Hoots, Howls, and Hollers
Guest Blog 2-20-17 by Robert Mesta
Every year Pectoral Sandpipers, a medium sized shorebird, travel from their Arctic tundra breeding grounds to winter in the pampas grasslands of Argentina, an 18,000-mile round-trip. On their annual migration, they fly over portions of 3 hemispheres, two continents and 36 countries, using critical stop-over areas; fresh and saltwater marshes, mudflats and wet meadows to rest and refuel to continue their journey. They are a fall migrant in Arizona, best seen in Maricopa County during the month of September.
Birds did not evolve to recognize political boundaries for their survival, yet they depend on countries along their migration routes to protect and preserve their full life-cycle habitats; breeding, wintering and stop-over, for their existence. Understanding the complex movements and habitat needs of these long-distance migrants is the foundation upon which countries develop range-wide conservation plans to maintain sustainable bird populations.
A significant source of that critical information is the citizen driven Christmas Bird Count Program (CBC). The CBC is one of the oldest and largest active data bases of bird population information, it is an invaluable resource for understanding the long-term trends in bird movements and population status.
Native Future is a non-profit organization that helps preserve the inextricable link between indigenous people and the ecosystems in which they live. Native Future is partnering with the Wounaan people of Panama’s Darian tropical rainforest to conduct the first Wounaan Community based CBC in the winter of 2017-2018. Since early 2016 I have been part of a Native Future team that is donating their time and resources to plan the CBC, train participating Wounaan Community members, and conduct the CBC.
To make this CBC project a reality we need optical equipment for the participating Wounaan. Therefore, I am making an appeal to all friends of Liberty Wildlife for the donation of any binoculars, spotting scopes, or tripods that you are no longer using and would like to donate to a good cause.
If you would like to donate any of your old optical equipment or have any questions about the Wounaan Community CBC Project, please contact me, Robert Mesta, LWNEFR Coordinator at email@example.com. Better yet, drop by the Feather room and we can chat.
Sometimes we must reach out and support distant peoples and landscapes to help preserve the birds we enjoy on our weekend birding trips or even our own back yards.
Keep Soaring – Robt
This Week @ Liberty
The intake total for the year is now up to 270.
It’s been a wet couple of days again as our brief winter hangs on a bit longer. It’s difficult to complain about the rain and cold weather when we all know that in a very short time we’ll long for days of clouds and cool winds…but the desert is our home and we’re adaptable. We’ll make the best of whatever nature throws our way.
Currently we’re caring for three California Condors, all of which present symptoms of lead poisoning. The other species are beginning to come in with a little more regularity and our new “Intake Window” volunteers are seeing an incremental increase in traffic. Hummingbirds are still arriving as are bunnies and the ubiquitous great horned owls and red tail hawks.
We are also continuing to retrieve the last few usable items from the Scottsdale facility and bring them south to our new home at the Rob and Melani Walton Campus of Liberty Wildlife. It’s beginning to look like a ghost town up north but we still have some stuff that will be heading our way. Opening to the public is working nicely as even with threatening skies (and more!), we had a bunch of folks come out to see what we’re doing last weekend. Just wait until word gets out and the weather turns nice again!
Let’s see what it looked like last week…
As a ban on lead ammunition on federal land is considered in Congress, we continue to treat California condors who suffer from this. And if the plight of California condors doesn’t move you, think of this: over time, we have seen many more eagles of both species suffer protracted painful deaths from ingestion of lead bullet fragments. (Eagles…you know, the symbol of our country? The bird that dominates the logo on the seal of the NRA? That eagle?) But then again, using cheaper (in some cases) ammunition is obviously easier than caring about America’s national bird. The voluntary program offered by AZGFD seems to be producing results and is to be commended.
I’m not sure how people even find baby humming birds, but they do. And who knew they gaped when they are nestlings? This just shows that all species, from the largest to the smallest get complete care at Liberty Wildlife!
Our public access program seems to be working as even in the rain and cold last weekend, people came out to visit the facility. Between rain events, the folks were able to walk around and tour the enclosures on the Education side, but in deference to any continued precipitation, the wildlife presentations were moved into the big classroom.
Just a couple of shots of what the old facility looks like as we approach the final “Last person out” stage of our presence at 11825 N 70th in Scottsdale. It’s amazing how much stuff you accumulate in 36 years, and the memories of all that happened and all we did still hang like echos in the wind. What we used to accomplish in these two rooms is now done in separate rooms dedicated to the tasks. Progress is rarely easy, and never cheap!
One of the major accomplishments in the process of vacating our old facility was moving the old”Education Trailer” that sat alongside the walkway inside the front gate. We are going to use this as weather-proof storage for various materials at the new facility. Moving it was no small task and took Herculean effort and great perseverance on the part of Tim who kept doggedly gnawing on the governmental red-tape and mechanical logistics that seemed to thwart every attempt to resurrect it. It had not been mobile in over two decades and was more-or-less a permanent adjunct to the old facility.