Letting go has a number of meanings to a rehabber. We all know the rules about getting attached, but I am suspicious of someone who has no issues about saying goodbye to a patient or anything you have been dedicated to for a period of time.
Our staff and volunteers come in daily and face unknown “surprises” with each shift. Everyone has an animal, be it one in for rehabilitation or one used in our education program that they are particularly committed to. On the rehab side of the equation are animals that come in with unbelievable strikes against them, but the spit and vinegar within them and against all odds, they fight back to freedom. Every day of improvement is a marker of success. Then there are those that come in and don’t show the warts of their problems at all. They are just down. Sometimes the issue that they present as they decline is overwhelming and when the decision is made that they just can’t be fixed and would have no quality of life, it can be devastating to those who have shown up daily to tend to their needs.
But, you know what? These same staff and volunteers pull up their boots and come back in the next day to fill their shifts and greet the next set of challenges. They have learned to let go even if it hurts a lot! That shows commitment, drive, compassion, and super responsibility. Maybe this is why….
…there are some days when letting go is what it is all about. For instance, last week we trekked out to a lovely spot of desert that provided trees to roost in and desert to hunt in and participated in the ultimate of letting go…a stunning red-tailed hawk to be specific. It was so gratifying to see that the fight still remained in her eyes and in her talons as she was placed in a box to keep her somewhat contained until the moment of freedom arrived.
When she was released into the sky, there wasn’t a moment of hesitation….not a peep of a thank you…just an “I’m outta here” swish of the wings and a determined look in her eyes. She was free and never looked back. She didn’t stop to rest in the trees. She didn’t even circle around in search of a meal. She just flew and flew and flew.
Now as much as she was a looker, as much as she was strong, and as much as she would have been a temptation to keep around, she needed to be free. There is always a catch in our hearts as we appreciate the honor we had in her process and a hope that she will not have to ever be captured again…for any reason. But mostly, there is the sheer pleasure of letting her go.
The business we are in is wrought with emotions…happy and sad but always rich with feeling…and that is what lets us know we are alive and keeps us at it day after day!
This Week at Liberty
The intake total is now at 3697.
So now we’ve reached the “Time between major holidays” and the routine of what we do has set in until Christmas and New Years arrive. Birds large and small come and go, all getting top-of-the-line care and treatment by the Med Services and Daily Care teams as they progress through the system towards the ultimate goal of release! We are fortunate to be able to have Dr. Sorum (and his portable X-ray machine) available as a part of our volunteer team. This and all the volunteers are an asset without whom we could not have made it through this record breaking year.
Last Sunday the Med Services team (Dr. Sorum, Mo, and Sarah) were able to perform digital radiological exams on two birds, one RTH and one burrowing owl. This tool is invaluable to diagnosing structural injuries such as broken wing bones. Knowing exactly which bones are involved and where the injury is located aids in determining the proper treatment (wraps, splints, surgery etc.)
Among the arrivals this week was a small 2nd year golden eagle that was found by Eddy of the Peregrine fund. He was monitoring the California condors near the canyon as we approach hunting season and came across this little guy who appeared to have some difficulty flying. He was able to capture the bird and bring him down to Liberty where he was examined by Jan, Dr. Wyman, and Dr. Sorum. Having several damaged primary flight feathers, it was thought he might have a broken wing, but an X-ray with Dr. Sorum’s X-ray unit showed the wing to be intact. Subsequent testing revealed elevated lead levels consistent with the bird’s presentation. He is now being treated for lead poisoning and seems to be responding. (The Peregrine Fund folks would rather keep goldens out of the condor territory as they can – and do – predate condors.)
One of the high points of any week is a good release. This week, a red-tailed hawk that had been in our care for a few months was deemed fit for flight and Barbara Hassenkamp got the call to perform the “launch.” In an appropriate spot southeast of our facility, the healthy bird was allowed its freedom on a spectacular afternoon and flew until it was out of sight. This is what it’s all about!
This year’s Volunteer Appreciation Picnic was yesterday. Despite the chill in the air, the turnout was impressive. That bespeaks the continuing dedication or Liberty Wildlife’s volunteer cadre. All bundled up, gloved and in some cases hatted, the group assembled with a feeling of merriment in the air. While weather perfection is always preferred, it isn’t very often in the Valley that we get to stand warming in front of a fire with our heaviest coats, mittens, scarves with the ability to see our breaths….well, okay it wasn’t quite that chilly, but it was festive and those who rose to the occasion seemed to enjoy themselves.
What this time of year makes me aware of is an appreciation of all of the people who come together to make a mission happen. Our small staff can always be counted on to do their jobs and beyond with a dedication that any employer would recognize as special. I am no exception.
