Hoots, Howls, and Hollers – July 16, 2019
I don’t want to talk about how hot it is. But, I have marveled over the last month at the number of people who have come to visit us during our open hours. Granted we are open in the morning, and if you are out of the sun, things are pleasant because as you know…it is a dry heat!
The month of July has brought us visitors who were interested among other things in meeting Garfunkel, a Eurasion Eagle Owl who is undergoing some initial training to become an educational ambassador for two of our education volunteers. Funky has been a big hit, but since he has now grown flight feathers, he isn’t suitable for the same kind of viewing….the cute ball of fluff has morphed…now he flies.
The Fourth of July brought a big group of patriotic folks who celebrated with our eagle ambassadors and interacted with the ducks, of course. Our very informed volunteers with cool animals continued to give the guests the opportunity to have some up close and personal time and a chance to take a selfie or two.
Since then, open hours have been the same thing. Lots of interested people enjoying the opportunities to see animals, learn some cool facts, and celebrate our native wildlife and nature. Word is getting out. It has been heartening!
At the end of July, our open hours go on vacation. Starting August 1, we go into cleanup, fix up, and reengage mode so that when September comes around, we can open with a bang!
Wednesday, July 31st will be our last open day for a month, so if you are missing your wildlife experience, now is the time to stop by. We have the duck experience at 9:45 and the eagle feeding following it. The Interactive Room is open for your perusal and our Interpretive Guides might even wow you with some personal time with snakes, spiders, or scorpions, and the likes, if that strikes your fancy. Our campus educators and their ambassadors will remain at the ready to introduce you to some of the coolest critters in town.
And, after our August respite, you will be welcomed to our new and improved open hours including new “shows”, an open Feather Repository, and other fun activities. Our first Nature Walk will be Saturday, Sept. 21st when we greet Dan Alan, a renowned birder from Israel, who will join us on our Nature Walk and participate in a presentation starting at 11:30 that day.
There will be more on all of this as we near the new Open Hours at Liberty Wildlife. Until then, stay cool and don’t forget that you have 7 more opportunities to visit our campus before we close for August.
This Week @ Liberty – July 16, 2019
The monsoon is approaching and the humidity (and the dew point) is rising by the day. We remain about 300 ahead of last year, but we haven’t had a big storm…yet. The operation is still going on reasonably smoothly, but it will be good to get through July with no problems of consequence. We are getting a second wave of baby quail, and we took in three fledgling kestrels this morning, so we have maybe another wave of orphan falcons to contend with. Thanks to all the great volunteers who keep coming in through the heat to help out all the little creatures that are having a difficult time dealing with the high temps. Let’s see what happened in the last two weeks…
We’ve had animals brought to us in pick-ups, semi-trailers, and even Police cars, but last week this little bird arrived in an Uber! The person who sent it called the hotline and they called me to ask if we could verify that the bird arrived as planned. I’m not sure if the bird tipped the driver or if that goes on MY Uber account…
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We thought the rush of baby Cooper’s hawks might have been over recently, but we were wrong! For a few days, it seemed like every other intake was a Cooper’s. The problem is we have no foster parents for them as being avian specialists, they tend to eat young birds not their own. The good news is, they are not particularly prone to imprinting on humans – so we have THAT going for us…
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Several other little birds came in, mostly orphans of various species. Along with the kestrels, we have more baby Gamble’s quail, three of which showed up as hatchlings, and two from the same clutch were still hatching. Plus a young night hawk that needed to be hand fed (does Gerber’s sell “Pureed” meal worms?), and two very cute baby black-necked stilts. Yes, precocial baby birds are definitely photogenic!
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We do get a lot of cormorants in with various injuries, mostly fishing line and other water-fowl related issues. Recently we got one in with two fractured wings and internal injuries, which in and of itself is not remarkable, except he was a baby! This might be the first baby cormorant we have ever gotten at the facility. The good news is, being a baby, he wasn’t using his beak as a deadly weapon…and young bones heal better. Besides, as cute as this little guy is, you can’t help but root for him to get better!!
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On “Vet Night”, a variety of patients get the full treatment by some dedicated veterinarians, assisted by equally volunteers, many of whom have years of experience with wildlife or are veterinary students themselves. Whether it’s dressing the road rash on a Canada goose, removing tresses of hair strangulating the leg of a dove, or studying the x-rays of a gun shot raven, all animals are given expert, compassionate care by our volunteers.
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Liberty is NOT just for birds. We take in all species that need help. Recently we got in this group of mammals that required medical intervention. We have taken care of numerous rock and round-tail ground squirrels this year. Mostly orphans, they are released to be what they were designed to be as soon as they are old enough to be viable in the wild. Then early last week, we took in a red bat who was in need of care. Bats require special care as they are a rabies vector and as such, only qualified individuals may work on them. The baby striped skunk arrived at our intake window in a large box and was transported to Southwest Wildlife since they are currently set up and equipped for handling mammals of this sort. As our facility matures, we won’t need to outsource animals like this.
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A group of around 30 high schoolers from Texas called the Nazarene Youth Conference came to Liberty last week to donate four hours of work for us. They broke into groups and some got to help out in the NEFR sorting feathers, and some made new tags for the east wing med services. Several of the guys stuffed berry baskets for the intake window, and a few lucky ones got to help feed baby birds in OC. They all seemed to have a good time and learned a few things and we got a couple of projects finished!
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Posted by Terry Stevens