near the facility, you’ll understand why. Let’s see what happened this week…

Liberty at the Chester's Harley Davidson event

Stacey, Jan, and Nina at the Chester’s Harley Davidson event (photo by Amyra Popich)

Jan shows the Liberty colors at Chester's (photo by Amyra Popich)

Jan shows the Liberty colors at Chester’s (photo by Amyra Popich)

Liberty has had a close association with several of the Harley Davidson franchises in the area over the years. Last week we were in attendance at the Chester’s Harley Davidson Backstage Biker Bash, a part of Bike Week festivities in Mesa with a contingent of Liberty animals and volunteers. Liberty gets a percentage of the proceeds from the party (although as we all know, bikers are not big party people…!) We certainly want to thank Chester’s, Missy Hughes, and all the other volunteers who helped set his up.

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Feeling safe in the middle of all the hawks and owls in the ICU

Feeling safe in the middle of all the hawks and owls in the ICU

The baby cottontails have been pouring in for several weeks now, and their first stop is in an inside enclosure. After they have developed sufficiently to feed themselves and regulate their own temperature, they go to an outside hutch to better acclimate to the ambient climate. These little guys are still inside and probably aren’t even aware of how close they are to dozens of their top predators (yes, that’s a glass wall they are behind!)

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The latest golden eagle to arrive for treatment

The latest golden eagle to arrive for treatment is improving

Inside of two weeks, we took in 5 eagles, three golden and two bald. The last golden to arrive had a broken pelvis and a fractured humerous. Because of the location of the breaks, surgical pinning was not an option but since they were not compound, Med Services  decided that a very careful wrap followed by a closely monitored period of complete cage rest would be the safest and best course of action. It seems this is working as the bird was moved from an inside cage to a smaller outside enclosure, giving the bird room to move but not enough to get into more trouble.  She seems to be enjoying the change.  Keep your fingers crossed for this bird!

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Cholla isn't JUST for natives...

Cholla isn’t JUST for natives…

Lesley works to remove the cholla spines

Lesley works to remove the cholla spines

Finally freed from cholla hell

Finally freed from cholla hell

OK, ok, so we don’t normally do non-native species, but by the same token, we don’t turn anything away that is suffering – and this little starling was definitely suffering! He had gotten himself totally immersed in the clutches of a cholla cactus and if you haven’t experienced THAT little piece of Arizona’s welcome basket, you haven’t been here very long. So our wonderful Lesley Guenther spent several minutes c-a-r-e-f-u-l-l-y pulling the small barbed spines out of the unfortunate bird and was eventually successful. That was a very lucky little bird.

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A barn owl with a bad wing fracture

A barn owl with a wing fracture

Even with no training, you can tell this is a bad break...

Even with no training, you can tell this is a bad break…

We’ve had a few birds come in recently with what might be called “good” breaks where the fracture is mid-shaft and the bones are mostly aligned (the golden eagle above is a good example.) But this little barn owl presented this x-ray which shows massive damage – right at the elbow joint. If there is an upside to this, barn owls are fairly placeable if we can’t use them ourselves. The sad part is he will never fly again. Time for a career change…

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First view of daylight...

First view of daylight…

A day later - a new red tailed hawk!

A day later – a new red tailed hawk!

Joined by his brother a short time later

Joined by his brother a short time later

Recently our Research and Conservation team headed by Nina had to do a nest removal for the power company. Three eggs were retrieved from the poorly placed RTH nest and brought to Liberty and placed inside our high-tech incubator. Last week the first egg began pipping and a day later, a tired little RTH hatchling emerged. Within two days, the second little hawk came into the world and joined his/her brother being cared for by the Med Services team. When they are big enough, they’ll be placed with our foster parent red tails for care and imprinting and eventual release.

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Winkin, Blinkin, and Nod

Winkin, Blinkin, and Nod

Getting a medical check-up

Getting a medical check-up from Stevie and Shannon

"Is this what life is like?!?"

“Is this what life is like?!?”

Their first weigh-in

Their first weigh-in

Number 4 from the same nest

Number 4 from the same nest two days later

EVERYBODY gets fluids!

EVERYBODY gets fluids!

It’s always sad when babies are separated from their parents, but when the parents decide to nest in a dangerous spot, the survival of the little ones sometimes means they need to join our foster care program. Three little nestling great horned owls came in from a nest last week after falling nearly 18 feet into a horse corral, followed two days later by the fourth baby! They survived the fall but would almost certainly have died on the ground so we brought them in. They were checked over for injury, given fluids, and placed with Daddy Igor who is now fiercely protecting them as they grow. The deluge has begun!

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Don’t forget, Wishes for Wildlife 2015 is coming up on May 2nd at the Montelucia Resort! Get your tickets now at libertywildlife.net

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This Week @ Liberty – March 23, 2015

Hoots, Howls, and Hollers

Megan Mosby

Megan Mosby

This is such a busy time, and it is only going to get busier.  Last week we provided Intersession classrooms for the Phoenix Elementary School District to the students who weren’t able to take a spring break.  It was not only educational; it was very, very fun.  The students participated in what I refer to as a “gateway” science experience….learning dreaded science the fun way…leading to a desire to study science in the future.

Classes utilized our stellar educators and our unforgettable wildlife ambassadors, but that wasn’t all.  There were creative and fun activities that reinforced all of the “learning” activities, and by the end of the week the impressive amount of “learned” information would wow the most difficult to impress!

Utilizing activities that reinforced knowledge of adaptations, observations, and natural history with a blend and mix of environmental science and basic engineering, the students learned to fly airplanes based on the differences in “wing design” so that the falcon type wing was fastest and went the greatest distance as opposed to the wide flapping vulture wing that managed to stay aloft the longest.

Using binoculars encouraged each student to identify what was “trash” in the school yard and what was a “natural” leaving of nature.  The ability to start to notice natural things by long distance observation allowed the curious students to see birds, nests, eggs, snake skins, cactus boots, and other signs of nature from a distance, not interfering with any natural processes.  They were pretty amazing to watch!  I think a number of new young naturalists are in our future.  We could even watch the young explorers go from noticing the sounds of traffic or other kids’ voices to the more acute tuning into the wind in the trees and sounds of neighborhood birds… the finer sounds of the wild.

Another super event was our annual Baby Bird Shower at Cactus Park on last Saturday morning.  There were games for the kids, animals to see, educational exhibits, and the ability to sign up to volunteer for a shift to care for the thousands of babies arriving just about now.  It isn’t too late to sign up if you had to miss the event.  Go to www.libertywildlife.org to sign up to volunteer.  You won’t be sorry.

While all of this was happening preparations were being made for this year’s Wishes for Wildlife which you will be hearing about in the future…but for now, put May 2nd on your calendars for a beautiful event to support our mission.  If you are unable to attend, you might have an excellent item to donate to our auction.  If you go to www.wishesforwildlife.org you can follow our plans, buy a ticket or a table, make an auction item donation or just send in a monetary donation in support.

Finally, as if this weren’t enough, don’t forget our next Meetup to Clean up for Wildlife.  The event will be April 11 at 4:00 at the Anthem Community Park.  Check it out at www.meetup.com; sign up to help; see you there!

Whew…whirlwind of energy….all to help wildlife, to learn about our natural world, to make a difference!

This Week @ Liberty

Posted by Terry Stevens

Posted by Terry Stevens

The intake total for the year is now at 472.

Last week was rife with educational programs, some very large, some not so much, but all were important. The “snow bank” bald eagle was released and another bald eagle was a brought in. But by far the biggest activity of the past week was EDUCATION! In the last 7 days, Liberty did 21 presentations around the valley. These included our annual Baby Bird Baby Shower kicking off Orphan Care Season last Saturday which was a resounding success, and the week long Spring Intersession for the Phoenix School Peer Club. This was the second time we did this and they get better each time we do it. I tried to include some representative photos  below, so let’s jump right into the Education Week that Was…

Jan releases the Snow Bank Bald Eagle (photo by  Jake Bacon, AZ Daily Sun)

Jan releases the Snow Bank Bald Eagle (photo by Jake Bacon, AZ Daily Sun)

The bald eagle that crashed into a snow bank near Lake Mary recently was taken back and released last week. Joe and Jan took the bird back north where its return home was covered by the Flagstaff newspaper, the Arizona Daily Sun.  The family that actually saw the accident and rescued the downed eagle was also on hand to participate in the release. You can read more about it and see a video by clicking HERE!

