Hoots, Howls, and Hollers
Sadly, I must acknowledge another of our stalwarts who has left us. Mona Berrier is surely soaring with the birds she so adored.
I can still see her sitting at the table patiently measuring food amounts to be hand fed to the education birds in her charge. I can see her packing up items to take to an educational program she was headed to. And, there she is looking into the eyes of her favorite education birds. I will always remember her as a steady, no drama, strong, giving person with a perpetual “Mona Lisa” smile.
She was a “steady pace wins the race” kind of gal. She was a natural born caretaker. She wore that crown with unbelievable dignity. She was gentle and quiet. She was the salt of the earth.
She is free. And she will be sorely missed by her own family, her Liberty Wildlife family, and by all of the critters she saved through her efforts on this planet.
From her partner at Liberty, Joanne, “she was an amazing woman, and it was my privilege to get to know her and work side by side with her doing hand feed and education programs for so many years…I will miss her.”
From fellow educator, Claudia: A lovely lady, much admired. Joanne and I shared many good memories today of the three of us in our early education team years together getting lost on the way to programs in the east valley and Florence, maps in hand before GPS on phones….all our times at The Don’s ….the list goes on and on.
Recently another caretaker duty called, and she was forced to leave her position at Liberty to follow her call to help others who needed her. She was presented with this piece of art from Anne with the signatures of her friends and co-volunteers.
It was a very small but meaningful token of how greatly she was appreciated as a volunteer, as a teacher, as a friend, as a saint.
This Week @ Liberty
The intake total for this year is now at 274.
It’s staring to warm up again as we approach the busy season at Liberty. More and more baby bunnies are being brought in and we’re expecting another bumper crop of orphaned baby birds to begin descending on us in the weeks to come. The condor went home and freedom last week as Dr. Orr drove the bird back north, and a couple of other birds (not condors!) were brought south from Kingman for our medical care and rehabilitation. we welcomed one of our Education volunteers back from surgery, and as Megan reported above, we sadly said “Farewell” to a beloved member of our Liberty Wildlife family…
Some of our favorite continuing programs are the ones we put together for the Verde Canyon Railroad. In addition to the Eagle rides in which we take our bald eagle Sonora along on the train ride to better educate the public about our state’s wildlife, we also do once per month programs of other birds at the Clarkdale station prior to the departure of the train on it’s regular run. The VCRR ride is a wonderful event which should not be missed by anyone who wants to experience Arizona! (Recently Liberty put on a program at the station which included our long-time Education volunteer Donna Jabara who recently underwent major surgery but was chomping at the bit to return to duty as a hand-feeder and educator. Welcome back, Donna!)
The Condor goes home!!
Last week the young condor which had been in our care for a couple of months was taken back to the Vermillion Cliffs by Dr. Orr. The facility there, operated by Chris Parrish and his team from the Peregrine Fund has been in operation since the first release back in 1996. They periodically recapture the birds and treat them for lead levels (the number one cause of death in the condor population in Arizona) and other issues. These are now mostly treated on site and only the most serious cases are brought down to Liberty Wildlife for care and rehabilitation.
Last week our long-distance rescue champ Sherrill Snyder made another run up to Kingman to retrieve an injured raven and this little Prairie falcon. The falcon presented an injured foot which was confirmed by x-rays. This is another example of the benefit of having instant radiology on hand which we will have in the new facility, thanks to Art Smith’s fabulous donation. Thanks, Mr. Smith! And thank Sherrill for going the extra mile (actually 400 extra miles!)
An unfortunate little bat was injured last week as it tried to get home in the attic of an apartment complex in Tempe. The pipistrelle somehow fractured it’s wing but managed to hang onto a wall over a hallway until I rescued it with the help of the apartment staff. Bats are usually quite small and, like hummingbirds, their bones are very difficult to repair when broken. This little guy got fluids and a good meal before our bat expert, Rebecca took him home for further treatment. Unfortunately, his wing was damaged beyond repair and he was gently and humanely euthanized. Bats are critical pollinators here and all over the world and their colonies should be protected whenever possible.
Orphan Care doesn’t officially open for several weeks, but it seems the cottontail rabbit population didn’t get the memo. We have had a steady stream of baby bunnies arriving at the intake window for some time. Believe it or not, these little lagomorphs take more time and care than baby birds. It’s a good thing that most volunteers don’t find this a daunting task to be avoided… Each tiny bundle of fur is marked with non-toxic nail polish to identify them, fed every couple of hours, and monitored for hydration and level of intake – and outflow (which must be manually stimulated!) Anyone want to sign up for Orphan Care?
Our last gift to Mona – bird caretaker, wildlife teacher, fellow volunteer, and friend.
Words cannot express the feelings….
Weekly Progress on the New Facility