This Week at Liberty – January 27, 2014

Hoots, Howls, and HollersMegan and Libby

Are you a nature buff?  Do you prefer to spend your spare time in the glorious out-or-doors?  But, is your experience often dulled by the onslaught of trash at your favorite lake or hiking trail?  If you answered yes to these questions, you can help be part of the solution thanks to a small group of young men…the innovators of Curo-Ecology Management Recycling Services.

Three recent college graduates, Russ, Tim and Kyle, clearly spent their time in school learning the lessons necessary for an entrepreneurial venture.  These outdoorsmen who have spent a good amount of time in the Tonto National Forrest have come up with a partnership that is a win-win situation for everyone.  They have created a recycling business that is designed to clean up the Tonto National Forrest, provide a donation to Liberty Wildlife and start an enterprising business for them.

This flyer is on each bin

This flyer is on each bin

Their objectives are to:  Reduce the amount of recyclable materials going into the Apache Junction Landfill, to merge the Tonto National Forests mission statement of “Moving Forward with Sustainable Operations” with the actions of the Mesa Ranger District by recycling beverage containers, to reduce the cost of waste operations for the Mesa Ranger District, and to donate 5% of profit to Liberty Wildlife.

Their plan included creating waste bins by recycling large metal containers used by another company that were being surplused.  They made them animal proof, easy to use, painted them a bright green, and identified them as Curo bins.  Each bin has a flyer describing the program and logos of the three partners.  The bins are to be placed prominently in areas of high usage and will be monitored and emptied by Curo.  It is so easy that there is no reason in the world for anyone leaving a recyclable can or container to blight the landscape.

Curo receptacle with Liberty Logo

Curo receptacle with Liberty Logo

As a promotion and a test, a bin was placed on the Lower Salt River for the January 18 Lower Salt River Clean-Up.  Two hundred people attended to clean the area up and the bins were showcased and tested out.  The enthusiasm from the Rangers led to the invitation to add bins to Canyon Lake, Lake Saguaro and the Salt River.  The event also provided a great opportunity for these ingenious entrepreneurs to network….perhaps leading to an opportunity to place their bins on some local golf courses.

I am thrilled that Liberty Wildlife can be associated with such an all-around sustainable project.  I am encouraged by such participation by our successors on this planet.

I am inspired by these three young men who just plain get it!!!  Hooray for Russ Tuemmler, Tim Willsey, and Kyle Jenkins! May your project be the success you, your hard work, and your enthusiasm deserve.      Please remember to reuse, reduce, recycle.

This Week at Liberty

The intake total is now up to 77.

Posted by Terry Stevens

Posted by Terry Stevens

Liberty media stars

Liberty media stars

Recently the Arizona Republic did another article on the California Condors and the problem with lead.  They came out and filmed an interview with Dr. Orr as she, Jan, Alex, and Joe performed the daily treatment of the two we have in our care. Here is a link to the article on line: Condors in Arizona

In local Liberty news… More projects are getting accomplished in advance of the impending crunch of Baby Bird Season. In addition, some of the educational display animals we have were fed recently and I thought I’d include that event in this week’s update. Plus, we have some of the usual intakes and one bird that doesn’t show up very often but was brought back from the Sierra Vista area by the Ed team presenting at Wings Over Wilcox last weekend.  Let’s take a look…

A female kestrel comes in

A female kestrel comes in

The falconine "tomial tooth" is evident in this shot

The falconine “tomial tooth” is evident in this shot

One of the birds that showed up in a rescue this week was this little female kestrel. Presenting subtle symptoms of an unknown injury, she was examined by Susie and Jan and set up in the ICU for observation to determine further treatment.

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Jan and Joanie examine a hawk's wing

Jan and Joanie examine a juvenile red-tail hawk’s wing

Little GHO gets a new wrap

Little GHO gets a new wrap

Progressing through “vet night” last Tuesday, the patients included a young RTH with a with a wing injury, and this little GHO who has what is probably an electrical burn to his wing. As we pointed out recently, the birds that come in this time of year are mostly youngsters who have made some mistakes as they try to learn what works – and what doesn’t – in growing up to be top-of-the-foodchain predators in Arizona. The skill of our volunteers and staff give them a chance to recover and continue the learning process.

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Jan gives fluids

Jan gives fluids

The golden eagle that has been with us for some time got some of his continuing treatment last week. Fluids and food are given daily as the bird works to recover from his initial injuries.

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A young black vulture arrives from around the Sierra Vista area

A young black vulture arrives from around the Sierra Vista area

Say "ahhh…."

Say “ahhh….”

