Hoots, Howls, and Hollers – April 25, 2023
Earth Day Memories… every day
In reality every day is Earth Day for me, and it has been for as long as I can remember. Those of you who haven’t spoken to me in real life, can’t tell from my writing that I have a little bit of a Texas drawl. I said little bit…but others of you who know me might beg to differ. I have been here long enough that maybe I shouldn’t talk funny, but after all of these years, it probably isn’t going to go anywhere—that drawl, that is.
What you also might not know about me is that I have a younger brother who is the best storyteller ever—and he, too, talks funny. He too could regale you with stores of growing up in nature…if I could just get him to pick up a pencil and paper…ya hear little Bro…
The reason this is significant does have to do with Earth Day. When we were growing up in Central Texas, we didn’t have a television ‘til way later, but we did have bikes all decked out with playing cards in the spokes that made us bad to the bone as we sported down to the creek to explore after a day at Sanger Avenue Elementary School. We turned over rocks, discovered caddis flies, caught crawdads until the light dimmed and Daddy whistled us in for dinner. We invariably dragged in some tadpoles in a jar, or lighting bugs caught on the way home…this was the early vestiges of my love of the out of doors and nature. It helped that I was a master at climbing trees to get away from it all—and secreted in the limbs of my favorite hackberry tree, I would watch nature go by. I could watch silently from afar as my mother fed her favorite birds, the cardinal family. Are you getting the picture?
I guess I didn’t stand a chance of being anything other than what I turned out to be…the one who celebrates Earth Day…every day… of every year.
This past weekend Liberty Wildlife hosted an Earth Day event whose theme was radically reimagining our relations with the earth. Why didn’t I think of that? It was a great group of people, all of whom had some connection with Sustainability leadership and activities. The event was sponsored by the Desert Institute for the Humanities at ASU. It was fun, educational, inspiring and everyone truly seemed to enjoy themselves.
Award winners were recognized as champions of the environment and sustainability efforts in the state. They included Hasrah Thomas who as Director of Realm 4 at ASU is developing a fully immersive, interactive virtual reality platform teaching environmental concepts. (…some day I will tell you about a similar partnership Liberty Wildlife is working on in virtual reality…but not today). Another award winner was White Tank Mountains Conservancy, who work on solutions among conservationists, developers and cities to preserve natural places and wildlife in the White Tank Mountains to the west of the Valley. Danielle Goldtooth educates about sustainable food system and traditional Dine farming practices through culinary experiences featuring traditional and local foods. Richard Morris, a local philanthropist, has created innovative approaches to water sustainability in the state informed by his life as a former Navy fighter pilot, lawyer, businessman, and Episcopalian priest. Lastly, Elvy Barton of SRP is creating forward-thinking land management solutions for protection of woodlands, watershed, and wildfire prevention.
My kind of people! I imagine for each of them every day is Earth Day also, and we are all inspired by the creator of this event, Karen Bradshaw, Professor of Environmental Law, Arizona State University and author of “ Wildlife as Property Owners: A New Conception of Animal Rights.”
OK, let’s all gather in some communal realm and celebrate Earth Day tomorrow, the next day, the next day, and so on…Come along now…another Earth Day is in your future….another day to celebrate and embrace this sphere that homes us all.
This Week @ Liberty – April 25, 2023
May is one of my favorite months for a lot of different reasons. Not only does it mean summer is here, but I also get to celebrate my wedding anniversary AND my birthday (which, in hindsight, was actually a terrible idea). With that being said, it also means things are picking up here, and boy, have we picked up! We’re starting to see those babies coming in, and Orphan Care is in full swing thanks to them needing round the clock care. And while we’re on the tail end of our education season and our events are certainly slowing down, there’s still so much to look forward to!
Says Phoebes – Animals Found in Odd Places
People who bring us animals find them in all kinds of places. From the grill of a vehicle to beneath a shed to a hay bale en-route to another state, there’s always an assortment of spots for these guys to be found. A trash can, however, is one we don’t hear of often, and worth noting for a lot of different reasons.
