Hoots, Howls, and Hollers – June 30, 2020
Well over a hundred thousand birds and other wildlife have been brought into Liberty Wildlife for assistance since we opened our doors. Over the years, we have worked valiantly through our robust educational programming to instill a love of nature in anyone who will listen.
Today—right now— we urgently ask you to contact the people who represent you in Congress about the current effort to emasculate conservation laws like the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA)—laws that have successfully saved birds and their habitat from harmful corporate activities since 1918. For the most part, Americans recognize the importance of birds from an aesthetic point of view, their beauty and their benefits. It is easy to see the conservation importance of birds. There is no denying the interconnectedness of birds with the rest of nature, and don’t forget we are a part of nature.
Here’s what is happening. The Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) of 1918 was passed to combat the overhunting and poaching of birds for among other things, their feathers used in the millenary industry…yep hats with feathers were quite the fashion statement then. Of course, there were other reasons bird numbers were decimated, but the hat industry was particularly greedy.
With the passage of the 1918 Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) over 800 species have been protected saving billions of birds. However, since the 1970’s Science reports that North America alone has lost about 3 billion birds, and Audubon reports that 2/3 of our North American birds will be greatly challenged by the effects of changes in our climate.
Now the current administration, during this already challenging time for birds, is pushing to emasculate the MBTA allowing for industrial bad actors to avoid being held responsible for the “incidental take” of birds. Incidental take can result from careless practices including oil spills, waste pits, mining pools, chemical usages and other things that result in the death of billions of birds in a year. This leaves illegal hunting as the only activity in the MBTA teeth. This was clearly not the only intention of the Act.
In the past, fines to those industries for careless behavior allowed for habitat restoration and repair of damaged birds. With the removal of responsibility for these “incidental” takes of birds, the funding will not be there to make right the damage.
Efforts are underway to pass legislation called the Migratory Bird Protection Act (MBPA) that allows the USFWS to create a permitting process to allow for incidental take with the purpose being to encourage businesses to create internally good management practices that are designed to prevent bird fatalities. The purpose of the act is to counter the rollback of the MBTA reinforcing the critical protections of birds.
This is a time for you to act. It is a time to reach out to your representatives in Congress to support the passage of the Migratory Bird Protection Act. This is the time to be heard…loud and clear.
It is our responsibility to protect the things that we value. Over 100,000 people have come to Liberty Wildlife with animals they wanted protected. Speak out now before it is too late.
We have a big voice if we act and speak together. We must encourage industry to be proactive in lessening the impact on the loss of bird life that we so treasure and need. Do it for the birds, for your children and their children. Do it because it is the right thing to do.
H.R. 5552 Migratory Bird Protection Act 2020
This Week @ Liberty – June 30, 2020
As we officially enter the Monsoon, I am at a loss for what will come next in terms of intake numbers. By 8:00 this morning, we were 1,750 intakes ahead of last year on this date, but have had no evidence of any kind of storm activity. If we do get some monsoonal activity, we may see another spike – or not. If this year is a repeat of last year’s “non-soon” and the arrival rate is normal, we will still almost certainly blow through 10k for this year. We just don’t know. My fingers are crossed that most babies that could be displaced by bad weather have already been so. We are still getting in between 70 and 90 animals every day, much to the credit of the Intake Window team! Thanks to all volunteers who work tirelessly in the heat each day to make life better for these injured and orphaned animals!
Our new grounds keepers (the six goats) seem to be a big hit with the staff as well as the public. They really like to hang out in the shade on the east side where our new organic veggie garden is rapidly taking shape. As the project progresses, I’ll keep you updated. (I’m no longer parking in the back as at one point, the goats were seen standing on the roof of my car!)
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As the intake numbers go up, so do the reptile arrivals. A long necked turtle was found in someone’s back yard and was brought to Liberty recently. This amphibian is not a frequent visitor and was most likely brought here by someone who caught him back east and wanted to make him a pet.
The beautiful desert spiny lizard is much more common as he is native to these parts. We do see these animals come in from time to time, generally injured by some contact with people in a negative way.
The regal horned lizard (sometimes called a horned toad) is found in a variety of habitats out west including rocky or gravelly habitats of arid to semiarid plains, hills and lower mountain slopes. This little guy came from Payson along with a whole terrarium full of ants (his favorite food!).
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It could have been called “Little Owl Night” last week on Vet night. Lots of little owls and other young birds were examined and treated by the attending vets and staff. These included an immature red tailed hawk and a youthful brown pelican. We generally end up with a couple pelicans each year as the inexperienced kids get too Far East and can’t find their way back to the ocean. This guy was rescued near Salome, AZ in a kiddy pool (thanks to Elizabeth and Erin Farr!)
We have several small owls in our care right now, including a couple screech owls and a baby burrowing owl which are all in the running for the “cutest” animals at Liberty this week. We also have a long-eared owl which we don’t see very often. they are more at home in the northern areas of the state as they prefer coniferous forests to open desert areas. But they also one of the only true migratory owls and they sometimes pass through the valley on their journey.
We also took in another baby kestrel. It’s a little late in the year to see one this young on his own, but he’ll get the best care possible from our Med Service team and the foster parents.
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Vet night is always a beehive of activity. It’s an assembly line operation with birds from the last week being examined and checked to verify the treatment is effective and progressing. The lucky ones who are doing well get ID bands and get to go into outside enclosures in the next major step in their rehabilitation. The next step is the flight cage which is a prelude to eventual release! Whether its a barn owl, a peregrine falcon, or a tiny bat, all animals are examined and treatment is evaluated. We see wings wrapped, legs splinted, surgery evaluated and recommendations made. It’s altogether an exciting afternoon!
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Despite repeated stories bout how injurious discarded fishing gear is to water fowl, we still see it all the time. This little mallard had a fish hook impaling his foot and some more line wrapped around it’s lower bill. Both of these were painful and could be life threatening. And they are all preventable with a little care. Please fishermen, don’t throw your used gear in the water or on the shore near the lake. There are usually lots of trash barrels around the lakes in this state and if they are used, a lot of painful injuries to animals could be avoided.
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We got a call from an industrial building in Gilbert last week. It seems a young RTH had entered the building and was sitting on some equipment three stories above ground level. R&T volunteer Lisa Blue took a Bal-Chatri trap to the site, baited it with a mouse from Alex’s mouse room, and within 10 minutes, the hawk was apprehended! Lisa brought him in for examination and the mouse was returned to Alex, unharmed of course! The hawk is also doing well!
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We routinely get baby raccoons and skunks brought to our intake window. If the mother has been injured or killed, we will accept and care for them. However, in too many cases, someone has trapped the babies and left the mother, separating the family. Then the babies, which are fairly easy to trap, are brought to us for care. As in almost all instances, leaving the family intact is the best plan and just trapping the babies is cruel and counterproductive. The bottom line is, if you are going to relocate “nuisance” animals, you MUST relocate the entire family including the mother. If you are using a professional animal relocating service, always ask what their plan is and if it’s not to trap the parent(s) along with the tiny ones, don’t let them do it! Our Hotline can advise you of acceptable agencies.
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Posted by Terry Stevens