Toba and Susie continue the exam

Toba and Susie continue the exam

We get a few vultures each year (including the California condors) but most of them are the ubiquitous turkey vulture (Cathartes aura) we’ve all seen. Last week, the Education volunteers who were presenting at Wings Over Wilcox received a young black vulture (Coragyps atratus) that was found near Douglas and was brought to our friend Sandy Anderson who identified it and sent it to Liberty. More common in Florida and other more southern areas, the black vulture is not as adept at effortless soaring as the turkey vulture and needs more thermal activity to support it’s higher wing-loading.

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Rex and Rosie get into their dinner

Rex and Rosie get into their dinner

Our new big gopher snake gets fed

‘Durango’, our new big gopher snake gets fed

All of our animals are fed a carefully controlled diet, mostly mimicking what they would eat in the wild. Our Education animals, both avian and reptilian, get the same treatment. We do NOT feed our non-releasable collection any live food. Only the raptors that are candidates for release are ever fed live prey. We buy frozen mice and small rodents which are then thawed and given to the animals in measured amounts at appropriate intervals. Last week, our snakes and gila monsters were fed and I caught some of this activity photographically.

 

 

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This Week at Liberty – January 20, 2014

Hoots, Howls, and HollersMegan and Libby

This guest blog is contributed by Art Smith, medical services volunteer of 18 years at Liberty Wildlife.  His suggestion to me that my comments weren’t totally correct related to lead poisoning issues, lead me to invite him to write this very illuminating article.  Please read it to the end and take action.

Lead and patients of Liberty

One thing that I believe everyone at Liberty agrees on is Lead is Bad!  What is Lead? and Where is Lead Found?

Lead, Pb, the 82nd element is a naturally occurring element found in small amounts in the earth’s crust. Lead can be found in all parts of our environment – the air, the soil, the water, and even inside our homes. Much of our exposure comes from human activities including the use of fossil fuels including past use of leaded gasoline, some types of industrial facilities, and past use of lead-based paint in homes. Lead and lead compounds have been used in a wide variety of products found in and around our homes, including paint, ceramics, dinnerware, pipes and plumbing materials,solders,gasoline, batteries, ammunition, and cosmetics.

While natural levels of lead in soil range between 50 and 400 parts per million, mining, smelting, and refining activities have resulted in substantial increases in lead levels in the environment, especially near mining and smelting sites.

Federal and state regulatory standards have helped to minimize or eliminate the amount of lead in air, drinking water, soil, consumer products, food, gasoline, copper plumbing joints, paint, dishes, children’s toys and occupational settings.

Lead is particularly dangerous to children because their growing bodies absorb more lead than adults do and their brains and nervous systems are more sensitive to the damaging effects of lead. Babies and young children can also be more highly exposed to lead because they often put their hands and other objects that can have lead from dust or soil on them into their mouths. Children may also be exposed to lead by eating and drinking food or water containing lead or from dishes or glasses that contain lead, inhaling lead dust from lead-based paint or lead-contaminated soil or from playing with toys with lead paint.

Adults may be exposed to lead by eating and drinking food or water containing lead or from dishes or glasses that contain lead. They may also breathe lead dust by spending time in areas where lead-based paint is deteriorating, and during renovation or repair work that disturbs painted surfaces in older homes and buildings. Working in a job or engaging in hobbies where lead is used, such as making stained glass, can increase exposure as can certain folk remedies containing lead. A pregnant woman’s exposure to lead from these sources is of particular concern because it can result in exposure to her developing baby.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) monitors blood lead levels in the United States.

  • The most important step parents, doctors, and others can take is to prevent lead exposure before it occurs.
  • Until recently, children were identified as having a blood lead level of concern if the test result is 10 or more micrograms per deciliter of lead in blood. Experts now use a new level based on the U.S. population of children ages 1-5 years who are in the top 2.5% of children when tested for lead in their blood (when compared to children who are exposed to more lead than most children). Currently that is 5 micrograms per deciliter of lead in blood. The new, lower value means that more children likely will be identified as having lead exposure allowing parents, doctors, public health officials, and communities to take action earlier to reduce the child’s future exposure to lead.

EPA uses the CDC data to show trends on blood lead levels in children in America’s Children and the Environment.

All this being said where does that leave the birds and mammals that Liberty is most concerned with.  Where use of lead has been eliminated has been through the efforts and regulations put in place by the Environmental Protection Agency, EPA.  The CDC is concerned about a blood lead level of 5 micrograms/deciliter in children yet we regularly have California Condors presenting for treatment with blood lead levels of upwards of 795 micrograms/deciliter.  Let’s call Condors the top end of the current “Lead problem”.  I am convinced and we have some data to prove that every raptor, eagle, Osprey, the owls, hawks, falcons, and many of the passerines that we see have some elevated blood levels of lead when they present for treatment. 

