Hoots, Howls, and Hollers – December 07, 2021
Yesterday at Liberty Wildlife was the scene of our Volunteer Appreciation picnic. This is an annual event that we have staged for many years and except for COVID”s kibosh of last year, it is a time to let our volunteers and their families know how much we appreciate and depend on their good will and efforts…oh, yes, and their incredible generosity of time and dedication to the cause. We would simply be unable to achieve all that we do without each team of workers who do everything from husbandry, medical services, education, rescue and transport, intake, hotline, publications, facility maintenance, fund raising, and our super heroes who rise to the special occasions fulfilling any current need.
The weather Gods smiled on us with a perfect day….not too hot, not too cold, not too still, not too windy, not too dry, not too humid….just another day in paradise! And, coupled with that was a cadre of some of the best foods imaginable. People seem to dig deep to bring their best dishes to share, and if you get sucked into the dessert room….you might not find your way out for hours. It was all so good.
Special thanks go out to the staff that stayed behind to clean up so that upon arrival today…the trash was emptied, the left overs dispersed, and the beginnings begun for another private event at the end of the week. We are very fortunate indeed to have such lovely ambience for a party, a wedding, a birthday or just a corporate meeting! Check us out.
We will resume our regular Open Hours until Christmas Day with our staff and volunteers providing the programs on campus… the pop ups, the training event, trail talks, eagle feedings and flighted shows. Our teens will demonstrate reptiles and the Non Eagle Feather Repository will explain our dedication to helping to save cultures while working to save species. This is a win-win program for all to witness. This Saturday will also be the free Nature Walk and the filming of an education program for our documentary… seems as if we never stand still. Come share in the fun.
With the holidays upon us, we are hoping that you find time to bring your family, friends and out of town guests to see our work and take part in the campus activities. Our store is open for Holiday shopping. We look forward to being your “go to” spot for some unique gift buying opportunities. Not only is there fun stuff, you can also purchase gift memberships to share, and make outright donations in honor of friends who already have everything and share our mission.
I also want to thank all of you in blog-land for your very generous support of us during the last month of the year. It is your thoughtfulness and recognition of the importance of our work that allowed us to help the over 12,700 animals that you have brought in for our care so far this year. It is your kindness and compassion that makes all of this possible. So between dedicated volunteers, compassionate public, and a terrific staff…we are who we are; we do what we do; we help all that we can.
This Week @ Liberty – December 07, 2021
This update will be posted on December 7th, known as “Pearl Harbor Day.” The human species seem to mark an inordinate number of temporal milestones with tragedy and loss of life but instead, let’s think fondly of the wonderful things that have been brought about by this wonderful assembly of people called Liberty Wildlife. The annual Volunteer Appreciation Picnic was held in perfect weather on Sunday and the turnout was amazing. Walking around the event, it was fun to see so many people I recognized (and who recognized me!) after 32 years volunteering in various capacities. At times, all of us old timers have remarked how in addition to saving thousands of animals over the years, Liberty has provided so much for the people who work here. The picnic provides an opportunity for Liberty to say “thank you” to all those who freely give so much of their time and efforts to helping the wildlife of Arizona.
Desert Botanical Garden
Along with the Verde Canyon Rail Road, Liberty partners with the Desert Botanical Garden each year for a series of special holiday presentations. Our Education Team sets up a booth at the Desert Botanical Garden facility near Papago Park and presents an array of birds and reptiles that visitors might encounter in the area. This coupled with the natural beauty of the Botanical Garden can only enhance the experience of anyone touring that facility. Plus it gives us an opportunity to display our ambassadors in their natural setting.
(Look for 3 photos)
We have a pretty barn owl in our care that was examined last Tuesday. He has been here for a few weeks and after Dr. Salhuana removed the wrap on his wing, the decision was made to place him in an outside enclosure. This is always a big milestone for the animal involved as it’s one of the last steps prior to being released. If the patient flies well and subsequently moves on to live feeding, they will have graduated to freedom, which is after all, the goal for all of our intakes!
AND, just as in previous years, out of the blue – and totally off schedule – this baby barn owl arrived. He’s being cared for by the Intensive Care Unit staff and Med Services. It appears climate change is affecting more than we thought!
