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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This Week @ Liberty – September 15, 2014

Hoots, Howls, and HollersMegan and Libby

A couple of things kept us busy last week…not really things that we should have been dealing with but sometimes odd things come with the turf.  Both of these activities were the result of uncaring people dumping non-native animals to become some caring person’s problem.

One incident concerns the dumping of three mutt ducks at a lake on the west side of town.  They were very nice ducks, very bonded ducks, very misplaced ducks. The lady that contacted us was terribly concerned because she felt like they were “crying” all of the time.  While I am not sure what that means, she perceived that they might not be able to feed themselves and were very unhappy with their new station in life.  She wanted them rescued and placed in a better situation.  Duck rescues facilities were full.  She contacted us.

ducksNow anyone who knows uninjured ducks knows that they are difficult to catch because, guess what, they swim, run, and fly….and at least one of those is out of our league and depending on the shape and agility of the rescuer the other two options can be a problem.  I speak for myself and long ago gave up trying to rescue water birds….too embarrassing for me and too frustrating for the birds and the other people watching.  Gratefully we do have some very capable people to do this….but in most cases dumped ducks do fine where they are and after much machinations the lady who called decided that she would watch over the ducks and try to keep them out of harm’s way.  That was undoubtedly the best solution.  The bottom line is….don’t get a duck if you don’t plan to keep it forever!

The second incident involved an amazingly caring gentleman who happened upon 8 youngRescue bunnies domestic bunnies who had been dumped in a wash in the North Mountain area near his home.  They were huddled together and terribly lost in their new and hostile surroundings.  There were no pellets, no water, no greens, and no protection from predators.  Their fate was caste until they were discovered.  The rescue garnered six of the eight bunnies.  He wasn’t sure what happened to the two that escaped his efforts, but it is fairly certain that they aren’t going to be as lucky as the remaining six.

He set them up in carriers for indoor housing and a portable dog pen that he moved around the yard during the day re-crating them in the house in the evening.  Then his frustration began.  He called all of the bunny rescue places in the valley and all of them were full.  How sad that there are that many unwanted “pets”.  A Facebook query sent him to our web site and ultimately to me.

In a flurry of activities, phone calls, pleas we were able to find a clinic and vet who would help us with the neutering which he generously suggested paying for.  Then we located a family with a desire to add to their domestic rabbit pet population (a truly fabulous placement.)  And, best of all we were able to help this very nice person who didn’t look the other way.

There should be more caring people like that.

This Week @ Liberty

Posted by Terry Stevens

Posted by Terry Stevens

The intake total is now at 4745. (I’m not reporting releases any more for this year as pretty much everything except the raptors have been released!)

Well, the intakes have dropped off considerably as the Baby Bird Season draws to a close. We had another HUGE rain storm as Hurricane Norbert grazed the west coast, and a couple of new intakes were of interest – for various reasons. Once again, non-native species seemed to top the list of stories that bear repeating, but their connection to individuals who care about wildlife tremendously, take action in spite of long odds, and learn from the experience gives us all hope for the future (see HHH above).

Let’s take a look at the week that was September 8, 2014…

Bumper owl continues to improve

Bumper owl continues to improve

The GHO that was brought in after being impaled on the grill and bumper of a car is steadily getting better.  His leg is healing as is his wing with great improvement to the head trauma he presented upon his arrival. His suitability for release is still in question, but his recovery is certainly headed in the right direction.

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Joanie handles a polydactyl swainson's

Joanie handles a polydactyl swainson’s

Man, that's a lot of toes!

Man, that’s a lot of toes!

Our good friend Christy vanCleve in Sierra Vista took in this Swainson’s hawk recently which I picked up from her in Tucson. The most interesting thing about this particular bird is the fact that he has twelve toes! Eight is the normal allotment, but this young bird seems to have a similar genetic mutation as a kestrel we saw a few months ago. Our suspicion is that both of these birds’ parents were exposed to some type of insecticide  causing this phenomenon. As both of these species consume large quantities of grasshoppers and other insects with an affinity for  agricultural areas, we are doing some research into what is going on with the environment here and in Argentina where the Swainson’s breed.

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Another zone-tail comes in

Another zone-tail comes in

An uncommon visitor

An uncommon visitor

We don’t see many zone-tail hawks here in Phoenix, and when one shows up, it’s cause for notice. They are more commonly found in arid, semi-open country, especially open deciduous or pine-oak woodland, often nesting in tall trees along streams. The Zone-tailed Hawk looks very similar in flight to Turkey Vultures, and it often flies with them. It has been suggested that the hawk is a mimic of the vulture and uses its similarity to sneak up on prey that is desensitized to the presence of vultures. Because of the extent of this bird’s wing injury, Rio, our current zone-tail ambassador, may possibly get some help on the Education Team.