And, with a volunteer assembly like we have things get even better. I am not really talking about the endearing program provided by Santa, aka, John Glitsos. I am not really talking about the assistance of the Reindeer (aka the Pips) as back up for the cleverly adapted songs of the season…you had to be there to appreciate them. I am not talking about having the opportunity to be photographed with Aurora. I not even talking about the abundant and scrumptious food specialties supplied by the group. I am talking about the dedication, enthusiasm, perseverance, and consistent responsibility exhibited by this group of folks with a shared vision of what the future should be for the environment and wildlife.
A special thanks goes to Carol Suits, Volunteer Coordinator, and Terry Stevens, Operations Director for Liberty Wildlife. Without their organization and “can do” attitude things wouldn’t have been as successful as they were.
All in all, I consider myself a very fortunate person. I couldn’t ask for more from a staff and volunteers. We are a lucky group of intrepid travelers going in the same direction toward a better planet. All of you involved….pat yourselves on the backs….you have indeed been “nice” this year and deserving of all your wishes coming true during this holiday season! Neither ashes nor rocks from Santa….not this year!
This Week at Liberty
The intake total for the year is now at 3680.
This week I’m just calling the update the “Liberty Wildlife Volunteer Picnic Lolapalooza Extraveganza!” Despite some uncharacteristically cool temperatures (for Arizona anyway…) we had a great turn-out for the annual event. And though not everything went off as planned (and what does after weeks of careful planning?), it was a truly heartwarming, fun, afternoon with great food, singing(?) and Liberty fellowship for all who attended! Our thanks to all who helped make it a memorable affair (YOU know who you are…!)
For those who could not attend, here’s a small taste of the afternoon…
We even had some “Audience Participation” with a sing-along with Santa!
Click the red link here
Bailey, the red head vulture
That’s all on the picnic, until next year!!!
This isn’t a time to make small talk. We need your help! It is time for you to take action. Go to the Birdies for Charity pop up and make a pledge. Do it for your favorite education animal. Do it for the wildlife in your yard that might need help. Do it for the power of education about the beauty and benefits of our wildlife neighbors. Do it so that we can present our services….all of them….at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. We will be able to spread the value of our mission far and wide. And, do it because we were such a huge hit last year, and we would like to repeat that experience. We can’t do it without your help.
For as little as a penny a birdie at this year’s Phoenix Open (and there are usually around 1700 a year) your 17.00 will help us save the lives of eagles, owls, hawks, falcons, song birds, mammals and even reptiles that help keep the balance in nature. Our lives would be bereft without them and each live is a value in its own….for a mere penny a birdie you can be a huge part of the solution.
And, if you feel generous you could pledge even more. Maybe you don’t want to be limited to just the number of birdies at the Open…maybe just a set bid over 20.00 is more fitting to your desire to help the cause. Each of the animals in This Week at Liberty have been helped by you and your generous desire to be part of the solution….do it again, please!
This is so easy to do. You don’t even have to pay until next spring. Just go now to the pop up or to our website, www.libertywildlife.org and sign up….easy, easy, easy.
Do it now. ‘Tis the season! Thank you from the staff, volunteers and all of the 4000 animals that we help each year, and the thousands of folks we educate each year. What would they do without us and what would you do if there was no great place like Liberty Wildlife? Go now. Pledge now. Do your part.
One last thing….please pass this on to your family and friends. They deserve an opportunity to help also.
This Week at Liberty
The intake total for the year is now at 3664.
We hope you all had a great Thanksgiving Day. The holidays are a great time to think about going home, and last week a couple of birds made it through the process and got to do just that. It’s always a good thing when we are successful in our efforts to assist animals in their struggle to survive and do what they were designed to do. This week we look at some of our recent intakes that may have only stayed a short while but got great care while here, became healthy and were released to again be free in the skies of our great state. With your help (see H3 above) we can continue to do more of this work so more injured natives can get the care they need in the months and years to come.
A couple of members of the Gallinule family are currently getting care in the ICU. Both the coot and the moorhen (swamp chicken?) have some leg/foot problems they are dealing with. The moorhen is displaying some breeding markings (the red shield and the red leg bands) show he is ready to get on with the business of breeding as soon as he is fit to return to the wild!
Some of the patients have slightly more serious problems and will have to stay with us for a bit longer. The harris’ hawk is recovering from a foot injury and needs some more time in our care. The little (or big!) sharp-shinned hawk has a fairly serious fracture of her wing and might end up as an education bird. She is still young so time will tell. The female kestrel has mostly healed from her initial injury but has some remarkable stress bars on her tail. These come from acute stress – usually diet related – and cause weakness in the feather. Because of that, we are cautiously hoping her tail will not break off at the point of the bars and we’re observing her for a bit longer.
