Hoots, Howls, and Hollers – April 12, 2022
They came through the door in droves each carrying bags of dog or cat food, packages of toilet paper and paper towels, bird seed, hand sanitizer, rubber gloves…all things from our wish list to replenish our coffers before the onset of our busiest season—a planned and generous restocking so the activities can begin for real.
When we ‘throw a party’ we never know what to expect and are almost always surprised. As the years go on it gets better and better. Last weekend’s Orphan Baby Shower was no exception. It was a family affair with lots of young people and their parents arriving to support the cause and to have a lot of fun. There were games, booths, activities, and the ever-present appearances of our education ambassadors. One could witness the not often observed egg-eating of the Gila monsters, out for sun and slurp exhibition. The birds flew for the audience and Cheese and Quackers made their appearance with the hope of delighting the attending guests… which they did.
The day before saw another well-attended couple of events. Our monthly, and sadly this year’s final, free Nature Walk was well attended by nature lovers who enjoy the wisdom of Ranger Brian as he extolls the wonders of our own Rio Salado and its flora and fauna. The guests are invited to stick around if they would like to and enjoy the scheduled programming. Some of the nature walk adventurers ended up spending all morning with us…there is a lot to see! The fun excursions will begin again in the fall. Watch our website for the announced beginning date.
To add to the fun, our Superheroes group convened again Saturday morning. They are a group of young people who support a love of nature, and we are aiming to explore and strengthen their nascent passions. They shared their personal nature-related activities over the past month and brought samples of their nature journals. As an additional activity, they got to go “behind the scenes” to visit the Orphan Care section of the hospital to watch the care and tending of our roomful of orphans which is enough to melt the coldest of hearts which none of them had….they totally loved it making their next task more meaningful. They constructed baskets, which will contain the babies through their early rehab…keeping them warm and cozy in a ‘nest-like’ container. Each of the superheroes got to insert their names in the basket they constructed and photos will be taken of the nestlings who benefited from the superhero actions.
This weekend at Liberty Wildlife was another example of the strength, depth, and diversity of our organization. You will soon be hearing from me about another project we are embarking on that has the ultimate goal of marrying “screens” with nature. Now that is going to be a fun undertaking….stay tuned!!!
One last thing—you have the opportunity in the very near future of honoring your mom. One of the best things you can do is help support all of our diverse orphan-related activities by sponsoring an orphaned wild animal. All you have to do is purchase a sponsorship of our Orphan Care program. You can make a donation to Liberty Wildlife, and we will send you an electronic certificate made especially for your mom that you can send to her or print and present to her…the perfect gift for that special mom.
This Week @ Liberty – April 12, 2022
“April, dressed in all his trim, hath put a spirit of youth in everything.” – Shakespeare
I’ll use words from Billy the Bard to highlight the Wildlife Baby Shower that was held last weekend. This is always the busiest time of any year at Liberty Wildlife as pretty much all of the fauna in Arizona acts on their biological imperative to reproduce. Invariably, some nests/dens/lairs are not built to species code and young birds and mammals find themselves separated from their homes and parents far earlier than the script of life would dictate. March winds do a number on some small bird’s nests, others are sometimes stolen from their homes and parents by well-meaning humans. The lucky ones are found and are transported to Liberty’s intake window where they will be cared for by the volunteer team in Orphan Care. Since the infants multiply at what would seem to be an exponential rate, we hold the Baby Shower to raise both awareness of the orphan’s needs and to try to restock in a small way the materials and resources that will be needed over the next few months. The peak is yet to come. (Two years ago, we took in 200 animals on the first day of June!)
Thanks to all who attended, and all who helped make the wild baby shower a great success! I’ll add a special thanks to Kathleen and Mel for working so hard to get OC and this event up and running for another “Big Year”!
Wildlife Baby Shower
As was mentioned earlier above, our annual Baby Shower for orphan birds and mammals took place last Sunday. The event was very well attended and brought in a lot of donations of both money and supplies. In lieu of the usual entry donation, people who brought in supplies from a list we posted got to come in and make use of the facility and see all of the displays and “animal pop-ups” that are staples of our public hours. Cheese and Quackers were there, as were the Eagles and the flight display. A raffle was held and the Liberty Teens and Guides got to supplement the Education Team who were on the trail with a number of our avian ambassadors. The weather was nearly perfect and it appears everyone had a wonderful time.
(Look for 13 pictures)
When I was training to be a flight instructor, a wise examiner told me that the main job of the instructor was to “Make it easy for the student to learn.” Anything we, as wildlife teachers can do to make it easy and fun for kids to learn about the wildlife around them should be our goal. With that in mind, just having kids in close proximity to the animals that share our world puts us at an advantage. Being close enough to see, hear, and get up-close and personal to birds, reptiles, and even goats allows the kids that visit us for field trips to engage all of their senses in the learning experience. They get to see ducks walking, eating, swimming, and even sleeping in their natural environment. They get to see fish and frogs interact with the flora in our wetlands and get an appreciation for the different circles of life. In addition, they can see from the Non-Eagle Feather Repository how even after birds can no longer use their feathers, these wonders of evolution can be employed as a bridge between human and avian life.
“In the end, we will conserve only what we love; we will love only what we understand and we will understand only what we are taught.” – Baba Dioum
(Look for 6 pictures)
Gunshot Wound Kestrel
One of the top five things we see repeatedly causing injury to birds coming in to Liberty Wildlife is, unfortunately, gun shots. We used to see these a lot right after Christmas (think Ralphie and his Red Ryder BB gun with a compass in the stock and this thing that tells time…) but now we seem to see them all year long. Now that we have our own X-ray machine we can diagnose this injury very quickly and accurately. Last week we took in a little male kestrel presenting a fractured wing which, upon being X-rayed, showed the presence of two pellets of the .177cal type. This means that unless two people shot and hit the falcon simultaneously, they shot him once which took him down, and then they came up to him on the ground and shot him again. The fractures are not in a good place for pinning to be a viable option so we’re thinking he might possibly make a good foster dad for some of the many orphan kestrels we take in every year. That is, assuming he survives the whole ordeal and becomes healthy and tolerant after he heals.
(Look for 5 pictures)
Right after the Intake Window, the next group of Volunteers that bear the brunt of the springtime deluge of arrivals is the Med Services Team in Triage and the ICU. Before leaving Triage, every intake must be weighed, examined, and assessed as to their overall condition and immediate medical requirements. This will determine where they will go next (ICU, orphan care, foster care, etc.). Capture Myopathy can result from the exertion, struggle, or stress occurring during capture, handling, immobilization, or transport, all of which will usually happen during the rescue operation. This stress alone can be fatal to a bird that has sustained even minor trauma. Dr. Orr, our founder, was a big proponent of keeping animals, especially birds, “Warm, Dark, and Quiet” to allow them to de-stress for a period prior to initiating any treatment that might raise their already elevated stress levels. This would include orphans from baby cottontails and jackrabbits, to hatchling mockingbirds and baby great horned owls and other raptors. This means that just because we have the Veterinary talent and the facilities to perform almost any surgery, very few are done as “Emergency” operations and are instead accomplished in a timely manner when the patient’s stress level has been allowed to diminish.
(Look for 12 pictures)
Posted by Terry Stevens
Liberty Wildlife Volunteer