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Hurricane Norbert contributes to the deluge (photo by Kim Marchiaroli)

Hurricane Norbert contributes to the record rainfall (photo by Kim Marcchiaroli)

Dr. Wyman and Joanie examine the injured harrier

Dr. Wyman and Joanie examine the injured harrier

Beautiful tail beginning to change

Beautiful tail beginning to change

His beak is still muddy

His beak is still muddy

Around 9PM in the evening following the millennial rain last week, I got a call from the hotline which sent me on an almost 100 mile rescue to Florence, dodging flooded roads and washes all the way. This kind woman had found this injured juvenile male northern harrier and had placed him in a cage. After carefully transferring the bird to a carrier, I drove him north, ultimately to Liberty where he was examined before treatment could begin. I knew from looking at him in the dark that his wing was severely broken near the shoulder but our vets are wonderful and I hoped that even if he could not be released, perhaps they could pin the wing and he would make a good Educational bird. Under proper lights, the extent of the damage became apparent and my hopes faded. We waited until Dr. Wyman could examine him and she determined that the break had occurred many hours prior to my rescue. I watched as the vet-night team really tried to find some way to save the bird but the fracture of the humerus was catastrophic leaving the dead bones unrepairable and he was respectfully euthanized. Some might suggest that my long trip late at night was a waste of time, but I absolutely do not agree. As long as there is a chance to save an animal from dying alone, frightened, and in pain, I’m going to keep going. It may not have been the best of endings, but it was far from the worst it could have been.

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Orphan Care closes for 2014 (photo by Cindy Ziegler)

Only three left as Orphan Care closes for 2014 (photo by Cindy Ziegler)

This baby goldfinch is one of the last orphans to come in

This baby goldfinch is one of the last orphans to come in

“Orphan Care 2014″ is history!  The season officially ended last Sunday (yesterday) as only three little birds remained to fledge.  They will now be cared for by the Med Services team as we pack up brooders, incubators, and berry baskets until next spring – which is really not THAT far into the future! It was a great year and our heartfelt thanks goes out to all the OC volunteers who spent hours each day for months, dutifully feeding and caring for thousands of little peeping babies as they rapidly grew into joyful hummers, mockers, thrashers, doves of all types, and various LBBs around the state. The world is a better place because of the work you put in!

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"Rango" was our guest

“Rango” the bearded dragon was our guest

Who wouldn't love this face?

Who wouldn’t love this face?

A happy reunion

A happy reunion

"Rango" finally in his own home

“Rango” finally in his own home

OK, here’s another story for a future Disney movie. Somebody found this bearded dragon (a native of Australia) and he wound up at the Liberty facility recently.  Once again, we normally do NOT take in lost pets, especially non-native species like this, but he quickly became a popular visitor in the ICU. I’ll let Shannon, his owner , tell the story:

It was the end of July and Rango, our bearded dragon, was roaming in the yard when a friend stopped by with their new puppy. Needless to say Rango did not know what to think of the dog and took off. My boys ran in the house to get their shoes on and came back outside and searched for hours and could not find Rango. He had never left the backyard before in two years so we didn’t think to check out front that same day. The next morning and several mornings after we would search the neighborhood and could not find him. We passed out flyers with no luck. I called several locations asking if they got a bearded dragon in and again no luck. Seven weeks after he had been missing we finally got a call from Tammy (on the Liberty Hotline) who told us they found Rango. We had given up hope but we are very glad we got him back. We live at 35th Ave. and Union Hills and he was found at 30th St. and cactus floating in a swimming pool.
Thank you Liberty Wildlife for what you do.

For those of you without Googlemap, that’s over 10 miles!

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This Week @ Liberty – September 08, 2014

Hoots, Howls, and HollersMegan and Libby

Every once in a while someone comes along who just innately gets it.  Matt is one of those people.  He clearly cares about the environment and birds in particular…that’s a point for him right off.  He is keenly aware of the avian wildlife in his world.  As a result of this interest he had built and installed a barn owl nest box on his property.  It attracted a pair of parent owls who promptly laid eggs and hatched three baby barn owls.  As luck would have it in mid-May conditions turned bad and the nest got in trouble.  One of the babies bailed out of the nest early.  When he explored the situation he found the baby on the ground, a dead baby in the nest and a third baby still in the nest.  He rescued the baby on the ground and brought it in to Liberty Wildlife.  It was found to be very dehydrated, depressed and thin.  Two days later he found the remaining baby on the ground with a cut on its head, dehydrated and thin.  It was brought in to Liberty and placed with the first sibling.  They looked pretty sad.

A brief reunion with his rescuer

A brief reunion with his rescuer

So, Matt was thrilled when he called to find out that the two he brought in, who had been at death’s door, were indeed thriving and going to be released.  As a photographer, he was thrilled even more when it was suggested that he participate in and document the release.  It was agreed that taking them to suitable habitat was better than returning them to his property where the parents would undoubtedly run them off.

And then we received this e mail from him:

A friend of mine saw a location on her drive home.  It is the north side of Queen Creek

Betty meets her owl

Betty meets her owl

between AZ Ave and McQueen.  It’s a farm with about 5 buildings, hay stacks, etc.  I drove by there on the way home tonight.  I loved it right away.  I rang the bell and met Betty.  

My guess is that she is in her eighties.  Her husband Bill, the foreman of the farm, was sick and could not come to the door.  She told me that she just lost her 60 year old son this past weekend.  I told her who I was and the release story and she smiled ear to ear.  I am going by again tomorrow and will take and send pictures.  You will love this place and Betty too.  I really hope this works out, Betty really needs a lift.  She started telling me of a GHO (great horned owl) from 30 years ago.  