Once in a while we get a grebe at the facility. There are some in the area (both western and pied) and are found on lakes around town. When they set down on land, they can be in trouble as they need to be on water to takeoff. This western grebe that arrived last Tuesday is one of those that luckily got found by one of our rescue volunteers. After it was checked out by the medical staff and found to be otherwise healthy, it was taken back to a local lake and released. (Too bad they aren’t all that simple…)
This young red-tailed hawk also responded to treatment and was deemed fit for release last week. What was interesting was the slight red tinge to the tail feathers, hinting at the beautiful rust red coloring to come in future plumages! I’d love to see this bird again next year (only not at Liberty but soaring above the desert floor on the hunt!)
Both of the soggy GHOs that came in from the rain last week (see TW@L last week) were allowed to do a test flight on Tuesday before they were taken back to where they were found and released. As we suspected, their only problem was they were too wet to fly after the record-setting downpour that hit the valley. Both demonstrated beautiful flying ability and then rode with Tim down to the southwest corner of town for release back to their own established territories. I love it when a plan comes together!
In case you didn’t get the memo….
(See you there!)
I feel for wildlife that is brought in for rehabilitation. I am happy that it has a second chance, but there is nothing normal about what they have to go through in order to heal. There are bright artificial lights, cold metal cages, noises not common in their natural world, and humans peering and probing. All of these things are challenging, and we try to keep them at a minimum….warm, dark, quiet. But if you have ever been in a hospital you probably get my drift. Things are so synthetic while so necessary.
It came as a form of relief to me when Jan told me of an experience she had a couple of weekends ago. She was helping someone with an education program which entailed arriving at Liberty Wildlife in the dark. The setting full moon resulted in some shadows, but with darkness boundaries generally disappear. It seems that there is vastness in the surroundings. Limiting walls and fences vanish and without a lot of visual stimuli the noises are accentuated.
It was the noises that got Jan’s attention. The silhouette of a great horned owl let forth with a hoot, a warning of infringement of its territory or just a complaint at disturbance as it launched itself away from her, not to be disturbed by human presence. Yet, there was an answering hoot…perhaps from a courting mate, or was it something else? Were our resident great horned owls communing with a wild brother? Is this an attempt to gather in some semblance of “a wildness” that had been temporarily ripped from them? Who is to know? But the calls did continue from inside from one owl enclosure to another. Maybe it was just a good night call from one incarcerated owl to another ala the Walton Family and good night John Boy, etc!
But, by this time the daylight was creeping up on the facility and the diurnal birds were waking up. The neighborhood Harris hawk family began calling and was answered from within by wakeup calls from the hospitalized and healing ones. It was a delightful cacophony. It was sort of like the walls of the enclosures had temporarily disappeared and carpeted perches were knotty tree limbs swaying in the breeze. It just didn’t seem like a hospital in the dawning hours, but more like a concentration of wildlife doing what they do in the early morning …waking up or going to sleep on a normal day with the setting of the moon and the rising of the sun.
Jan’s take away was that she should try to get there earlier in the morning….earlier than the first dedicated volunteer who had a job to do…caring for animals in our charge. In those early morning hours between dark and dawn, the air is still enough to feel the breeze created by the passing owl, to hear the murmurings of wild animals trying to maintain some amount of normalcy, and to pretend that it is a forest or open desert. It is quiet and dark enough to think that things could be normal not so artificial, that all was well with the world for each of these compromised animals…frightened and fighting to gain freedom.
This Week at Liberty
The intake total for this year is now at 3648.
It appears we have past the low point in the intake rate and it’s actually beginning to climb again. The weather is changing (got your woolies out yet?) and we actually see precipitation in some day’s forecast not in the “monsoon” category. Last Friday, we set a record for rain accumulation and it continued on Saturday. An over abundance of water falling from the Arizona sky can in itself lead to some rescues (see below) even though the land certainly needs it. But the intake rate is still slow enough that we can find time to accomplish some projects that we put off when things get hectic, as they will again in a few months. For this extra time, and all the help and support you and all our donors and subscribers give us, we at TW@L say, “Thank You – and have a HAPPY THANKSGIVING DAY”
NO, we do NOT release non-native lovebirds in Scottsdale! We also do not, however, turn our backs on orphaned baby birds (we took in a nestling pigeon last week!) who get placed as pets into appropriate homes. This baby lovebird is one such orphan who was being kept warm and hand fed by Alex, our Daily Care Coordinator. Talk about “Take your baby bird to work” day…
I personally brought in three kestrels in a 24 hour period last week. One was this handsome male who was then examined by Joanie and Gail on the Med Services team. All kestrels are checked for canker before they are placed in enclosures and this guy was no exception. At least he was dry…
This was one of two soaking wet GHOs who arrived at the center last week during the big rain. Probably just youngsters who didn’t know enough to come in out of the rain (sound like any other teen-agers you might know?) the two birds got rescued by the Operations Director (myself), and the Managing Director (Megan). Yeah, we still get to do the fun stuff once in a while.
