This Week @ Liberty – November 24, 2014

Hoots, Howls, and HollersMegan and Libby

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

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

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

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

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

Please pass on my thank you to Joe Miller.

Thank you so very much and have a fantastic Thanksgiving.

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

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

This Week @ Liberty

Posted by Terry Stevens

Posted by Terry Stevens

The intake total for the year has reached 5055.

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

Almost done with the program

Eagle #1 – Almost done with the program

"I'm ready"

Eagle # 2 – “I’m ready!”

Practicing the art of aviating

Practicing the art of aviating

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

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Jan and Sharon work on a red tail's beak

Jan and Sharon work on a red tail’s beak

Jesse and Sharon do some trimming

Jesse and Sharon do some trimming on an Ed bird

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

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Juvie from down south

Juvie from down south

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

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Fractured humorus

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

Dr. Sorum prepars to give fluids

Dr. Sorum prepares to give fluids

Sara splints while Andrea holds

Sara splints while Andrea holds

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

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Granpa's bladder stone

Granpa’s bladder stone

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

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Pygmy owl gets weighed in

Pygmy owl gets weighed in

Peeking out

Peeking out

Saw Whet

Saw-whet

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

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Frieda is boxed

Frieda is boxed

Off to a show

Off to a show

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

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Apache enjoys the sun with Joe

Apache enjoys the sun with Joe

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

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

Thanksgiving video reprise from 2007.

 

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This Week @ Liberty – November 17, 2014

Hoots, Howls, and HollersMegan and Libby

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

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

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

Kestrel boxes built at Intersession 2014

Kestrel boxes built at Intersession 2014

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

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

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

What a great way to enjoy wildlife close to home!

This Week @ Liberty

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

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

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

Aurora arrives

Aurora arrives

Having a good time at the Veterans Day parade

Having a good time at the Veterans Day parade

The people love her!

The people love her!

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

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Phoenix Summit Challenge and U Rock Ferstival

Phoenix Summit Challenge and U Rock Festival

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

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Oily RTH arrives

Oily RTH arrives (photo by Amy Ford)

A thorough exam precedes the first cleaning

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

Med Services scrubs off the oily coating

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

Getting a bit cleaner by Tuesday

Getting a bit cleaner by Tuesday

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

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A flicker gets a wrap

A flicker gets a wrap

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

Dr. Wyman checks for canker

Dr. Wyman checks for canker

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

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Amyra and Tony assessing the local HaHa

Amyra and Tony assessing the local HaHa

HaHa X-ray showing three bones broken

HaHa X-ray showing three bones broken

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

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

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

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

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Paving begins

Paving begins last Thursday

On Friday, we have a road!

On Friday, we have a road!

The view from 24th St.

The view from 24th St.

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

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This Week @ Liberty – November 10, 2014

Hoots, Howls, and HollersMegan and Libby

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

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

Setting up on Friday

Setting up on Friday

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

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

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

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

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

 

This Week @ Liberty

Posted by Terry Stevens

Posted by Terry Stevens

The intake total for the year is now at 4987.

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

Still feeding baby hummers

Still feeding baby hummers

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

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A bath after eating

A bath after eating

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

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RTH with a beautiful tail

RTH with a beautiful tail

Another RTH wing with a gunshot wound

Another RTH wing with a gunshot wound

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

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

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

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

Looking for the pellet

Looking for the pellet

Cooper's hawk with another pellet

The X-ray shows it’s in there…

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

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Prairie falcon pins and external fixture

Prairie falcon pins and external fixator

Time to remove the hardware

Time to remove the hardware

The stabilizing epoxy is removed

The stabilizing epoxy is removed

The last external pin is clipped and removed

The last external pin is clipped and removed

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

“Boy, am I glad THAT’S over!”

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

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The scene in OC last week

The scene in OC last week

Part of the Saturday crowd

Part of the Saturday crowd

Never missing an educational opportunity

Never missing an educational opportunity

The shows must go on

The shows must go on

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

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Getting closer to paving

Getting closer to paving

From the 24th St. side

From the 24th St. side

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

 

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This Week @ Liberty – November 03, 2014

Hoots, Howls, and HollersMegan and Libby

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

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

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

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

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

So many new opportunities await us.  Stay tuned.

This Week @ Liberty

The intake total for thew year is now at 4964.

Posted by Terry Stevens

Posted by Terry Stevens

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

Young coopers hawk gets treated

Young coopers hawk gets treated

We don't get a lot of banded birds

We don’t get a lot of banded birds

Jan and Alex install a tail guard

Jan and Alex install a tail guard

"This is somewhat humiliating..."

