Hoots, Howls, and Hollers – August 29, 2023
From Small Screen to Big Screen to Around the World!
The importance of our work is indisputable. Spreading the word about what we do is just as important. It is critical that when the public needs help they know first that there is help available, and second that Liberty Wildlife has the solutions to provide the help to them. That is true if you are talking about wildlife assistance, educational enhancement, conservation solutions, or assistance to Native Americans in their quests to find feathers for their cultural practices.
One of our favorite forms of publicity is the direct, word of mouth, praise from people we have assisted helping raise awareness regarding our work. In the past year, the documentary, The Weight of a Feather, has been a miraculous vehicle to spread the word. From its initial premier and the following airing on Arizona PBS, we have received comments from local supporters to those around the country who have seen the film featured on PBS Passport.
Now a whole new avenue is presenting itself by way of the film festival circuit. Our first film festival experience will be Saturday afternoon, September 9th at the Jerome Indie Film & Music Festival. (The full festival runs September 8th-10th). Moviemaker Magazine in 2017 chose this venue as one of “the 25 coolest Festivals in the world.” It is described as “a unique cinematic adventure.” It will include among other things “Wicked Wild Cinema Train” (on the Verde Canyon Rail Road), Java with the Filmmakers, Prohibition Eve Gala (a 1920’s costumed event), and the popular Jerome Craft Beer Experience with boho flower and art market…something for everyone!
Then September 20th-24th, the Catalina Film Festival features The Weight of a Feather at its Catalina/Long Beach event. Our film shows on Wednesday at 10:30am at the Ernest Borgnine Theater in Long Beach. Fittingly, it is entered in the category of “In Our Nature to Nurture”. Perfect! The mission of this festival is to “champion imagination, education, and destination” and fosters the growth of creative storytellers that create thought provoking films and new media. We are looking forward to exposure on the west coast and in the back yard of the U.S. Film industry!
Just this week we also learned that our message will spread to the east coast…to New York City at the Wildlife Conservation Film Festival October 19th-29th. The date and time are to be determined but trust that we will let you know… just in case a trip to the east coast is on your agenda.
We hope this is the tip of the iceberg on showings of our film far and wide. The greater our audience the better our chances are of positively impacting wildlife, nature, and culture.
Stay tuned and “see you at the movies”!
This Week @ Liberty – August 29, 2023
It’s that time of year; school has started, which usually means fall is right around the corner (and traffic is so, so much worse). It bodes well for us Arizonians—it usually means cooler weather. It also means we’re going to see a change in the birds, too. With summer over, babies have fledged and are learning what it means to make it on their own. And with the heat fading, those soaring hawks will be seen once again in the middle of the day looking for food, and vultures riding those thermals to find their next meal.
It also means Orphan Care volunteers get a break until next spring and we’ll see a decrease in intakes. Though we certainly see our fair share until the end of the year, the days of one hundred and twenty intakes is rare, if not ever, seen.
That doesn’t mean we aren’t ready for it, though. We’re always ready here at Liberty Wildlife for whatever comes next, even if means we only see a few new patients in one day.
Bring it on, I say. Bring it on.
Warning: Patient Will Play Dead When Handled
Yes, this is a real sign on an enclosure of one of our newest intakes. Yes, this is a real thing that happens for a lot of animals when they are captured in the hopes that, whatever has a hold of them, will let them go and they can escape without much damage. The Long-Nosed Snake is one such reptile; while it has been known to writhe and twist its body—and defecate—to protect itself, playing dead is another behavior to confuse those willing to disturb it.
Found throughout the southwest United States, these slender snakes reach about three feet and tend to like desert scrub, grassland and tropical habitats (though they prefer bushy, rocky areas). And, as you can see, their coloring looks fairly similar to the venomous coral snake. If you look closely, though, there are some good tell-tale signs to distinguish between the two. The long-nose has a longer nose (obviously), and has a light color flecking on the nose, along with color bands that don’t completely encircle the body.
And while the saying Red touches yellow, kills a fellow. Red touches black, venom lack is usually when trying to differentiate between a Coral Snake and a Kingsnake, it’s still worth noting here, too.
Still, our new friend here at Liberty Wildlife is certainly in need of some care. With a laceration on his belly (and some inside parts outside that shouldn’t be), Dr. Goe and students from Midwestern University were able to sedate the snake, repair the damage, and seal the snake back up. Over the next few weeks, medicine and check-ups will follow, and hopefully when the time is right, we’ll get to release this cute little noodle back into the wild where he was found.