I thought this was a great X-ray to show the dangers of careless fishing. This was a red-eared slider that was brought in to Dr. Rozonke, a vet that helps out Liberty when the need arises. On the 22nd (the day of the big rain!), Dr. Rozonke and his staff successfully removed the hook the turtle had swallowed. Heidi Schaffer, a Liberty Med Services volunteer, is a CVT at his clinic and provided this X-ray. Thanks to everyone who helped!
Speaking of X-rays, once again the value of Dr. Sorum’s portable X-ray unit was demonstrated last week. A raven with a fractured wing was examined with the digital X-ray machine and showed the break at the distal end of the ulna. The break was beginning to heal on its own and the wing was then wrapped for further mending. Being so close to the wrist, we’ll have to see if the bird loses any mobility of the outer wing which might affect his flight ability.
Birds who lose the very end of their wing through injury face a real challenge. Just as we have found with Libby and a couple of other Education birds, the feathers that grow back on the stump of a wing can troublesome. They are not protected by surrounding feathers and if they are “scuffed” while growing in and have a blood supply, problems may arise. One of our Education peregrine falcons, Scobee, is in that group of birds. Last week, preliminary surgery was done to see if the wing might be further amputated closer to the joint to stop the feathers from being so problematic. While he was under anesthesia, Jan removed a few feathers on the offending stump and both she and Dr. Wyman examined the wing to determine a course of future action. Peregrines are very “active” birds and this level of activity dictates something be done. After the surgery, Scobee was allowed to recover in an inside enclosure prior to rejoining the outside birds.
From all of us at Liberty Wildlife, we wish you and those close to you a happy Thanksgiving Day!
Where does the time go? Thanksgiving looms…can the end of the year festivities be far behind? And, yes, it is the time of the year that charities and not-for-profits start spreading an awareness to our past, present, and future supports about the good work we do in support of our mission…which we know is near and dear to each of you.
For Liberty Wildlife we try to let as many people as possible know how much we are able to accomplish as frugally as we can –that is. Your donations go “to the moon and back” to fulfill your wishes to nurture the nature of Arizona (and beyond!)
One way we try to spread the word about our accomplishments is to publish our annual magazine, WingBeats, and our Annual Report. This year we are going green. If we have your e mail address we will send our publication directly to your inbox. We hope you enjoy it, we hope you pass it on, we hope you appreciate the trees and other resources saved by this new presentation.
And, don’t forget that now is the time for you to reach out and pledge to our Birdies for Charity campaign. An appearance of our educators at the Waste Management Phoenix Open gives us an opportunity to wow and educate a huge and diverse public. Go to our website—www.libertywildlife.org and click on the pop up. Making a pledge will be the easiest thing you do all day long and the benefits to Liberty Wildlife will be exponentially important to us. Don’t put it off…go now…pledge now… and feel better all day.
The end of the year is near. Don’t let the time slip by without supporting Liberty Wildlife and our mission. You will be glad you did; we will be glad you did; and Arizona’s wildlife will be glad that you did.
Thanks in advance for your continuing support of our mission!
This Week at Liberty
The intake total is now at 3625.
Things are hitting a slow stride now as some birds are still coming in , and some are getting released. We’re working hard at planning the upcoming Volunteer Appreciation Picnic as well as last minute touches on this year’s inaugural electronic distribution of Wing Beats, plus a few other projects that have been hanging fire for a while. The weather has turned really nice and the Ed team is doing lots of great programs, especially on the weekends. Dr. Wyman was here last Tuesday and performed surgery on a HaHa that hopefully will be released in time. Here’s what it all looked like…
One of the kestrels in our care made it through the program and was released last week. Gail, one of the Tuesday afternoon volunteers, got to do the honors as the bird “graduated” and was allowed to rejoin his friends in the Arizona skies. As always, the little falcon was in a hurry to leave and never looked back!
Before Dr. Wyman arrived, the Tuesday Med Services team checked on some previous patients including a small GHO who appears to be having flight problems, and an RTH with a serious wing injury.
The surgery involved the amputation of one toe from a Harris’ hawk. The injury left the bird without one of his talons and should not pose any long-term ill effects. First the bird was given a general anesthesia, after which an intubation tube was inserted to maintain the level of anesthesia during the surgery. The vital signs (heart rate, respiration, etc.) are carefully monitored during the procedure. After the digit was removed, the wound was sutured by Dr. Wyman and the bird was allowed to wake up and then went back into a quiet enclosure for recovery. When this heals, release is definitely in his future!
