Hoots, Howls, and Hollers
Are you staying cool? The past few days have been brutal, and I am not telling you anything that you don’t know already. But, most all of us human beings have air conditioning to retreat to…not so much for wildlife.
I have fountains around my house, a pool (unfortunately), and a pond. All of those sources of water seem to be a daytime gathering place for many of the critters that live in my environs. I can only imagine what goes on at night.
I watch the hummingbirds bathing in a flailing manner, the sparrows and finches bathe with abandon, and the larger guys from grackles to mockingbirds, doves and pigeons keep the water source busy as their displacement is more that the little fountains and pond can keep up with.
At Liberty Wildlife over that past few weeks we have been slammed. Between nasty winds to unbearable heat, babies have bailed or blown from nests. You have to be pretty hard core to ignore the naked little baby on the baking sidewalk, and thankfully not many people do. They bring them in by the hundreds a day. The boxes in the recycled bins attest to the numbers as do the hotline logs.
Here’s a report from Carol Suits regarding hotline activity one day on the an 8-to 11:00 shift:
Thanks to the heat, yesterday was predictably exciting on the front-end of the business: 116 incoming calls. To appreciate what that translates to, here’s a breakdown of the 8 – 11 shift activity:
27 incoming calls, listened to and returned
55 additional outgoing calls to find rescuers, second calls to public. Doesn’t include texting
82 total calls during the 3-hour shift
We didn’t track raptors specifically, but Carla W., 3 – 6 shift reported 9.
Katie L. kept the hotline open from 6 – 9 PM and took an additional 12. She’ll be doing that again tonight.
I know Carla and her husband went out after their shift and picked up 4 or 5 raptors, arriving at Liberty at 9ish.
It was a loooong day. I expect today will be about the same.
And, you know what? There have been many days like that with a lot more to come. Do what you can for your wildlife neighbors. Keep an eye out for any in distress. And, give us a call if you need help. Our outstanding crew is heads down, do the job, no matter what it takes.
These Weeks @ Liberty
The intake total is now up to 4075.
OK, so after taking a few weeks off to work on the move, I thought we’d better jump in and do a quick update so you wouldn’t think we stopped doing what we do best: provide state-of-the-art medical care for the wildlife of Arizona. The progress on the new facility is moving along (though never fast enough to suit us – we truly never intended to move during the hottest part of the year!!) and we will be taking more time off in the weeks to come so we can work on getting the new facility open and running. We certainly appreciate your patience and support as the big migration approaches. I keep telling people it’s like trying to prepare Sunday morning breakfast for a family gathering: making everything come out hot at the same time is a daunting task! Here’s a quick update on the past couple of weeks…
The heat is almost as bad as a spring storm for generating increased intake activity. Baby birds bail in droves to escape the heat in nests and the lucky ones are found and brought to Liberty for care. This means the intake window has a line forming early in the morning on most days. The dedication of the volunteers is awe-inspiring!
Five baby raccoons about 10 days old were brought in last week. It seems they were living in a wall someplace in town when a professional (NOT liberty) animal “remover” was called. He captured the babies but never caught the mom, then brought the kids in to us. After they were cleaned, weighed, and fed, they were sent to SWW for further care. We will soon be able to keep any mammals that are brought to us and provide rehabilitation services to them ourselves.
A little burrowing owl was admitted recently presenting symptoms of back injury and some eye problems. Consistent with a possible collision, he is being treated and observed in the ICU. This type of injury will be diagnosed faster and more accurately in the new facility with the state of the art equipment we will have available in the yet-to-be-named Rehab Wing (anyone want to have their name immortalized?)
The medical care given to all the animals that show up at our window goes on despite the heat outside – and the occasional failure of our old window-unit air conditioners. The baby birds don’t like the heat any more than we do, but last week the season for herons began and a ton of them showed up, brought in by our stalwart Rescue and Transport team. This on top of the assorted Cooper’s hawks, prairie falcons, kestrels, GHO’s and RTH’s that are the staples of our intakes provided lots of work for the über dedication of our volunteers!
Dr. Orr performed surgery on a great horned owl last week, possibly the last such operation in the old facility. The bird had a badly fractured wing but since it was fresh, he was a good candidate for this particular procedure. After anesthetizing the owl, with Jan monitoring heart and respiration activity, Dr. Orr inserted a steel pin into the two ends of the broken bone, stabilizing and holding them in place as they heal. The bird came through the operation in good shape and is now recovering in our ICU.
Yet another baby bald eagle was brought in to us recently. This little guy was not doing well in his nest as his two sisters seemed to be picking on him and getting most of the food. He was brought to us as an underfed, weak little bird that was otherwise not injured. After a couple weeks of being hydrated and fed well (without competition from his siblings), he began to grow and developed into a fierce, aggressive little example of the apex-predator he was designed to be. Last week Kyle and Kurt (AZGFD) took him back up north to another nest and re-inserted him into his natural environment. Another apparent success story for Liberty Wildlife and the bald eagle population of Arizona!
Last week John Martinson and his daughter Eco dropped by Liberty. She recently had her 13th birthday and in lieu of presents, she requested donations to Liberty Wildlife. She and her father brought over what she collected: $360! An outstanding gesture from a young lady who cares for animals and the world in which we all live! Thank you, Eco, from Liberty Wildlife and all the animals you helped to save by your wonderful act.
Progress on the New Facility
We got the go ahead to begin moving into the new facility today. There will most likely be another break in H3 and TW@L while we begin the big migration. Bear with us!