Hoots, Howls, and Hollers – February 14, 2023
No Post-Super Bowl Doldrums Here!
The WM Phoenix Open ended. The Super Bowl’s has left town. Spring training hasn’t yet begun.
Just when you thought the festivities were over… surprise, Liberty Wildlife returns its “Sippin’ the Spirit of the Southwest” series on February 19th. These events went dormant during the pandemic, and we missed it. We hope that you missed it too, so we are excited to bring them back, like a spring bloom.
This first Sippin’ event on Sunday, February 19th, is adding a new flavor with something for everyone in the family. We have the extra element of entertainment for the young ones….The Great Arizona Puppet Theater will be presenting their puppet production, “Creepy, Crawly, Wild, and Wooly” for the kids (and adults if they so desire) in our amphitheater for a showing at 1:45. There will also be a workshop for those looking to create their own puppets, both before after the performance.
As always, there will be lots of animals to see in the flesh, or feather, or fur, or scales, or even fins (in our wetlands!). And the Interpretive Trail and the Interactive Room will be open and ready for guests to visit. A raffle will add to the fun… two prizes — a basket of Liberty Wildlife items — and a stunning photo of a bald eagle skimming the water, on frameless metal mount!
For the adults there will also be a libation pull. You have many options to “win” when you pull, and if you selection isn’t to your liking, well then the fun of trading with other guests is a distinct possibility. It is a great way to meet and make new friends!
Come with questions and interests, and you won’t be disappointed. This fun event also raises funds for Liberty Wildlife, enabling us to care for all of the animals that you bring to us throughout the year. As you surely know, we are a lean, mean machine and utilize every dime we earn! Our old motto reigns — encouraging us to first try to “make it” then “beg for it” and then “borrow it”… and only then do we look to buy it. We’re always cost conscious, making your donations go as far as possible.
To keep with the tradition of the Sippin’ events, we will feature our cash bar, with beer and wine, for adults. Chef Etsitty also returns to Liberty Wildlife, and will be preparing both American and traditional southwest food for you if hunger pangs win out. The southwest flavor will be confluent with the theme of the event…so try something new.
Even More On the Calendar This Spring!
Check out our event calendar for all the exciting activities we have scheduled. Among them are another Sippin’ event later in the spring. And we will bring back our traditional Orphan Shower on March 19th to help feather the nest for our upcoming and very busy orphan wildlife baby season. That event will be advertised in advance so that you can check out the wish list and bring a baby a gift.
Our traditional Arbor Day/ Wish Tree event is on the horizon also scheduled for the last week of April. This is an exceptionally fun event with booths filled by Liberty Wildlife as well as guest organizations, the opportunity to place a “wish” on our tree, and the release of rehabilitated baby birds… to carry those wishes into the heavens and more.
Lastly (for the spring, that is), we are planning a fabulous gathering in honor of Mother’s Day on Sunday, May 14th. Look for news about a unique brunch experience… and even more to come!
This Week @ Liberty – February 14, 2023
Funny enough, this tends to be the hardest part of the blog to write. It needs to be short, concise, and hopefully interesting enough to pull you in and want to read more. The holidays made for an easy introduction because there’s always so much to talk about. While we do indeed have a lot happening, what with field trips and on/off-site events, we’ve yet to reach that zero to a hundred momentum (because we always do!).
It’s certainly around the corner. March is fast approaching, and with it, babies. And not just babies, but all the other wildlife our amazing rescuers find and bring to us for care.
We took in 11,111 animals in 2022; in 2021 we took in just under 13,000. I have an inkling we’ll be somewhere between those numbers for 2023… but only time can tell. For now, we’re happy with the ‘slow season’; it gives us time to do all the little things to get prepared for what comes next, including all the events we have planned this year.
So keep an eye out, there’s lot’s happening here at Liberty Wildlife, and I wouldn’t want you to miss anything!
Foster Moms To Be
Love is in the air, and not just for us humans. Springtime means flirting birds, finding nesting material or the right cavity to nest in, and of course, babies. So. Many. Babies. In fact, for some of you who are new to Liberty Wildlife, we have an entire team dedicated to feeding all the baby birds who come in during our spring and summer months. It’s called Orphan Care, and we absolutely can use the help if you’re interested in doing so (sign up here!).