Last week I was fortunate to attend a National Geographic program in the Geo Live series, a presentation by photo journalist Paul Nicklen. I can’t stop thinking about it. For a great summary of the program read the most recent blog post at onelookout Nature Discovery and Coming Attractions in the Sonoran Desert.
His images and his powerful presentation persona have become indelibly etched into my consciousness. His story telling ability took me to the Arctic without having to suffer the incredible hardships that he did but gave me an unsurpassed appreciation for his passion for his work, his subject, and his ultimate cause. His style of setting the scene through a jaw dropping video and then ending the segment with a single still shot….the one he “took away” for the magazine made a lasting impression on me.
I left the theater with a pounding in my brain that asked over and over, what can I do to help stop the melting ice? I may never see a narwhale in the wild. I may never see a polar bear in the wild. I may never see an emperor penguin in the wild, but I sure would like for the option to be available if the stars lined up the right way for me. Without the ice the ecosystem will disappear along with my options…selfish, I know.
Now, it doesn’t matter to me if you believe in global warming, or if you don’t take responsibility for the melting glaciers. The fact remains that this ecosystem is in danger and let’s not forget how connected everything on this planet is. Look into the eyes of a mother polar bear with nothing to feed her cubs. If you can do that without stopping to think if you might play a role, or if you might do something to help….well then you are maybe as cold as that ice berg should be!
If the mother polar bear doesn’t melt your heart, then how about doing positive things because it will save you some bucks. And if the unintended consequence just happens to be a safer ecosystem for the mother bear (and ultimately maybe for us) …than what is so wrong with that? A quick search of the web will turn up a number of things that you can do to save money and coincidentally protect the Polar Regions. I’ll save you some time…here are a few easy things to start with. Please protect my option to see a narwhale someday—in the wild.
Use Compact Fluorescent Bulbs Replace light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs. By using three CFBs, you will save 300 pounds of carbon dioxide and $60 a year.
Fill the Dishwasher You don’t have to run your dishwasher every time you eat. By filling it completely, you can save $40 and 100 lbs. of CO2 emission a year.
Use Recycled Paper By using 100% post-consumer recycled printer paper, you can save 5 lbs. of carbon dioxide per ream of paper. Don’t forget to invest in recycled paper towels and napkins as well!
Adjust Your Thermostat If you move your thermostat down two degrees in the winter and two degrees up in the summer, you can save up to $98 and 2000 lbs. of CO2 per year. Think of the warm sweater or cool bathing suit you can buy with that money.
Take Shorter Showers Did you know that showers account for 2/3 of all water heating costs? We know—it’s shocking. Cut your showers short and save $99 and 350 lbs. of CO2 per year.
Carpool When You Can With gas prices burning a hole in everyone’s wallet, save some cash while saving 790 lbs. of CO2 by carpooling. If your car is too small to fit all of your BFFs then commute or ride your bike.
Reduce Garbage Recycle paper, plastic and glass, and buy products with less packaging. This can save 1,000 lbs. of carbon dioxide a year.
Plant a Tree Show off your gardening skills and start planting. A single tree will absorb a ton (that’s 2000+ lbs.) of CO2 over its lifetime.
Conserve Energy Did you know that you are using a super huge amount of energy by keeping your electronics (phone charger, blow dryer, etc.) plugged in? Save over 1,000 lbs. of CO2 and $256 a year by unplugging everything.
Wash your Clothes on the Cold Water Cycle and Air Dry Because the water isn’t being heated, you’ll save energy. Air-drying your clothes will save 700 lbs. of CO2 and up to $75 a year.
Ditch the Plastic Plastic bottles are biodegradable and can sit in landfills for over 200 years! With 2.5 million plastic water bottles thrown away every hour in the U.S., it is best to start using a reusable water bottle.
This Week at Liberty
The intake total for the year is now at 3612.
They’re BAAAACCKK! OK, so everybody is asking how the trip went, and while it was terrific fun for the most part, all-in-all, Dorothy was right. One of the things I missed and never really realized I would until I got back was the routine of normal life. Birds understand this – being the homeostatic creatures they are. Now I understand the appeal of this condition. But according to Jan, it was really slow to the point of being dead at the facility while I was away and now it’s already beginning to show signs of life, small and sporadic as they may be. Gosh I love this place!!!