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Linda presents Lance at San Tan Mountain Regional  Park

Linda presents Lance at San Tan Mountain Regional Park (photo by Kelly Virtanen)

Marco and Acoma at San Tan Mtn.

Marco and Acoma at San Tan Mtn. (photo by Kelly Virtanen)

One of the many shows Liberty did last week was at the San Tan Mountain Regional Park. Linda Scott, our Education Coordinator, presented to about 100 visitors along with Education volunteers Kelly and Marko Virtanen.

Stacey does a great job at the BBBS (photo by Dr. Orr)

Stacey does a great job with Soren at the BBBS (photo by Dr. Orr)

Donna explains how vultures work (photo by Dr. Orr)

Donna explains how kestrels work (photo by Dr. Orr)

Tim introduces Diego to a small fan (photo by Dr. Orr)

Tim introduces Diego to a small fan (photo by Dr. Orr)

Milk carton bird feeders

Milk carton bird feeders on display (photo by Carol Suits)

Kids who care about nature - and baby birds! (photo by Carol Suits)

OK, so maybe baby birds aren’t the cutest things in the world… (photo by Carol Suits)

OK, so this is why the pictures are all by other Liberty people - including our esteemed founder! (photo by Dr. Orr)

So now you know why the pictures are all by other Liberty people – including our esteemed founder! (photo by Dr. Orr)

The annual Baby Bird Baby Shower was a hugely popular event on Saturday. Susie Vaught did an outstanding job putting the program together as a kick-off to this year’s baby bird season and the official opening of Orphan Care 2015.

Ace is always a hit

Ace is always a hit

Tim presents Darwin (pre-egg!)

Tim presents Darwin (pre-egg!)

Instant owl

Instant owl

Kathy H shows the kids that even snakes need friends

Kathy H shows the kids that even snakes need friends

Carol helps the kids learn to observe

Carol helps the kids learn to observe

Sandra presents a kestrel

Sandra presents a kestrel

The program coordinator Sam does the release on Friday

The program coordinator Sam does the release on Friday

As we’ve said before the school intersessions are a lot of work, but they are a lot of fun too.  It’s four days of back-to-back presentations to dozens of kids from Kindergarten through 8th grade and one day of recap and a final class with two eagles before the release. The kids have a good time and really seem to learn a lot.  At the start of each class, they are quizzed on what the remembered from the previous session and I was amazed at how much they retained, probably because it’s easier to learn when you’re having fun while doing it!

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We need your help. This is ONLY a survey. There are NO WRONG answers – just say what you think! Pick one answer (and only ONE) to these questions and list them by number on another sheet (or this one if you prefer). Please e-mail them to me As soon as possible at: Buteo9@mac.com

  1. Name a common bird of prey in North America
  2. Name one normal activity for a volunteer at Liberty Wildlife
  3. What piece of equipment do we need at the new Liberty Wildlife facility that we don’t have now
  4. Name a reason for becoming a Liberty Wildlife volunteer
  5. Name a common animal that we take in for rehabilitation
  6. What is a common question you might hear asked by a child at a Liberty Wildlife school presentation
  7. What will Liberty Wildlife be able to do at the new facility that we have a difficult time doing at the present location
  8. Name a large animal Liberty Wildlife has taken in for care
  9. What is the oldest animal currently in residence at Liberty Wildlife
  10. Name a species of owl other than the Great Horned owl
  11. Name a specie of falcon found in Arizona
  12. Name a prey species for a red tail hawk
  13. Name one publication that is put out by Liberty Wildlife
  14. Name one thing Liberty Wildlife does besides providing medical care for injured animals
  15. Name a common human caused injury treated at Liberty Wildlife
  16. Name an important way you can help Liberty Wildlife
  17. Name a disgusting (or unusual) thing a turkey vulture does
  18. Name an interesting adaptation found in the great horned owl
  19. Name something that animals can get trapped in and need to be rescued by Liberty Wildlife volunteers
  20. Name a construction method that contributes to sustainability that can be used in Liberty’s new facility
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This Week @ Liberty – March 16, 2015

Hoots, Howls, and Hollers

Megan Mosby

Megan Mosby

I am so horrified by the article I recently read that I have decided to reprint it.  I found this in the Endangered Earth On Line No. 761, Feb.12, 2015.  I couldn’t think of a way to say it better,  and I didn’t want to leave anything out, so it was best to just pass it on and make a plea to all of you to make sure we don’t lose the words that name our wildlife and wild places in exchange for the likes of broadband and celebrity…please!  This is why our education program is SO important….know it!

 

Lost Words, Lost Creatures: Nature Disappearing From Dictionary                                                              

 “In the beginning was the Word,” reads the Christian Gospel according to John — just one example of how the primal creative import of words is acknowledged by religions and cultures all over the world. Words and names, both spoken and written, are the building blocks not only of self but of history and human society.

Since 2007 Oxford University Press has updated its prestigious, widely used Junior image002Dictionary (which has a limit of 10,000 terms) by getting rid of the names of some 30 kinds of plants and animals central to our relationship with nature — words like acorn, beaver, beech, blackberry, boar, cheetah, clover, fern, ferret, heron, kingfisher, lark, leopard, lobster, magpie, otter, panther, porpoise, willow and raven. In their place are new words deemed more worthy of page space: celebrity, MP3 player, analogue, broadband.

A group of prominent authors, including Margaret Atwood, has publicly requested that the removed words be reinstated in future editions. “We … are profoundly alarmed,” their letter begins, by the replacement of words associated with nature with those “associated with the increasingly interior, solitary childhoods of today. … There is a shocking, proven connection between the decline in natural play and the decline in children’s wellbeing.”

If we allow our animals to disappear not only from the wild places they call home but even from our children’s books, it’s only a matter of time before they’re lost to human memory.

Read the authors’ open letter and find out more at The Guardian.

This Week @ Liberty

Posted by Terry Stevens

Posted by Terry Stevens

The intake total for this year now stands at 401.

Last week was pretty sad around the facility, as 2 golden eagles died despite heroic efforts to save them. Then we lost a peregrine falcon a couple days later followed by the death of another California condor (pictured last week in TW@L). The saddest part of all this is that all of the fatal problems these animals suffered were caused by human activities including the four eagles that came in that were all involved with automobiles, and the condor who was yet another victim of stubborn ignorance in the guise of lead poisoning. The week was at least ending on a happier note – the bald from the snowbank was about to be released (on his way home as I post this – hope somebody is taking pictures!), the third golden had a somewhat brighter prognosis, and we are preparing to do another Intersession at Phoenix Elementary. Plus, next week we launch Orphan Care 2015 with another Baby Bird Shower. Have hope folks, life isn’t for the feint of heart. If it was easy, everybody would be doing it!

Grandpa gets his medicine

Grandpa gets his medicine

After our favorite (and oldest!) educational animal – Grandpa – had his surgery a couple of weeks ago, he is doing well. The only addition to his regimen is his medication that is administered every other day. Not bad for a 75 year old who has been through as much as he has!

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Note on the incubator

Note on the incubator

Now on the other end of the age spectrum, we have three Red tail eggs in our whiz-bang high tech incubator from a nest up near Bagdad. This note is to alert the ICU volunteers as to their presence so they keep an eye on them for future “activity” namely, hatching! Ahh the baby bird season is getting off to a rousing start!

Foster barn owl eggs hatching (photo by Alex Stofko)

Foster barn owl eggs hatching (photo by Alex Stofko)

Alba with two fosters

Alba with two fosters

Big yawn - it's hard work being a baby barn owl!

Big yawn – it’s hard work being a baby barn owl!

A couple of eggs we took in from an abandoned barn owl nest have hatched and the babies are in the care of Tytus and Alba, our foster parent barn owls. Mom and dad are doing a first rate job brooding, protecting, and feeding the little birds who are doing well, thank you very much! I’ll try to keep you posted on their rapid growth.

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Golden eagle In the "waiting room"

Golden eagle In the “waiting room”

Dr. Sorum shoots while Dr, Wyman and Jan hold

Dr. Sorum shoots while Dr. Wyman and Jan hold

Dr. Sorum checks the X-ray

Dr. Sorum checks the X-ray

Golden eagle wing damage

Golden eagle wing damage

The pelvis injury is confirmed

The pelvis injury is confirmed

Dr. Wyman Examines the wing

Dr. Wyman examines the wing

The fourth eagle of last week – a golden with another automobile induced injury – got a break as we were able to get some good X-rays via Dr. Sorum’s portable X-ray unit. There is nothing like getting good digital radiography early in the process to confirm the actual injuries and guide proper treatment. This is why we are going to try to fund the acquisition of a digital X-ray unit as soon as possible. This would be the single greatest addition to the equipment list at Liberty Wildlife right now.