The state and federal agencies that seem to care at some level about lead blood levels in children of 5 micrograms/deciliter seem to have little or no concern about our native wildlife perishing of lead poisoning.  Where does this lead come from?  We know it is naturally occurring but you would have to eat a lot of dirt to have a bad experience with lead.  For our birds and mammals it comes from some foods they eat and some of the foods are contaminated with lead.  The lead that contaminates food for wildlife comes from two main sources; shotgun shell pellets and lead fragments from lead bullets of both rim fire and center fire rifle cartridges.  Today it is illegal in all 50 states to hunt or take waterfowl with lead shot.  Lead shot was outlawed many years ago by the federal government.  It was waterfowl hunters and organizations like Ducks Unlimited in the US, Canada and Mexico that really helped with that legislation.  Many die hard duck hunters thought their lives were over when they had to use steel shot instead of lead.  They adapted, the steel shot shells were improved and there are more shot guns and shells sold to hunters now than ever before.  Unfortunately, upland birds, doves included may still be taken with lead shot.  Lots of shooters out there and not too many hunters, therefore there are way too many wounded birds that are not found and taken home as well as lots of dead birds that people do not bother to fetch.  The birds of prey that present with elevated lead levels have eaten those birds and therefore ingested lead. I worked hard for several years to get doves classified as migratory birds to eliminate lead shot in dove hunts but AZG&F thought it a bad idea and rejected it against expert advice.

Next consider the rifle cartridges with lead bullets.  Lead bullets perform very well for the job they were designed to do.  That is to penetrate, mushroom and fragment.  They all do those things to some degree, some more some less.  Use an elk as an example.  If I shoot an elk in the body the bullet penetrates, mushrooms, and fragments all at a velocity of between 1400 and 2700 feet per second depending on the firearm and cartridge used.  In other words it happens in a hurry.  A .30 cal entry hole, about the diameter of the body of your ball point pen, leaves an exit hole larger than my doubled up fist.  Everything it touched in its travel through the body is torn up with fragments of lead left in everything it touches, bone, meat, and the inner organs.  This animal is field dressed, the gut pile is left behind and the hunter takes the meat home.  Most hunters today would be alarmed at the number of lead fragments that remain in the meat they put on their dinner table for their family to consume.  I have seen x-rays done by a game processor showing the lead in the meat from animals taken with lead bullets and used as an education tool.

We get several types of lead related issues at Liberty.  Ingested lead from lead bullet fragments, ingested BB’s or lead shot from shot gun shells, .177 and .22 cal lead pellets from air rifles that are mainly breaking bones or putting out eyes but not ending up in the digestive track of the patients we treat.  All are bad for wildlife but ingested lead is potentially deadly.

The scavengers eat what the hunter left behind.  They also consume any animals that are mortally wounded but not retrieved.  A regular lead cafeteria……a deadly meal.  As the wildlife eat more of lead tainted food the levels of lead build and many die.  Some like Condors and Eagles are spotted and brought to places like Liberty for long and very often successful treatment of high levels of lead.

Lead has been replaced with steel for waterfowl; copper bullets are available at competitive pricing by all ammunition manufacturers to replace lead bullets.  That leaves a lot to chance by people who are not known to take change lightly.  In order to make changes to give wildlife the same fighting chance the EPA has seen fit to give children and adults in our country there needs to be pressure put on the local agencies like AZG&F, State Legislature, your elected Federal Officials and most importantly the Environmental Protection Agency, EPA.  If we keep talking only to each other nothing is going to happen.  We need to have the correct message and deliver it to the correct people.  It takes time but the first step has to be taken.  Instead of blogging each other, write your state representative, your congressman or the EPA, preferably all of them.