It’s difficult to imagine the difference between the OC area now and six months ago. It’s a quiet like we hardly ever hear, except for the echoes of ghostly chirping from thousands of baby birds who pass through this area as time goes by. But it’s only a few months until the first light of day will again unleash a torrent of tiny begging from the hungry beaks of warblers, phoebes, towhees, mockingbirds, and a hundred other species that find their way to our window…
If you’ve ever been lucky enough to visit Bosque del Apache south of Albuquerque or Whitewater Draw in the Sulphur Springs Valley in winter, you might have seen one of the mass lift-offs of thousands of snow geese each morning as the flock disperses to surrounding fields to glean the stubble. The sight and sound is something not to be forgotten. Somehow, this snow goose got injured, probably on a migratory flight, and with a broken wing, it’s in our care until it can again join the throng.
Mass snow goose launch at Bosque del Apache (have the sound on – that’s a big part of the experience!)
A little poor-will got himself trapped inside a store someplace in Phoenix and spent three days trying to get out. With no food available (they eat bugs on the wing), the bird was doomed – except for a skilled Liberty rescue person. The bird was uninjured and besides being quite hungry, he seems well on the road to release. And another red-eared slider came to us – this one with a fish hook in his mouth. It was removed and is being treated for possible infection until he can be placed in a good home (not to be released).
Just as we were going to press (newspaper talk – you remember newspapers, right? The things that pile up on your driveway when you leave town for a while?) Carl brought in this little flammulated owl. the bird presented an injured wing and after doing an assessment, Holly cleaned the wound and applied a wrap. Now we’ll wait and watch to see what more can be done for the pretty little bird.
Max was in the back hand feeding and I saw this pose and couldn’t pass it up. A two-fisted eater if ever there was one…!
And just to prove that similar species can be found the world over, this grey heron (very much like our great blue heron) was walking down the cobblestone street along a canal in Amsterdam, just asking to be photographed. Naturally, I had to oblige him…
To re-emphasize Megan’s point in H3 above, this year Liberty will be distributing our annual magazine Wing Beats as an electronic document. This will save several hundred pounds of paper. Let’s all “GO GREEN!” Look for it in your e-mailbox in the near future.
Since HHH and TW@L are going on a short vacation for the next three weeks, I am going to suggest two things you can do in our absence to help the cause. Listen up and act…you’ll be glad you did.
First, go to www.libertywildlife.org and follow the pop up taking you to the Birdies for Charity Web site. Help us be one of the selected charities to attend the Waste Management Phoenix Open. For pennies you can participate and help wildlife!
Second, Liberty Wildlife Rehabilitation Foundation has been enrolled in Fry’s Foods Community Rewards Program!
Fry’s Community Rewards Program, is easy to join. If you already have a Fry’s VIP Card, Please follow the steps below. If you do not have Fry’s VIP Card and would like to enroll, please go to your nearest Fry’s Food store and ask to join their VIP Card program, then follow the steps below to start supporting Liberty Wildlife while you shop for groceries!
Step 1: Creating an Online Fry’s Account
(If you already have an account please skip to Step 2)
Select ‘Create an Account’
Under Sign-In Information, enter your emails and create a password (write down your email and password, as you will need in it Step 2)
Select ‘Use Card Number’
Enter your Fry’s VIP Card Number, last name and postal code
Select ‘Find Store’
Choose your store then select ‘Create Account’
You will then be prompted to check your email for a confirmation email
Click the hyperlink in your email to finish creating your Online Fry’s Account
Continue to Step 2 to register for the Fry’s Community Rewards Program
Step 2: Register for the Fry’s Community Rewards Program
Enter your email and password (you created in Step1) then select ‘Sign In’
Select ‘My Account’ then select ‘Account Settings’ from the drop down menu
Click ‘edit’ under Community Rewards (if prompted, enter personal info)
Under Find Your Organization: Enter NPO Number 84046 then select ‘search’
Under Select Your Organization: Select the box next to ‘Liberty Wildlife Rehabilitation Foundation’
Then select ‘save’
If you have registered correctly, you should see ‘Liberty Wildlife Rehabilitation Foundation’ listed under ‘Community Rewards on your Account Summary page
Thanks for your dedication and unwavering support of Liberty Wildlife. Community involvement is very important to our organization, and with your support we have become the great organization that we are today!
Thanks Alex, for signing us up for these future rewards!
This Week at Liberty
The intake total is now up to 3537.
OK, after last week’s sad update, we’re back to a normal operation (mostly). The pace is slow but the window still shows activity and we’re still getting animals in for treatment, just not as many as we take in earlier in the year. We’re planning the upcoming Volunteer Appreciation picnic which will be held on December 8th this year so mark your calendars appropriately!
Ahh, bunnies! They come in all year, both young and old. This little guy was brought to the window all the way from the Glendale/Peoria area by a tremendous lady who cared that much about the wildlife in her neighborhood. He presented symptoms that suggested a back injury so more evaluation is on the menu.
