Hoots, Howls, and Hollers – April 26, 2022
We have just joyfully completed another weekend of fun and successes for Liberty Wildlife… YAY!
Friday night Liberty Wildlife was honored in the conservation category at a truly inspiring event celebrating Earth Day. Radically Reimagining the Human Relationship to Nature was the theme and everything about it was right on. The gathering was in the home of the organizer, Karen Bradshaw, author of the book, Wildlife as Property Owner, and Professor of Law at the Sandra Day O’Conner College of Law. The setting was stunning and the “walk your talk” message was loud and clear. The guests, every one of them, were part of solution and that was truly uplifting. To be in a home full of like-minded people was just delightful. I look forward to other of those kind of events.
To add to that, the weekend also included a very successful earth day event at Liberty Wildlife. The morning began with Litter Critters, a non-profit organization of youngsters who combed the Rio Salado for litter, bringing out bags and bags of detritus that had found its way to the banks of the river. They dragged it out leaving the area way more pristine than they found it. Then at 10:00 our open hours began, and we once again thrilled a facility full of guests with our annual Wish Tree/Earth Day offerings.
There were booths including an informational offering from SRP about Earth Day standards of sustainable solutions…use a pencil and plant the eraser for the growth of a tree…how cool. The beekeepers on our property set up a very informative booth relating the importance of bees as pollinators. People got to taste different honeys and see examples of hives up close and personal. Our Teen Club had reptiles out in all of their splendor. There were pellets to be dissected, a wish tree booth that encouraged guests to make a wish to hang on the tree. As an aside, if you haven’t read The Wish Tree by Katherine Applegate…you should! There were four names drawn and four lucky young ones got to release some rehabilitated doves, a curved billed thrasher, an Abert’s towhee, and a northern mockingbird to the applause of the rest of the group.
Our regular programming including the duck parade, an eagle feeding, and a flighted show were the culmination of time on the Education Trail. Guests observed eagles, owls, falcons, hawks, and vultures including our newest treasures, Marble and Millie, our California Condors. The Interactive room bustled with kids and adults who couldn’t get enough of the likes of the squirrels of many ilks, the ring tailed cat, the toads, snakes, lizards, tortoises, insects, and the cutest of little raptors.
It was indeed a wonderful Earth Day weekend. It seems to get better every year, and I am forever grateful and hopeful that the enthusiasm of everyone I met with this weekend will spread and the sentiments of Earth Day will continue to grow all year long.
Thanks to all of you who made this such a fun success.
Lastly, don’t forget that Mother’s Day is upon us and honoring your mom with an Orphan Care Sponsorship would be a unique and time honored way to say how important motherhood is to all of us. Also, you can celebrate Mother’s Day weekend on May 7th and 8th at Liberty Wildlife while you check out the Tempe Artists Guild wildlife art display with 6 x 6 giclee prints….many of these feature renderings of our own wildlife ambassadors.
This Week @ Liberty – April 26, 2022
It’s Earth month, and the activity level around Liberty Wildlife is impressive! Between new construction on the Orphan Care annex, various field trips by local schools, lines forming at the Intake Window, and the normal public hours on Wednesdays and the weekends, the place is a beehive of motion! In addition to all this, plans are being made for Wishes for Wildlife, our annual fundraiser. (Watch the website for more information) If you haven’t visited our facility yet, now might be a good time as, in deference to the heat of the Arizona summer, we suspend public hours during the month of August. As always, the Intake Window is open from 8AM to 6PM every day except Christmas and Thanksgiving to allow injured birds and animals to be dropped off. Also, the hotline is another full time resource and will return calls from 8AM until 8:30PM seven days a week. If you’d like to support us during Earth Month (or the rest of the year!) by being a volunteer in one of these or any other area of our operation, please fill out an application available on the website. We can always use the help and no experience is required! It’s addictively rewarding and fun! I got hooked 33 years ago…
April is Earth Month, one of the highlights of Liberty’s year in terms of the public’s awareness of our mission. Our Education team had some special events last week which was officially Earth Day. The weather was cooperative and we had a very nice crowd of people (especially kids) who came to the facility to interact with our exhibits and wildlife ambassadors. The kids got to meet a bald eagle, watch some raptors fly, explore the wonders of owl pellets (!), and do some hiking in the desert biome while cleaning up the environment at the same time. The activities continued into Saturday for the regular Public Hours so the education never stops at Liberty Wildlife!
