This Week @ Liberty – February 22, 2016

Hoots, Howls, and Hollers

Megan Mosby - Executive Director

Megan Mosby – Executive Director

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.

A loving gift for Mona

A loving gift for Mona

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.

Our Mona with her Anne Peyton painting

Our Mona with her Anne Peyton painting

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.

She finished her last assignment of care taking and took leave herself.  So long sweet lady.  Please watch over us all.  The caretaker in you will make it impossible to do anything else!

This Week @ Liberty

Posted by Terry Stevens

Posted by Terry Stevens

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…

VCRR program (photo by Ellen Roberts)

VCRR program featuring Cecile and Kim presenting some wildlife ambassadors (photo by Ellen Roberts)

Donna is back!! (Photo by Ellen Roberts)

Donna is back!! (Photo by Ellen Roberts)

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!)

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The Condor goes home!!

Perfect condor country (photo by Peregrine Fund)

Perfect condor country (photo by Dr. Orr)

The condor facility (photo by Peregrine Fund)

The condor facility (photo by Dr. Orr)

Chris and Tim attach a transmitter (photo by Peregrine Fund)

Chris and Tim attach a transmitter (photo by Dr. Orr)

Hanging around the hack cage (photo by Peregrine Fund)

Hanging around the hack cage (photo by Dr. Orr)

This is what we like to see! (photo by Peregrine Fund)

This is what we like to see! (photo by Dr. Orr)

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.

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Little prairie falcon from Kingman

Little prairie falcon from Kingman

A foot injury is presented

A foot injury is presented

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!)

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Injured pipistrelle is rescued

An injured bat is rescued

Pipistrelle getting some food

Pipistrelle getting some food

Tony administers fluids

Tony administers fluids

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.

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Renee feeds a baby bunny

Renee feeds a baby bunny

It's not mom, but it'll do...

It’s not mom, but it’ll do…

Even bunnies get fluids

Even bunnies get fluids

Color coded bunnies - "Orphan Care - It's not just for birds!"

Color coded bunnies – “Orphan Care – It’s not just for birds anymore!”

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?

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Our last gift to Mona – bird caretaker, wildlife teacher, fellow volunteer, and friend.

A gift for Mona - Anne Peyton's painting of her favorite bird, Duncan
A gift for Mona – Anne Peyton’s painting of Mona’s favorite bird, Duncan

Words cannot express the feelings….

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Weekly Progress on the New Facility

East wall

East wall of Rehab

Entry walk

Entry walk

Bike rack

Bike rack

Ceiling and lighting going in

Ceilings and lighting going in

Painting begins

Interior painting begins

Front facade

Front facade panorama

 

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This Week @ Liberty – February 15, 2016

Hoots, Howls, and Hollers

Megan Mosby - Executive Director

Megan Mosby – Executive Director

My friend, Gail (blog, One Lookout), sent me a YouTube link the other day.  It gave me goosebumps.  It was about a murmuration of starlings in the United Kingdom.  I was so taken with it and with the narrator that I was compelled to write about it.

I tried and just couldn’t do it justice.  Some things just need to be seen.  With that being said, here’s the link for you to see for yourself.

http://www.youtube.com/embed/88UVJpQGi88

After watching this wondrous clip I found myself following ‘just one more’ link in the series called “Flight—The Genius of Birds”.  Each one of the videos had its own marvels that left me awed in different ways:  the efficiency of the hummingbirds tongue, embryonic development, flight, feathers, etc. What was also so enchanting was the passion of each scientist, photographer, naturalist…it was inspiring.

One after another they extolled the magic of nature, the explorations of science, the beauty and efficiency that each species has developed over eons to be a successful part of the whole.

Check it out.

I bet you can’t watch just one.

Enjoy!

This Week @ Liberty

Posted by Terry Stevens

Posted by Terry Stevens

The intake total for the year is now up to 214.

This update will be a tad short as I’m kinda stuck in Seattle trying to get back to Phoenix (the perk of free flying for retirees is NOT all it’s cracked up to be…) So let’s just go over one or two of the big events of last week. We are getting in a lot of bunnies and hummers which is no surprise since the weather has been somewhat cold. But now that it’s warming up some, there might be a shift in the species count. Our R & C people are doing some more burrowing owl relocations, and more Ed birds are joining the team as they come out and learn to behave in public. The condor had some exploratory surgery and a pile of junk was removed from her crop. Hopefully the bird will be released soon. Let’s see what it all looked like…

Dr. Orr splints a kestrel wing

Dr. Orr splints a kestrel wing

Anna's humming bird resting

Anna’s hummingbird resting

This is why we wear gloves...!

This is why we wear gloves…! Free-tail bat arrives

Feeding the tiniest bunny

Feeding the tiniest bunny

This week we were taking in a lot of very small animals, including some kestrels, some hummingbirds, a free-tail bat, and several cottontail bunnies. The good news is our volunteers love to work with these little guys and we are getting more and more experience with these species. They are happily very photogenic and give me an opportunity to add some cute pictures to TW@L.

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Now THAT'S a vulture!

Now THAT’S a vulture!

Getting ready for the scope

Getting ready for the scope

The procedure continues

The procedure continues

Everybody watches the monitors

Everybody watches the monitors

The image starts to come in

The image starts to come in

Looking for foreign matter

Looking for foreign matter

Lots of flotsam and potentially harmful items, including a couple of teeth

Lots of flotsam and potentially harmful items, including a couple of teeth

The kid condor comes out of surgery

The kid condor comes out of surgery

Last week the condor as taken to Hillside Animal Hospital where Dr. Rosonke and his staff were assisted by Dr. Orr, Jan, Alex, and Heidi in an endoscopic surgical procedure in order to see what might be blocking the digestive system of the big bird. A lot of grass and other non-digestible stuff (including one or two teeth) was found and removed. It’s hoped that this will allow the condor to retain more of the good food provided and gain some weight. Another round of chelation is also scheduled to drive the lead levels down a bit more.  Keep you fingers crossed.  (All photos of the procedure taken by Dr. Rosonke’s staff)

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The Weekly Progress on the New Facility

Wet lands wall

Wetlands wall

Main entryway

Main entryway

Driveway first pour

Driveway first pour

Uhh, it looks like the T-Rex enclosure is coming along...

Uhh, it looks like the T-Rex enclosure is coming along…

 

 

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This Week @ Liberty – February 08, 2016

Hoots, Howls, and Hollers

Megan Mosby - Executive Director

Megan Mosby – Executive Director

Wow! This has been a week of wows!  We successfully released two golden eagles (unashamedly my favorite animal), two red tailed hawks, one great horned owl, and had a very successful day spent at the Waste Management Phoenix Open where we saw and wowed a lot of people.  And finally, we will soon be getting ready to release a California condor back to the rim and ultimately back to the wild.

It is so much more rewarding to blog about so many wonderful things, and I am going to go on about it.

The first golden eagle was found in the Seligman area and was a success story because of a combined effort of a lot of people including the Arizona Game and Fish, the Department of Public Safety, a commercial truck driver and most of all Liberty Wildlife.

The second golden eagle was released near the Buenos Aires Wildlife Preserve in southern Arizona after being found by a Border Patrol agent, taken to the Buenos Aires Wildlife Preserve and the transferred to Liberty Wildlife where it was rehabilitated and readied for release.