Some of the “usual suspects” – a GHO from the far southeast valley, a local sharpie who is having some difficulties with his tail, a first year burrowing owl with a leg problem, etc. – made it to our door – er, window – last week to get the expert care they needed. No matter how slow things get, our volunteers still provide the best care possible for our native wildlife!
This male kestrel is in fine feather (and a feisty temperament!) as his treatment for a wing injury continues. There is a possibility that he might join our education team someday. It all depends on the outcome of his injury…
This other little male (who needs some work on HIS feathers) is still having a problem with his eye. Dr, Wyman again used our testing equipment – and her skill – to check his eye which continues to exhibit evidence of a scratch on the cornea. More observation is in order.
So to answer once and for all the question about what sort of animals we care for, ALL OF THEM! Even the non-natives get help if they need it. This pigeon was brought to us via commercial courier last week after a nice lady found it in her pool. A local vet sent her to us so she called a courier service who delivered the bird to us in a plastic bin along with the above note. People who care are truly awesome!!
OK, as Megan noted above, we’re taking some time off (it IS the slow time of year for intakes!) H3 and TW@L will return on November 11! Same bird time, same bird channel! As always, feel free to contact us via e-mail anytime. See you all next month!
With the recent death of Phoenix, the Magnificent, I dug out this article written about him and the silent killer that eventually permanently grounded him. He will be missed by all of us, but particularly by me. I am totally aware that in this business the cardinal rule is that one should never get attached…I knew this and ignored it…Phoenix was always my favorite.
A Grounded Beauty (a reprint from Nature News, August 2004)
It is a small thing—way smaller than a speeding bullet, as deadly as a charging car and as insidious as a loss of habitat. But, it can still “take out” a large number of birds of all sizes. Aspergillus fumigatus is a formidable opponent.
Aspergillus is ubiquitous, naturally occurring fungus that is found in abundance particularly in rotting vegetable matter. In avian species it can do its damage when inhaled by an already compromised animal –working its deadly way into the respiratory system. If caught early, the damage might go no farther that the syrinx (voice box). The bird’s voice will change, signaling a problem at this point. Birds that live in captivity have a better chance of having the disease caught at this stage if the caretaker is aware of the change.
If the fungus proceeds to the air sacs, the problem is compounded. Air sacs are structures in the cavity of the bird that look like plastic bags filled with air. They are found around the internal organs and function among other things to mitigate the heat given off from the organs. They allow the birds to fly at high altitudes and are part of the respiratory system but not of the gaseous exchange. If the fungal infection invades the air sacs, it might not be immediately observable, but as the fungal refuse invades the area of the air sacs a shortness of breath will result. If the fungal infection thrives, a fungal-derived toxin can destroy the liver, resulting in a loss of appetite, discoloration of the mute, weakness, marked weight loss and death. This silent killer can affect many species of birds, but some are more susceptible than others. Penguins, flamingoes, ostriches, waterfowl, and parrots like the African Grey are among some of the most often infected. This fungal killer also victimizes raptors, birds of prey. In particular, this insidious disease affects the first-year red-tails, goshawks, gyrfalcons, snowy owls, and golden eagles.
When golden eagle number 99-1866 came into our facility his right shoulder was fractured at the humerus. His weight, normally at 8 pounds, was down to 6 ½ pounds—he was greatly emaciated and dehydrated. He was a victim of an accident—a bad choice was made—bad luck—and he was unable to hunt. He was starving and represented the classic definition of a bird under severe stress. What better chance was there for this opportunistic predator to take hold? In moves Aspergillus fumigatus.
The disease was spotted in golden eagle number 99-1866 through blood tests, and treatment with anti-fungal medication was administered. The fractured wing was pinned and healing nicely. The titer in new blood tests showed exposure to the disease but not currently present in the blood. Yet, he still could not fly without being winded like an out of shape runner. The fungus had taken its toll on the air sacs.
Exploratory surgery revealed a large nodule in air sacs in the lower body, and it was removed. Unfortunately there are more of these nodules that must come out. “Why you might ask, “Is so much being done for one bird?” But if you could look at him, you would find that there is a good answer. You would find it in the fire in his eyes. It is in the feathers—still shiny and strong. The bird is ringed with attitude. His focus is unmistakable. The message from his being screams of a desire to feel the wind, spread his primaries once again as he dances over lands and wild places.
The decision to release or not release is made carefully. A verdict to not release is usually made because the animal is not properly imprinted; its flight is compromised in some way; its ability to hunt and care for itself or to have a quality of life in the wild. But with number 99-1866, none of the reasons apply. His sight is sound, wings are strong, and the power in his talons supports his ability to take prey, and there is no doubt that he is a golden eagle. In his case, air sacs invaded by fungal residue have robbed him of his freedom. Invaded by a small predator he remains a grounded beauty.