“This is somewhat humiliating…”

A small bird's nightmare

A small bird’s nightmare

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

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Vivian gets new shoes

Vivian gets new shoes

Viv gets vocal

Viv gets vocal

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

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Gunshot coopers hawk is treated

Gunshot cooper’s hawk is treated

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

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Alex dresses up for Halloween

Alex dresses up for Halloween

Stacey is a Mario Brother

Stacey is a Mario Brother

Guess who...?

Guess who…?

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

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2014 Ed Class graduates!

2014 Ed Class graduates!

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

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The lights go in

The lights go in

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

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This Week @ Liberty – October 27, 2014

Hoots, Howls, and HollersMegan and Libby

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This Week @ Liberty

The intake total for the year is now at 4945.

Posted by Zombie Stevens

Posted by Zombie Stevens

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

Oil soaked kestrel struggles to survive

Oil soaked kestrel struggles to survive

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

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Sharon wraps an inca dove

Sharon wraps an inca dove

Dr. Wyman has a leg wrap

Dr. Wyman has a leg wrap

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

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Determining the species

Determining the species

Comparing markings

Comparing markings

"REALLY?!?"

“REALLY?!?”

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

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Endoscopy duck

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

"Aflac" doing well after hook removal

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

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

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Dangerous tempting treat for wildlife!

Dangerous tempting treat for wildlife!

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

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The sidewalks and they entry pad are in!

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

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

 

 

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This Week @ Liberty – October 20, 2014

Hoots, Howls, and HollersMegan and Libby

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

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

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

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

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

See you there!

This Week @ Liberty

The intake total for the year is now at 4913.

Posted by Terry Stevens

Posted by Terry Stevens

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

An injured flicker gets a wing wrapped

An injured flicker gets a wing wrapped

A burrowing owl has his progress checked

A burrowing owl has his progress checked

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

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The Canada goose hangs on

The Canada goose hangs on

Coming in for Vet Night exam

Coming in for Vet Night exam

The warm foot is a good sign

The warm foot is a good sign

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

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Eye drops for a barn owl

Eye drops for a barn owl

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

Ron and Greg feed an emaciated juvenile BCNH

Ron and Greg feed an emaciated juvenile BCNH

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

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A California leaf-nosed bat comes in

A California leaf-nosed bat comes in

"Hang in there, Baby!!"

“Hang in there, Baby!!”

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

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Some bears have all the luck...

Some bears have all the luck…

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

OC volunteers have a good time remembering a great season!

OC volunteers have a good time remembering a great season!

A first look at the new facility

A first look at the new facility

Megan explains the renderings

Megan explains the renderings

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

On Friday the cement trucks begin to pour

On Friday the cement trucks begin to pour

The street lights and the wiring ready to go in

The street lights and the wiring ready to go in

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

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

One of our new neighbors

One of our new neighbors

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

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

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This Week @ Liberty – October 13, 2014

Hoots, Howls, and HollersMegan and Libby

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

Intersession 2014 at Capital Elementary School

Intersession 2014 at Capital Elementary School

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

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

What a team!

What a team!

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

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

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

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

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

This Week @ Liberty

The intake number is now at 4893.

Posted by Terry Stevens

Posted by Terry Stevens

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

The staging area each morning...

The staging area at Liberty each morning…

They knew Bailey was coming!

They knew Bailey was coming!

A desert tortoise greets arrivals

A desert tortoise was among many animals to greet arriving students

A peregrine flys in from above

A peregrine flys in from above

Welcome on the first day

Welcome on the first day

Peggy reads a story

Peggy reads a story

JoAnne explains why falcons are special

JoAnne explains why falcons are special

Kim tells about burrowing owls

Kim tells about burrowing owls

Pat and Cecile introduce two kestrels

Pat and Cecile introduce two kestrels

Anna and the hawk get wrapt attention

Anna and the hawk get rapt attention

The gopher snake makes new friends

The gopher snake makes new friends

Susie shows the dangers of plastic bags

Susie shows the dangers of plastic bags

Learning about feathers

Learning about feathers

Kim makes another gopher snake ally

Kim makes another gopher snake ally

Learning about cactus boots

Learning about cactus boots

Seeing a peregrine first hand

Seeing a peregrine first hand

Hands on was a hit with Speedy

Hands on was a hit with Speedy

Touching the real thing

Touching the real thing

Even the little kids make kestrel boxes

Even the little kids make kestrel boxes

Its a team effort

Its a team effort

A kestrel box comes together

A kestrel box comes together

Kestrel housing development

Kestrel housing development

Budding wildlife artists

Budding wildlife artists

Making turtles

Making turtles

Wildlife activities

Wildlife activities

Everyone gets a Certificate and a Nature Journal

Everyone gets a Certificate and a Nature Journal

Jan and Joe let the kids meet Anasazy and Aurora

Jan and Joe let the kids meet Anasazy and Aurora

Feeling the wind from an eagle wing on your face!