I am a native of Arizona and a lifelong gun owner and hunter.  I’m a U.S Navy Veteran.  I have worked with and around lead and lead alloys most of my life in things from the printing industry when hot metal type was used, developing low temperature high strength Lead/Indium/Silver and tin/lead/indium alloys for the semiconductor industry, eliminating lead solders from copper plumbing connections and eliminating lead pipe in industrial applications.  I am a Life Member of Ducks Unlimited and worked on the change over from lead to steel.  Have convinced several big time hunters to switch to copper bullets, each of them saying they won’t kill anything and now not using anything but copper.  I’m in my 18th year as a volunteer for Liberty, was in the first Medical Services class and still do a Med Services shift on Wednesday AM and have seen birds brought in for our care both recover or die in our arms while treating them for lead poisoning.  There is not even a hint of gun control or 2nd amendment rights issues involved in changing from lead to copper, or lead to steel.  If you are a hunter you should have been taught early to kill what you aim at.  If you are in the Military you were taught to kill what you aim at, if you have a concealed carry permit you know about your liability for collateral damage if you use a weapon in the wrong situations.  It is the collateral damage from using the wrong ammunition that I have been talking about.  Thank You

Art Smith

This Week at Liberty

Posted by Terry Stevens

Posted by Terry Stevens

The intake total for the year now stands at 58.

As the year slowly ramps up, we’re seeing the usual progression of intake injuries, mostly juveniles and yearlings from last spring who are learning the do’s and don’ts of being apex predators (and some prey species!) The unfortunate thing is that nature, in all her wisdom, is a harsh teacher.  In many cases, the test precedes the lesson, and a passing grade is continued existence and more testing each day, and a less than passing score means you get removed from the gene pool. Since the human portion of this constant evaluation is so prevalent, Liberty Wildlife is here to try to return some balance to the equation. Here’s what we did this week…

Duck goes on walkabout

Duck goes on walkabout

The juvenile duck that has been our patient in recent weeks is getting better.  Her broken leg is getting stronger and she takes daily walks through the ICU and even the office! Hopefully she will be returned to her family soon and they will all be released to a safe lake in the area.

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Molted snake skin

Molted snake skin

We all know (I hope!) that birds molt feathers on a fairly regular timetable.  But you may not know that snakes also molt their skin whenever they grow enough to require more “room” inside their covering. Last week Joya, our Sinaloan milk snake, shed her skin almost intact.  This kind of artifact adds to our educational display that really makes an impression on the kids who attend our programs.

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Lots of young red tails this time of year

Lots of young red tails this time of year

Jan and Joanie check a red-tail wing

Jan and Joanie check a red-tail wing

Juvie RTH gets a wing wrap

Juvie RTH gets a wing wrap

The wrap is checked for fit and comfort

The wrap is checked for fit and comfort

Just beginning to get his red tail

Just beginning to get his red tail

As I pointed out above, this is the time of year that we seem to get in a large contingent of young (first year) red tailed hawks. Since they are so common, there are a lot of them out there and as youngsters they tend to make mistakes as do the young of all species (got any teen-agers at home?) When they get into trouble, the lucky ones find their way to Liberty and get the medical care they require to get back into the game and continue to learn the things they will need to know how to do in order to survive as adult hawks.

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A merlin gets examined

A merlin gets examined

"Look into my eyes!"

“Look into my eyes!”

Another little falcon arrived recently presenting what seems to be a head injury. This is not uncommon with merlins and in order to properly diagnose the injury, Jan took the time to examine the bird’s eye where symptoms of head trauma often show up.

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Little GHO is a new patient

Little GHO is a new patient

Some abrasion on the eye

Some abrasion is evident on the eye

OK, not all the intakes were hawks.  This GHO also arrived with some evidence of a head collision. No broken bones, but an abrasion on his left eye will require some treatment prior to his release. It isn’t often eye damage is visible without special equipment and it’s obvious this bird had a close encounter of the worst kind with some immovable object…

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Snickers practices with Michelle

Snickers practices with Michelle

Veto enjoys some sun

Veto enjoys some sun

Now that the weather is turning nice – why we continue to live in Arizona! – some of our Education volunteers are taking advantage of the beautiful conditions for getting in some practice with the Ed birds. Last week, Michelle Boyer was out working with Veto and Snickers to add these birds to her list. The process allows volunteers and birds to get used to each other prior to going out to do presentations at schools and other functions. (It’s also a great time to get some nice pictures of the birds in a calm environment.)

 

 

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This Week at Liberty – January 13, 2014

Hoots, Howls, and HollersMegan and Libby

A new year and three important things have surfaced right away.

We made it again!  Yes, thanks to all of you who took the time to participate in the Birdies for Charity fundraiser we have made it to the Waste Management Phoenix Open Golf Tournament in February.  In fact, we will be there on the very busy Saturday of the event to greet the gathering of folks in the big tent! Look for us with eagles, hawks, owls, falcons, and perhaps a reptile or two accompanied by our skillful handlers and educators.  We are thrilled!  We know the audience will be too.  Thank you for listening to my nagging or for helping our cause because you believe in it.  We will make you proud!