When the subject of a barn owl nest box for Betty came up, here’s what Matt had to say:

“I built the box myself and have enough lumber to create a new one.  So instead of moving the old one, I will give it to Betty and build a new one for me.  I will have to scope out where to mount it.  Not an easy task because of the weight.  We will see.”

So, not only is Matt a good wildlife citizen, he is also a caring and thoughtful good human citizen.  The release is on for tonight (as I write this it is Sunday), and I can only imagine how thrilling this will be for Matt, Betty and her husband, and the lucky barn owls. I am sending my thanks and good wishes for all of those involved to the heavens on the silent wings of these two fortunate barn owls.

I wish every story had this kind of an ending!  Thanks Matt for happening in our lives!

This Week @ Liberty

Posted by Terry Stevens

Posted by Terry Stevens

The intake total for the year is now at 4690.  Released on 09-04: 2 grackles, 1 lesser nighthawk, 1 curved-bill thrasher, 5 Gila woodpeckers, 2 Gamble’s quail, 26 misc. doves.

A couple of interesting stories this week as we experience the highest one day rain total EVER at Sky Harbor. They are actually calling this a “1,000 year storm.” As Susie stated in her text to me updating the conditions at the facility this morning, “All is well here…DC does a great job!”  Our volunteers can handle just about anything.  The outing to the D’Back’s game was a fun time last week, the Tropicbird went home, and amidst the usual arrivals and rehabilitation efforts, two orphaned barn owls got to go free ahead of the storm. Not only did several birds leave us, but we bid a “farewell” to a long time valued volunteer who is also moving on to a new habitat…

Jenn Malnic on her last day at Liberty

Jenn Malnic on her last day at Liberty

Jennifer Malnic who has been a stellar volunteer for several years is moving on to cooler climates. She’s heading north to Oregon and her knowledgeable and expert service will be greatly missed. Carol Marshall bought one of our “Phoenix attacking” sweatshirts for her as she might actually get to use it in that climate. Good luck, Jenn, and keep in touch!

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Gayle feeds another cottontail baby

Gail feeds another cottontail baby

OK bunnies, listen up! You can STOP breeding now! Believe it or not, we are still getting baby cottontails at the window. All stereotypes about rabbits aside, the lagomorphs need to cool it! But as long as they come in, Liberty is here to care for the little orphans without regard for their questionable timing…

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Liberty enjoys the D-Backs game against the Rockies

Liberty enjoys the D-Backs game against the Rockies

Our ambassadors at Chase Field, pre-game

Our ambassadors at Chase Field, pre-game

Joe and Aurora on the Jumbo-tron!

Joe and Aurora on the Jumbo-tron!

Assuming you’ve seen the pop-up ads for the D-Backs tickets for the last few weeks, the event came off a week ago on Sunday with more than a dozen volunteers and supporters attending along with several of our Educational Ambassadors. As we walked around the stands on the way to our seats, we could overhear people talking about the owl, eagle, snakes, and other animals on display. During the National Anthem, Joe and Aurora were shown on the main Jumbo-tron above center field.  And the best part was that in addition to a donation from the club, the Diamondbacks won!

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Jan wraps the bumper owl

Jan wraps the bumper owl

Dark GHO spreads his wings

Dark GHO spreads his wings

The GHO that arrived after being impaled on a car grill is doing well. His leg and wing are healing and his head trauma is much improved. In addition, another young great horned owl presenting unknown injuries came in sporting very dark, beautiful plumage. Both of these owls have optimistic prognoses.

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Sara holds while Ed removes the band

Sara holds while Ed removes the band

"Once more into the breach...er, box!"

“Once more into the breach…er, box!”

Betty and her new friend

Betty and her new friend

"Have a great life!"

A perfect release

"Now, where are those mice?!"

“Now, where are those mice?!”

Matt says good-bye after a brief reunion

Saying “Farewell” after a brief reunion

Matt sends his orphan into a beautiful evening

Matt sends his orphan into a beautiful evening

Another great release

Another great release

Not much I can add to Megan’s story  (HHH above) except the pictures. Both Matt and Betty seemed to be very pleased to be able to complete the rescue of these two birds who lost their home last spring. A total success!

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Tropicbird prepares to head home

Tropicbird prepares to head home

Capt. Al gives the tropicbird a ride to San Diego (photo by US Airways crew)

Capt. Al gives the tropicbird a ride to San Diego (photo by US Airways crew)

As noted in the Aug 25th TW@L, I was able to arrange a trip to San Diego for the Red-billed tropicbird that came to us in August. US Airways is still providing wonderful support to Liberty Wildlife and the animals we take in by allowing the ones that need to travel to new homes (or back to their previous homes!) to ride on one of their scheduled flights. Capt. Al Medina and his crew were nice enough to allow the bird to “jumpseat” to San Diego where he was picked up by SeaWorld San Diego for final examination and transport to release.

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This Week @ Liberty – Sept 01, 2014

Chillin' on Labor Day

Chillin’ on Labor Day

In honor of Labor Day, we’re doing what Americans do today – not laboring!

TW@L and HHH will be back next Monday as we press on through the late summer heat!

Stay cool and be careful. See you next week!

(The intake for the year is now at 4641.)