Two red tailed hawks were released after one of them was rescued by emissaries of Salt River Project, rehabilitated and released by Liberty Wildlife and both are now back in the wild.  A great horned owl brought in as a baby with an injured wing was released in the Phoenix area where it was found.  And today, another great horned owl will be released after a period of rehabilitation!

These are all successes that exemplify what we do in the area of rehabilitation.

And, then there is education.  On Sunday Liberty Wildlife’s educational ambassadors and our powerful education team greeted the attendees at the Waste Management’s Phoenix Open Golf Tournament all 150,000 (or thereabouts) of them.  It is a wonderful event and a wonderful opportunity for us to educate a varied and vast audience about the beauty and benefits of native wildlife.

The way I always know where our booth is at The Open, is that it is where all of the people are.  So true yesterday!

It was one week out of a big year and Liberty Wildlife was everywhere statewide.  It is one of the many, many things that I love about this organization.  I love the volunteers; I love the animals; I love the supporters; I love the mission.

Keep in mind that all of these “wows” went on while we were doing business as usual…see This Week at Liberty below for those updates.

Enough said!

This Week @ Liberty

Posted by Terry Stevens

Posted by Terry Stevens

The intake for the year now stands at 167.

This is usually the slow time of year as we approach Baby Bird Season (don’t forget the Baby Bird Shower event on March 13th!) Some animals come in for treatment, some remain in our care for longer periods, and some get released. We get to see all of these segments of the Liberty population this week as a few new arrivals have been brought in, we continuously care for some more creatures, and a couple got released, which after all, is the goal for everything that crosses our door step. As the temperatures begin to slowly rise, we’re all looking forward to moving to our new facility and work on that area has also progressed nicely as we dash headlong towards Spring. Here’s what we saw last week…

A robin comes in - the harbinger of Spring!

A robin comes in – the harbinger of Spring!

A coot gets examined

A coot gets examined

Cottontail with a head wound

Cottontail with a head wound

Vet night began with several smaller animals last week. Dr. Orr looked at a robin (not too regular a visitor to these parts), a coot which is far more common, and an adult cottontail bunny – which are VERY common here – and everywhere – and at all times!

Dr. Orr examines our king snake

Dr. Orr examines our king snake

Among the native species passing through the facility, Dr. Orr takes time to check out and evaluate the condition of our own education animals including Joya, a sinaloa milk snake that is part of our Education collection. A possible respiratory issue precipitated the exam, but all was found well. Our animals get the best care possible at all times!

Susie checks a GHO that Carl brought in

Susie checks a GHO that Carl brought in

Dr. Orr examines his feet

Dr. Orr examines his feet

Getting fluids from Dr. Orr

Getting fluids from Dr. Orr

In the middle of the Vet Night activity, Carl Price arrived with a little (very little) great horned owl that he had rescued. The bird was immediately checked out by Dr. Orr and given fluids, some food, and then allowed to rest and de-stress in a brooder. More observation is in order to evaluate the extent of any further injuries.

The burned raven still faces a long rough road

The burned raven still faces a long rough road

The burned raven was again given one of his frequent exams to check on his condition. This bird has been through a lot since the initial incident and although he has made amazing progress, he is still struggling to survive as the extent of his burns become apparent over time. We’re all hoping for his eventual recovery.

HaHa leg with External fixator pins (prior to removal)

HaHa leg with External fixator pins (prior to removal)

Joanie holds a HaHa as Dr. Orr checks his leg

Joanie holds a HaHa as Dr. Orr checks his leg

The Harris’ hawk who’s exotic external fixator pin was removed last week (see last week’s TW@L) was checked again and went into an outside enclosure with some other HaHa’s. It’s always rewarding to see a bird with injuries that extensive be repaired and progress to the point where we can start thinking about release. Thanks to Dr.’s Driggers and Sorum for providing this elegant surgery!

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Long eared wants to go free

Long eared wants to go free

Leah Vader prepares to release the LEO (photo by Jen Ottinger)

Leah Vader prepares to release the LEO (photo by Jen Ottinger)

Speaking of release, recently we mentioned that long-eared owls historically don’t do well in captivity or rehabilitation. Last week we released an exception to that particular rule. Jen Ottinger and Leah Vader, two of the wonderful Bald Eagle Nest Watchers and friends of Liberty Wildlife took the LeOw in our care down to Coon Bluff on the lower Salt River where the little bird was returned to the wild.

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Jan launches the Seligman Golden eagle

Jan launches the Seligman Golden eagle (photo by Tim Macy)

"I am sooo going to avoid trucks!"

“I am sooo going to avoid trucks!” (photo by Tim Macy)

In November of last year, Arizona Department of Public Safety troopers found a golden eagle injured on the shoulder of a highway after it had collided with a commercial truck on Interstate 40 near Seligman. The eagle crashed through the passenger side of the front wideshield of the truck and flew away before Troopers found the injured animal and called Arizona Game and Fish, who assisted in rescuing the creature. The eagle had suffered a broken clavicle and was taken to Liberty Wildlife for medical treatment. Jan and Joe took the bird back home to the Seligman area and released it last Tuesday after three months of rehabilitation.

The golden from Buenos Aires NWR was also ready to go home.

The golden from Buenos Aires NWR was also ready to go home.

I bet her wings work better than mine...

I bet her wings work better than mine… (photo by a friend of the NWR – Hey, I can’t release and take pictures!)

The neighborhood welcoming committee weighs in.

The neighborhood welcoming committee weighs in.

Leaving the ravens behind, she soars off into a brilliant clear sky

Leaving the ravens behind, she soars off into a brilliant clear sky

One final fly-by before departing

One final fly-by before departing the area

Reported on the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge Facebook page: “In early December 2015, an agent with the U.S. Border Patrol found a suffering adult female golden eagle on the roadside of Highway 286 and brought the eagle to the Visitor Center with hopes that the refuge could care for it. As the refuge is not a licensed wildlife rehabilitator refuge staff contacted Liberty Wildlife in Scottsdale, Arizona for assistance. The eagle had collided with a vehicle on Highway 286. (Earlier in the week) we received word that the eagle was healed and anxious to get back home according to Liberty Wildlife representatives. After more than two months of recovery, Terry Stevens with Liberty Wildlife released the eagle near the Visitor Center. It was a beautiful sight to see her go. She landed in a mesquite tree, roused her feathers a couple times while being mobbed by our two resident ravens, and then flew off to the South. We wish her well.”

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Weekly progress update on the New Facility

Interior drywall is taped

Interior drywall is taped

The east exterior wall gets a finish

The east exterior wall gets a finish

Glass starts to go in

Glass starts to go in

The east fence is hung

The east fence is hung

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This Week @ Liberty – February 01, 2016

Hoots, Howls, and Hollers

Megan Mosby - Executive Director

Megan Mosby – Executive Director

I don’t like to write about negative things that happen, but sometimes it gets a grip on me and won’t let go until I put it down on paper.

This weekend I was along the canal where I often go to exercise and watch the birds and other wildlife.  Usually it is relaxing.  Not so this time.  I was on the opposite side of the canal from a group of small boys who were all members of a group that will go nameless.  They were having a great old time throwing rocks at the ring-necked ducks that I see regularly.  But, this time the ducks, instead of serenely paddling along with the occasional dive, were madly flapping, and fluttering, diving and paddling wildly…. obviously in distress.