And, the other good news is that we now welcome Terry Stevens full time to Team Liberty.  Terry retired from US Airways/American Airlines, flying his last flight last week after 25 years of “soaring the skies” with a plane-full of passengers.  Now, we embrace his ability to help other creatures fly, full time.  Yay!

Welcome aboard ship Liberty Wildlife, Captain Terry….we will be enriched full time by this second career.

Lastly, please remind your hunting friends that there is a good alternative to lead bullets….steel or copper will kill just fine.  We ring this bell every time a condor is delivered to us to treat for lead poisoning which is almost every time.  These are charismatic creatures that a lot of people have worked very hard to bring back from the brink of extinction.  How very sad it would be if it was all for naught because of lead in the environment…lead that isn’t good for any living thing.

We are very privileged to be the “go to rehabilitation facility” to help these beleaguered animals, but for me it is very difficult to look at them, to see them grabbed for treatment, to human-handle them….they deserve a better existence.  Every time we receive one, I sense in them an intense sadness at their situation….anthropomorphism…I know but it still rings true to me.  These birds should be soaring.  They should be reproducing, they should be fulfilling their role in the environment, but they shouldn’t be cleaning up our lead mess and paying the ultimate price for it.

If you hunt, pick up your gut piles and bring home what you take…amazing how much it  would help if you would switch to a safer bullet delivery…make the switch now before it is too late.

This Week at Liberty

Posted by Terry Stevens

Posted by Terry Stevens

 

The intake total for the year is now at 35.

Things are a little slow right now, but only in terms of the intake rate. We still have two condors that take a lot of time to care for, and there are plenty of other animals needing help, as well as some new arrivals. In addition, we are moving into a new phase of digital record keeping that will minimize our use of paper, make things easier as we put out annual reports to USFW and AZGFD, and give our volunteers and staff more time to spend on the real work of Liberty Wildlife – caring for animals and education programs. But, the activity still progresses, if at a winter’s pace…

Injured cooper's hawk gets treatment

Injured cooper’s hawk gets treatment

Another good sized cooper’s hawk arrived recently with symptoms showing possible internal injuries.  Cooper’s are prone to this type of damage from collisions with things they encounter as they pursue their prey – namely other birds. The chase gets frantic and as they close in on their target, they get a bit tunnel-visioned and lose track of things that might come between them and their quarry, such as windows and other structures. The resulting trauma can cause serious injury or death unless they are lucky enough to be rescued by a Liberty Rescue/Transport volunteer.

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Baby javelina

Tony holds a baby javelina (photo by Elizabeth Page)

Tony was working the Med Services shift this weekend and this tiny baby javelina showed up.  Orphan mammals are a problem – in fact ALL mammals are a problem as only volunteers who have had rabies inoculations are permitted to handle them. As soon as he was stabilized, he was transferred to a facility that specializes in native Arizona mammals for further care.

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Greg and Jan help with the intubation tube

Greg and Jan help with the intubation tube (photo by Lorenza Daniel)

Dr. Orr begins the operation as Dr. Wyman monitors the patient

Dr. Orr begins the operation as Dr. Wyman monitors the patient (photo by Lorenza Daniel)

The crop is carefully opened and examined

The crop is carefully opened and examined (photo by Lorenza Daniel)

Two Vets work carefully on the female.

Two Vets work carefully on the female. (photo by Lorenza Daniel)

The two California condors we have in our care right now both have elevated lead levels (as usual…sigh) The male seems to be doing better and the one pellet that he had ingested that was visible in X-rays is now nearly out of his body. The female is not doing as well and last week, the marsupialization surgery was performed on her by Dr. Orr with Dr. Wyman assisting. This involves opening the crop and attaching the open ends to the chest so it stays open while the chelation works to get rid of the lead that prevents the muscles in the crop from working properly. A hole is left in the chest through which food is then pumped into the bird’s stomach for nourishment. This procedure has worked fairly well in the past and we hope she improves soon.

Pair o'condors

Pair o’condors

This is tough on nets

This is tough on nets!

Blood is drawn for testing

Blood is drawn for testing

Dr. Orr checks under the bandages

Joe holds as Dr. Orr checks under the bandages

Alex holds the fluid bag

Alex holds the fluid bag

The large pellet has moved and has almost passed!

The large fragment has moved and has almost passed!

The next day, the usual treatment is back on the agenda.  Each bird is netted and held, and Dr. Orr checks on the results of the surgery while blood is drawn. The tests show the current lead levels and the effectiveness of the chelation which binds with the lead in the blood to allow excretion of the heavy metal. The X-ray shows where the large bullet fragment was and where it has moved down and almost out of the male.