These four nestling Says Phoebes were found by a kid who happened upon the dumpster and spotted them near the top. For anyone who’s lived in Phoenix any length of time, I’m sure you’ve seen these little guys around, even if you don’t know their names. They enjoy dry, sparsely vegetated areas, and eat all those little bugs we hate but need (like grasshoppers, crickets and beetles). You’ll know them by their call; a slurred whistle and a sort of hiccupping note that are on repeat.
They’re adorable at any stage of their lives, but especially now when their still gaping for food from mom and always ready for the next meal.
While it’s hard to say exactly how they ended up in that dumpster, it’s an important note to make; if you’re trimming your trees or bushes, especially during spring, always check them first. It may look empty to you, but it’s always worth perusing through every branch and leaf to make sure you’re not potentially taking babies away from their home.
The good news is, most of these babies fledge in less than a month. Which means if you have to cut down that tree or trim it down, those babies won’t be there for long, and you can get to it right after they leave.
Fostering Great Horned Owls
It seems I’ve mentioned it before, but it’s worth mentioning again…it’s baby season. This time of year, we get everything from White-Wing Doves to Verdin to Barn Owls. Most notably, and in high numbers, we get Great Horned Owls, many of which have simply fledged too early but have no wounds or fractures to name of.
One of the most wonderful things about Great Horned Owl parents are their ferocity in protecting their young and their ability to take on more. Our own Animal Ambassadors Maggie, Snickers, Darwin and Hedwig have currently taken on the role of fosters moms; you can’t get too close to their enclosures without them making sure you know they’re there, too. But our wonderful foster moms can only take so many, and getting them to the right enclosure with the right parents is just as important as getting them out there to begin with.
The process, however, is pretty simple. Once our medical service volunteers have accessed the new babe, they not only get weighed, but they get banded, too. This color and number correlates with their intake number, so once their ready for release, it’s easy for us to find their paperwork.
After banding, then we decide where they should go. Typically, we find babes who are around the same age and weight, and once we do, we’re free to release them into the care of our foster parents (as you can see, there’s a lot they can handle!).
From there, our owl team comes in to pick up leftovers, clean, give fresh water and feed. But mostly, it’s up to the new owl parents, and you know what? They do a fantastic job every year!
Killdeer: Cuteness Overload
I may be biased, but I consider most babies of anything to be adorable (yes, even the ones that are so ugly their cute). Killdeer are no exception, and right now, we have a whole colony of them in Orphan Care!
These adorable little dudes are mostly found in sandbars, mudflats and grazing fields; in Arizona, they can be found throughout all of Maricopa county near ponds, lake edges and plenty of suburban areas. And yes, even on golf courses (not only do the golf courses provide good eats, but these shorebirds enjoy the area!). They like invertebrates like earthworms and snails, which all these areas have plenty of.
These shorebirds do happen to nest on simple scrapes placed on higher rises in the open area they’ve chosen. Which can be confusing for those of us who are used to birds nesting in trees or cacti; in fact, if you find one of these young birds on the ground, chances are, mom and dad are close. If you keep an eye on them long enough, they’re likely to come back to check on the kids.
For now, these orphaned Killdeer will hang with us until their old enough to go out on their own. But I have to say, it’s not a bad set-up for the time being.
It’s the end of April and things are really starting to pick up. Without further ado, here are this week’s notable mentions!
Hilah (new education volunteer) hanging for the Sippin’ in the Southwest event (1 pictures)
Laura giving a presentation in our Interactive room to a small field trip (1 picture)
A teeny, tiny thrasher hatchling (1 picture)
The goats have zero chill (1 picture)
Conkrite News stops by for a bit on California Condors and the Avian Flu (1 picture)
Nestling Red-Tailed Hawks and their older counterparts (3 pictures)
Hatchling House Finch makes an appearance (1 picture)
With the end of April comes May, and that means our new summer hours will be in effect. Please join us for Public Hours Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays from 9am-11pm. Of course, make sure to keep an eye out for some new events scheduled throughout the year; I promise you won’t want to miss them!
Until next time!
Posted by Acacia Parker
Public Outreach Coordinator