Hoots, Howls, and Hollers
I am writing to celebrate the life of Kathleen Lang, a beautiful friend of mine and of Liberty Wildlife. In fact she was more. She was a transformer. She was a transformer of me and of Liberty Wildlife, and she was my good friend. Sadly, we lost her last week, and we are all less for it.
Kathleen was my longest friend in Arizona. We couldn’t have been more different. And, yet, we couldn’t have been closer on a heart level. She was always beautiful and elegant. She was always kind. She was mid-west hard working. She was devoted and loyal. We could go long periods of time without contact and take up right where we left off. She was never judgmental and was always compassionate and inclusive. But, mostly she was the perfect mother of Kaitlin, the love of her life.
I learned from her. She exposed me to family that operated like a village…close-knit,
devoted, strong, and supportive at all costs. Among many other things, she opened my eyes to the ways to raise money for charities, including Liberty Wildlife. I might still be sitting in the mail with a little donation jar if she hadn’t come along to share her vast experience in appealing to those with for those without. She was perfection, poise, and oh so productive. Those hands were never idle and no job was too daunting.
We shared many experiences from exercising on the canal, to tracking and catching loose dogs, to shopping, sharing hobbies, and deep secrets. I keep trying to remember what I brought to the table and can only come up with the fact that she knew she could always count on me.
This week a hole opened up in my world and swallowed up my pal. Because of her love of butterflies, I will always think of her when I see one. In fact, as I sat by our wetlands processing the loss of my friend, I saw my first butterfly of the season. It made me smile.
Adieu for now to Kathleen Lang, who taught me most of all what it means to be a friend. What a valuable person Liberty Wildlife and I were lucky enough to befriend! She will be sorely missed.
This Week @ Liberty
The intake total for this year is now up to 704.
Traffic at the intake window is picking up noticeably. We are still taking in a lot of bunnies and hummingbirds found by the public, along with other orphan birds. Our own Orphan Care center will be open next week, and not a moment too soon! It seems as if every other arrival is another group of cottontails. But we’re making continued efforts to accommodate the growing bunny population. Our digital X-ray unit is providing an invaluable service in providing care for the animals who are brought to us as we no longer have to wait to confirm diagnoses of trauma. A couple of volunteers have planted some more trees alongside the rehab side enclosures to provide shade for the birds housed there. And, we begin a series of Sunday morning “Critter Corner” appearances on local TV channel 10. Here’s what it looks like…
It seems like 4 out of 5 intakes now is either a hummingbird or a cottontail. The hummers are small enough that even though they require a lot of care, they don’t take up much space! Bunnies, on the other hand, grow pretty quickly and they need more room to grow and thrive. In answer to the ever increasing lagomorph population at Liberty, Warren Van Dyke (Mare’s husband), recently constructed two wonderful new hutches in which to house the growing bunnies. We know Liberty would be expanding from our new facility some day, we just didn’t count on it happening so soon! Thanks Warren!
The young bald eagle that was brought in a few weeks ago is still with us. He had reached the point in his treatment last week when he was introduced to a flight enclosure in hopes that he could be released soon. But despite presenting no external indication of anything that would prevent flight, he wasn’t able to take off. He was then brought in for more x-rays to try to determine if he had some other injury that had not been evident earlier in his care. He did originally suffer some internal injuries which might be still healing and this could possibly slow his recovery and delay his return to “flight status” so we are still hopeful he will be released in a short while.
When the new enclosures were built last year, we weren’t sure of their exact location and orientation so planning any foliage around them was delayed. Now that they are up, we know where we need shade so volunteers Roger Athey and Ed Weigand came out and dug some holes in appropriate places. Donated trees (all native species) were then planted by Ed and some more students from Scottsdale Community College last week. These should provide some natural shade for the birds in rehab in the months and years to come.
OK, I don’t care what you think about pigeons – beautiful flyers who aided our war efforts in WWII or rats with wings – nothing deserves this kind of treatment. Apparently someone thought it would be cool to shoot a dart at the bird and it drove the projectile through his lower jaw. That kind of cruelty has no place in a civilized world.
Deliberate cruelty to our defenceless and beautiful little cousins is surely one of the meanest and most detestable vices of which a human being can be guilty. – William Ralph Inge
If a man aspires towards a righteous life, his first act of abstinence is from injury to animals.” – Albert Einstein
Some more of our volunteers and ambassadors presented at the Dead Horse State Park recently. This program is always well attended and well received by all who come out to enjoy the beautiful spring weather and learn about the nature of Arizona.
Last Sunday morning, Laura and Doris took Snickers down to the Channel 10 studios in downtown Phoenix for a spot on their “Critter Corner” segment. Once a month, we will have animals on display for early Sunday morning risers to see and learn about Liberty Wildlife. Thanks Laura and Doris – and Snickers! (Catch Liberty’s Critter Corner segment on the 4th Sunday of every month on channel 10 between 6:00 and 7:00 AM)