The Not-So-Great Things That Happen When We Use Netting
Like glue traps and rodenticides, we don’t see this all the time; we do see it enough that talking about it is always worthwhile. And netting, like a lot of these things, is one of them.
Netting—all kinds of it, too—has a great many uses. I myself used it when I started gardening and realized every bird wanted my tomatoes (and I mean all the birds wanted all the tomatoes). But it became apparent very quickly that while the netting did indeed protect my plants, it caught a lot of animals, too. Desert Spiny Lizards and Western Banded Geckos were among the two I found most often. Usually, I found them quickly enough and was able to twist them free, and release them right away.
The first day I found three that had reached a different fate, I removed the netting and have never looked back.
This Coachwhip Snake was lucky; the person who found them tied in some netting was able to cut away the material, and get the snake to Liberty Wildlife right away. Dr. Goe and her students, hard at work as ever, were able to give the snake some medicine to alleviate some of the stress, and cut away the material, which had embedded itself deep into the scales.
Thankfully, the netting did not cause any permanent damage, but enough that the snake will remain with us for some much needed time to rest and rehabilitate. Much like our Long-Nosed friend, this one will also be monitored closely to ensure no infection sets in.
And while this equally adorable noodle got lucky and was found, there are a lot of animals who are not. And truth be told, reptiles are not the only animals caught in netting—birds of all kinds can get caught, too. Mammals as well. So it might be worth noting the next time you’re out at your garden (if you have one) to remove it…just to help save a life.
Passerines: The Little Guys we see a lot of and don’t talk a lot about
It’s true we took in 11,111 animals in 2022, and we were just shy of 13,000 in 2021. And while a large number of those animals we see are raptors, the bulk of what is brought to our doorstep are passerines—perching birds who are characterized by three of their toes pointing forward, with one toe backward and all joined at the same level. You would know these as Mourning Doves, Pigeons, Eurasian Collared Doves…
I think you know what I mean.
They are, unfortunately, an easy bird to overlook. There are thousands and thousands of them, right? What’s to worry about one little dove that’s fallen from a nest, or a sparrow who can’t seem to fly in your yard? Where there’s one, there’s more, right?
With that kind of mentality, we wouldn’t be here. And the good news is, there are a lot of people who see that dove or that sparrow, and instead of leaving it, find a way to capture it safely and take the time to bring it to Liberty Wildlife. In the past two weeks, we’ve had a Black-Throated Sparrow come in who hit a window; a nestling Mourning Dove with ticks all over; and another nestling Mourning Dove attacked by a cat who needed sutures.
And those are just a few of the thousands we see every year.
Thankfully, there are a lot who come in uninjured, too. Especially this time of year when babies are simply falling out of nests or fledgling way too early. Regardless, we take care to ensure all our patients receive the best care they can in the hopes they can be released back into the wild to do exactly what they’re meant to do.
There are times I find myself reaching for my phone every few minutes to snap photos, and other times I forget about it entirely. This past two weeks has been a former moment, which means everyone gets to see the random pictures I take, because I can, and I do what I want.
Without further ado, here are this week’s notable mentions:
Dr. Coonrod holds a Harris’s Hawk after assessment (1 picture)
Dr. Goe helps the same Harris’s Hawk after undergoing an X-ray (the booties help our team not to get footed by those talons) (1 picture)
Dr. Bautista and Midwestern students give fluids to a Great Egret (1 picture)
Cassidy the Swainson’s Hawk hangs by the wetlands on an overcast day (1 picture)
Pluto the Western Screech Owl loves to play with his food before eating it whole (1 picture)
Triage finds itself busy on a Tuesday afternoon (1 picture)
Medical Services volunteer Becky holds a Great Horned Owl who just came in from our Rescue Transport Team (1 picture)
Becky and Susie continue their assessment on the Great Horned Owl with Jan’s help (2 pictures)
Dr. Goe and team try to remove a splinter lodged in Marshmellow’s hoof (2 pictures)
As always, thanks so much for being here. I appreciate everyone who takes the time out of their day to read the blog. You make the world go around, and we’re excited to see you back here for Public Hours starting Saturday, September 9th from 9am-11am!
Until next time!
Posted by Acacia Parker
Public Outreach Coordinator