(Look for 4 photos)
Among others last week, the Vet volunteers (Dr. Salhuana and Dr. Wyman) examined and treated several hawks currently in the Intensive Care Unit. This included a young Harris’s hawk with a fractured leg that had been wrapped previously. The old wrap was removed and the leg re-wrapped with new, clean bandages. Medicine was administered and the bird returned for more cage rest.
Also on the patient list was a cooper’s hawk whose wing was checked and given some physical therapy. It was then banded and placed in an outside enclosure to regain its flight ability.
A young red tail and another cooper’s received similar treatment bringing the total number to be “promoted” to outside to four last week. It was a good week for hawks at Liberty Wildlife! (One of which was released at the Volunteer Picnic.)
(Look for 12 photos)
We took in an adult golden eagle last week who came from the northern part of Arizona. His presentation is inconclusive as yet but he seems to have some neurological issues. Blood work is being processed to check for signs of toxins or possibly viral infection that might cause the symptoms he’s experiencing. Keep your fingers crossed for this guy. That brings us to a total of three golden eagles currently in our care. As mentioned earlier, we have had two California condors in our care for a few months, both with wing injuries that have compromised their ability to survive in the wild and are therefore deemed non-releasable. They have recently been approved to be added to our list of resident birds. This is important for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is that now we have a donor source of blood for condors that arrive with lead poisoning. We also received a new condor recently that was found by a hiker up north. It appears the bird had flown into a slot canyon and found itself trapped. In his attempt to escape, he was injured and couldn’t fly off on his own even after he was extricated. Thankfully, it looks like the damage only involves soft tissue and the bird should eventually be able to return to the wild. He’ll stay with us until he can safely be returned to his territory.
(Look for 6 photos)
Volunteer Appreciation Picnic
Each year we try to do something to acknowledge the efforts exhibited by our wonderful staff of volunteers. These people put in long hours, week after week, sometimes in debilitating heat, in our never-ending quest to provide the very best care for the injured and orphaned wildlife of Arizona. It is historically a pot-luck get together providing the opportunity for all the various volunteer groups to assemble without having to sweep enclosures, chop up mice and frozen quail, or hold birds on their gloved arms. It has always been one of my favorite events while at Liberty, either as a volunteer or a staff member as I feel the volunteers are the true backbone of the organization. After all the masks, quarantines, and procedural upheavals brought on by the world’s condition, I truly hope everyone had a good time at the picnic this year. I am, as always, in awe of the dedication our volunteers show every day of every week all year round.
(Look for 6 photos)
Every once in a while we get in a bird that no one seems to recognize. Then we send pictures to all of our Power Birders like Anne and Craig, Susie, Megan, and Jan with a “Name that bird” message. Recently we got in a cute little duck that looked a little different from our locals. After several suggestions were offered, they finally settled on identification as a white winged scoter. Scoters are sea birds that usually live in northern forests or on the coast so how this bird found it’s way to Arizona is anybody’s guess. Hopefully, we’ll get him home sometime soon.
A very undernourished king snake was brought to us and is currently being treated for being severely emaciated and dehydrated. It’s not normal to be able to see the bones of a snake through it’s skin. He is being given lots of food and fluids to bring him back to his ideal weight.
Another little Anna’s hummingbird came in and is being cared for in the Hummingbird box in Triage. Along with him, we had yet another great horned owl assessed by Lora and Dr. Salhuana who checked his eyes and other presentations before sending him outside.
(look for 7 photos)
The Way We Were
For this week’s walk down memory lane, I included some shots from the early 2000s.
First up is Dr. Orr performing surgery on an eagle, assisted by Jan and Megan. Like everything else at the old facility, surgeries were done in the “Bird Room” along with admissions, triage, and most training.
Next shows measuring a bald eagle prior to release.
Then there’s Jan and Joe giving Lady Liberty her talon and beak trimming during a wellness check.
Finally, we see Dr. Wyman assisting Dr. Orr doing surgery on Ivan’s eye.
(Look for 4 photos)
Posted by Terry Stevens
Liberty Wildlife Volunteer