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New volunteers get to jump right in...

New volunteers get to jump right in… (photo by Carol Suits)

Way to sell it Carol! (photo by Carol Suits)

Way to sell it Carol! (photo by Carol Suits)

As Carol Suits was conducting an orientation for new volunteers last Saturday, Tony Sola came out and asked if anyone wanted to help feed some babies. After nearly getting trampled in the rush to the ICU, these lucky volunteers got to help with feeding baby birds and baby bunnies. This is probably an unfair sales technique, but whatever works, go for it!

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The Wilcox eagle does a fly by

The Wilcox eagle does a fly by

The snow bank eagle gets in some exercise

The snow bank eagle gets in some exercise

Both bald eagles in the 60ft flight enclosure are doing well.  The young kid from Wilcox is flying well as is the 5 year old who crashed into the snow bank near Lake Mary. The older bird was banded recently (see last week’s TW@L) and will soon go back north to be released. Wilcox will remain with us for a while yet as his condition is monitored.

 

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This Week @ Liberty – March 9, 2015

Hoots, Howls, and Hollers

Megan Mosby

Megan Mosby

On Saturday our Meetup met up, and it was a huge, huge success.  Eighteen or so caring folks turned up at Chaparral Park in Scottsdale to rid the park of errant fishing detritus…..fishing line, sinkers, hooks, lures…which we found lurking around the lakes and there was more.  On the surface the park was pristine.  People were walking dogs, running, riding bikes, picnicking and yes, fishing.  On the surface it looked perfect.  With a purpose in mind, we filled bags and bags full of “stuff”.  There was fishing line which deceptively clung to grass, sand, and tables.

Park trash

Park trash

Attached to the lurking clear plastic line was an assortment of hooks, sinkers and in a number of occasions lures with multiple deadly hooks.  We found cigarette butts, plastic bread bag sealers, metal pop top mechanisms and any number of other deadly discards just waiting to grab, be ingested, and do damage.  But with eagle eyes and lots of help we scoured the area, and I feel sure for a little while that park is relatively clear.  We talked to fisher groups all of whom appreciated our work and vowed to do their best to make our treks unnecessary….oh let it be.  We will be back, however!

Cleanup volunteers at Chaparral Park

Cleanup volunteers at Chaparral Park

We met some incredibly nice new folks who have promised to continue the cause on their own.  And, we met new people who want to be included in future opportunities with us to clean up for wildlife.  Join us.   You will be glad that you did.  More follow up will reveal our take on Saturday.

On another note….I want to recognize the work of our medical team who knows no real schedule and no normal hours.  Recently we have had an influx of high profile animals whose needs go beyond the normal 8 to 5 schedule.  Several eagles and several condors have come to us…all in serious need of treatment.  The schedules of the medical team have no respect.  If the condors need to be tube fed, chelated, operated on, there is no schedule that is sacred.  They get what they need…days off or not.  If a golden eagle (or any other animals for that matter) needs surgery, it happens.  No questions asked.  The job gets done.

Here’s the deal.   At 7:00 pm on a Friday evening, if the eagle needs to have someone breathing for her, they are there.  If the surgery goes well and the animal can be saved….hooray! Unfortunately, reality does rear its ugly head, and the damage can be so overwhelming that the surgical team breathes for the animal, and breathes for the animal, and breathes for the animal….but the heart becomes erratic and the damage wins.  The clock doesn’t matter, the job must be completed…good outcome or not…the team watches, waits, hopes, and ultimately deals with the outcome and sometimes it just sucks.  That is what happened on Friday evening and my hat goes off to the stamina and dedication of the medical team that deals with the trauma…and comes back tomorrow to face whatever the fates bring.

We can look from the outside at the wins and losses, but to live it on Friday evening after 6 hours of surgeries goes beyond the pale.  My hat’s off to these heroes…they are the best.

This Week@ Liberty

Posted by Terry Stevens

Posted by Terry Stevens

The intake number for the year now stands at 322.

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…” Opening line from this week’s TW@L, A tale of three eagles.  It’s not very often that we get a call about an injured eagle, and it’s even stranger when we get two such calls in close succession. Last week we got three calls for eagles on the same day! Then, as the week was drawing to a close, we also took in a third California condor! This portends to be a big year for rehabbing at the facility if this keeps up, and we haven’t even gotten into the real busy season. (one of the by-products was that I actually got into a few of the photos on TW@L this week.) Let’s take a look at what happened…

John brings in the first golden

John brings in the first golden eagle

A small blood sample is drawn

A small blood sample is drawn

John looks concerned...

John looks concerned…

Jan administers medicine

Jan administers medicine

The bird's condition is critical

The bird’s condition is critical

But at least she had a good meal - look carefully at the raccoon foot in her stomach!

But at least she had a good meal – look carefully at the raccoon foot in her stomach!

John Glitsos drove up near Rye last week to begin the 3 eagle odyssey by bringing in a seriously injured golden eagle. She was down on the side of the road near what was left of a raccoon carcass which John moved away from the highway as he gathered up the bird. Two DPS Officers, Trent and Jimmy, helped him wrap her up in towels for the ride to Liberty. They had watched over her to prevent further injuries until John arrived, and were eager to help. The eagle had apparently been struck by a car as she was eating the raccoon and had suffered multiple injuries and was bleeding internally. When she came in, Jan and her team conducted an assessment and after giving fluids and drawing a blood sample for testing, placed her in a quiet enclosure to rest and  de-stress as much as possible. Sadly, sometime during the night she died from her massive injuries. Upon X-raying her body, we saw the remains of her last meal still inside her stomach: the foot of the road-kill raccoon. Truly an unfortunate end for a beautiful bird.

Tim McAdam gets his helicopter ready for the mission

Tim McAdam gets his helicopter ready for the mission

Tim with Ruby and Becky in Kingman

Tim with Ruby and Becky from the Kingman Animal Hospital

The exam begins

The exam begins as soon as the bird arrives (photo by Anne Peyton)

Alex draws blood

Blood is drawn for testing  (photo by Anne Peyton)

The golden gets fluids

Alex administers fluids (photo by Anne Peyton)

Injured golden eagle is prepared for X-ray

Injured golden eagle is prepared for X-ray

The leg gets a preliminary wrap

The leg gets a preliminary wrap… (photo by Anne Peyton)

...and a little food

…and a little food (photo by Anne Peyton)

OK, this is a bit out of order, but there is a method to my madness. As the day was winding down, I got a call from a wildlife manager near Kingman who said they had another golden eagle at the Kingman Animal Hospital. This bird had also been hit by a car and needed serious medical help. As it was already late in the afternoon, I called volunteer Tim McAdam who has his own helicopter and has done missions for us in the past. He didn’t hesitate to offer his help and the next day, he and I flew to Kingman where we were met by Ruby and Becky from the animal hospital. The bird was transferred to the carrier in the helo and we flew to Scottsdale. Upon arrival, the bird was examined, given fluids and some food, and the broken leg was wrapped. Surgery was performed the next day but the bird sadly didn’t survive. Upon doing a necropsy, Dr. Orr discovered that the bird’s liver had  ruptured in the collision and one of its lungs was filled with blood. In this condition, there was nothing that could have been done to save it. Another heartbreaking conclusion.

The bald arrives

The bald eagle arrives (photo by Kathy Edwards)

The bird is examined by Jan and the ed Services team.

The bird is examined by Jan and the Med Services team. (photo by Kathy Edwards)

He's apparently in relatively good condition!