I couldn’t help myself.  I hollered across the canal for them to stop throwing the rocks and harassing the ducks.  All I got in return was more rocks and the look that says, “What is wrong with that woman?”  I wasn’t the only one attempting to stop the behavior as I passed two gentlemen who said that they had also tried to stop them.

OK, so maybe I should have let it go, knowing that boys will be boys, but what really got to me were the adults, men and women, standing watching and laughing.  This could have been a teachable moment.  It wasn’t.

Let’s look past the danger to native, protected wildlife part of the issue.  Let’s look past the potential danger of throwing rocks; let’s look past the crazy woman telling them to stop harassing the ducks; let’s look past the two nice gentlemen asking the adults to oversee the kids they were supposed to be leading.  Let’s look past a missed opportunity.

But let’s not look past a simple lesson in compassion and respect for other living things….a pretty incredible lost opportunity….a teachable moment to mentor young boys about respect for life, for helping not hurting innocent things.  I shudder to think of what will happen when they get their first bb or pellet guns.

Instead, my outrage resulted in being called a sociopath.  That kind of made me laugh, and I restrained myself from telling him that he should better understand the meaning of a word before using it…incorrectly.  I did chuckle a bit as I turned and left, but at the same time I felt so sorry for these young boys who had no guidance, who should have had a wiser leader who could have used the moment so much better than seeing their leader yelling “sociopath” at the back of a somewhat irate woman….maybe ‘enraged one’ would have been a better choice….it would certainly have been more correct.

Poor limited leader of impressionable young boys.  Sad as it seems; it does, however, sort of frighten me.

This Week @ Liberty

Posted by Terry Stevens

Posted by Terry Stevens

The intake total for the year is now at 144.

A few interesting stories this week as the intake rate is still on the slow side – which, in view of our impending migration to the new facility, is a good thing! The condor is still with us though her improvement is not all we had hoped at this point. She will go in for an endoscopic exam which will be posted here next week. A couple of interesting waterfowl came in this week as packing (and some actual moving to a new storage unit) has begun. We got in another glue trap victim, this time a Mexican free-tail bat who sadly didn’t survive his ordeal. And speaking of repeat injuries, we received a duck with fishing gear involvement and a Canada goose that had been shot with a very expensive arrow. Let’s take a look, and hopefully learn something…

Alexa holds an injured duck

Alexa holds an injured duck

Fish hook in his bill

Besides the fishing line nearly cutting off his leg, there is also a fish hook in his bill

Looking like a stand-in for Aflac, this white duck was brought in with fishing line wrapped tightly around his leg and a discarded fish hook in his bill. There’s not much more to be said about fishing gear vs wildlife, especially water fowl. Mixing the two never turns out well for the animal and there can’t be much in it for the fisherman either. Please pass the word along to everyone you know who goes fishing: don’t discard gear – line, hooks, sinkers – any fishing gear, in any place other than a defined refuse container. It’s heartbreaking to come across these birds and animals suffering from someone’s carelessness.

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Canada Goose waiting for rescue

Canada Goose waiting for rescue

John holds his rescue

John holds his kayak rescue

The goose arrives

A sad, painful arrival

John holds as Dr. Orr examines the goose

John holds as Dr. Orr examines the goose

The arrow shaft is cut

The arrow’s carbon fiber shaft is cut

Goose X-ray with arrow highlighted

Goose X-ray with arrow highlighted

After removal by Dr. Orr

After removal by Dr. Orr

Let’s move on to another waterfowl injury, this time not from some accidental encounter with fishing equipment. This one was a Canada goose that had been shot with a hunting arrow – no accident here! The shaft pierced the bird’s pelvis and pectoral muscle, narrowly missing the aorta and trachea. If there was anything lucky about this, it was that the arrow didn’t have a hunting tip which are designed to cause more damage when they penetrate. The bird is now resting in the ICU and we’re watching closely for signs of infection from water in the wound.

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Cormorants can be dangerous!

Cormorants can be dangerous!

Some waterfowl present their own danger – to rescuers and rehabbers. This feisty cormorant has bitten and scratched a few volunteers already and Joanie wisely took precautions by donning the recommended hand and eye protecting gear while holding the bird for this week’s Vet Night activities.

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Dr. Orr studies an X-ray

Dr. Orr studies an X-ray

The digital X-ray unit we have for the new facility should speed things up considerably as we move into the future. Currently, we have to either take the birds and animals to another facility for radiography, or wait until Sunday when Dr. Sorum arrives with his portable unit. Then the files are reviewed by Dr. Orr or one of the other vets when they have the opportunity to be in the office to bring the picture up on Jan’s computer. We’re looking forward to accelerating the whole process when we move into our new home!

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Joanie holds a HaHa for Dr. Orr

Joanie holds a HaHa for Dr. Orr

The external fixator is cut for removal

The external fixator is cut for removal

The last pin is pulled

The last pin is removed

"That feels pretty good..."

“That feels pretty good…”

Recently we sent a couple of Harris’ hawks down to Dr. Driggers for surgery to put pins in  their fractured legs. Dr. Sorum attended and actually did one of the surgeries with Dr. Driggers assistance and the result was a resounding success. Both vets seemed to be pleased and this added skill for Dr. Sorum will be most useful in the new facility. Last week Dr. Orr removed the external fixator (stabilizing pins) as the fractures are healing well. The pins must be cut from the external brace and then extracted using some tools normally used by a mechanic in a garage. In this case, they were wielded skillfully by Dr. Orr as she performed the operation on the more delicate structures of the bird’s leg.

This Week’s progress update on the new facility

Footers for mammal enclosures

Footers for mammal enclosures

Getting ready for stucco

Getting ready for exterior stucco finish

The north side walkway is in

The north side walkway is in

The permanent fence begins to go up

The permanent fence begins to go up

The wetlands viewing bench is ready for pouring

The wetlands viewing bench is ready for pouring

 

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This Week @ Liberty – January 25, 2016

Hoots, Howls, and Hollers

Megan Mosby - Executive Director

Megan Mosby – Executive Director

Fear seems to be huge on the minds of people today.  Fear of foreigners, fear of financial disaster, fear of all kinds of foods, fear of diseases, fear of….., fear of……  And, now there is a new villainous fear to fret about—the Zika virus, and by all accounts it is heading our way on the wings of the aedes mosquito recognized by the white markings on its leg and the lyre shape on its thorax.  I hope to not get close enough to identify one of them.

Maybe you haven’t yet been bombarded by information about this nasty little virus spread by a dreaded mosquito, but it is burgeoning in Brazil and other countries in South and Central America with several cases seen in Florida and Texas.  These are thought to have been caused by travel in South America, but the fear is that it is coming our way.

The nasty little mosquito has had its way with pregnant women in Brazil possibly causing death in at least 46 babies from microcephaly and the resulting malformed skulls and brains.  There is also thought to be a connection with Guillain-Barre’s Syndrome which causes paralysis with potential long term crippling and/or perhaps eventual death.  The connection here isn’t confirmed, but studies are finding disturbing possibilities.  The Zika virus has up until now caused discomforts and milder symptoms similar to dengue fever, but the suppositions that it has caused these advanced horrors is fostering the panic.

