What Will You Do?
By: Gail Cochrane
Liberty Wildlife Volunteer
It’s not easy to convey the range of emotions I hold about the volunteers and staff at Liberty Wildlife. Those of you who don’t volunteer at the facility can’t possibly imagine how hard it can be, or how rewarding. In the summer all of the birds still need to be fed, cages need to be cleaned, and ongoing maintenance carried on…even as temperatures soar and the humidity too. There is sweat and exhaustion and ongoing concern for animals fighting for their lives. There is grief for the ones that don’t make it. A world dominated by humans is not kind to wildlife, and animals of every sort come in with every imaginable injury. During the nesting season in spring and summer, baby birds are brought to the intake window in a steady stream. Each and every one of these fledglings and nestlings requires the full-time care that a mother and father bird would lavish on it…and there are hundreds of them!
I am particularly humbled by those Liberty Wildlife staff members and volunteers that have been at this work a very long time. These people have given unflinchingly of their time, their energy, and their love for decades. This dedication is also hard to describe unless you see it first-hand. These are truly Liberty Wildlife lifers, and the good they have done for wildlife in this state and for people interested in learning about the natural history of the Sonoran Desert top the charts as far as giving.
I am both humbled and also a bit jealous. I envy those who have such a passion, such a mission that their life purpose is embodied by their work every day, every season, every feeding, every educational presentation. Because it is becoming apparent that the human species is also coming to a place of requiring rescue from the conditions of the world, we will all need to find a place where we can do our part. The folks who run Liberty Wildlife model the qualities that every citizen must embrace.
What will you do to help? Since you are reading Nature News, you surely have a passion for wildlife, and perhaps you are already a volunteer. If not, you may find inspiration in the beauty and mystery of wildlife and decide to sign on for a shift at Liberty Wildlife. Or perhaps you need to stay closer to home and could help on the hotline!
Opportunities to help improve the situation facing humanity are everywhere. As the City of Phoenix activates its Drought Management Plan with a Stage 1 Water Alert, conserving water falls to all of us. My most recent utility bill addressed the matter in the newsletter, offering links for more information.
For the City of Phoenix drought information page see www.phoenix.gov/waterservices/drought
The Water- Use It Wisely Conservation Campaign provides 100+ tips on water use in our daily lives. I particularly appreciated the information found in the Outdoor Water Use section. https://wateruseitwisely.com/100-ways-to-conserve-water/page/6/
Looking around the world today, it is hard to overlook the many areas where help is needed. I think of the attitude my mother modeled for my sisters and I. Anytime anyone was preparing a meal she would make for the kitchen, rolling up her sleeves, and asking, what can I do?
How You Can Help Urban Birds Beat the Summer Heat
By Diana Rodriguez
Liberty Wildlife Intern
The heat of the summer is bearing down on us all, and while it’s easy for us to get away from the sweltering temperatures by taking comfort
in our air-conditioned homes, birds do not have that luxury. Here are some ways you can help backyard birds keep cool during the summer months.
- Set up bird baths. The first and most common way to help birds escape the heat is to set up a bird bath so they can have a source of drinking water and a place to get wet and cool off. If you can, try to choose a bird bath with a running water feature because birds are attracted to the sound and sight of moving water. You should also take the shape of the bird bath into consideration; baths with deep basins will discourage smaller birds from using it and those with shallow basins will not accommodate larger birds and will dry up faster. To help as many birds as possible, choose a bird bath with varying depths so no bird gets left out. To further aid in reducing temperatures, you can add ice and replace as necessary. Lastly, make sure to clean your bird bath a minimum of once a week to avoid spreading any disease.
- Provide Shade. Shade is another essential during the heat of the summer. There are a variety of ways you can add shade to your area for birds to seek refuge from the sun’s rays. If you are looking for a long term approach, consider planting one or more trees in your landscape. Desert Willow and Netleaf Hackberry trees are two native species to Arizona that would be good shade providers because their leaves are more broad, but any native tree species would be satisfactory. For short term solutions, you could set up a pop-up canopy or add shade cloths in your backyard.
- Install misters and other water features. As mentioned, birds are attracted to running water. If you have already set up a bird bath and are looking for other ways to help, installing other water features such as misters and fountains are a great addition. Patio misting systems are very effective in decreasing temperatures of larger areas, unlike bird baths that mainly provide cooling for only the birds in them. If all this sounds out of your budget, or you want a more effortless approach, you can simply create some kind of standing pool of water. This is helpful because the presence of water alone is known to decrease air temperatures by evaporation.
- Encourage Plant Growth. Cutting back on pruning and adding more greenery overall will help reduce temperatures not only through the added shade, but by evapotranspiration, which is when plants lose water through their leaves. According to the EPA, this plant process alone can reduce summer temperatures by 2-9℉. Fairy Duster, Chuparosa, and Autumn Sage are some examples of native plants to add to your garden if you want to attract hummingbirds, while also giving them a break from the summer heat. Additionally, try to minimize tree trimming during the summer so you don’t accidentally disturb nesting wildlife.
- Provide Food. Lastly, offer birds a reliable source of healthy food. Having easy access to food means birds can spend less time foraging, which means less body heat generated and less energy used. Just make sure to place all feeders in the shade to limit time spent in the sun.
By: Carol Suits
Liberty Wildlife Volunteer
Are you a Superhero? Anyone can be a Superhero by helping nature!
Meet a cool owl
His job is to detect water wasting and pass on the information that turns people into Superheroes by helping them to start saving water not wasting it! You may not need him a lot because as a Superhero already, you have been finding ways to save water. But he is pretty cool and does have some good ideas to check out.
What ideas have you used to save water?
Draw it! Write it! Video it!
- Make a poster showing your ideas and share it with your family and friends.
- Draw a picture and write in your nature journal about which water saver idea you liked doing most.
- Did you help fix a water waster? Make a video of your work. Share!
Take your pick or do all these water activities!
Make a rain gauge for monsoon season
Play this game and get extra chances by answering water saving questions
Try these water experiments
Day and night at the wildlife fountain. Animals, like all living things, need water. –