He’s apparently in relatively good condition! (photo by Kathy Edwards)

To be sure, Dr. Sorum takes an X-ray to make sure there are no lead fragments

To be sure, Dr. Sorum takes an X-ray to make sure there are no lead fragments

Jan holds the bald for measurements

Jan holds the bald eagle for measurements

Kyle measures the beak

Tuck measures the beak

The talons are measured as well

The lengths of the talons are recorded as well

Finally, the state band goes on

Finally, the state band goes on

OK, back to eagle #2, a 5 year old unbanded male bald from the Lake Mary area. This bird had flown headlong into a snow drift and was rescued by a family who witnessed the bird’s landing mishap and ran to the rescue. (go to http://azdailysun.com/news/local/group-rescues-bald-eagle/article_e94adf9d-c67f-5d43-865f-14685f47c169.html for the story) Liberty Wildlife volunteer Tim Coppage drove to Flagstaff and picked up the bald eagle and brought him down for examination and treatment. Not presenting any overt trauma, the bird was X-rayed to verify there was no lead in his body, and was placed into a 60ft flight enclosure to rest up and get his flying skills back. In the near future, he’ll be making the trip back north where we hope to get the family that rescued him to participate in the release!

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Our third California condor this season is a male, # 287

Our third California condor this season is a male, # 287

We took in a third California condor last week. This male, #287, is in serious condition from the effects of lead poisoning. He is being treated and his prognosis is guarded at this time. We’ll keep you posted.

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This Week @ Liberty – March 2, 2015

Hoots, Howls, and Hollers

Megan Mosby

Megan Mosby

For as many years as I have been participating in wildlife rehabilitation, we have been rescuing, when we could, rehabbing, when we could, and releasing, when we could, animals (mostly water fowl and turtles) who have unfortunately found themselves at the wrong end of fishing line, sinkers, hooks, and lures.  It is all a big mistake, and it needs to be fixed.   Every park with a lake, the canals, the rivers, and larger lakes are the scene.  Fishing line that gets abandoned, breaks away with the fish, or just gets frustratingly tangled and ultimately tossed on the ground is the culprit.  It is often incredibly hard to see and is easily forgotten when the fishing day ends.

And, then some innocent creature becomes trapped.  It might start in the feet and legs and when the beak is used (not an opposable thumbs on a one of them) hooks take hold, barbs and all, in eyes, tongues, necks, chests.  The struggle ensues; the fishing implements get tighter and tighter as the struggle gets more and more intense.  Starvation or strangulation, lack of circulation or gross infection can and most often do occur.  It takes a long time to die like this, and many people witness it.

Our phone rings with voices of outrage.  Our rescue volunteer is dispatched and the rest of the depressing story follows.  The horrid frustration of trying to catch an animal who can fly, run, or swim makes it very, very hard to help an animal who doesn’t know your motives and is on the downward slide to death.  How depressing is this scenario?

John Glitsos, among other things a constant receiver of these rescue calls, was sent out on one such call last week that didn’t end all that well and left him perplexed as why this continues to be such a hideous problem.  So, problem solver that he is, he has come up with a new program that we are launching this week.  The gist of it is this.  We have formed a Meetup group called “Cleanup to Save Wildlife” and our first event is Saturday, March 7th at Chaparral Park in Scottsdale at 10:30 in the morning.  For all interested parties, you will be able to stroll around a lovely park with like-minded people cleaning up all of the fishing line and accompanying paraphernalia that destroys the life of many innocent animals.

On a regular basis we are hoping to do Meetups in all of the local area parks with lakes to scour for offending items.  We will surely be at a park in your area at some time soon.  This is a perfect event for school classes, home schoolers, scout troops, retirement communities and any other do gooders who want to ease the way for wildlife, take a nice walk with friends and families and leave with a smile on your face because you helped a desperate cause.

Please follow the directions below to sign up for an event:

You can go directly to our “Cleanup to Save Wildlife” page at this web address:

http://www.meetup.com/Cleanup-to-Save-Wildlife-Meetup/

Click the green “Join Us!” button on the top right of the page.  If you are not a member of Meetup.com, you will be prompted to join.  It is free.  Then you can join our particular group and other Meetups that might interest you.  Once you have joined our Meetup group you will be able to attend any posted event, or create your own events that you want to sponsor!  All of this is totally free.

Join us and others to help wildlife.  You will be happy and proud. Guaranteed!

This Week @ Liberty

The intake total is now at 275.

Posted by Terry Stevens

Posted by Terry Stevens

Birds, bats, and small critters are coming and going, completing the cycle of rehabilitation and release. Some don’t make it, and some will have to stay in our care a little longer, but the process works in the long run. One of the California condors has improved enough to be moved into a flight enclosure and is next in line to be released, and two young Cooper’s hawks made the leap to freedom near the facility last week. The raccoons are now free and most of the ducks and geese have been released, and we’re still taking care of the little fox squirrel. Let’s have a look at the week…

A broken wing for a Mexican free tail bat

A broken wing for a Mexican free tail bat

A nice person brought in an injured Mexican free-tailed bat last week. Somehow the little mammal had suffered a fractured humerus. The good news is no one had touched the bat without gloves so no other agencies had to get involved and he didn’t have to be checked for rabies. REMEMBER: if you find a bat that needs our care, don’t touch it! Call the Liberty Wildlife Hotline for advice and they will dispatch a rescue volunteer trained to handle the situation.

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Another cormorant comes in

Another cormorant comes in

Jan says say "Ahhhh..."

Jan says say “Ahhhh…”

A couple of new cormorants came in, including this one that was found walking along the road. He was checked for fishing line, fishing hooks, etc., and other injuries prior to being placed in the outside waterfowl enclosure. These birds cannot take off from the ground very well, requiring a long stretch of water as a runway – especially if they are young and inexperienced.

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Dr. Wyman examines a coopers hawk

Dr. Wyman examines a coopers hawk

"I will be taking names..."

“I will be taking names…”

We have been treating a number of injured Cooper’s hawks lately (two of which got released – see below!) We’ve often said how accipiters are likely to collide with objects as they fly in hot pursuit of their prey – almost always another bird. The lucky(?) ones arrive at Liberty for expert medical care until they heal sufficiently to be returned to the wild.

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Jan sutures a wounded peregrine

Jan sutures a wounded peregrine

The wing is then wrapped prior to being X-rayed

The wing is then wrapped prior to being X-rayed

On Sunday, Dr. Sorum brought in his portable X-ray unit

On Sunday, Dr. Sorum brought in his portable X-ray unit, confirming the fracture of the humerus (photo thanks to Alex)

Dr. Sorum wraps a peregrine after the X-ray

Dr. Sorum re-wraps the wing after the X-ray

I remember 27 years ago when I started with Liberty, we thought it was a totally cool thing to see a peregrine falcon. There were not nearly as many of them around back then and it was rare for one to come to us for care. Now we seem to get them quite often, which is also a good news/bad news situation. The bad news is more of them are getting injured, the good news is we are here to get them back into the air! One such patient recently came in with a fractured humerus which was initially wrapped by the Med services team and then confirmed by Dr. Sorum’s portable X-ray machine last Sunday. We’ll try to keep you posted on his progress.

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Stretching for a meal

Stretching for a meal

"I think I'm full now!"

“I think I’m full now!”

The current cutest patient is still the baby fox squirrel. He is fed throughout the day by the Med Services team and will eventually be taken back to Texas when he is big enough. Anybody heading to the Lone Star State anytime soon?

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The "little rascals" prior to release

The “little rascals” prior to release

Cell-mates meet: "What are YOU in for?" (photo by Cindy Zeigler)

Cell-mates meet: “What are YOU in for?” (photo by Cindy Zeigler)

Before they were released, the raccoons noticed a new inhabitant next door as a black-crowned night heron was placed into one of the water fowl pens adjacent to the mammal enclosure. Curiosity ensued…

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Sharon releases a Cooper's hawk

Sharon releases the first Cooper’s hawk

Then a second Cooper's goes free - SPARROWS BEWARE!

Then a second Cooper’s goes free – SPARROWS BEWARE!

Two more Cooper’s hawks were released last week after successful rehabilitation at Liberty. Both of the avian hunters flew well and will soon be terrorizing the sparrows and pigeons (maybe the love birds?) in the area. This is how nature works, and how it should always work. Predators and prey are two sides of the same coin, with predators keeping the prey species healthy and in balance, and the prey ultimately determining the number of predators as their own populations rise and fall.

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455 is almost ready to go home!

455 is almost ready to go home!

Finally, California condor #455, the female that has been in treatment for lead poisoning for the past few months, is now in the flight enclosure. this is the last stop before the trip home to the Vermillion Cliffs and freedom to rejoin the Grand Canyon population of her species. We are all proud of the progress she has made and we will be happy to see her go back home. The male is still in treatment and will remain here for some time yet as he fights off the effects of the lead.