Are you frightened yet?  The thing that frightens me is the steps that will be taken to rid us of this creepy little mosquito.  Extreme use of poisons to take out the culprit will no doubt have many secondary losers in the process.  And, the fragile connection between all of these things could catapult into a disastrous break in the chain of connectedness.

This is one of many reasons why we need to honor the bat.  In a very natural way bats, so wrongly vilified, could come to the rescue.  The little brown bat is a consumer of moths, flies, midges, mayflies and mosquitoes.  Research shows that the bat can’t snatch all of the pests out of the skies, but a colony of little brown bats could consume hundreds of thousands of aedes mosquitos over a number of weeks.  This and the potential use of genetically modified mosquitos might help suppress the population of mosquitos.  That would be a good thing.

Using other normal techniques to discourage the breeding and spreading of mosquitos…with the elimination of standing water and other breeding grounds denied to them, coupled with the use of mosquito netting to further deny predators of food sources, there might be a dent made in the of the spread of the mosquito population. I guess I should mention use of deet.

People fear bats for silly reasons like having bats getting tangled in one’s hair or more serious reasons like the possibility of rabies exposure, but I can assure you that more people are injured, sickened, or killed by the spread of diseases at the hand (or proboscis) of the mosquito than ever contract rabies from a bat.

Bring on the bats.

This Week @ Liberty

Posted by Terry Stevens

Posted by Terry Stevens

The intake total for this year is now at 117.

The drywall is being hung in the new facility and we are starting to box up some books and other material for the move. Among this activity the regular work of medical care and rehabilitation goes on. We have a few long-term patients in the ICU and the intake window is getting busier. The golden eagle is approaching release and some final preparations are being made for that event. As we go to press this morning, we heard that a small helicopter made a safe emergency landing in the river bottom  just a few feet north of our new facility. I guess flying things of all types just naturally seek out Liberty Wildlife!

Burned raven gets another check

Burned raven gets another check

Sharon holds the raven as Dr. Wyman rewraps

Sharon holds the raven as Dr. Wyman rewraps

The burned raven continues to make incremental progress. Each week his level of recovery is checked and his wraps are changed. He actually has some new feathers coming in and that is a very encouraging sign. But even then, it will still be a long process before he looks more like a raven than a character from a Tim Burton movie. The good news is that he is still with us at all and seems to be keeping his “I WILL survive” attitude.

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A cute sharp-shinned has a wound cleaned

A cute sharp-shinned has a wound cleaned

Dr. Wyman and Jan examine a GHO

Dr. Wyman and Jan examine a GHO

We never seem to run out of great horned owls who need some help. From the hundreds of orphans in the spring to the yearlings in the fall and winter, it’s easy to see that these birds are some of the most common birds of prey in North America. It’s always a thrill when they get to move into an outside enclosure in preparation for their eventual release. We also get in a large number of Cooper’s and sharp-shinned hawks including the little sharpie pictured above. Prone to hitting things (like windows) in their single-minded pursuit of other birds, we see a lot of wing and head injuries presented by these ubiquitous accipiters. The lucky ones get brought to Liberty for care.

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Dr. Orr checks the red shouldered hawk

Dr. Orr checks the red shouldered hawk

The red-shouldered hawk is a pretty bird

The red-shouldered hawk is a pretty bird

The red-shouldered hawk that came down from Kingman last week was taken for x-rays on Thursday morning. The digital film showed no fractures so the bird is still under observation to determine it’s problem. Possible nerve damage is just one suspect. More updates will follow…

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Tools used for the "imping" process

Tools used for the “imping” process

The golden relaxes before the procedure

The golden relaxes before the procedure

Cleaning the interior of the receiving feather shaft

Cleaning the interior of the receiving feather shaft

Filing the strut to size

Filing the strut to size

Cyanoacrylate glue is aplied

Cyanoacrylate glue is applied

The strut is inserted into the shaft

The strut is inserted into the shaft

The new feather is permanently attached

The new feather is permanently attached

The golden eagle in our care incurred some noticeable feather damage in her close encounter with a semi-truck. In order to give the bird the best chance to survive after release, we want her to have all the wing and tail area she can get to provide maximum maneuverability. Rather than wait months for the broken feathers to naturally molt and be replaced, we used a process of implanting feathers from similar birds. This is known as “imping” and is standard practice in the avian rehabilitation world. Last week Jan held the bird while Rebecca performed the operation. The shaft of the broken feather is trimmed and cleaned as is the shaft of the donor feather. Then a strut of a suitable material is fitted then glued into both the ends of the feather with cyanoacrylate glue. The permanently bonded feather will perform just as a natural feather and help the bird fly normally after release.

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Weekly update on

Main entrance from Elwood

Main entrance from Elwood

Front walkway goes in

Front walkway goes in

Main hallway in Rehab

Main hallway in Rehab

A classroom on the Education side

A classroom on the Education side

The new "Orphan Care"

The new “Orphan Care”

 

 

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This Week @ Liberty – January 18, 2016

Hoots, Howls, and Hollers

Megan Mosby - Executive Director

Megan Mosby – Executive Director

Isn’t nature neat?  I guess one doesn’t need to look far to find elegant tidbits of knowledge about the natural world.  One of these just came to my attention through a clip online sent to me by a Liberty Wildlife board member, Bill W.  That of course makes it even cooler!

And speaking of cool, it has everything to do with cold!  There is a common little frog named a North American tree frog that is sort of the Lazarus of the frog world.  I mean no disrespect, but this little guy can do the “dead” act for a long time before he has what is referred to as a “spontaneous resumption”.  That is just plain ole cool.

It appears that this small amphibian has adapted the ability to come as close to dying as a living thing could get—the minute it touches ice.  Upon receiving the message that it has come into contact with ice, it pulls water from its internal organs which are then sort of floating in water.  Its internal organs basically stop…no kidney action, no breathing and basically no heartbeat.

OK, if this is sounding impossible, bear with me.  This little guy is as close to dead as dead can be.  And, it can do this for a long time…not just an hour but months…a little amphibian turns into a camouflaged piece of frozen rock…hard on the outside with nothing going on inside.  That sounds like dead to me.

What happens is blood sugar circulates through the circulatory system acting a little bit like anti-freeze making it difficult for the water to freeze, and that allows the frog to hold itself together until the miracle happens.

The miracle starts when the weather begins to warm, when the suns warming rays hit the hard little rock.  At that point the little stilled heart begins to beat again…at first slowly and in as many as ten hours it has resumed its normal rate. And, what we now seemingly have is dead frog rising and coming back to life.  How do they do it?

What I find particularly fascinating is that it starts to come back to life from the inside first.  The internal organs begin to perform their assigned jobs and our miracle has happened again this year, just like the year before.  And, to add to the miracle, the toad comes back just in time to take on a Herculean task of finding a mate and breeding.

Isn’t nature neat?  It constantly amazes and delights me. What a bummer if something we do would interfere with the workings of our miraculous surroundings.  Let’s take care of our natural world.  There’s no telling what we will learn from it that might totally improve our lives.

Forgive me if that sounds a little self-serving.

This Week @ Liberty

Posted by Terry Stevens

Posted by Terry Stevens

The intake total for this year is now at 82.