 

 

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This Week @ Liberty – August 25, 2014

Hoots, Howls, and HollersMegan and Libby

Hear ye, hear ye….We are in search of an electrical warming plate…the kind that has a glass top, not open burners and not tea lights powered…electrically powered that heats up to 90-102 degrees (temp control to these limits is essential).  We use this nifty piece of “high tech” equipment in our orphan care area.  Unfortunately, before the end of the season our old one died.

I am betting that someone out there has a vintage (or not) warming plate that is sitting in an attic, garage, or pantry just waiting for a new use…warming food for voracious baby bird mouths.

And if you don’t have one yourself, perhaps you have seen one in a re-sale store, at your aunt’s house or at a garage sale.  Help us replace this piece of valuable equipment to allow us to make it through to the end of this year’s very busy orphan care season.  You can call 480-998-5550 and leave a message, e mail me at meganm@libertywildlife.org or leave a comment on this blog.

Now go out to your garage or storage room and retrieve that unused-in-years warming tray to donate to a new use and a great cause.

And one more reminder…don’t forget to buy your ticket to the Diamondback’s game, August 31 (at 1:10) with the Colorado Rockies.  It will be a cool way to spend a Sunday afternoon.  Liberty Wildlife will be recognized on the Jumbotron during the third inning.  It would be great to see you there and hear you cheer for Liberty Wildlife as well as the Diamondbacks.  Our education ambassadors will be there to greet the guests as they come in…spreading a lot of education about other native wildlife besides diamondbacks.

Maybe Baxter will wander over to check out the competition.  I hope so.

This Week @ Liberty

Posted by Terry Stevens

Posted by Terry Stevens

The intake total for the year is now at 4567. Released on 08/21: 4 Black-crowned night herons, 12 grackles, 9 ducks, 1 mockingbird, 1 curved-bill thrasher, and 84 misc. doves.

Last Tuesday was not only “Vet Night” at Liberty, it was also the day the big storm hit. As the deluge raged outside, birds and mammals were treated inside – after our desert tortoises were rescued from the rising water!  An unfortunate little fox was brought in and examined thanks to R&T volunteer Tony Sola. Earlier in the week we got in a very rare visitor (so rare infact, Troy Corman had to verify it’s species), and the GHO that was impaled on a car bumper last week makes some remarkable improvement….

Marilyn is now spending her days outside - when it's not pouring rain!

Marilyn is now spending her days outside – when it’s not pouring rain!

The fast-growing moorhen (which was named “Marilyn” by the volunteers in Orphan Care) has graduated to an outside enclosure during the day. She is enjoying the sun and open air – when it’s NOT pouring rain!

This BCNH looks like he just came from DSW...

This BCNH looks like he just came from DSW…

One of the several black-crowned night herons in our care has had some foot and leg issues. In an effort to keep him improving, some special “shoes” were fashioned for him last week which should help alleviate his foot and leg problems.

Bumper owl improves

Bumper owl improves

The young great horned owl that was hit by a car and carried on the bumper for an undetermined distance continues to improve. His fractured leg and broken wing are still mending, but his head trauma is much improved and his prognosis is better than it was upon his initial assessment.

A tiny barn owl arrives for care

A tiny barn owl arrives for care

A little barn owl came in with an injured wing last week. Normally I throw in the term ‘little’ as a standard adjective for birds and animals but with this bird, when I say little, I mean LITTLE! Everyone who saw this bird was struck by his diminutive stature and we all hope his injuries heal so he can rejoin the wild population as soon as possible.

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Red-billed tropicbird is visiting from far south

Red-billed tropicbird is visiting from far south

He's a handsome juvenile bird who needs to go home

He’s a handsome juvenile bird who needs to go home

Recently someone up in Gila County near Payson found a strange white and black bird. Luckily, this person has a biology background and knew what he had found. It was a red-billed tropicbird, the first one ever recorded in Gila County! A call was made and the bird was brought to Liberty for examination and eventual transport back to it’s normal range along the Pacific coast from California south along the Baja and south along the coast of Mexico and the Sea of Cortez. Next week, I will put the bird on a US Airways/American flight to San Diego where Sea World will complete his release.

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Little fox arrives with unknown injuries

Little fox arrives with unknown injuries

Anesthetic is applied (photo by Toba)

Anesthetic is applied (photo by Toba)

Blood is drawn for testing (photo by Toba)

Blood is drawn for diagnostic testing (photo by Toba)

Dr. Wyman checks a paw (photo by Toba)

Dr. Wyman checks a paw (photo by Toba)

"Time to wake up" (photo by Toba)

“Time to wake up” (photo by Toba)

Back into the safety of the carrier (photo by Toba)

Back into the safety of the carrier (photo by Toba)

Just prior to the arrival of the big monsoon, Tony brought in a small female fox from the west side. Presenting conflicting symptoms, she was anesthetized and examined by Jan and Dr. Wyman for any obvious trauma. No real damage was found and blood was drawn for testing. After she recovered from the anesthesia, she was replaced into her carrier to keep her quarantined from other animals pending the results of the blood tests. Then next morning her condition had deteriorated and sadly, she eventually died peacefully before any further treatment was administered. The blood tests all came back negative for any of the expected diseases and we now suspect that she had been poisoned.

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The storm begins at 12:20PM

The storm begins at 12:20PM

A desert tortoise is rescued

One of our tortoises is rescued

"At least it's dry in here!"

“At least it’s dry in here!”