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This Week @ Liberty – February 23, 2015

Hoots, Howls, and Hollers

Megan Mosby

Megan Mosby

In May of 1993 a volunteer at Liberty Wildlife saw him lumbering, as only a desert tortoise can do, down the middle of Cactus and Scottsdale Roads.  Granted those pathways were smaller then…mere roads rather than the major thoroughfares that they are today… but tortoise vs the hurtling beast on wheels is still no match.  He was snatched up in the nick of time and brought in to Liberty Wildlife.

Even at that time he had the look of a weathered old one.  He had a hole in his shell as if he had tangled with a dog or possibly a coyote.  The scales on his front legs were worn as if he had spent time trying to escape from some unknown place.  He looked as if he had been around the block a few times.  And there he was cruising down the road in search of more adventure or a lady friend.

The regulations say that if a tortoise is handled or brought into captivity it cannot be released back into the wild, an effort to prohibit potential diseases from spreading into a wild population of tortoises.  So we applied to have “Grandpa” added to our education group.

Since then he has hibernated half of the year like all good tortoises do and educated a delighted public the rest of the time.  In 2004 we noticed that he was not eliminating correctly and x-rays showed that he had bladder stones. Bummer!  Dr. Orr performed surgery to remove the stones by going through the lateral side on the back leg…easier than the more evasive surgery going through the shell.  He got well and went back to his normal life of sleeping half the year and educating the rest of the time.

We began to notice that he was sleeping longer and often had to be awakened from his hibernation.  Grandpa was getting old.  We noticed again that he was not eliminating correctly and new x rays showed more stones.  Dr. Driggers agreed to do the surgery this time and because of adhesions and scar tissue from the last surgery it was necessary to go through the shell.  Apparently it is possible to tell a lot about a tortoise from the condition of the shell.  And, what we were told was that Grandpa was probably between 70 and 75 years old!!  He is in moderate kidney failure and probably doesn’t have a lot of years left in him.  He won’t hibernate this year and is regularly given subcutaneous fluids to make his life as easy as possible.

Grandpa

Grandpa

Now lest you think this is one sad story, let me tell you, it isn’t.  Grandpa has been one cool beast.  He had a home in the walkway of the eagle enclosure and to our golden eagle, Phoenix, he was a terrifying thing…possibly a walking rock or something worse.  Whenever Phoenix, a grand predator himself, saw the grazing tortoise he would hackle and flee to the rear of his flight cage…Grandpa ruled.  Whenever there was a female tortoise on the property awaiting placement, Grandpa spent relentless hours attempting to escape his enclosure to keep a date with the lady down the aisle way…and guess what…he usually was nabbed scurrying down the way hoping to reach the visitor before he was caught.

He has been around for a long time.  Think what all he has seen in those 70+years….no talk of polluted skies, global warming, polar vortexes, and maybe no atomic bombs…who knows?  What we do know is that among other things he has been a stud-ly guy, a tormentor of golden eagles and an A-One educator.  He will go into semi-retirement and spend hours dreaming about his past adventures, hopefully with a big smile on his face.

Thanks Grandpa.  Your presence has brought so much to the planet.

This Week @ Liberty

Posted by Terry Stevens

Posted by Terry Stevens

The intake total is now at 236.

We’re moving on with a few patients, and doing more Educational programs and training for our volunteers. This all comes along with the usual rehab work and projects that recur during the year. Susie and her OC team are getting ready for the kick-off of the Baby Bird Season at the annual Baby Bird Shower on March 21. The Hyatt shows and the Verde Canyon Rail Road programs are going on nicely, and everyone is preparing for Wishes for Wildlife 2015 in May. If you pledged support for the Birdies for Charities program at the WMPO golf tournament, you should have gotten your statement last week (I guess the weather held down the number of birdies this year as my own bill was smaller than it has been!) In any case, things are moving forward so let’s take a look at what happened recently…

Tony speaks to an advanced rescue class

Tony speaks to an advanced rescue class

A short while ago, Liberty held an advanced class for Rescue and Transport volunteers who wanted to expand their knowledge. The main thrust of the class was waterfowl and some techniques that have been known to work in rescuing ducks, geese and pelicans. It was a full house with SRO seating as the volunteers exchanged ideas and stories about the added challenge of rescuing birds who can swim to avoid capture. Thanks to all who attended!

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OH BOY, I'm goin' home!

“OH BOY, I’m goin’ home!”

Back on a familiar lake!

Back on a familiar lake!

Speaking of waterfowl, the day after the class was when we got the call about the 5 swans and their encounter with the oil on a lake in Sun City. All five were brought to Liberty for “degreasing” and feeding until the lake was cleaned of the oil which finally occurred last week.  Tim and I drove them back to their home lake in Sun City and we left 5 very happy swans behind as they again cruised their familiar waters, much to the delight of the resident homeowners.

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Rebecca and Alex examine the cormorant for more line

Rebecca and Alex examine the cormorant for more line

A "Gordian knot" of discarded line

A “Gordian knot” of discarded line

Another cormorant arrived last week totally entangled with red fishing line. The nylon string was wrapped around his feet, legs, and neck in what surely would have killed him without our intervention. Luckily, he was found and rescued soon after his exposure and the line had not been on him long enough to cause permanent injury. Rebecca and Alex were able to remove the filament and he was allowed to go into the outside waterfowl enclosure to recuperate and de-stress prior to release.

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"Old MacDonald had a farm..."

“Old MacDonald had a farm…”

The pens on the north side of the facility looked and sounded even more like a barnyard than usual last week as a miniature goat showed up at the door. It seems she was a pet that had gotten loose from a local neighbor, went on walkabout, and followed a man who was out and about himself. Knowing what we do, he stopped by the facility and we took the animal in for safe keeping while posting signs around the neighborhood.  One of our volunteers posted a notice on FaceBook and soon the friendly goat was back with its owners after making some new friends along the way.

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GHO with an injured eye arrives

GHO with an injured eye arrives

Jan applies some ointment

Jan applies some ointment

Recently a great horned owl came in with an injury to its left eye. Calls were made to the clinic that handles our special eye problems and surgery was scheduled. Prior to the operation, Dr. Urbanz prescribed some soothing ointment which the Med Services team applied daily. Last week the owl had surgery on its eye and is now doing well as it recuperates at the Liberty facility.

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Cooper's hawk feathers ready to implant

Cooper’s hawk feathers ready to implant

The donor shaft is cleaned

The donor shaft is cleaned

The internal shaft strut is then glued

The internal shaft strut is then glued

Next it is inserted into the existing host feather shaft

Next it is inserted into the existing host feather shaft

A perfect match!

A perfect match!

Sometimes we have a bird in rehab that is ready for release – except it has damaged some of its flight feathers. If we have a supply of similar feathers on hand, we use a process called “imping” or implanting. This is where a donor feather is mechanically joined to the host bird’s existing broken shaft. A strut of wood or other light, strong material is glued into the new shaft and then the other end is in turn glued into the one still attached to the bird. This natural prosthetic works very well and will remain with the bird until it molts again, replacing it with a whole new feather. Last week, Jan and Rebecca performed this process on several birds at Liberty, including kestrels and cooper’s hawks.

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Donna and Cecile enjoy "Friday Morning Appreciation"

Donna and Cecile enjoy “Friday Morning Appreciation” (photo by Carol Baetzel)

Never let it be said that Liberty doesn’t fully appreciate all of our volunteers – and all they do for us! Recently the Friday team was treated to a buffet of good food by the team lead who wanted them to know how highly they are regarded by everyone! Carol took this picture of Donna and Cecile enjoying the spread of goodies as they worked.

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Toba feeds the fox squirrel

Toba feeds the fox squirrel

Someone from Texas recently brought in a baby fox squirrel that had somehow hitched a ride to Phoenix with them. The little guy has become a favorite in the ICU and is in the running for “Cutest critter on the property” – at least this month!

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This Week @ Liberty – February 16, 2015

Hoots, Howls, and Hollers

Megan Mosby

Megan Mosby

It is Valentine’s Day as I write this blog, and clearly love is in the air….or it should be.  It was brought to my attention that one of our potential education–in-training red-tail hawks, Arya, is an image out of cupid’s little quiver.  Now in the early days of training she wasn’t exactly oozing love vibes…she was demanding, and I guess willful might be a good descriptor.  That is pretty much what a good red-tail should be.  Unfortunately Arya was imprinted by the Good Samaritan who found the helpless baby and didn’t realize how difficult it is to raise a baby raptor alone, without proper imprinting.  An improperly imprinted animal results in a loss correct species identity dooming it to life in captivity.