The temps are still down, but whenever I hear somebody complaining about the cold, I remind them that in 3 months, we’ll all be moaning about the heat. It’s been slow but steady at the intake window and the Rescue/Transport team has been working on some interesting things (see below). We had some e-traffic about eagle identification last week so in lieu of more pictures of RTHs and GHOs, I’m posting a couple of shots I took several years ago in Haines, Alaska, depicting the differences between juvenile and adult bald eagles. If you don’t want to see any more (I originally posted them 9 years ago), put a comment in and I’ll let Stacey and Alex reprise the past in TBT posts on our Facebook page.

Nina sorts feathers in the cold

Nina sorts feathers in the cold

No matter the rate of arrivals, the Non-eagle Feather Repository stays open all year. Nina was working in the cold last week, sorting and preparing feathers for shipment. How often does anybody need gloves to work outside in Scottsdale? In the near future, Robert Mesta (now retired from USFW) will be adding his expertise to the repository, freeing up Nina for other projects.

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Roadrunner gets a band

Roadrunner gets a band

Jan records the band to complete the paperwork

Jan records the band to complete the paperwork

Like any activity regulated by the government, nearly every aspect of what we do needs some degree of record keeping. Last week as one of our rehabbing roadrunners was moved into an outside enclosure, the band color and number was dutifully recorded in order to ensure the bird can continue to be identified as it progresses through the process towards ultimate release.

Jesse holds as Jan and Sharon examine another fishing line injury goose

Jesse holds as Jan and Sharon examine another fishing line injury goose

OK, I mentioned that I was reposting some eagle shots but here’s a story I’ve done many times before – unfortunately. We took in another Canada goose with both legs seriously injured from entanglement in discarded fishing line. Like many urban human/wildlife encounters, this type of incident is almost totally preventable. If you go fishing in any of the many lakes and ponds around the area, please be a good neighbor and citizen and pick up after yourself. Nylon monofilament has a half-life approaching that of Plutonium and causes untold injury and suffering to animals who happen to get it wrapped around their legs and feet. Since bald eagles nest near lakes and are largely piscivorous, this type of dangerous trash finds its way into nearly every nest in the state putting both baby and adult eagles at risk. If you drop it, pick it up.  If you have a snarl or snag, retrieve the lost line and dispose of it properly – PLEASE!

Betadine foot bath for a coot

Betadine foot bath for a coot

Speaking of water fowl with foot problems, we also received this coot who came in from the Phoenix Zoo. It appears the bird has been walking on cement and asphalt a lot and this has led to some foot problems (bumble foot?) The foot issue has also led to some possible problems higher up his leg so treating the foot should solve that as well. Jesse gave his foot a nice soaking in a Betadine solution last week which usually helps in situations such as this.

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The raven is improving

The raven is improving

Getting checked by Dr. Wyman

Getting checked by Dr. Wyman

Even with a hole in his wing the raven is actually doing better

Even with a hole in his wing the raven is actually doing better

The burned raven appears to be improving incrementally. The sloughing of tissue seems to have stopped and skin is gradually recovering around the major burns. There is still a hole in his wing but we have seen this before. Hunny, the Harris’ hawk from several years ago presented similar damage from an electrical flash and she is now a physically perfect member of our Education team. This little raven is trying very hard to recover and we’re making every effort to see that he makes it. Close inspection revealed at least one new tiny feather growing back in the burned area!

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Carl extracts a diamondback rattler (photo by Cody Penoyer, SRP)

Carl extracts a diamondback rattler (photo by Cody Penoyer, SRP)

Carl removes the dangerous reptile (Cody Penoyer, SRP)

Carl removes the dangerous reptile (Cody Penoyer, SRP)

Now that's a diamondback! (photo by Carl Price)

Now that’s a diamondback! (photo by Carl Price)

Tub o'rattlers

Tub o’rattlers

Our no.1 snake rescuer, Carl Price, went out east of town near the Apache Trail last week on a call from SRP. The power company had some cables in a covered trench and discovered three diamondbacks had taken up residence under the metal trench covers (probably looking for warmth under the sun-exposed aluminum). Not wanting to work around these Arizona denizens, the call that brought Carl out was made. We actually get several “rattlesnake” calls each year, most of which turn out to be gopher snakes. In this case, Carl had to remove and relocate three western diamondbacks from the electrical trench. Nice job!

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The golden gets in some flight time before release

The golden gets in some flight time before release

The golden eagle that got hit by a truck up near Kingman is getting ready for release. He is now in the 60ft enclosure and getting some flight practice in prior to his return to the open skies of Northern Arizona.

Generations....

Generations….

Two bald eagles in our rehab enclosure – one adult and one yearling year bird.  Color differentiation from the mature to the juvenile is evident here.

Another pair in the wild,,,

Another pair in the wild,,,

Nearly mature male (left) and a mature female (right)

Nearly mature male (left) and a mature female (right)

Sub adult (below) flying in formation with an adult

Sub adult (below) flying in formation with an adult

2nd-3rd year Juvenile

2nd-3rd year Juvenile

Juvenile in flight

Juvenile in flight

OK, here are some of my old shots (from a trip to Haines, Alaska, in 2006) I just dug these out because we recently had some questions about distinguishing juvenile bald eagles from goldens and I thought they might help.

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Red shouldered hawk comes in from Kingman (photo by Alex)

Red shouldered hawk comes in from Kingman (photo by Alex)

And to top off the week, our fabulous long-distance transport volunteer Sherrill Snyder drove all the way to Kingman to retrieve an injured red shouldered hawk that had been at the Cerbat Cliffs clinic for a couple of weeks. Red shouldered hawks are usually only found in the eastern part of the country down to Florida or along the California coast. No map of their range seemed to include anywhere in Arizona! This bird presented some cryptic symptoms but still awaits a definitive diagnosis as to it’s condition. We’ll keep you informed!

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Weekly update on the new facility

Exterior walls are readied

Exterior walls are readied

Work on the roof continues

Work on the roof continues

Drywall arriving

Drywall arriving

Door frames being  installed in the west wing

Door frames being installed in the west wing…

...And some actual doors!

…And some actual doors!

 

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This Week @ Liberty – January 11, 2016

Hoots, Howls, and Hollers

Megan Mosby - Executive Director

Megan Mosby – Executive Director

Sadly, we have to say good bye to an old friend.  Recently our wonderful employee, past volunteer, friend, and all around stand up person, Carolee Bryan left us. We are all very saddened by the loss.

It isn’t every day that you find someone who corners the market of good qualities. She started at Liberty Wildlife after retiring from the corporate world…never one to be idle.  How lucky for us that her energy came our way.  She was an integral

Carolee trains some new OC volunteers

Carolee (right) trains some new OC volunteers

part of our Orphan Care department, training new volunteers, keeping things organized and prepared in order to nourish for release a plethora of orphan animals.

She eventually saw a need to bring her corporate skills to our office and became my hard working office assistant.  She kept the books with detail and integrity like she did with every other thing she touched.  She was spot on with all public interfaces and could defuse any potential “situation” with tact and kindness.  That was what she was about.

She was also about work ethic.  It seemed that she mentored everyone without any intentional plan to do so.  She had that ability to sit at her desk, cut out any interference, and get a job done.  For any of you who have been in our tiny office, you will greatly appreciate how difficult that is to do.  If you looked in the dictionary under dedication to job, you would find a picture of Carolee Bryan.