ALL manufacturers of ammunition now offer alternatives to lead so hopefully the day will soon arrive when lead in ammunition will be treated the same way as lead in paint, gasoline, and toys from China – intolerable in any quantity.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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This Week at Liberty – January 06, 2014

Hoots, Howls, and HollersMegan and Libby

“Our dilemma is that we hate change and love it at the same time; what we really want is for things to remain the same but get better.” Sydney J. Harris   ☺

I am stealing this quote from Carol who used it today related to our new log in system….more on that later.

At this time of year, change is always on my mind.  As the December 31st date rolls over making room for January 1st, I start to get excited.  It sort of represents a clean slate to me.  I know, it is just another day, but for some reason, for me, it is the trigger for my optimistic button.  I begin to anticipate the changes that will surely be coming and in my muddled mind the changes are always good and for the best.

That notion takes me directly to the quote because change isn’t ever easy whether it is immediately seen as good or bad….it is what you make of it.

A week before the end of the year we tried out our new wildlife log in procedure created just for us by John with a heavy dose of help from Belinda and Terry.  This is something Terry has been talking about for a while now, but it is tricky business with a lot of twists and turns with a double dash of trepidation from the users (us).  This new system is designed to make our “paperwork” more expedient, make all of our bureaucratic needs hum, and take stress off of staff especially around the end of the year when reports are due.

Anticipating all of the hiccups isn’t possible the first time!  We allowed for unnoticed “what ifs” and still John and Belinda had a little of the “back to the drawing board”….everything needs to talk to one another, volunteers and staff need to buy into the change, and this is only possible if you try it…see the real glitches on the ground and fix them.  How lucky can we be to have two experts with really good senses of humor, and the work ethic that it takes to make things perfect!

With that quote in mind, I am embracing the changes that I anticipate.  I look forward to the growth of our new facility.  I look forward to streamlining our processes so that we can help more animals, educate more people, provide more assistance to the community and help the Native American community with their feather needs for regalia, religions practices, and ceremony.

This year I am going to embrace change, warts and all….and do what I can to make it all for the better!

And, please know how much I appreciate all of the donations, volunteer hours, and well wishes from our following….It is you, indeed, who make it happen.

Happy 2014!

 

This Week at Liberty

Posted by Terry Stevens

Posted by Terry Stevens

 

The intake total for 2014 is now at 15.

2014 is stating off with a bang: 2 California condors are presently being treated at Liberty. Once again, the culprit is lead poisoning. And, as Megan pointed out above, we are embarking on a new system to acquire the data we need for record keeping. (If some of you received the Quick Start Guide to this system in error, please forgive me. We recently did some realignment with our mailing lists – again with the aim to modernize and “Go Green” – and some people were included in the volunteer list in error.) We’re constantly trying to update and modernize as we move into a digital era which ultimately should result in greater efficiency and better care for the animals we treat. In any case, let’s look at 2014 – week No.1…

 

Liberty's "Charlie Brown Christmas Tree"

Liberty’s “Charlie Brown Christmas Tree”

One last look at the holidays… For the past two years, this little tree has been decorating the facility during the holiday season. It reminds us that the people of Liberty are probably closer to the “Peanuts” kids rather than The Avengers in spirit, but with a never-give-up attitude and humility in dealing with all creatures that come to us for help.

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White crowned sparrow

White crowned sparrow

A seasonal visitor to the area is this white-crowned sparrow that arrived last week. Not big and impressive, this pretty little bird is a true “snow bird” that comes to town from northern climates to spend the winter in the warm Southwest. His release is probably close at hand as he escaped his enclosure momentarily and fluttered around the ICU  before I got this picture. A cousin of the ubiquitous European sparrow, this little guy is a native to North America.

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Joe and a new friend

Joe and a new friend

Joe holds for Jan

Joe holds for Jan as she prepares to examine the feet

The bandages are removed

The bandages are removed

It's looking good!

It’s looking good!

The foot is rewrapped

The foot is rewrapped

Two new pink socks!

Two new pink socks!

This golden eagle came in a while back after being hit by a car. His wing was fractured in the collision and a pin was installed which healed, but the injury to his elbow made the joint stiff so he has remained with us for a while. He is now recovering from a bout with bumble-foot which is common in eagles who spend time in captivity. They need a wide variety of surfaces to stand on each day and until we get to our new facility, providing so many different types of surfaces is difficult. The good news is that he is healing nicely!