Arya grew up to be a beautiful specimen of a red-tail.  She will make a great education ambassador, and this year her stunning heart shaped feathers have made her the poster child for Valentine’s Day.  Look at her feathering closely because by next year at this time her role as cupid’s helper will be over and her molted feather hearts will be on the ground somewhere as her new feathers push forward indicating adulthood…red tail and all.

Arya  (photo by Linda Scott)

Arya (photo by Linda Scott)

Linda Scott captured this photo during a training session, and I couldn’t help but share it with you at this romantic time of the year…and while you watch the other birds in the wild start their courtships flights, their nest building activities, the tending their young, please remember that a young animal like a baby bird, needs proper upbringing in order to be safely fledged into the wild.  That is the way it is supposed to be.

One of the saddest injuries is one like Arya’s.  She is stunning.  She is tough. She would be a great hunter, mate, mother.  But, that won’t happen because she doesn’t have a clue that she is all of those things.  Her life won’t be a failure because she will teach a lesson to hundreds of thousands of people over the years, but it would have been better had she been a hunter, mate, mother.

It is close to the Orphan Care season at Liberty Wildlife, our busiest time.  We have succeeded over the years in properly raising and releasing thousands and thousands of orphans.  We know how to do it without imprinting them.  We know the best way, next to mom and dad, to provide for the needs of hundreds of different species of animals.

The take away here is to look at the natural beauty of Arya.  If you find a baby on the ground, give Liberty Wildlife a call.  We will help you do the right thing by the compromised critter.  Let’s be sure we give every animal in need a second chance at a full life.  It is the right thing to do.

Unlike love, Arya, will not be in the air on Valentine’s Day.  Let’s don’t let that happen again.

This Week @ Liberty

Posted by Terry Stevens

Posted by Terry Stevens

The intake total for this year is now at 216.

So, we’re still maintaining the swans, and we’re still getting bunnies almost every day. The California condors are both making progress towards their return to the Grand Canyon, and Aurora makes another starring appearance at the Parada del Sol parade. (Sorry this update is so late. I was trapped in NYC by bad weather and then experienced some technical difficulties. Wadda ya gonna do? FUGGEDDABOWDIT!)

It's a small lake...

It’s a small lake…

The five swans that have been in our care since last month are doing well, biding their time until they can go back home to their lake in Sun City. We are just waiting to hear that the oil that contaminated the water has been removed and it is again safe for them and the other waterfowl that live there.

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"You can feed me now, please..."

“If you feed me, I’ll grow thiiiiiis big!””

It seems as if we get more baby bunnies in every day. I suppose this is the time of year for it (as if there is ever a time of year NOT for it!) but the Med Services team has the routine down pretty well now and the small bundles of cuteness are all well cared for.

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The duck is vastly improved

The duck is vastly improved

The domestic mallard duck who’s leg had nearly been severed by the fishing line and gear has responded well to all her care. The wonderful job of reconstruction by Dr. Wyman and the Vet Night crew have paid off and her foot appears to be healing, as is her leg. She got to go outside into the pool area and looked like one very happy duck as she played in the water, ignoring the pelican who watched from his kennel.

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A last exam before going outside

A last exam before going outside

A meeting of the minds

A meeting of the minds

The new big girl surveys her realm

The new big girl surveys her realm

A large, beautiful red tail hawk has come a long way since her arrival and last week, she was deemed fit to go into an outside enclosure with other RTH’s. After a final check of all important parts, she had a head-to-head with Joanie and then got to join her new room mates. She is big and aggressive and appeared to take charge of the area almost at once.

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Nina draws net duty for the male

Nina draws net duty for the male

The feeding tube is inserted

The feeding tube is inserted

"I'll remember this!"

“I’ll remember this!”

The male California condor was still being tube fed last week and I captured the routine that takes place a couple of times each day. He is aggressive and strong and after the feeding, the volunteers are exhausted from the procedure. Luckily, the female is more compliant and is eating on her own now and had her “closing” surgery last week.

Alex brings the patient to surgery

Alex brings the patient to surgery

The mask goes on one more time

The mask goes on one more time

The intubation tube is inserted

The intubation tube is inserted

Jan and Alex assist Dr. Orr

Jan and Alex assist Dr. Orr

Dr. Orr reconstructs the crop

Dr. Orr reconstructs the crop

The crop is finally closed

The crop is finally closed

The female California condor (#455) was moving food on her own last week and no longer losing weight so Dr. Orr decided it was time to close her crop. The surgery went well with Alex and Jan assisting. After administering the anesthesia, the field was cleaned and irrigated. Dr. Orr cut off some scar tissue and sutured the fresh ends back into the form of the crop as it will be used by the bird’s digestive system. If all goes well she will recuperate in her enclosure for a time, then on to a flight enclosure prior to being driven back to the Vermillion Cliffs and release.

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Joe and Jan with Aurora at Parada del Sol

Joe and Jan with Aurora at Parada del Sol (photo by Kelly Virtanen)

Joe and Jan took Aurora to the Parada del Sol parade again last weekend and as usual, she was a big hit with the crowd. It seems Liberty Wildlife is becoming an expected participant in most big-time local festivities of this nature.

 

 

 

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This Week @ Liberty – February 9, 2015

Hoots, Howls, and Hollers

Megan Mosby

Megan Mosby

On a glorious day last week I met at our new site with the Park Rangers for the Rio Salado Restoration Area, Ranger Koy and Ranger Brian.  What a delight!

Not only are these two keepers of great information on the area, they are also very excited about the possibilities that come with Liberty Wildlife moving to the area.  They are keenly aware of the synergy of activities that are currently buzzing around in the area.  The Audubon Arizona is about three miles to the west of us.  The City of Phoenix has done lovely things with paths through the restoration area which is lined with gabion seating spots and covered wildlife viewing areas.  There has been an initiative called Beyond the Banks which among many other things encourages businesses to locate the entrances of their facilities to face the Rio Salado to spiff up the appearance as the trails are used by folks for hiking, biking or horseback riding.  It also encourages the creation of attractive spaces for public enjoyment, and the balance of land uses creating places for community recreation and environmental education.  Let’s not forget the Peace Trail goes right in front of our property and will eventually stretch from 19th Avenue to Tempe Town Lake providing wonderful opportunities to be outside doing wonderful things.

The Brooks Community School in the Roosevelt School District is bringing all sorts of opportunities to the neighborhood including Greenhouses that support sustainability issues and provide excellent educational opportunities to see hydroponics, aquaponics, micro-green productions and who knows what else will bloom as this new venture gets roots.  There is an outdoor classroom in Tempe at the Broadmor Learning Patch, a school garden where principles of science are taught in the out-of-doors.

We will be connecting with Gail Morris, the local monarch butterfly guru, to find out how we can incorporate milkweed into our landscape to provide food for migrating monarch butterflies.  We hope to eventually provide an opportunity for breeding stations for these migrants as they follow their several generation migration to Mexico.

One of the things that delights me the most is the information that I received from the rangers related to our resident beavers….yes, I said beavers.  I have been aware of one beaver….have seen him with my own eyes. He was cleverly named Lincoln by Jan…as in logs!  I ignorantly decided he was all alone and worried about him.  But, Ranger Brian set me straight.  There is an EXTENDED family who lives in the waters in front of our property.  The clever little guys have several lodges that they use depending on the level of the water.  They channel the water related to their needs and are able to survive even when times are tough.  They also move up and down the river to survive the harshness of the desert, but our part of the river seems to be a constant water resource for them.  That makes me so happy.  More on this subject will surely follow.

I know, they are doing what beavers do…gnawing the trees…but we are pretty much reedy and small riparian vegetation, and I am happy to share with them if it will keep them around.  They represent one more lesson in sustainability that we will be able to use in our educational efforts.

I can hardly wait to be a permanent part of the landscape in the Rio Salado Restoration Area.  If you want more information just let me know.  I am excited to share the possibilities.

This Week @ Liberty

Posted by Terry Stevens

Posted by Terry Stevens

The intake total for this year is now at 152.

