Hoots, Howls, and Hollers – April 13, 2021
A few weeks ago, I got an email from a very caring person, Tammy. The carport covers at her condo complex were being painted along with the rest of the complex exterior. She noticed a dove’s nest in the underneath corner of one of the parking covers. She was savvy enough to know that this didn’t bode well for the dove who had apparently nested there for a few prior years. As a self-proclaimed wildlife fan she was naturally concerned. The parent seemed to be there most of the time, and the safe assumption was that there were eggs. Because it is often difficult to stop progress in these construction activities, she was doubtful that she could do anything.
We discussed the possibilities. She could wait and hope. At the time that didn’t seem like a very good option. She could attempt to move the nest out of harm’s way. We discussed the difficulties of that….doves’ nests often fall apart if the slightest thing bothers them, and then all would be lost. Lastly, she could nab the eggs and bring them to us to incubate and raise…not the best option and certainly not the best for the dove family…although it could certainly be a last resort. Or, she could appeal to the higher ups.
Never underestimate the power of compassion. When push came to shove, she reached out to the painting company and explained the situation. They agreed that they would not want to disturb the nest either, if possible. The painters went to the trouble of carefully working around the nest area as they both power washed and taped off the area during the time of the painting.
Tammy watchfully kept an eye on the nest as they went about the business of painting, and the babies went about growing. Mom dove was the best mom and protected her babies through the entire disruption. See the attached photos.
This is a trying story with a happy ending. When we get calls like this, it is always our hope that the mom and dad bird will get to see their efforts to fruition. They are hard-wired to raise a nest of babies, and we like to oblige whenever possible. The reason this worked out so perfectly is because Tammy persisted. First, she was aware of the nest year after year. Next, she anticipated a potential problem and consulted with us. Third, she reached out to see if she could get a ‘buy in’, and she did!
Caring, compulsion, completion….congratulations Mr. and Mrs. Dove! Hats off to you, Tammy…and stars in the crowns of all of the painters. Another example of people coming together for the betterment of the world…we all benefit from a success like this because as I have said before…we are indeed all connected. The repercussions of the good news story flows out like the ripples in a pond…sending good will to all!
This Week @ Liberty – April 13, 2021
Suddenly, it’s the busy season! One week, the Intake window volunteers are looking for things to do to stay active, and the next, people are backing up along the sidewalk. All it takes is a few days of temps in the 90’s and some gusty winds and BAM! Liberty is getting inundated with orphan birds and bunnies! We all knew it was coming, and as of last week, we’re already over 100 ahead of last year. The good news is, our volunteers are second to none and everybody seems geared up for the big push during the next three months. The Education Team is also pushing ahead with an ambitious schedule of programs and presentations both in-house and in the virtual world via Zoom. Hopefully, this wave will take us through to the end of the pandemic and then we can all breath a bit easier – without masks!
A large adult female Swainson’s hawk was brought in by a Rescue/Transport volunteer last week. Besides a reluctance to fly, it presented no overt or obvious trauma. It was, however, banded…
The Swainson’s hawk is the second longest migrant of any North American raptor. The flight from breeding ground to South American pampas in southern Brazil or Argentina can be as long as 7,100 mi (11,400 km). Each migration can last at least two months. They leave the breeding grounds from August to October. This particular bird had been banded near Wendover, Utah, on August 1, 2014, and is at least 10 years old.
From this we can deduce that this wonder of evolution had probably flown close to 100,000 miles during it’s life. After a trip of 100 feet up the hall to our radiology room, it was learned that this beautiful bird had been shot (metal pellets show up extremely well in X-Rays.) So after surviving all these years and miles in flight, some uncaring ignorant individual with a shotgun took her out of the sky.
I have no words for this…
(Look for 5 pictures.)
Speaking of bands and tracking birds, we recently had Kyle from the Arizona Game & Fish Department (AZGFD) come out to process a cooper’s hawk in our care. The bird was in good shape and was scheduled to be released. When either AZGFD or United States Fish & Wildlife (USFW) decide they want to research a given species, lots of things happen. The subject is weighed, measured, sexed, and an identifying band is attached to the bird’s leg. If this bird or band is later retrieved and the number on the band is called in, the movements of the bird can be recorded and analyzed. (see the Swainson’s article above) This bird should do well after it is returned to the wild!
(Look for 4 pictures.)
In the orphan baby area NOT associated with ‘Orphan Care’, we have one little gosling who is presenting symptoms of torticollis. This shows up as difficulty in holding the head straight or walking correctly. It can be caused by a number of factors including genetics. We’re hoping the condition can be reversed with proper treatment. He is currently receiving hands-on care from our volunteers who think he is the cutest patient this week, the only competition being the baby cottontail in the bunny room.
(Look for 4 pictures)
As we approach “The Season” we will see a new crop of orphan babies of all types. Yes, most will be doves and sparrows and the like, but we always take in hundreds of baby great horned owls. Most have merely been separated from their parents by storms, tree trimmers, and occasionally people who don’t know any better. Two baby great horned owls are already going out with foster parents on our property, but one was caught in some barbed wire and will require some more advanced medical intervention. Sadly, one little baby is seriously ill, having contracted canker from contaminated food brought to him by his parents who didn’t realize what they were feeding him. Our fear is that the rest of the family are also infected and without our help, may also succumb to this horrible affliction.
(Look for 3 pictures.)
Two little insect eaters are also currently in our care. One is a pretty little spiney lizard that somebody’s dog thought would be a good chew toy. Good news is, he’s doing well and might go live in our outside reptile enclosure.
The other insectivore is this little brown bat who was hanging out (literally!) at a school near downtown Phoenix. I brought him in and by the end of the day, he was released to join his brothers snagging moths and mosquitoes from the night sky! I learned that lots of bats take a break while migrating and just chill out in a safe quiet place until the sun goes down. All they really need is to be kept safe from people and other animals while they rest (a school is NOT an appropriate place in any case!)
(Look for 3 pictures.)
A baby love bird showed up recently presenting some eye irritation and a possible breathing issue. Lora and Tori were carefully investigating his breathing problem and in the process, discovered his eye irritation was the result of some tiny cactus thorns around his eyes. Cactus thorns are a natural hazard, as anyone who has lived in Arizona for more than a year can attest. Luckily, most animals that have evolved in this environment have developed techniques and strategies to avoid negative interactions with these spikey dangers. That being said, every once in a while even the most experienced desert dwellers can have a close encounter of the prickly kind. The baby lovebird can probably blame his cactus problems on inexperience and possibly a lack of evolutionary instinct to keep his face away from the glochidia found on Cholla or Prickly pear cactus. The unlucky little guy got some in his face and Dr. Salhuana spent a lot of time carefully plucking the hair-like spines from around his eyes.
I’m not sure the little woodpecker has an excuse. He was found with one cholla ball stuck to his body, and when the homeowners tried to rescue him, he fell into the plant and got more attached. R&T volunteer Steven Kay got him sequestered and brought him in. Medical Services volunteer Debbie Ordorica was on duty and was patient enough to remove the spines after anesthetizing him and giving him pain medication. The full-size cholla spines are a bit easier to pull than the hairy glochids that the lovebird presented. Within a few minutes of his arrival, the bird was feeling better and made a full recovery!
(Look for 11 pictures.)
Posted by Terry Stevens
Liberty Wildlife Volunteer