The high water mark is reached within 90 minutes

The high water mark is reached within 90 minutes

Dr. Orr's front yard

Dr. Orr’s front yard

"Lake Liberty" - our parking lot after the water began to recede.

“Lake Liberty” – our parking lot after the water had actually been receding for almost an hour.

At least once each monsoon, the Phoenix area makes the national news with a bad storm and this year’s edition was last week.  Just after noon on Tuesday, the sky opened up and a torrent of rain came down flooding many areas of the valley including the Liberty facility. The good news is, we needed the rain and no injuries were sustained – although Jan and Susie had to run out and bring in the desert tortoises who were cornered by rising water in the compound. Within an hour or so, the water levels began to drop at least at Liberty, although several volunteers had a hard time getting to and from their homes dues to flash flooding of some local washes.

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This Week @ Liberty – August 18, 2014

Hoots, Howls, and HollersMegan and Libby

Recently I have noticed a plethora of large hulking lizards.  It seems like the rocks have burped up spiny lizards everywhere. In the past if I saw one or two in the summer it was memorable.  For some reason, unknown to me, I am seeing them everywhere.  We even had one brought in to Liberty after being stepped on by a horse.  There’s a testament to the size…it survived the assault.

They are a very pretty if sullen looking reptile.  Both the males and females sport a noticeable black collar under or around the neck.  The males are easy to notice with the psychedelic splash of turquoise, green, blue scales on the ventral side with a gray to tannish topside.  The females, equally impressive in bulk and sulk have a tendency to an orange-ish head in breading season. If you look closely both have a splash of yellow scales on their sides….

Spiny lizard

Spiny lizard

Spiny lizards are found throughout the southwest, mainly on the ground and most often in a rocky substrate.  They lay 4-24 eggs in the summer that take 60-75 days to hatch.  Like many lizards they are metachromatic which means they change colors related to the ambient temperature…with a darker tint to absorb sun/heat in the cooler times and lighter color to reflect the sun/heat.  They live on small insects, small lizards and small plants.

I am wondering if the supply of food has something to do with the plentitude of spiny lizards that I am seeing…which brings me to the lizard I miss the most…the regal horned lizard.  I used to see them all of the time.

Horned lizard

Horned lizard

They look like fierce little dinosaurs.  They have a frowny face with these wicked looking horns on their heads.  They are about the size and shape of a man’s palm with a tail…and lots of nasty looking spikes covering the body.

While they have the same basic characteristics of other lizards their defense is the one that most appeals to me.  They spit blood out of their eyes…you have to admit that is one cool defense. (Don’t you kind of wish you could do that every once in a while?)   It must have a nasty flavor to a predator or just be surprising as heck!  If that doesn’t work they suck in a lot of air and puff out their bodies and using appropriate motions try to stab and scrap the predator with their pointy, nasty horns.  Nature is so cool.

Their scarcity is probably because their favorite food, harvester ants (eating 2500 at one meal) is one of the first “pests” homeowners remove from their property when they move in from somewhere else.  At 2500 ants a meal, it would seem to me that to have a bunch of “horny toads” around would be much more fun and entertaining and way better for the environment than toxic pesticides.

I wish I could see a plethora of “horny toads” from now on.

This Week @ Liberty

Posted by Terry Stevens

Posted by Terry Stevens

The intake total for the year is 4440. Released of 08/14/2014: 62 misc. doves, 31 quail, 6 Gila woodpeckers, 3 curved bill thrashers, 1 gilded flicker, 1 cactus wren, 1 mockingbird, 1 misc.LBB

This week will be the first  herpetological H3 and TW@L in which we present examples of animals mostly within the Testudines (turtles,  and tortoises) and Squamata (snakes and lizards) suborders that have come into some kind of close contact with Liberty. The one exception is the GHO that come into close contact with a car bumper and subsequently arrived for treatment. Let’s take a look at these interesting ectotherms who got injured in their unfortunate confrontations with humanity…

Post surgery slider

Post surgery slider

High tech patches with an opening to allow internal healing

High tech patches with an opening to allow internal healing

An elaborate bandage for a unique injury

An elaborate bandage for a unique injury

The red eared slider that had been run over by a car was surgically repaired by Dr. Todd Driggers recently. The turtle came in with large pieces of her shell broken and hanging out, exposing several internal organs including a lung. Dr. Driggers patched most of the shell with resin and reinforcing fiber to hold it together while the lengthy healing process goes on. In the meantime, a special bandage keeps medicine in and infection out while the unfortunate animal continuous it’s battle to survive. Although no creature is turned away from Liberty Wildlife,  some are never released, notably non-native species such as former pets like turtles. They are placed with permanent care-givers or placed in closed environments preventing their escape into the wild.

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Yet another damaged shell

Yet another damaged shell

Everybody watches closely while Jan cleans the wounded area

Everybody watches closely while Jan cleans the wounded area

Was he "hammered" by someone? The hole looks suspicious

Was he “hammered” by someone? The hole looks suspicious

Dr. Wyman examines the damage

Dr. Wyman examines the damage

The toroise gets a bandage prior to surgery by Dr. Driggers

The toroise gets a protective bandage prior to surgery by Dr. Driggers

Just as the slider starts her treatment, a native desert tortoise arrived with a suspicious hole in it’s shell. The investigation is ongoing, but since the wound is so localized, symmetrical, and without much collateral damage, it appears it could have been caused by a hammer. In any case, this little native Arizonan also made the trip to Dr. Driggers in Gilbert for another surgical procedure to repair the damage to the carapace. Since desert tortoises that spend any appreciable time in the custody of humans are no longer releasable and must be adopted, this one is another candidate for long-term care before placement in a permanently sequestered habitat.