Carolee

Carolee

Lest this makes her sound like a boring workaholic let me assure you, that she could also have fun.  I can still hear her laughter when something struck her funny bone. She knew how to have a good time…but it was all so incredibly appropriate.

She was thoughtful, compassionate, and just all around delightful.  She kept me in line.  She was always there when she was needed.  She was a teacher to me as well as many others at Liberty Wildlife over the years.  She will be missed beyond words.

We are planning to dedicate a special bench to her at our new facility in remembrance of the important part she played in the lives of many animals and many folks over the years.   If you would like to be a part of remembering Carolee, let me know.  She always was a comforting place to support someone in need.

So long, dear friend; you will be missed by us all.

This Week @ Liberty

Posted by Terry Stevens

Posted by Terry Stevens

The intake total for 2016 is now at 46.

The year is rumbling ahead and the big move is looming on the horizon.  The usual suspects are in our care, leading off with a great horned owl that made the long trip up from Sierra Vista (via Christie van Cleve and Sherrill Snyder). There are a number of kestrels, Harris’ hawks, and tortoises in the rehabilitation process currently, but at the other end of the pipeline, there have been some releases as well. We also received our first California condor of the season last week. It’s shaping up to be a busy year above and beyond the move to the new facility.

A kestrel is checked for fractures

A kestrel is checked for wing integrity

Dr. Becker has a talk with a tortoise

Dr. Becker has a talk with a tortoise

Having more than one vet attending on Tuesday night “Vet Night” is a big help and speeds things up noticeably. Plus, the doctors sometimes get to work with animals for the first time which is fun for them – and great for the animals! Lots of veterinarians never get the chance to work with wildlife and the experience is good for everybody.

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The cormorant gets checked

The cormorant gets checked

This cormorant came up from near Arizona City last week. Presenting some foot/leg injury of unknown origin, he showed everybody that he was still capable of being obstreperous with his razor-sharp beak. I will say no more…

Dr. Becker examines a coot foot

Dr. Becker examines a coot foot

Coots have great faces

Coots have great faces

Coots are fascinating birds of the rallidae (Rail) family.  Their feet are really interesting as they are covered with lobed scales that fold back for walking on land, and flare out like little paddles when they are swimming in water. This little guy presented a foot injury which will be treated, hopefully leading to his release into one of the many lakes around Phoenix.

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He isn't out of the woods yet

The burned raven isn’t out of the woods yet

Getting some new wraps

Getting some new wraps

Fighting hard to make it

Fighting hard to make it

The raven that was seriously burned in an electrical accident is still with us. The bird suffered damage or destruction of most of his feathers and has other flame damage as well but he’s fighting on. We’re hoping that the flash caused the greater part of his injury and not the high current which brings about deeper damage. The other raven that was with him when the incident occurred was killed. The equipment that caused the flash is the property of SRP who have expressed an interest in reimbursing Liberty for expenses incurred during this treatment, for which we are thankful! His condition is still serious but the longer he survives, the better his chances for survival become.

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Jesse assesses a GHO from Sierra Vista

Jesse assesses a GHO from Sierra Vista

Sharon and Jesse check for PLR (Pupillary Light Response)

Sharon and Jesse check for PLR (Pupillary Light Response)

Our friend Christie in Sierra Vista sent us another GHO last week. This bird is apparently intact structurally, but presents symptoms of a possible head injury. He is currently under observation and is getting cage rest and a good diet while his condition is evaluated.

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Our first condor this season - he's been here before.

Our first condor this season – he’d been here before. (Photo by Andrea Dudley)

Last year at this time, we took in California condor #272 with some serious lead poisoning issues (see TW@L, Jan. 26, 2015). The bird remained with us until May at which time he had improved enough to be released. Late last week, 272 was brought back to us by the Condor Reintroduction Project of the Peregrine Fund.  As the Director of the Project, Chris Parish, writes: “We trapped Condor 272 on 29-Dec-2015 and began treatment for high lead levels (Field Analyzer = >65ug/dl, Lab Value = 350ug/dl) on the morning of 30-Dec-2015.  The bird appeared to be responding well to treatment and maintaining weight until two nights ago, 8-Jan-2016 when his crop became increasingly distended, a result of continued feeding without processing, and we suspected crop paralysis (stasis).  We notified Dr. Orr at Liberty Wildlife and transported him there yesterday afternoon, 9-Jan-2016.”  Sadly, Condor 272, a a captive-bred 2002 hatch-year male, died the next morning from complications of lead poisoning. A necropsy is pending.

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Peregrine Falcon release

Sarah Briggs releases a peregrine falcon (photo by Steve Coronado)

Free again

The fastest animal on the planet departs (photo by Steve Coronado)

Enjoying the freedom

Enjoying the freedom  (photo by Steve Coronado)

Gorgeous place for a perfect release

Gorgeous place for a perfect release (Photo  by Steve Coronado)

One of the coolest things a volunteer gets to do is release a bird that has been successfully rehabilitated. Last week volunteer Sarah Briggs got the chance to send a peregrine falcon back into the skies of Arizona. She sent these pictures of the great event which took place in perfect peregrine habitat in the Superstition Mountains east of Phoenix. Sarah writes: “Here are the photos from a release I did on Saturday 1/2/16 out at the Superstitions.  We drove to the Picketpost trailhead, hiked in a bit and found a good spot for release.  Such a beautiful experience and I hope I get to do it again soon!  Thank you!”

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Weekly progress on the New Facility

Work on the rooftop solar panel structures

Work on the rooftop solar panel structures

Wiring, insulation, and plumbing going in

Wiring, insulation, and plumbing going in

Outreach classroom

Outreach classroom

Rehab enclosure foundations

Rehab enclosure foundations

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Thanks to everyone who pledged and supported Birdies for Charity.  We made it into the big tent and should have our choice of days again this year!

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This Week @ Liberty – January 04, 2016

Hoots, Howls, and Hollers

Megan Mosby - Executive Director

Megan Mosby – Executive Director

Wow! That is my first time writing 2016.  It has a nice feel to it.  There is so much happening, and it is so much good.
As I do every year, I try to think what annual resolutions to make, to imagine what changes I want to see in myself and in the year, to hone in on what I (one little person) can do to help make the world we live in a better place.

Then I get overwhelmed.

So, then I do what I should do every year….try to decide what ten things I am going to do TODAY.
Today:

  • I am going to pay attention to what I do all day long.  I want to stay present.
  • I am going to be open to new experiences.  I want to play a little bit more.
  • I am going to smile more.  I want to find a happy moment in all that I do.
  • I am going to cherish the environment, the envelope we live in.  I want to take less from it and give more.
  • I want to share more with those who have less, both animal and human.  I want to give back.
  • I want to be more interactive in all that I do.  This isn’t the time for passivity.
  • I want to hike in the desert (or where ever I am).  I want to get moving and be outside.
  • I want to tap into my creativity.  I am hoping this will enable me to solve problems in unique ways.
  • I want to simplify my existence.  I will de-clutter a space that annoys me, and that includes my personal being.
  • I want to be a friend to all in my orb.  I want to be honest, available, patient, and caring.

This is all for today, and yes tomorrow and that would mean for rest of this year…but starting today!

So, now I don’t feel overwhelmed!