While our typical baby season begins in the middle of March and can go till the end of September, there is one outlier. One who not only nests early, but also has babies just as early. I’ll give you a few hints to help you guess right:
- They’re one of the largest Raptors in Arizona
- They don’t make their own nests; they steal them from other birds (like Red-Tailed Hawks) or find a nice crevice or flat ground to utilize
- They’re crepuscular (most active at dawn and dusk)
- They can rotate their heads 270 degrees
If you guessed Great Horned Owl, you’d be right! Great Horned Owls are some of the first babies to come in, and most often have no injuries past fledging too early and are yet incapable of taking care of themselves. Which is where our amazing foster program comes in. Four of our Animal Ambassadors—Darwin, Maggie, Snickers and Hedwig—step down from educating the public and become mothers (and with such ferocity it takes a team to clean and feed their enclosures). And with almost a hundred Great Horned Owl babies who come in every season, these girls are kept busy.
The most incredible thing this is how wonderful of a job our girls do; they’re so good at it we’re able to release those same wild babes all over Arizona. To get them back to the wild and do exactly what Great Horned Owls are supposed to do…
Be beautiful and free, of course!
There are all kinds of dangers in the world we live in. Some of them are a natural occurrence of this floating orb we call home; others are a product of our own making. And for things like electric fences and telephone lines and barbed wire, we know to steer clear of them. We recognize the danger they put us in, and the damage they can do to our bodies.
Unfortunately, animals do not. These creations are a by-product of their world. And when all it takes is a talon or a wing-tip to get caught up in those things, the damage can be substantial.
Intake 335 was found in Mesa by someone who noticed the Great Horned Owl high in a tree, with a low drooping wing who didn’t appear to be able to fly. One of our own, Debbie Ordorica, made her way to this bird in need, climbed a ladder to reach them, and got hold of this raptor to bring to Liberty Wildlife.
While we can’t always say exactly what brings animals to our care, electric shock can be one of the easier ones to identify. There are tell-tale signs, and this Great Horned Owl had the swollen and necrotic (dying) tissue to point us in the right direction.
Coupled with a misshapen pupil, our new friend has been assessed by both medical volunteers and our volunteer veterinarians and is on a well-care plan to get better. For this kind of wound, it takes time and patience to heal.
Good news is, we have plenty of both along with high hopes for a ‘speedy’ recovery.
Valentine’s Day is a beast all its own. For new couples, it could mean a night out with all the things we associate with love. For others (like myself), a good bottle of wine and making dinner with my husband has become tradition and much, much appreciated
Birds of prey aren’t so different, in a round-about sense. Many are monogamous and mate for life; while most don’t stay together year-round, they find each other year after year. For instance, a male Red-Tailed Hawk will approach the female from above, touch her briefly, and in a wild display of agility, dive and tumble with each other, their talons locked. And after courtship, they may even find the same nest they used from last season, if only to make things a little easier for themselves.
Then there’s Harris’s Hawks, whose females are not only dominant, but are polyandrous. She can choose two males to breed with each season, or she may find multiple breeders. Peregrine Falcons won’t start breeding until they’re two years old, with the male putting on an aerial courtship to attract their mate year after year and often using the same nest sites.
Barn Owls can have almost three clutches a year, depending on the success of the first two. Monogamous like most raptors, males attract the females through various flight displays. They also tend to do most of the hunting; fun fact, a pair of breeding Barn Owls can catch upwards of 4,000 mice in a season!
So, you see, this thing we call ‘love’ is simply a means of connection. It’s different for us all, yet the end game for most remains the same. At the end of the day, what works for one may not work for another, but there’s beauty in it all the same.
It’s that time again where I go through all these photos I take at random and decide which is fit enough to be here. Though I find myself not taking as many pictures as of late, I promise that’s about to change. Orphan Care is right around the corner, and with it, all the babies and whatever else comes our way.
Without further ado, here’s this week’s notable mentions:
Baby Cottontail Rabbits are making their way here (remember, mom only comes once a day to feed, so make sure she’s really gone if you spot them in your yard) (1 picture)
Our resident Mallard Ducks take a snooze in the freezing cold water of the wetlands (1 picture)
Alex and Laura wear their game day jerseys and Lobo helps decide who wins the Superbowl (1 picture)
An American Robin gets assessed by a medical service volunteer (1 picture)
Goaties are having a great time playing around and goofing off (2 pictures – by Deb)
Remember we have a lot of fun events coming up, with the fast approaching Sippin’ the Spirit of the Southwest coming up this Sunday, February 19th. Tickets are only $25, and of course, go to a good cause (buy them here!). We’ll close a little early for Public Hours that day (12:30pm), but past that, we’re here Wednesday, Saturdays and Sundays from 10am-1pm, so make sure to stop by and say hi to all our animal friends!
Until next time!
Posted by Acacia Parker
Public Outreach Coordinator