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Watching her roommate get his treatment

Watching her roommate get his treatment

Kayla holds the head

Kayla holds the head

Tammy holds the fluid bag

Tammy holds the fluid bag

Jan and Tony complete the four-man job

Jan and Tony complete the four-man job

The male poses while the female is treated

The male poses while the female is treated

As the hunting season begins, two condors are already in treatment for lead poisoning. It appears we have been underperforming in the education area as people are still using lead ammunition. Arizona Game and Fish has a wonderful program to swap alternative type ammo for lead at no charge to any hunter who wants to participate. We just need to get the word out as to the dangers of lead in the environment. And if you don’t think condors are worth saving, most eagles that arrive at our facility also exhibit measurable lead levels in their blood, sometimes with fatal results. It’s not just the animal in the crosshairs that will die from the lead bullet, it’s the scavengers that clean up the mess after the kill that also suffers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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This Week at Liberty – December 30, 2013

Hoots, Howls, and Hollers

Tick tock, tick tock, tick tock….Megan and Libby

Last blog of the year, last chance to call your attention to some important things that will help support our mission, last chance to help us grow, help more animals, better serve the community with wildlife and natural history needs, last chance for you to give and see a benefit in your taxes.

If you haven’t already been nagged into doing this, please go to our web site, www.libertywildlife.org, click on the pop up (which will very soon disappear), and make a pledge for Liberty Wildlife for the Birdies for Charity fund raiser.  If we accrue either the most money or the most number of pledges (which will be collected in the spring), we earn an opportunity to strut our stuff, spread our mission, wow the attendees at the 2014 Waste Management Phoenix Open.  We were able to make an appearance last year, and we were a huge hit!  Our message has gone international as well as increased right here at home, because or you!  Let’s do it again this year.

Also, please, it isn’t too late for you to give to your favorite non-profit, Liberty Wildlife, and take a deduction on this year’s taxes.  You can pay through a check, a drop off at our window, our on line store, a call to the office, 480-995-0230 and charge to your credit card….we will make it oh so easy for you, and we will both reap the benefits of your generosity.

And, let’s not forget our capital campaign to build our new facility on the Rio Salado.  This is a chance for you to be a part of a pretty wonderful thing.  Help us spread our wings, be open to the public, care for more animals in a more expedient way.  Help us enrich an area of the valley that has so much potential to become a showplace for students, tourists, community members, and wildlife in need!

If you happen to be a first time reader, I would like to direct you to our web site to get a recap of all of our accomplishments this year.  You can look at our archived publications starting with This Week @Liberty, Hoots, Howls, and Hollers, or our monthly e newsletter, Nature News, or our annual magazine, WingBeats and our Annual Report.  It won’t take long for you to discover how your donations are spent.  Check out the numbers of animals helped, students of all ages educated, the assistance to corporations, agencies and the public with wildlife interface needs, and you will quickly realize that without Liberty Wildlife’s programs including our Hotline and Rescue and Transport group, the accomplishments of our award winning Non-Eagle Feather Repository the wildlife needs of the community would be greatly and negatively impacted.

So, if you can give, do it now…what are you waiting for….there are so many ways to help, and now is the time.

We thank you in advance for your willingness to help us drive our mission to new heights.

Tick tock, tick tock, tick tock.

This Year at Liberty

Posted by Terry Stevens

Posted by Terry Stevens

The intake total for the year (with one more day to go) is now at 3734. OK, the year is almost over, and believing that one should never change a winning game, I thought I’d keep up the practice of putting together a slide show of some of the pictures from the past year’s TW@L.  There is no particular theme except trying to represent some of the highlights (and a lowlight or two) from the year.  The pics are mostly in order  from the beginning of 2013 to this month.  I hope everybody enjoys it. Happy New Year to all!

This Year at Liberty 2013                                                                                               (click here for animated slide show)

Happy New Year from TW@L!

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This Week at Liberty – December 23, 2013

Blog CC 2013

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This Week at Liberty – December 16, 2013

Hoots, Howls, and HollersMegan and Libby

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.

Posted by Terry Stevens

Posted by Terry Stevens

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.

The Sunday crew X-rays a red-tail

The Sunday crew X-rays a red-tail

Good wing (L) vs bad wing (R)

Good wing (L) vs bad wing (R)

A burrowing owl is next

A burrowing owl is next

A bad fracture is confirmed

A bad fracture is confirmed

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.)

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Eddy brings in a golden from condor country

Eddy brings in a golden from condor country

Jan does an evaluation

Jan does an evaluation

Dr. Sorum shoots an X-ray

Dr. Sorum shoots an X-ray

Everybody wants to see

Everybody wants to see

New kid at Liberty

New kid at Liberty

 

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.)

