Progress report: This past Wednesday the construction started on the completion of Elwood from 28th Street to 24th Street. Why is road construction the subject of my blog? This event is a big step leading to the building of our new facility, Liberty Wildlife on the Rio Salado. The road will be the catalyst to bringing the infrastructure to our 6.5 acres of land. We will have water and power and the ability to start preparing the land for contouring, landscaping, internal infrastructure, and all of the step by step events that will lead to our relocation.
Another thing that has been on my mind is a big “you rock” to our rehab group…orphan care, medical services, and daily care. That also includes our Hotline and Rescue group who are the first step to helping you and the wildlife you are invested in. What a lot of people don’t realize is that this group of dedicated folks can’t rest on their laurels by mastering the care of one kind of wildlife. They can’t say, “Oh that is a great horned owl, burrowing owl, barn owl, I know what to do with it.”
No, they have to be prepared to deal with everything from rabbits, raccoons, or foxes to hummingbirds, flickers, herons, cliff swallows, night hawks, or falcons, condors and eagles. To be exact…this group of incredible volunteers and staff deal with between 125-140 species in a given year. What is the natural history of that poorwill? What does the swift eat? What does lead poisoning look like in an eagle or a condor? When is the right time to release a raccoon family? Where is the best place to take a family of red shafted flickers? Can this fracture next to a joint be fixed, and if so what is the newest way to do it?
There is a huge amount of knowledge that must be maintained. There is a huge amount of experience that makes this group such a success. It has come from 33 years of hard work and continuing curiosity.
And, this rehabilitation business isn’t constant. Medications change, bandaging materials change and improve. Methods and techniques become better and better and when shared in continuing education classes spread the word and make us continually better and better at what we do.
Circling back to the start of our road….it is actually a symbol of our ability to continue to grow in physical ways which allows us to continue to grow in all other rehabilitation and education ways. We see ourselves getting better and better at everything that we do and that is truly an exciting thought.
If you are interested in how you can help make all of this happen, just let me know. There is indeed something that everyone can do to put your fingerprint on this exciting project. Join in!
This Week at Liberty
The intake total for the year now stands at 2590.
It remains as busy as possible at the facility and the pace shows no signs of letting up. Amid all the usual intakes and orphans that continually show up, several birds made a trip to the eye clinic last week for examination by Dr. Urbanz and her staff. The assessments confirmed either the injury and/or the prognosis in the patients examined. The new log-in procedures and forms designed by John seem to be working well as we continue to move into the digital age, and as Megan recounted above, the road to the new facility is moving along – literally! To prevent a sameness creeping into the TW@L posting, I’ve included some general shots from the operation and I want to thank all the volunteers who submitted photos for use in the blog. Thanks to all, and keep them coming! Now for the week at hand…
We don’t actually get a lot of turkey vultures at Liberty, but the one that recently arrived was X-rayed by Dr. Sorum and two lead pellets showed up really well indicating this bird was shot. I guess people who call these birds “buzzards” think that they are fair game for target practice, but such is NOT the case. As migratory birds, they are protected and cannot be shot, killed, or captured within the law. Hopefully this bird will recover and be returned to his job as airborne trash collector as soon as possible. They provide a great service to the human as well as the animal community of Arizona.
A trip up to the animal eye clinic last week had Dr. Jennifer Urbanz examining several of our patients for suspected eye problems. The results were mixed as one was better than anticipated, one was worse, and one was inconclusive. The little burrowing owl presented evidence of a puncture wound which involved the eyelid and the iris, but it was determined that the bird could actually see with the inured eye. Healing will still require time. The kestrel she checked was unfortunately deemed irreparably blind, while the baby barn owl showed no eye damage. If he recovers from whatever neurological injury he may have, release might still be possible eventually.
One of our rehabbed red tails caught an unwary coach-whip snake in her enclosure recently and while downing the unlucky reptile, received a scratch on her eye. Luckily it was only a surface injury and with care and medicine, should heal properly in time. The same cannot be said for the snake…
As we’re trying to acquire a “deeper bench” in the foster care area, a male and a female non-releasable kestrel were introduced to each other in hopes of forming a pair that will act as foster parents for future orphans. Since “Match.com” was not consulted, it remains to be seen if these two will hit it off…
Tim Coppage recently constructed this “screech owl duplex” for our growing assemblage of screeches in rehab. It appears the birds like the new digs as they are hanging out in it most of the time during the heat of the day.
The raccoon family is doing fine as mom is healthy and the kids are growing up fast. They seem to like the habitat that was provided by Nina when her cats abandoned the structure, making it tougher to get any good photos without luck and timing coming together in the mammal area…
The squirrels in rehab are also doing well, improvising as they try to adapt to the Arizona environment in 100+degree weather in June. This little guy seems to have found a comfy spot on top of the water jug.
And finally, Lorenza recently submitted this picture of the Macaulay Culkin look-alike winner at Liberty Wildlife 2014! As I always say, timing is everything in photography!
I took this panorama last Sunday looking east over the site of Liberty Wildlife on the Rio Salado. The path along the river is a nice touch, and as soon as the road in front is finished, we hope to begin work on the facility itself (see Megan’s HHH above).