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Grilled Great Horned

“Grilled Great Horned” (photo by Shane Crabtree)

 

The next day he looks better

The next day he looks better

"I've been through a lot!"

“I’ve been through a lot!”

"Thanks for being there, Doc"

“Thanks for being there, Doc”

Dr. Wyman examines the injured eye

Dr. Wyman examines the injured eye

A little food always helps

A little food always helps

A week ago on Saturday, R&T volunteer Shane Crabtree and his son went out to retrieve a juvenile great horned owl from the grill of someone’s car. The owners must have hit it the night before and thought it was dead. Amazingly, he survived the collision, the subsequent drive home, and the night impaled on the bumper and grill. He has a broken wing, a fractured leg, and a head injury of unknown severity. All of this is believed to be repairable – if he survives the head trauma. The next day he appeared much improved and is now being treated for the multiple injuries, including some eye problems caused by the impact to his head. We’ll keep you posted.

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This Week @ Liberty – August 11, 2014

Hoots, Howls, and HollersMegan and Libby

Things are happening at the Rio Salado.  Elwood Street is under construction and that means that the water and dry utilities are soon to be a part of the landscape.  Engineers have been drilling more holes….testing the dynamic compaction of the ground under our footprint now that it has been “painted” out and a string border has been strung.

The view from the entrance

The view from the entrance

I spent last Wednesday early morning walking through the building…no, there are no walls, no windows, no flight enclosures, no water catchment system, no solar panels on the roof, no furniture…that is all yet to come.   But with a little imagination, you, too, could walk in the hospital or the children’s interactive room.  You could stand on the overlook and imagine the wetlands.

What is there now is the potential view of Piestawa Peak nestled in the opening of the wall facing the river.  The view of downtown sparkles to the west.  Camelback Mountain is silhouetted to the east and South Mountain towers from the front door.

At the river pond where the beaver makes his home early morning brought the croaks of frogs, the waking utterances of the wild birds that inhabit the reedy shore line and the splashes of the grebe who floated on the water. The osprey flew overhead and the egret took off as I approached.          It was a magical moment.

I want to encourage all of you to get involved in some way in our relocation.   There is still time for you to grab a naming opportunity for yourself, a loved one, a family….anyone in love with our mission and our 34 years of work.  There will be opportunities to have a brick with your name on it, or the name of someone you are honoring, that will line the path that winds through the education enclosures.  Benches, landscaping options, butterfly, dragonfly and pollinator gardens will be wonderful opportunities for you to be a permanent part of a great thing!

Ask how you can be a part of helping to fulfill our mission and a part of creating magic.

This Week @ Liberty

Posted by Terry Stevens

Posted by Terry Stevens

The intake total for this year is now at 4352.  Released on Aug.07: 8 misc. doves, 1 finch, 22 quail, 2 black-crowned night heron, 2 various LBBs.

The monsoon and the temps backed off slightly this week – I’m only talking about 3 or 4 degrees here – but this year we haven’t had any major A/C failures to deal with (although I have had my own problems repairing the large owl flight enclosure. Those tetanus shots HURT!) Last Monday Tim and I drove to Lake Havasu City to acquire and transport a donation of Trex lumber – a 500 mile round trip made possible by a donation from U-Haul who provided a 20ft. truck to move the material. Also last week, two nighthawk eggs hatched and the hatchlings are now being cared for. Plus some other interesting arrivals and rehabs in progress. Here we go…

1,020 feet of 12 ft Trex lumber

1,020 feet of 12 ft Trex lumber

Another 1,210 feet of 16ft Trex

Another 1,210 feet of 16ft Trex

 

 

 

 

 

 

Debra Gonzales at Uhaul in Lake Havasu

Debra Gonzales at Uhaul in Lake Havasu

This is the Trex lumber that Brad Gruenwald (Gina’s brother) donated for Liberty’s use and the wonderful young lady at U-Haul in Lake Havasu City who worked out the details of the truck. As our structures have to withstand the unrelentingly harsh conditions in Arizona, this material is perfect for our use in the new facility. Because of the weight and since it was located in Lake Havasu City, Joanne Fried and Ashleigh Wagner of U-Haul Corporate arranged to donate a one-way truck to move the material to Scottsdale. Debra Gonzales at their LHC office helped us with the check-in. Liberty (and all the animals that will make use of the structures built from this lumber) thank Brad, Debra, Joanne and Ashleigh for making it possible! U-Haul rocks!!!

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Laura checks a barn owl brought in by Carl Price

Laura checks a barn owl brought in by Carl

Carl holds while Laura and Jan wrap

Carl holds while Laura and Jan wrap

Our ‘Ace’ R&T volunteer Carl Price brought in, among others, a barn owl with a badly injured wing. Laura and Jan performed the initial exam and wrap as the bird was given fluids and allowed to begin de-stressing in a brooder in the ICU. First-rate treatment applied quickly is what helps us maintain our high release rate, even with serious injuries like this.

