Hoots, Howls, and Hollers – December 03, 2019
As in life, Liberty Wildlife experiences cycles of extreme involvement and cycles of a little less involvement…it is never not busy around here. As my constant refrain goes, the spring and summer are crazy times with the consistent stream at the intake window of exchanges, where found wildlife in need of help, transfers to the caring hands from our medical department. I do realize, however, that I might not exclaim enough about how incredibly active our education arm of Liberty Wildlife is. While the hospital buzzes during the spring and summer, the education department slows, but also never quits. Right now, however, we are at the apex of our busy education season.
Here’s what is happening. Every Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday we have programming on campus, which consists of not only the daily care and tending of the education ambassadors, but also ‘pop ups’ greeting our guests with an up close and personal introduction to one of our education animals. We have a great program in the amphitheater including our endearing ducks and their hard working handlers and the feeding of the eagle of the day. On top of that, we have Tuesdays and Thursdays set aside for school field trips, private tours and other individual experiences. That is our regular activity everyday but Monday when we put things back together again!
Now, if that isn’t enough, from Thanksgiving through the end of the year, we are guests of the Desert Botanical Garden’s holiday programming, Las Noches De Las Luminarias. This event is designed to celebrate the spirit of the season allowing guests to stroll the Garden trails lined with 8000 flickering luminaria bags. There is the glow of the Wild Rising creatures, electric entertainment groups and, yes, a booth of Liberty Wildlife Education Volunteers and their creatures of the night…owls of different types and sizes…a delightful surprise as you come upon them on the trails.
In addition to the nightly trip to the Desert Botanical Garden, you can add trips to Clarkdale and the Verde Canyon Rail Road. You can expect to see one of Liberty Wildlife’s bald eagle ambassadors and their educational handlers as a part of the Magical Christmas Journey.
“The spirit of Christmas is aglow and visible from afar, beckoning all to experience the dream. Seasonal treats and libation may be purchased and enjoyed while perusing the depot grounds rich with festive lighting and holiday décor. Luminarias light the Southwestern-style depot roofline and giant ornaments adorn the outdoor pergolas dripping with icicle lights. Santa’s elves entertain and tell the tale of the beautiful Princess Noel and Flurry the Christmas Eagle while a roving choir fills the air with songs of the season.”
Thanks to our intrepid education program and volunteers there are many places you can see us throughout the state even if you can’t make it in to our campus, but there is a lot of energy here daily….people, animals, plants and nature….all at 2600 E. Elwood, Phoenix. Spread the word…”I’ve been to Liberty Wildlife. I have supported wildlife, nature, and the environment…and it was fun!”
This Week @ Liberty – December 03, 2019
The holidays are upon us, and the intakes are still coming. We actually took in two on Thanksgiving Day. The rain coming now out of breeding season isn’t producing a large spike, but we still see the odd juvenile/fledgeling pigeon. As we’ll show in this update, the care that the animals get when they arrive at Liberty Wildlife is second to none, even if, sadly, sometimes the miracle fails to happen. We just keep trying…
Our Education staff is working double time to get the word out as to who’s backyard we’re living in out here, and what we as a species might wish to modify about our own behavior that could mitigate our impact on the world around us. As we go forth to the end of the year, keep Liberty in mind when you look for causes to support! We can all use our own Santa Clause now and then…
Alex, our Daily Care Coordinator, put up a display in the break room asking volunteers what they were thankful for. There were many responses, two of which I included in this week’s update…
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Pretty much everyone knows Lady Liberty, the senior bald eagle on our Education team. She came to us in 1991 and since she was probably in her first or second year when she was found on the ground in Minnesota after being shot, she is currently “thirty-something” years old. As with many of our long-lived Educational birds, she is presenting issue that we never see in wild individuals as the wild birds never get old enough to acquire geriatric problems. These include cataracts, arthritis, and other conditions related to advanced age. In deference to her seniority, she was brought inside recently to better monitor her during periods of inclement weather. Since she is still hand fed (like all our eagles), new techniques have been developed by her handlers. Max, Anne, Tim, and the rest are all finding new ways to approach “Libby” in her new habitat. She is doing fine and still displays well for visitors who tour the medical wing.
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The last two “Vet Nights” were attended by Dr. Lapa, Dr. Wyman, and Jan Miller, assisted by our usual group of volunteers. The expected collection of kestrels, red tail hawks, and great horned owls were examined and treated but the skilled medical personnel on Tuesday afternoon.
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Recently we were visited by a large group of second grade students from the Frances Brandon Pickett School. The kids got a chance to tour the facility including some classroom activities which allowed them to meet a few of our wildlife ambassador birds, plus get up close and personal with a few of the exoskeletal species in our collection. Education volunteers Teresa Landers and Alex Lake lent a hand in presenting the animals to the very interested students.
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Liberty offered the public an alternative way to spend Black Friday other than fighting crowds shopping at malls. We gave people a choice to Opt Outside (despite he threat of rain!) and to learn more about the state we call home. The rain stopped just as the festivities began so good karma wins again! Kids and parents got a chance to meet some of our educational animals and to participate in a small raffle which included prizes like bird feeders and the chance to release two of our rehabilitated doves.
In addition to this event, Liberty had a booth presence at a sustainability fair at the Paradise Valley Community College thanks to Jim Henderson, one of Liberty’s first volunteers!
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The Pacific loon that arrived recently was not improving and there was not much to go on as to the cause of his premature landing. The only clue was the handful of mysterious objects in his digestive tract seen in his initial x-rays (see the previous TW@L). Last week surgery was performed by Dr. Lamb, assisted by Dr. Wyman, Jan Miller, and one of Dr. Lamb’s interns. The medical team was able to remove a number of pebbles along with several pieces of fishing hooks, line, and other objects of unknown origin from inside the bird. It appeared that the operation was a success, but sadly the bird died the next day from unknown causes. The best theory is that he was suffering distress from a piece of one of the foreign objects piercing a small hole in his stomach or intestine possibly causing peritonitis. It was a sad outcome for a bird that had obviously gone through a lot before being brought to Liberty.
Sometimes the magic works, and sometimes it doesn’t…
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Liberty friend and long time volunteer Barb Del Vey offered to do unique pet portraits at Liberty last weekend. You have probably seen many of Barb’s wonderful photos in our various fliers and promotional media. Her skill at photographing animals is consummate and she donated all the proceeds from this sold-out two day event to Liberty. Everyone, including the dogs and cats, seemed to enjoy the experience of posing for Christmas pictures!
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Posted by Terry Stevens
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