But wait, may I suggest a resolution for you for today?  Resolve to go directly to our web page, www.libertywildlife.org and make a pledge to Liberty Wildlife for Birdies for Charity.  January 6th is the last day to help us fulfill our mission and incidentally to take that message to the big tent at the Waste Management Phoenix Open.  Do it now; do it today!  

Happy New Year to all of you!

This Week @ Liberty

Posted by Terry Stevens

Posted by Terry Stevens

The total for last year reached 6483.  The total for this year is already at 14.

After the record-setting year that was 2015, the new year is starting off reasonably slowly but as we approach the migratory move around the end of March, things will begin to become more hectic I’m sure. The first actual movement of stuff took place on Christmas Eve as Tim and I attacked our storage unit at the Scottsdale airport and moved tons (literally!) of furniture and equipment to a new, much less expensive unit about a mile from the site of the new facility near Sky Harbor. I didn’t get any photos of the 12 hour odyssey as I had my hands full trying to keep up with Tim (Dick Frye was also there to help and take inventory) as we removed about 2/3 of what we had stored there, some of it for years. It was just the first shot in a long, looming battle as the stage is set for the big move later on. I’ll try to keep you posted on what’s happening. But in the meantime, the day-to-day functions of medical care and educational activity proceeds unabated. Here’s what the last couple weeks looked like…

An injured GHO improves

An injured GHO improves

A meeting of minds

A meeting of minds

We’re still getting in some of the common first year birds from last spring (red tails, great horned owls, kestrels, etc.).  With Drs. Orr, Wyman, Sorum, and Becker tending to the injured, assisted by Jan, Joanie, Sharon, Alex, Susie, and all the rest of the Med Services team (too many to mention, but supremely appreciated!), the level of care received by the animals lucky enough to find their way to Liberty after their injuries is second to none.

A turkey vulture gets a wrap

Sara helps Dr. Orr wrap a turkey vulture’s wing

Recently I picked up an injured turkey vulture about 20 miles south of Maricopa (the city, not the county!) This guy was in somebody’s back yard and it was apparent he’d been down for quite some time. The broken wing was beginning to heal on it’s own and he was severely malnourished and dehydrated. He is currently getting rest and nourishment as the extent of the permanent damage is assessed by the Med Services team.

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The old red tail gets some surgery (photo by Susie)

The old red tail gets some surgery (photo by Susie)

Dr. Orr works on the hawk's head wound (photo by Susie)

Dr. Orr works on the hawk’s head wound (photo by Susie)

Jan and Sarah monitor and assist  (photo by Susie)

Jan and Sara monitor and assist (photo by Susie)

The very mature (I hate the term “old”!) red tail hawk with the stubborn head wound got some surgery recently. Dr. Orr, assisted by Sara, Susie and Jan worked to finally close the skin on the bird’s skull. It’s not known exactly how the injury was sustained, but it was a large wound in a difficult spot. This is a bird that has been around for many years and is trying to his best to survive against tall odds. The good news is he has the best medical team around to assure his recovery and eventual release.

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Jan holds a golden eagle for Kyle

Jan holds a golden eagle for Kyle

A big beak

A big beak is measured

The size of things indicates the sex

The size of things indicates the sex

The talons tell a lot

The talons tell a lot

In any case, it's a beautiful bird!

In any case, it’s a beautiful bird!

One of the golden eagles that arrived recently is getting close to release. Prior to being returned to the wild, goldens are measured and banded by AZGFD in order to determine their status in terms of numbers and population size. The birds are hooded which seems to make them more manageable for this operation as they seem to almost go to sleep while the hood is on. Then several key measurements are taken which indicate whether it is a male or a female. Happily, this bird will soon rejoin the gene pool as we approach the breeding season.

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Ring billed gull

Ring-billed gull

One of the last birds we took in as the year ended (on New Year’s Eve afternoon) was this ring-billed gull. Seriously depleted by human persecution during late 19th century, the ring-billed has made strong comeback. The population in 1990 was estimated at 3 to 4 million and probably still increasing.  The species has benefitted from availability of food provided by garbage dumps and farming practices. This was probably another first year bird not learning life lessons soon enough to avoid trouble.

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Laddie comes out front

Laddie comes out front

One of our new bald eagles, Laddie, is now being trained for the Education Team by Joe Miller. A second year bird, Laddie was officially placed on our permit last Fall and has the potential to be a wonderful addition to the education team of eagles we use to introduce the public to these awesome birds who inhabit our state. Last week, she made her first visit to the training perch at the front of the hand-feeding area north of the parking lot. She appeared to like being in the sun and the attention she got from passers-by. Welcome to the team, Laddie!

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Progress at the new Facility

Walls are almost done on the Education wing.

Walls are almost done on the Education wing.

Framing in the Education wing

Framing in the Education wing…

...and in the Rehab wing.

…and in the Rehab wing.

No more window A/C units to break down!

No more window A/C units to break down!

Panorama from the peace trail

Panorama from the peace trail

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If you have not yet pledged for the Birdies for Charity campaign, you only have two days left! PLEASE sign up.  It costs very little (last year a 1 cent pledge wound up costing around $17.) and we need the numbers of supporters to go up – NOW! Go to our website (libertywildlife.org) or Click Here   Don’t wait – do it now!!

 

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This Year @ Liberty – 2015

Hoots, Howls, and Hollers

Megan Mosby - Executive Director

Megan Mosby – Executive Director

 

Megan is taking a well-deserved holiday break.

HHH will return next week in 2016!

 

 

This Year @ Liberty

Posted by Terry Stevens

Posted by Terry Stevens

With three days left in 2015, the intake number has now reached 6564.

Historically, I do a year-end slide show with a brief review of some of the pictures from last year and this year is no exception. But it occurred to me as I was assembling the slides that within a few months, we will be moving into our new facility on the Rio Salado and our home for the past 34 years will mostly be a memory for us. As we move boldly into the future, let’s take a short look over our shoulders and remember the times we spent here in Scottsdale, both the happy and the heartbreaking; reflecting on all the lives we have saved here and returned to the skies of our beautiful state; and all the men, the women, and especially the children in whom we have instilled an appreciation for wildlife and nature.

                                          Click here for This Year at Liberty – 2015

Happy New Year from TW@L!

 

 

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This Week @ Liberty – December 21, 2015

Hoots, Howls, and Hollers

Megan Mosby - Executive Director

Megan Mosby – Executive Director

So, 2015, is waning.  Ok!  The rest of the year will hopefully be full of tradition, cheer, family, giving and fun.  If you are like me, you really don’t need more stuff under the tree.  If you find yourself in that category think of changing your requests to the North Pole to making a donation to a charity whose mission is something you feel passionate about. Of course, I am hoping that you choose Liberty Wildlife as a responsible hard working organization with a lot of heart, a lot of skills, and a lot of good deeds who spends your donations well and frugally; dollars go a long way around here.

The record books will show how well we have spent your donations.  We have had a record number of animals pass through our hospital (close to 6500).  We are providing a service not just for the animal but also for you…a public looking for help for some unfortunate critter that fell in your lap, so to speak.

How great for the community that there is a place like Liberty Wildlife where good souls donate their time to care for native wild animals.  Where people like our volunteers spend hours volunteering before they even get a chance to join the education team where they spend more hours training and readying themselves to spend more time presenting charismatic educational ambassadors to venues all over the state.