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Waiting for his sibling to arrive

Waiting for his sibling to arrive

"Don't rush me!!" - Pipping nighthawk egg

“Don’t rush me!!” – Pipping nighthawk egg

Second Nighthawk baby arrives - that's a dime for scale!

Second Nighthawk baby arrives – that’s a dime for scale!

Sibling nighthawks

Sibling nighthawks

Little white toenails

Little white toenails

Not long ago, we got in two nighthawk eggs from an SRP equipment storage yard in Tempe. Some equipment was moved which spooked the mom off the nest and when she didn’t come back, Liberty was called. Nina went and collected the eggs and brought them in to spend a couple weeks in our super-whizbang-high-tech incubator. One of them eventually hatched, and in quick succession, the second one opened to the world as well! These two tiny little caprimulgiformes (the order gets its name from the Latin for “goat-sucker”, an old name based on an erroneous view of the European nightjar’s feeding habits) will be hand fed for some time as they are normally parent fed or eat on the wing when they are capable of flight.

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Ted brings in a GHO tangled in barbed wire

Ted brings in a GHO tangled in barbed wire (Photo by Susie Vaught)

The initial exam

The initial exam (photo by Susie Vaught)

A closer look at a nasty injury

A closer look at a nasty injury (photo by Susie Vaught)

Toba holds for Dr. Wyman

Toba holds for Dr. Wyman (photo by Susie Vaught)

Dr. Wyman does some suturing (photo by Susie Vaught))

Dr. Wyman does some suturing (photo by Susie Vaught)

Tim holds as Jan wraps (photo by Susie Vaught)

Tim holds as Jan wraps (photo by Susie Vaught)

Ten minutes after I left last Tuesday, R&T volunteer Ted Schlueter brought in a GHO from out east. It seems the bird had been flying low – low enough to snag a wing on a barbed wire fence. We’ve seen this before and it’s never pretty. The trick is to get the bird cut out of the wire before he does much greater damage by trying to extricate himself. The ultimate prognosis is unclear and will depend on the extent of the structural damage to the wing and patagium. (check out Animal Planet – “Animal Cops: Phoenix” 2009 Episode 1)

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This Week @ Liberty – August 04, 2014

Hoots, Howls, and HollersMegan and Libby

I have just returned from a wonderful happening.  At the last Wishes for Wildlife my brother bought the Verde Canyon Rail Road “Caboose” that was generously donated by the rail road for our auction.  He was moved to do this to of course support our mission but mostly to celebrate Will’s, his grandson, my great nephew, remission from leukemia.  While he was being treated at the Texas Children’s Hospital he fell in love with the trains in the “train room” provided to ease the horrors of treatment for these very young children.  Planning has been extensive to get everyone here to make the trip, and it was worth every second.

I must say, that the folks at the railroad, Robyn Brein, General Manager, and all of her people couldn’t have been more wonderful.  They made the trip memorable from the moment we arrived….all in the same t shirt design…penned by none other than Joe Miller and orchestrated by Terry Stevens…that is another story.  Our caboose experience was peppered with history, nature facts pertinent to the valley and the river by Fermin who served us wonderful food and drink and made sure we didn’t miss a thing….catering especially to Will who was at times, very rare times, speechless.  The trip through the tunnel was over the moon!

And, coincidentally, OR NOT, we happened to be on the train the very same time that Joe, Jan, Claudia and their special friend, Sonora….all rock stars of Liberty Wildlife, wowed the train riders with Sonora and her story.  I had the pleasure of standing back and looking at the presentation as a “fly on the wall”.  I can’t express in words the depth of awe that I witnessed in every person there.  Cameras flashed, people moved orderly in place to have a photo taken in the presence of this team of educators, especially Sonora….a true honor for all.  As the train went around curves we could see the open cars with the attendees enraptured by the likes of a stunning bald eagle and handlers that know the story….tell the story…present the star….leave a memorable impression that was still talked about as they left the train.

I have ridden the train before.  It is different every time.  You are privy to the whims of nature on a given day, season, year so each ride is unique and priceless.  If you are lucky enough to have Liberty’s team there you have scored a run.  But, if you are as lucky as I was to have my family and the exuberance of a young fighter, it is a grand slam.

My special thanks to Linda and Dave Durbano for bringing the train back, to the folks at the Verde Canyon Rail Road for their kindness and consideration, to Joe, Jan and Claudia for their special attentions and to my family for making this so special.

This Week @ Liberty

Posted by Terry Stevens

Posted by Terry Stevens

The intake total for the year is now at 4245.  Released on July 31: 1 mockingbird, 1 curved bill thrasher, 5 Say’s phoebe, 12 gila woodpeckers, 1 cowbird, 1 grackle, 1 cactus wren,  58 misc. doves, 27 quail and several misc.waterfowl.