The weather remains mild, and the level of activity is still low-to-moderate. Good thing too, because our Animal Care Coordinator was under the weather for two days! Yes, we all like to think we’re indestructible but ’tis the season to be sick and the smart, thoughtful people stay out and avoid bringing their germs to work! Luckily, the animals cooperated for the most part. We did, however, take in another critically ill bald eagle who still got the best care possible considering his condition. Let’s see what else happened last week…

Injured coopers hawk

Injured cooper’s hawk

Another young Cooper’s hawk is in our care. He arrived presenting a wing injury of unknown origin and after a being wrapped for a period, he was test flown last week.  Although he could fly, his ability to perform the intricate flight maneuvers required of an accipiter appears somewhat compromised at this time. Some additional rehabilitation and flight practice may lead to a better performance in the future and eventual release.

Head injury GHO

Head injury GHO

Great horned owls are highly likely to receive head injuries from collisions with things like windows and automobiles. This guy came in last week with symptoms typical of the type that indicate some kind of  head trauma causing the noticeable asymmetry of his eyes and ears tufts. Despite his injuries, he was able to go to an outside enclosure for further recuperation.

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Checking the progress on the duck's foot

Checking the progress on the duck’s foot

Dr. Wyman removes the sutures

Dr. Wyman removes the sutures

The duck that had its leg and foot nearly severed by fishing line was examined this week. Last week Dr. Wyman once again exhibited her expertise in the reconstruction of severely damaged tissue and applied carefully placed sutures to hold the delicate tissue together while the foot mends. This week the duck’s foot and leg were unwrapped and the sutures were removed from the foot which had healed well over the last seven days. Now we’ll watch to see how much leg movement the duck will regain as she continues to recuperate.

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Dr. Wyman checks another duck for injuries

Dr. Wyman checks another duck for injuries

A strange injury

A strange injury

The extent of the damage is unknown

The extent of the damage is unknown

As long as we’re talking waterfowl, another little mallard arrived with an unusual injury. She presented apparent trauma to her face where the upper bill attaches to the skull. We are in the dark as to what could cause such an injury and besides maintenance and observation, we can do little at this point. Our main concern is that the bill remains viable and the duck can use it to eat on her own. We’ll try to keep you posted as to her progress.

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New kid in town

New kid in town

The initial exam is begun

The initial exam is begun

Alex draws blood

Alex draws a blood sample

Now time for rest

Now it’s time for rest

Last Thursday we received a call that AZGFD was bringing in a bald eagle from the Saguaro Lake area. Officer John Dickson drove the bird to Liberty where the Med Services team was waiting. The bird presented no obvious trauma but was very “down” in medical terms. Blood was drawn for analysis and fluids were given to the malnourished and dehydrated bird. The blood tests showed signs of significant lead levels and a host of other blood readings that were out of tolerance as well. Many times birds can fight off one or more forms of toxicity, but when lead or something equally debilitating compromises their immune systems, they stop flying, stop hunting, and stop eating which allows other dangerous pathogens, such as aspergillosis, to proliferate. This induces a downhill spiral that eventually overwhelms the body’s ability to deal with the cascading system failures. The eagle fought an uphill battle until Sunday, when unfortunately, he succumbed to these cumulative effects. A necropsy is scheduled to help determine the cause of his death.

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This Week @ Liberty – February 2, 2015

Hoots, Howls, and Hollers

Megan Mosby

Megan Mosby

Our esteemed Education Team did us proud once again at the Waste Management Phoenix Open…and the sun did shine! See TW@L for photos from the event.

Keeping with that theme the Education Team statistics are hot off the press and they are once again most impressive. Check them out:

Number of program requests received           460
Total number of programs provided (a program request may ask for several programs during the same day)            775
Total audience 2,472,518
Total number of hours of programs presented      931.63
Total program miles starting at Liberty and returning to Liberty 28, 456.3
Total miles driven by volunteers to provide programs 58,681.10
Number of Education volunteers in 2014              65
Number of Education volunteers who did a program in 2014              55

This is just a summary of the statistics. Max Bessler, our scheduler and filler of programs, has done a fantastic job of compiling impressive feats of this group. He has lengthy columns of numbers of programs provided by each of the volunteers, by each of the educational animals, by each of the program coordinators. He has enumerated the number of booth settings, school programs, media educational experiences and just about any other relevant number. It makes it so easy to justify our claims of excellence and hard work by this impressive group of volunteers.

I do need to mention that Joe and Jan Miller get the award for doing the most programs but there are others nipping at their heels. This is such a hard-working and dedicated group of people that I just can’t say enough about them…but thank you, thank you, thank you. How lucky Liberty Wildlife is to have such a wonderful group of stars…both human and wildlife.

Here’s to continued learning….we can never know it all…but let’s keep trying.

This Week @Liberty

Posted by Terry Stevens

Posted by Terry Stevens

The intake total for the year is now up to 122.

Happy Ground Hog Day to everyone! The week started off slow, but reached a crescendo as Super Bowl Sunday approached and the rains and fog blew in. It was a big weekend for programs and a couple of them are highlighted in this update. There are also some updates on the continuing treatment of a couple of patients and hopefully everyone will appreciate us taking down the Birdies for Charity pop-up as you log in to the website! Thanks to everyone who signed up for this more-than-worthy cause.

Growing up fast (photo by Jesse Brown)

Growing up fast (photo by Jesse Brown)

The three young raccoons living in the mammal area are growing up strong and healthy. The three little guys are headed for release fairly soon as soon as they are totally able to fend for themselves in the wild.

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Dr.Wyman examines the duck

Dr. Wyman examines the duck

A new wrap - and what looks like a smile!

A new wrap – and what looks like a smile!

The duck with the fishing line injury to it’s leg is improving but a complication arose with blood and fluid accumulating in her foot.  Dr. Wyman was on hand to address that issue and then her leg and foot were wrapped which seemed to produce a positive effect on the bird. She is again outside and we have hopes she will eventually regain use of the leg and foot.

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272 begins to improve

272 begins to improve

The male California condor that recently came in is recovering from his surgery and is now starting to eat on his own little-by-little. He seems to enjoy his diet of calve’s liver and deer meat and is doing well over-all.  The female, #455, is now also doing well, gaining weight and regaining her spirit. Alex says that they hope to close her crop by the week’s end.

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A little injured bunny gets lots of care on Vet Night

A little injured bunny gets lots of care on Vet Night

More expert suturing by Dr. Wyman

More expert suturing by Dr. Wyman

We received a tiny cottontail last week who presented an apparently injured abdomen. The torn skin and tissue might have been caused by a scrape on a sharp object, but could easily have been the result of a cat attack. Bunnies have very thin skin and present a challenge as to the repair required, but luckily Dr. Wyman again proved to be absolutely masterful when it comes to suturing damaged tissue (see TW@L Dec. 8). Last Tuesday was a good time to be at Liberty needing the skill of a talented veterinarian.

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"I dont think that's a real owl!"

“C’mon Tim, I don’t think that’s a real owl!”

Lindsey and Diego impress the kids

Lindsey and Diego impress the kids

Everybody loves owls, no matter what size

Everybody loves owls, no matter what size

Owl selfie

Owl selfie

Tim and Snickers gladly posing with anyone who loves wildlife

Tim and Snickers gladly posing with anyone who loves wildlife

Last Sunday was cold, damp, and very foggy! I headed down to the Superb Owl 5K run with Tim and Lindsey to present a Liberty contingent of owls for the runners and fans. Diego and Snickers were stars and performed well, wowing the kids of all ages. The event was well “run” (no pun here) and had a couple of Liberty volunteers in the race. The birds seemed happy to pose with anyone who showed an interest in wildlife in general, and owls in particular. Thanks to everyone who participated.

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Liberty birds at the WMPO

Liberty birds and volunteers at the WMPO

Joe and Aurora are always  headliners

Joe and Aurora are always headliners

Posing with the crowd

Posing with the crowd

The kids always enjoy the wildlife

The kids always enjoy the wildlife

"Watch the birdie!"

“Watch the birdie!”

Overlapping signs appear to give mixed messages...

Overlapping signs appear to give mixed messages to Chaco

Once again, Liberty presented an educational display on Sunday at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. After two days of inclement weather, the rain and fog finally gave way to blue skies and the crowds arrived. A variety of local birds of prey were introduced to the public who seemed thrilled to be educated about their state wildlife. Listening to comments by people walking from the event, we were struck by the impact Liberty’s birds had on those attending who were not discussing golf at all, but the amazement they felt at seeing a bald eagle up close!