Feeling the wind from an eagle wing on your face!

"Wave if you enjoyed the learning experience!"

“Wave if you enjoyed the learning experience!”

Boy kestrel is on his own...

Peggy sets the male kestrel on his way…

...followed by the little girl falcon!

…followed by the little girl falcon!

 

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This Week @ Liberty – October 06, 2014

Hoots, Howls, and HollersMegan and Libby

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

This Week @ Liberty

The intake total for the year is now at 4857.

Posted by Terry Stevens

Posted by Terry Stevens

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

Empty shelves in a now quiet OC area...

Empty shelves in a now quiet OC area…

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

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"Buick" is improving

“Buick” is improving

Gunshot black vulture gets a weekly checkup

Gunshot black vulture gets a weekly checkup

Desert tortoise with bad knee is moved outside

Desert tortoise with bad knee is moved outside

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

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Another gunshot victim

Another gunshot victim

X-ray pre-surgery

X-ray pre-surgery

Post surgery black-hawk

Post surgery black-hawk

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

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

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

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A surprise from Surprise!

A surprise from Surprise!

"Can you help me?"

“Can you help me?”

 

Another "good" break

Another “good” break

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

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

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

"Thanks for the help!"

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

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

 

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This Week @ Liberty – September 29, 2014

Hoots, Howls, and HollersMegan and Phoenix 2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This Week @ Liberty

The intake total for the year is now at 4824.

Posted by Terry Stevens

Posted by Terry Stevens

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

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

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

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

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

Four volunteers - no waiting (photo by Kim Marcchilaroli)

Four volunteers – no waiting (photo by Kim Marcchilaroli)

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

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

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

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

Jan wraps a mockingbird wing

Jan wraps a mockingbird wing

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

A new BuOw comes in

Tony and Jan examine a newly arrived BuOw.

No obvious breaks

No obvious breaks

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

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Unfortunate leopard tortoise is injured by a travel trailer

Unfortunate leopard tortoise is injured by a travel trailer

First step is a betadine bath

Denise and Tim lift her into a betadine solution

Its a full team effort to provide a comforting bandage

Its a full team effort to provide a comforting bandage

Denise administers fluids

Denise administers fluids

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

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Snape - our new educational California King snake

Snape – our new educational California King snake

A handsome guy - even with cataracts

A handsome guy – even with cataracts

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

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A new partner

A new partner

We tour a solar farm in the southeast valley

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

Rodents can be a problem

Rodents can be a problem

Just a small part of the wind installation

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

Nina, Jennifer, and Leslie get briefed by Jerry

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

These turbines are BIG!

These turbines are BIG!

Old wind power meets new wind power...

Old wind power, meet new wind power!

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

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

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

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This Week @ Liberty – September 22, 2014

Hoots, Howls, and HollersMegan and Libby

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oh yeah, Happy Autumnal Solstice!

This Week @ Liberty

Posted by Terry Stevens

Posted by Terry Stevens

The intake total for the year has now reached 4785.

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

Another "pet" that needs help...

Another “pet” that needs help…

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

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Woodpecker gets a wing wrap

Woodpecker gets a wing wrap

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

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

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

Big fluid needle for a little bird

Big fluid needle for a little bird

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

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Pretty little green-tailed towhee

Pretty little green-tailed towhee

Evidence of head trauma

Evidence of head trauma

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

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 A common black-hawk arrives

A common black-hawk arrives

Pellet fragments in the wing

Pellet fragments in the wing

More pellets are found

More pellets are found

Jan and Toba work on the black-hawk

Jan and Toba work on the black-hawk

Dr.Wyman examines the leg

Dr.Wyman examines the leg

Getting fitted for a Schroeder-Thomas splint

Getting fitted for a Schroeder-Thomas splint

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

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Wrapping a small leg

Wrapping a small leg

"Got milk?"

“Got milk?”

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

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

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

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

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