How great is it that we have a team of biologists who spend hours at irregular times mitigating for misfortunes that wildlife suffers as it interacts with civilization!

How great is it that we have a Hotline to answer your questions and to provide Rescue and Transport services when needed!

How great is it that we are one of two entities in the U.S. who are allowed to distribute non-eagle feathers to Native Americans for cultural and religious purposes, providing an opportunity for them to continue their cultural practices without the need to “take” birds from the wild.

We are nearing the end at our current location and will be moving to our new digs hopefully in April.  At that point we will be able to add to the many things we already do with the opportunity to be open to the public, to provide after school programs, interssession programs, tours, speaker and film series to name a few.

How great is it that 2015 is waning and 2016 is about to burst on the scene!  I am really looking forward to providing more to the community than ever before in our new year.

Think about us when you plan your end of the year giving.  We deserve a close look!

Thanks and Happy Holidays to all of you.

How great it is!

This Week @ Liberty

Posted by Terry Stevens

Posted by Terry Stevens

With less than two weeks left, the intake total for this year is now at 6524.

The level of activity remains steady as the year grinds to an end.  This week we saw, among other arrivals, a great blue heron with a multi-hook fishing lure attached, a raven who was frighteningly burned in an electrical flash, and another bird from a glue trap. The golden eagle makes some progress and a Harris’ hawk gets an amazing pin in his broken leg. Education programs proceed despite frigid temps up north, and the Tuesday crew have a mini-feast to celebrate another year at Liberty! Here’s what it looked like…

Claudia's annual feast

Claudia’s annual feast

"Carnivors, Vegetarians, and Vegans"

“Carnivores, Vegetarians, and Vegans”

Each year now, Claudia has presented a mini-feast for the Tuesday team (actually for everyone present!) around Christmas. Cleverly labeled for carnivores,  vegetarians, and vegans, there was something for everyone’s taste! This is just one of the reasons that her Tuesday crew has the least turn-over of any DC team at Liberty! The biggest problem is always how to keep the grackles from stealing food when nobody is looking…

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"Come closer...!"

“Come closer…!”

She's a well fed golden.

She’s a well fed golden – but just like your dog, she eats around the pill!

The golden that came in recently is improving slowly, despite the confirmation of aspergillosis. She is eating well and recovering from the ill effects of the apparent car collision and is being treated for asper. Hopefully she will recover soon and be released in time for breeding season in the spring. (She did find seeing her reflection in my camera lens to be very interesting…!)

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Badly burned raven (photo by Amyra)

Badly burned raven (photo by Amyra)

Front view of flash damage

Front view of flash damage

Even his tail feathers got burned

Even his tail feathers got burned

One of two ravens that were playing near some electrical equipment near Roosevelt Lake were injured when they somehow caused a short circuit. The resulting explosion killed one and badly burned the feathers of the other one. We have seen this before where the flash doesn’t cause deep tissue burning or structural damage, but burns the feathers into grotesque stalks of charred keratin. The good news is that with proper care, the bird can live through subsequent molting and replace the burned feathers as long as the follicles have not been damaged.

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GHO is treated by Dr. Orr

GHO is treated by Dr. Orr

Ruddy duck makes progress

Ruddy duck makes progress

Yet another glue trapped bird

Yet another glue trapped bird

A couple more birds treated during Vet Night this week included this great horned owl with an injured wing, the ruddy duck with a broken beak and fractured wing, and ANOTHER bird that got stuck in a glue trap. The GHO is doing well and will be outside soon, we hope. The ruddy duck is improving and the splint that was glued and taped to the lower bill is doing it’s job as the broken bill heals. The mockingbird was trapped on a glue tray which was placed outside in a bush several feet off the ground. The directions for most of these nasty traps clearly state that they are for inside use only and this only demonstrates why. The chances for collateral damage to unintended species from outdoor use are very high. Once again, we strongly advise against using this kind of device -EVER!

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Refugee BuOw from Luke AFB

Refugee BuOw from Luke AFB

Several agencies are at work trying to mitigate bird-strike incidents at Luke AFB and periodically we get birds that have been trapped on or near the base. Last week this burrowing owl came in for relocation. It appears he was riding in the wheel well of an F-35  when discovered. These little guys probably find airports a great place to live as there is lots of open turf and the rodents and insects that are supported by this habitat. However, hitching a ride on a front line fighter jet is something that could have consequences for both the bird and the aircraft that historically don’t end well for either. Otherwise uninjured, the bird will be safely relocated.

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Dr. Orr and Alex survey the damage to a great blue heron

Dr. Orr and Alex survey the damage to a great blue heron

Dangerous trash

Dangerous trash

This beautiful great blue heron came in with the multi-hooked lure attached to his neck and his leg. We’ve seen this before where some waterfowl gets hooked by discarded fishing equipment and then while attempting to remove the painful plug, gets it caught through it’s foot or leg. This heron had some serious damage to its long neck but thankfully Dr. Orr was able to remove the gear and repair most of the injury. Within a day or so, he was outside and recovering satisfactorily.

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Dr. Mike and friend (photo by Balinda)

Dr. Mike Sorum and friend (photo by Balinda)

Harris' hawk leg fracture

Harris’ hawk leg fracture

Dr. Mike at Dr. Driggers' clinic

Dr. Mike at Dr. Driggers’ clinic (photo by Dr. Todd Driggers)

X-ray of repaired fracture

X-ray of repaired fracture

Dr. Wyman checks the external fixator

Dr. Wyman checks the external fixator

Liberty is lucky to have several local veterinarians with special skills who donate their time and expertise to our animals. Among these, Dr. Todd Driggers has for years been doing surgeries for us on birds and mammals with complicated fractures, applying internal pins and external fixators. Dr. Mike Sorum, a very experienced equine vet, is one of our Med Services volunteers who brings in his portable x-ray unit when he comes in on Sunday. Last week these two skilled professionals  got together as Dr. Todd shared his experience with Dr. Mike who then performed his first pinning of this type on one of our harris’ hawks who presented a fractured leg.  A big “thanks” to both of these gentlemen for all they do!

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Dedicated volunteers brave the cold in Clarkdale

Dedicated volunteers brave the cold in Clarkdale (photo by Ellen Roberts – VCRR)

The show must go on, and it does, enthusiastically! It was around 27 degrees when our team of Education volunteers arrived in Clarkdale last week to present to the passengers about to board the Verde Canyon Railroad. Despite icy roads and below freezing temperatures, the birds and the volunteers put on a great educational event for the folks who were going to ride the train north. It warmed all the way up to the 40’s by the time the Liberty contingent headed back to the valley. Nice job people (and birds!)!

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Bobbies in the back yard 11-20-15 (photo by Kathy Edwards)

Bobbies in the back yard 11-20-15 (photo by Kathy Edwards)

And to round things out, this photo of her neighborhood bobcat family was submitted by volunteer Kathy Edwards. It’s hard to believe that some folks want these felines removed when they appear, but that’s why we do education: To let citizens know how to peacefully coexist with their native wildlife and enjoy and appreciate this kind of biodiversity.

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Weekly progress on the new facility

Footers for the Education enclosures

Footers for the Education enclosures

Rehab enclosures begin to rise

The rehab enclosures begin to rise

The Ed wing makes progress

The Ed wing makes progress

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Work on the wetlands…

 

 

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