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Claudia displays Quannah (photo by Kim Macchiaroli)

Claudia displays Quannah (photo by Kim Macchiaroli)

Superstition peregrine release (photo by Kim Macchiaroli)

Superstition peregrine release (photo by Kim Macchiaroli)

Finding a new home close by! (photo by Kim Macchiaroli)

Finding a new home close by! (photo by Kim Macchiaroli)

At a recent Don’s Club weekly kids’ outing in the Superstition Mountains, volunteers Claudia Kirscher and Kim Macchiaroli did the normal series of  presentations to the various groups of area children. But in addition to the usual displays, they also released a pair of peregrine falcons that Liberty had rehabilitated after injury. The two birds, a male and female, flew up into the cliffs above the site, joined in formation, and flew off into the mountains together. Not many education presentations provide such a touching finale! Nice job, Claudia and Kim!

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This Week @ Liberty – January 26, 2015

Hoots, Howls, and Hollers

Megan Mosby

Megan Mosby

We had a small event at our new property yesterday…a prize to the winning Eagle Team from our Wild Things game at Wishes for Wildlife, 2014.  See This Week @ Liberty for more information about this happening.  It was fun to see people standing in what would be the Children’s Interactive room or the Surgical Suite or the Wetland Overlook.  What you couldn’t see, of course, because there is only the outline of the building, are the many things designed to make our building and total operation as sustainable as possible.  We will be chasing LEED certification….hopefully at the Platinum level.

One of the important things for us to concentrate on is water and watershed management.  We live in the desert…remember.  From the ‘get go’ we have concentrated on sustainable features.  We chose a piece of land that is pretty much the center of the Valley.  We want to be easily available to schools, visitors, animal drop offs, volunteers, so that facility availability works for as many people as possible.

We chose a piece of land that is rehabbed.  We didn’t seek a pristine piece of desert and scrape it for a building and enclosures.  No, we took a piece of land that had been destroyed by the mining of gravel.  It was restored to a strip of land ready to be ‘fixed’, and it will be fixed.  You might say that we have a very clean pallet on which to place precious plants that might have been there before the mining happened.  We are following all of the requirements placed on development of the area by the Rio Salado Restoration Area guidelines.

Back to the water, it is important that the spongy ground percolates, and that there isn’t a major run off of water into the river. (Run off is diverted to bio-swells in our landscaping plan.) No one wants unknown stuff coursing through the river and neither do we.  We are all about renewing the river and re-creating the ribbon of water and riparian habitat that used to meander through our desert.  Our building grounds are designed to have retention basins that will allow the water to seep into the ground in a timely manner.

Our building is designed with a roof that collects the water and guides it into an underground storage area to be reused on our natural desert landscaping.  The water that we use to clean enclosures will be re-used to water vegetation and to add to the nutrient that feeds the thirsty, hungry desert plants.  Our wetlands area will be designed to contain water also.

The plumbing features in the building will all be designed to conserve water and to minimize water that eventually goes to the sewer systems of the city.  Policy will be initiated that is designed to limit water usage where it is possible and when possible that water that can be re- used will be turned into ‘gray water’ that will be transferred to other areas of the facility and grounds.

Finally, our educational message will have a major water conservation element to it, and all of the features in our design will be highlighted to show the public what can be done without a lot of expense…simple things to help save our quality of life in the desert…for all living things.

We look forward to spreading this important message to everyone who will listen.  And, that should be every one of us.

This Week @ Liberty

Posted by Terry Stevens

Posted by Terry Stevens

The intake total for this year is now at 93.

OK, this is supposed to be the slow time of year for Liberty, but last week was anything but slow.  Along with the first baby bunny of the year, we took in a second California condor, an adult brown pelican, and 5 mute swans!  While all this was going on, we were also planning and arranging for our show at the Waste Management Phoenix Open golf tournament, and the first ever event at the site of our new home on the Rio Salado plus a special training session for advanced rescue techniques involving waterfowl. It was a BIG week for sure, so let,s jump right to it…

The first baby bunny of the year

The first baby bunny of the year

Yes, rabbits breed like, well, rabbits!  The first of many to be sure, this little guy is currently getting neonatal care from the Med Services volunteers until he gets big enough to move outside prior to release down the road. (It’s gonna be another long year!)

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A gorgeous prairie falcon

A gorgeous prairie falcon has his wrap removed

Dr.Wyman flushes a Harris' hawk's nasal cavity

Dr.Wyman flushes a Harris’ hawk’s nasal cavity

Checking a kestrels eye

Checking a kestrel’s eye

He gets a leg band and goes outside

He gets a leg band and goes outside

The usual work of medical care for some serious injuries continues with some treatment of a few raptors. The Prairie falcon had his wing unwrapped revealing an apparently fused joint which, while not life threatening, would most likely jeopardize his candidacy for release. The Harris’ hawk was another victim of avian canker which caused some damage to the sinus area. This is slow to heal and he is fighting recurring infections but with the help of Jan and Dr. Wyman, is improving slowly. The kestrel presented a head injury with blood in his eye. He is also improving with care and was able to join other kestrels outside last week.

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Alex and Jan remove fishing line from a duck's leg

Alex and Jan remove fishing line from a duck’s leg

Now we just have to wait and see

Now we just have to wait and see if the leg recovers

Juvenile cormorant with a deformed beak

Juvenile cormorant with a deformed beak

On to waterfowl!  We took in a duck with the ever present bane of local water birds – fishing line!  The gentleman who brought her in had already removed the hook and some of the line which had broken through the skin and was nearly severing the leg. We hope the circulation will return and the leg can be salvaged.  The little cormorant has a serious deformation of the upper mandible. We’re not sure whether this is a genetic anomaly or the result of an injury, but the bird is apparently able to eat on his own. This would be a surprising adaptation and we will watch him closely over time to determine if he is releasable.

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A pelican arrives in the back seat of a DPS cruiser

Laura holds a pelican that arrived in the back seat of a DPS cruiser

Adult brown pelicans are really amazingly beautiful birds

Adult brown pelicans are really amazingly beautiful birds

Laura and Jan hydrate the big guy

Laura and Jan hydrate the big guy

We got a call last week that DPS was bringing in a pelican who was found wandering on  the 202 near Tempe Town Lake. When the officer arrived in his cruiser, I met him and went to take out the box with the bird, only to discover that there was no box, just a large adult brown pelican sitting in the back seat of the car (now I know why the back seats of police cruisers are plastic!) Presenting a wing injury of unknown origin and severity, the bird was hydrated and his wing was wrapped. We’ll keep you posted on his progress.

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Tony and Tim as part of the Liberty Navy in Sun City

Tony and Tim as part of the Liberty Navy in Sun City

Large carriers are needed as swans are LARGE birds!

Large carriers are needed as swans are LARGE birds!

You can see the tinge of the oil on the bird's neck and head prior to washing

You can see the tinge of the oil on the bird’s neck and head prior to washing

"We wanna go home!"

“We wanna go home!”

One of the largest single rescue efforts in recent memory was mounted last week as a fountain in a Sun City lake began spewing oil after being repaired. The oil formed a slick on the lake which eventually killed over 25 ducks and coated five large swans living at the lake. A rescue team was formed consisting of myself, Tim, Tony, and Carl who went to the lake the next day and with the help of two residents with electric boats, were able to capture the remaining birds and transport them to Liberty for cleaning. As soon as the oil can be removed from the lake, they will all be returned to their home to the delight of the residents.

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Condor # 272 arrives for treatment

Condor # 272 arrives for treatment (photo by Alex Stofko)

Amid all the other activity, another California condor, number 272, arrived for lead poisoning treatment. One of the older birds to come in, this guy is quite aggressive and had been in treatment at the Vermillion Cliffs facility prior to being brought to Liberty.  He now joins condor 455 at Liberty for continued care and treatment.

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The release of a hawk at the site of the new facility

The release of a hawk at the site of the new facility

Yesterday, Sunday January 25, we held a mini-event at the site of the new Liberty Wildlife on the Rio Salado to release a red-tailed hawk by the winners of the game show at last year’s Wishes for Wildlife. The weather was perfect, the crowd was intimate, and it seemed everyone enjoyed the experience of seeing where we will be going next year. I had too many photos to add so I made a short slide show which I hope you will watch by clicking HERE!

 

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