It would appear that the rate of arrivals may have peaked and is ever-so-slowly backing off. We have reached the stage where we now are beginning to see this year’s crop of juveniles making their “life lesson” mistakes and showing up as injured animals. That’s not to say the Orphan Care area isn’t still logging in several babies and kids each day, but the trend is heading in the right way, finally. Releases are up (including our mammal family!), the Ed team attends the Southwest Wings show again, and we get a visit from our architects and builders.  Here’s what it looked like…

Manuela feeds yet another orphan bunny

Manuela feeds yet another orphan bunny

So, although the arrival of orphans might have slowed a bit, the bunnies still seem to be multiplying – go figure! Our success rate with all the lagomorphs that we saw this year was encouraging in spite of the fragility of these little creatures. Hopefully that will continue in years to come, allowing us to keep working all ends of the Arizona food chain.

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Marilyn is getting bigger

Marilyn is getting bigger

Marilyn, the little orphan moorhen that is the darling of the OC team, is still growing fast and strong. She is beginning to grow her first year plumage and is even doing some adult behavior (tail twitching?). Look for a video of her lily pad walk in an upcoming TW@L.

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Headed for the eye doctor

Headed for the eye doctor

Injured cooper's has a meal

Injured cooper’s has a meal

A young cooper’s hawk arrived this week presenting head trauma from a collision with a fence. As I’ve reported many times before, this is not an uncommon injury with accipiters. They chase other birds which are their main prey and in the hunt, they become single-minded and tunnel visioned leading to collisions with immovable objects. This bird will go to the eye clinic this week for more evaluation.

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Barn owl from Sierra Vista

Barn owl from Sierra Vista

Nicole and Lori examine a raven from the San Pedro

Nicole and Lori examine a raven from the San Pedro

Lori listens for respiratory problems

Lori listens for respiratory problems

I gave two birds a ride up from Tucson this week, both from the San Pedro – Sierra Vista area via the efforts of our good friend Christy van Cleve. A raven was in the custody of an individual for a protracted period and had a suspected respiratory infection while the barn owl was very thin and emaciated. Both birds are responding to treatment and are still candidates for release down the road.

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Cleaning up a day before release

“We’re going home!!” (photo by Nina Grimaldi)

After weeks, the big moment arrives (photo by Brian at SRPMIC)

After weeks, the big moment arrives (photo by Brian at SRPMIC)

"This doesn't look like the enclosure..." (photo by Brian at SRPMIC)

“This doesn’t look like the enclosure…” (photo by Brian at SRPMIC)

"WOW! This is cool!" (photo by Brian at SRPMIC)

“WOW! This is cool!” (photo by Brian at SRPMIC)

The healthy raccoon family goes free (photo by Brian at SRPMIC)

The healthy raccoon family goes free (photo by Brian at SRPMIC)

After several weeks of careful monitoring and feeding following the birth of four young babies at our facility, the raccoon family is finally free. Taken to an undisclosed location early in the week, the four healthy youngsters and their mom were allowed to return to the wild to face whatever the world has to offer them. Good luck to them in their journeys!

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Dick Fry helps with the tour

Dick Fry, our Project Manager, helps with the tour

The construction people and the architects get a look at what our operation looks like.

The construction people and the architects get a look at what our operation looks like.

Some people from Oakland Construction and Weddle Gilmore came by Liberty on Tuesday to get a first hand look at what we do and how we do it. This is to help guide them as they prepare plans for the our new facility. We’re looking forward to working with them as they embark on an ambitious schedule to get us into our new home.

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Barbara Jabara, Jason Greff, Christy van Cleve and Frida the burrowing owl (photo by Craig Fischer)

Donna Jabara, Jason Greff, Christy van Cleve and Frida the burrowing owl (photo by Craig Fischer)

Story by Craig Fischer: Liberty Wildlife education team members Donna Jabara and Craig Fischer spent this past weekend at the Southwest Wings Birding and Nature Festival in Sierra Vista. For two people, one bird and many Liberty Med Services, Daily Care and Education volunteers, this event was a very special two years in the making.

 At the 2012 festival, Liberty volunteers were asked if they could assist with treatment for an injured burrowing owl. Jason Greff, a wildlife officer at San Bernardino National Wildlife Refuge in far southeastern Arizona, was driving to the Douglas, Arizona, office when he spotted a burrowing owl on the roadside. When the normally skittish owl did not fly off as he approached, he realized that something may be wrong. He collected the little owl in a cardboard box and brought it to the office where it was handed to Amanda Terry, a wildlife intern who would be manning the refuge booth at Southwest Wings that day, and was asked to hand the owl to Liberty Wildlife to see if it could be helped.

 At the show, Liberty volunteers Anne Peyton and Linda Scott received the bird and jumped into action with the help from Christy van Cleve, a local wildlife rehab specialist. The trio realized the owl had a severe head trauma around her right eye, possibly from an automobile collision. They administered fluids and placed the bird in a dark quiet space during the day. The following day the owl was transported to Liberty Wildlife and admitted to the ICU. It took several weeks for the trauma and concussion symptoms to dissipate, but she was soon showing signs of quick improvement.

 Jump forward two years and Frida is now one of our avian ambassadors. She returned to Southwest Wings and had the opportunity to visit with her rescuer Jason and “doctor” Christie,  and to endear herself to the more than 750 visitors to the show’s exhibition area. Many exhibitors also took the time to visit with Frida and Donna as they remembered being there when the injured owl was brought in and very few gave her a chance of surviving the injury. 

 On behalf of Frida, thank you to everyone who played a part in Frida’s story and successful transition to a new career.

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Don’t forget to purchase your Diamondback tickets!!!

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