(Look for 8 pictures.)
When we built the new facility, one goal was to have more room for what we do. Since one of the main areas of activity each year is Orphan Care, we doubled the floor space of the old room devoted to the care and feeding of baby birds. It was apparent the first year that this would not be sufficient to deal with the ever-increasing number of homeless baby birds we would take in. Not many people remember that in the old facility, not only was Orphan Care half the size it is now, but it also encompassed the intake window! In addition, some orphans such as mallard ducklings and ravens require special enclosures allowing for sunlight and water access. In recent times, what were originally the Mammal and Isolation rooms were pressed into service as OC overflow areas. Therefore, as wildlife adapts to a changing environment, Liberty is also evolving to meet our expanding needs. With this in mind, an addition is being constructed on the north end of building B (what has been called the “mod building”) that will serve as an annex to Orphan Care. Our friend Rick Erman and a helper are hard at work making this all happen. The entire operation is growing faster than we ever imagined…
(Look for 7 pictures)
Even in our slow periods, Liberty Wildlife never seems to lack for “New Patients.” In the springtime, the trickle of hummingbirds and cottontails soon becomes a deluge of Cooper’s hawks, Canada geese, mallard ducks, and other assorted waterfowl and raptors, starlings and mockers, and backyard birds of all types. We take in both orphans and injured birds and mammals, each getting the very best medical care that can be provided.
Recently a small least bittern was brought in and was evaluated by the Med Services staff with the goal of an early release. This cute little bird is one of the smallest herons in the world and rather than wading in marshes like their bigger cousins, they climb reeds and cattails and watch for fish and frogs to swim beneath them, eventually stabbing them with that needle beak before eating the prey. We also examined an injured Canada goose who we suspect was involved in an automobile collision. With the vast number of Canada geese now living in populated areas, this is not an uncommon occurrence.
Much of this was accomplished with the help of a new volunteer veterinarian, Dr. Forrest, who is doing a great job with the wildlife she has been treating. As always, the increased numbers of new patients would be daunting if not for the help of Joey, Anna, Cheyenne, Teresa, Debbie, and so many more that I don’t have the space to list here. Please know your dedication is valued and greatly appreciated!
(Look for 13 photos)
The blog started around 20 years ago as a vehicle for me to share some pictures that I had taken that I thought might possibly be interesting. The first posts were just regular e-mails with the photo files attached, sent to a few specific people who’s addresses I happen to have. I titled it This week at Liberty as that was accurate if not very picturesque. I tried to make it informative and interesting without being overly “cute” by keeping it as photojournalistic as I knew how. The feedback was fairly positive so I started doing it regularly and soon the list of recipients grew to the point that I couldn’t put enough addresses on the top line and I had to go to an e-mail service. About this time, Megan added Hoots, Howls, and Hollers and the current format was set. When we updated the website in 2017, TW@L and HHH seemed to fit right in and on it went…
Well, the time has come to pass the torch to a younger generation. Nathan Thrash will take over the reins beginning with the next issue and I’m sure he will do an outstanding job of making the blog fresh, current, and interesting. Thanks to everyone who contributed writing and photos to me over the years as I will forever be in your debt.
Hopefully I can still be a Liberty Wildlife volunteer for another 33 years
“It is not enough to know your craft — you have to have feeling.” Édouard Manet
Posted by Terry Stevens
Liberty Wildlife Volunteer