Last week, sadly 99-1866, aka Phoenix, The Magnificent, slipped away from us. There was never a doubt that from the beginning he made the decision to allow us to work with him. From being The Boss who ran everyone out of his enclosure to The Magnificent who awed anyone in his orb, it was clear that he was in control and graciously allowed us to think we were. He became gentle beyond belief and even shied from the walking rock in his territory, Grandpa, the tortoise. I guess we are all allowed our idiosyncrasies. He will be missed by his handlers, his caretakers, and his thousands of fans….but he will be missed most by me….he was unashamedly my favorite, and I am letting go reluctantly.
This Week at Liberty
We were all devastated by the loss of Phoenix last week. He was the first education eagle that we’ve lost in the 32 year history of the organization. The entire Liberty family is hurting from his passage. The more I thought about what to write or what photos to use, the more I would begin to choke up.
This video is all I could muster.
(Click on this link, have your sound turned on. You can cancell the ad that appears at the bottom by clicking the small X in the upper right corner)
Good bye, Phoenix. We will miss you greatly and think of you often…
End of September…the beginning of “getting ready for the holiday season”….there is no time like it. The stores are now festooned with, believe it or not, Christmas decorations and gift promotions. For those of us a little horrified by this, and I am not alone, the Halloween ‘stuff’ seems lost in the shuffle. Maybe it has already been purchased and is ready to spring forth on front porches and yards to greet the onslaught of Halloween gremlins.
In a matter of weeks the neighborhoods come alive with sparkly princesses, swaggering pirates, and sweaty little pumpkins who move in rivulets through the streets reaping sweet rewards, depositing them in disposable bags to be censored by alert parents. It is critical to be on the lookout for anything that might be harmful…think calories, bad skin, empty nutrition.
It is my job to make a plea for our other neighbors at Halloween….and of course that would be our wildlife neighbors. You can be pretty sure that if you have bales of hay and delightful pumpkin patches in your desert front yards, you will get a nocturnal visit from the javelina family that lives in nearby washes during the day. If they are lured in by this over the charts dining experience they cross streets they maybe shouldn’t cross….and become victims of speeding cars on dark evenings. That is very bad for the javelina and not too good for the speeding car for that matter.
Another seemingly innocuous danger to the other neighbors is that tricky fake spider webbing that looks so cool strewn across the porch with the occasional black spider nestled in it. Kids love it. The effect is spooky as it is meant to be….so real looking. And, it is so real looking that the unsuspecting screech owl finds the spider irresistible. When the quiet settles on the night, the folks have gone to bed, the intrepid screech owl makes a dash for the spider only to find that it is hopelessly entwined in this plastic and unforgiving “web”. This ends up in a lengthy struggle to get away and usually means the little owl will be inextricably caught as it struggles to get free. If it is lucky and is found when the folks get up, it might end up at Liberty Wildlife. But all too often it is too late. Take down the fake spider webs…deadly at night and as deadly in the daytime for lizards, hummingbirds and other small critters unaware of its killing capacity.
I am sure there are other festive decorations that should be seriously considered when you are getting into the holiday spirit. Far be it for me to be the Grinch that stole your holiday! My message is merely for you to give it a little thought before applying the latest new item….how might it be dangerous to the neighbors that don’t trick or treat in the traditional way?
This Week at Liberty
The intake total is now at 3507.
We have a short update this week. The window is really quiet and I can only put just so many pictures of people sweeping the floors! (Plus, I was counting on getting some shots of our new phone and computer lines going in but the cable folks never showed up – what else is new?) So, here’s a couple of things that saw as notable this week…
Recently Kathy Hagerty got to release one of our barn owl rehabs. (I don’t know who took the photo, but thanks for submitting it!) As always, we try to pick a spot that will provide a suitable habitat for all birds that we set free and from this photo, it looks like this owl will have a great place to start its new life!
This is the time of year when in addition to wellness checks, all the education birds get their equipment inspected. In the case of Chaco, this is critical as she can be difficult to handle if her jesses are damaged or too short. If they are a bit long, she has a habit of biting them and damaging the holes for the leash clip. Last week, it was noticed that she had indeed elongated the holes so Max and Jan did some careful maintenance on them as the flight programs at the Hyatt are coming up.
And so, the clean up continues… Last week, Sharon and Joanie took the time to replace the covering on some of the perches on the rehab side. The carpeted lining was replaced with astro-turf which provides a better footing and and less chance for inadvertent injury to sensitive feet. At the same time, Alex was on hand to cut some of the food we get from Hickman’s egg farm. This is a serious task which can be dangerous to the untrained and careless.