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ready to go

Barbara Hassenkamp has a red-tailed hawk ready to go

Nice release!

Nice release!

Another pretty RTH goes free

Another pretty RTH goes free

Never look back...

Never look back…

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!

 

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This Week at Liberty – December 09, 2013

Hoots, Howls, and HollersMegan and Libby

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!

Don’t forget to make a pledge to Birdies for Charity at our web site…www.libertywildlife.org.

This Week at Liberty

The intake total for the year is now at 3680.

Posted by Terry Stevens

Posted by Terry Stevens

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…

 

Everyone was bundled up as they checked in...

Everyone was bundled up as they checked in…

There were games, gifts, and prizes for everyone

There were games, gifts, and prizes for everyone

As always, there was lots of great food!!

As always, there was lots of great food!!

Megan (Managing Director) and Dr. Orr (Founder of Liberty)

Megan (Managing Director) and Dr. Orr (Founder of Liberty)

Santa, aka John Glitsos, arrived by official vehicle (ok, my truck!)

Santa arrived by official vehicle (ok, my truck!)…

and soon took over the MC duties.

and soon took over the MC duties. He began by reading a letter he got from Megan… (click the red link below)

Megan’s letter to Santa

Raffle winners are all smiles

Raffle winners are all smiles

Dr.Orr wins a canvas print of Chaco

Dr.Orr wins a canvas print of Chaco

Even this dog seemed happy about being there…!

Even this dog seemed happy about being there…!

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!!!

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This Week at Liberty – December 02, 2013

Hoots, Howls, and HollersMegan and Libby

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.

Dr. Orr and Jan wrap a baby bald eagle

Dr. Orr and Jan wrap a baby bald eagle

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!

Hatchling baby hawk

Hatchling baby hawk

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

Posted by Terry Stevens

Posted by Terry Stevens

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.

Susie and Gail check a coot

Susie and Gail check a coot

A moorhen gets the Liberty treatment

A moorhen gets the Liberty treatment

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!

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HaHa gets some foot work

HaHa gets some foot work

Sharpie has a wing problem

Sharpie has a wing problem

Female kestrel gets checked out

Female kestrel gets checked out

Stress bars (the white band across her tail)

Stress bars (the white band across the middle of her tail)

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.

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Western grebe passes through

Western grebe passes through

"I bet I can stab something..."

“I bet I can stab something…”

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…)

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Young RTH gets ready for release

Young RTH gets ready for release

Hints of a red tail to come

Hints of a red tail to come

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!)

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Lift off of GHO test flight no. 1

Gail launches GHO test flight no. 1

Beautiful to see - unless you're a nocturnal rodent...

Beautiful to see – unless you’re a nocturnal rodent…

Susie initiates est flight number 2

Susie initiates test flight number 2

"What else would you like me to do?"

“What else would you like me to do?”

"Do I get to go home now?!?"

“Do I get to go home now?!?”

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!

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In case you didn’t get the memo….

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lquEW1egA_Y

(See you there!)

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This Week at Liberty – November 25, 2013

Hoots, Howls, and HollersMegan and Libby

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.

I do love what we do.  I love that we can eventually help to relieve the angst.  That is just right.

 

This Week at Liberty

Posted by Terry Stevens

Posted by Terry Stevens

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”

Having an early T-Giving meal (photo b y Jan Miller)

Having an early T-Giving meal (photo by Jan Miller)

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…

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A beautiful male kestrel comes in

A beautiful male kestrel comes in

Joanie checks for canker

Joanie checks for canker

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…

Soaked GHO

Soaked GHO

"I do NOT look like a drowned rat! Okay, maybe I do - a little..."

“I do NOT look like a drowned rat! Okay, maybe I do – a little…”

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.

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This turtle swallowed a fish hook

This turtle swallowed a fish hook (X-ray provided by Heidi Schaffer)

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!

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"Is this X-ray really neccessary?"

“Is this X-ray really neccessary?”

Dr.Sorum and the Sunday Med Services team shoot a raven wing

Dr.Sorum and the Sunday Med Services team shoot a raven wing

I guess it was...

I guess it really was necessary…

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.

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Dr.Wyman is the anesthesiologist

Dr.Wyman is the anesthesiologist

Jan removes some feathers

Jan removes some feathers

Reading the instruction manual...

Reading the instruction manual…

Scobee - post surgery...

Scobee – post surgery… (photo by Alex Stofko)

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.

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From all of us at Liberty Wildlife, we wish you and those close to you a happy Thanksgiving Day!

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