Hoots, Howls, and Hollers – March 01, 2022
This week we are celebrating World Wildlife Day. In 2013, the United Nations General Assembly set aside March 3rd as a day to recognize and raise awareness of the importance of wildlife and nature in our lives. It should come as no surprise to any of you that I think this is one of the noblest of causes. After all, we cannot separate ourselves from the world we live in… no way… just can’t happen… and it shouldn’t!
The UN celebration of World Wildlife Day concentrates on the recovery of species and habitat restoration. The goals of the recognition center on sustainable development, extinguishing poverty, eliminating hunger, sustainable consumption, climate action, and attention to life below the water and on land. There seems to be a lot of room for improvement in each of these categories.
Take wildlife alone. The UN recognizes 8,400 species of flora and fauna that are critically endangered. Over 30,000 are endangered or vulnerable. Over 1,000,000 species are threatened with extinction.
A close to home example is the California condor… a species in which Liberty Wildlife is closely involved in the efforts of restoration. For a closer look at this join us on Mar. 26 for Condors and Cocktails to get a close-up view of this charismatic bird at Liberty Wildlife.
World Wildlife Day is a day, yes, but it is also a symbol for a week, a month, a year,
a lifetime to spend a part of that time hanging out with family, friends, pets, or for that matter, just alone. It is a reminder to enjoy, appreciate, and respect the envelope in which we are sealed along with all the connected flora and fauna. We need to acknowledge all the benefits we get from this world… recognize and give thanks by taking an action, a positive move to do something to generate greatly needed changes. Imagine our world as a tapestry and further imagine what the loss of one strand of beauty and sustenance that you treasure from the whole, you can begin to see the importance of the connections. Each strand is important to the strand next to it. The tapestry can easily begin to fall apart and unravel if enough threads are lost. We must resist the unraveling with our positive efforts toward our shared world.
For example, our new program for youngsters at Liberty Wildlife is designed not only to get kids out of doors and into nature, but to take the next step and through small, positive actions become advocates for the world that this younger generation will live in. Small actions by a lot of kids will add up to serious change. And, serious change is what is needed now. For more information about this program contact email@example.com.
What we also know about the success of this effort to get youth involved depends greatly on the amount of involvement of the adults in their lives. As a parent, teacher, sibling or friend, your enthusiasm is contagious. How about a ragin’ contagion of wildlife and nature enthusiasts making a difference in the world around us… get the bug, pass it on, infect the world with good deeds for World Wildlife Day.
It will take a world of advocates to save the world of wildlife. Sign up now!
This Week @ Liberty – March 01, 2022
It’s been pretty slow at the intake window, at least so far this year. But we all know that the rush is coming and soon it’ll be non-stop arrivals of new patients. There are a couple of open shifts at the Window so if anybody out there would like to help, this would be a good time and place to join the team! I worked the window for quite a while and I can tell you it’s fun and informative, plus, you’re in a temperature-controlled environment and get to see nearly every species we accept in a given year. I can highly recommend “working the window” as it’s the first place of contact between the public bringing in injured birds and mammals and Liberty Wildlife, and is ultimately satisfying as a volunteer part-time. (Please forgive the “hard sell”, but I’m partial to the Window Volunteers Team from way back!)
And while I’m pushing stuff, come out and meet our two resident California condors at Condors and Cocktails, March 26th! I guarantee you’ll be impressed by them and the new special habitat we’ve constructed. I was a volunteer at Liberty for several years when I saw my first condor up close and it took my breath away. You won’t be disappointed!
No matter what time of year it is, the Education team is always on duty, ready to thrill and educate the public about Arizona’s wildlife. It doesn’t matter how cold or snowy it is, our Education volunteers rise to the occasion. Last week, after a day of cold rain and dipping temperatures, our team still drove up to Clarkdale to put on a display at the Verde Canyon Rail Road. It was one of those days when wearing a big heavy glove comes in handy for more than protection from talons!
Another team that is always ready to educate the public is the Non-Eagle Feather Repository. Mare and Robert are more than happy to tell the public about what they do and how it helps both the birds and the native American population. This picture was from back in December at the Pueblo Grande Museum Archeological Park 44th Annual Indian Market. Stop in and see Mare and Robert when you’re out at Liberty someday.
Speaking of visitors, some of them got a front-row seat at the surgery window recently to watch Dr. Attarian and Dr. Lamb operate on the prairie falcons. This first-hand education cannot be equaled anywhere else in Arizona!
(Look for 4 photos)
Small lives in our care
Although the numbers are slowly rising, the Medical Services volunteers are kept busy by the new arrivals that never really stop. As usual for this time of year, we are seeing hummingbirds arriving and the usual culprit is the temperature. Hummers are very sensitive to low temps and when the overnight ambient temp drops below a certain threshold, they will become torpid. This leads people who find them in this state condition to think they are injured and they bring them to our intake window. Many times they merely need to get warmed up and they are ready to go home! But we also get some immature birds that require a bit more TLC and the volunteers are ready with food and any medical care they might require.
An injured ornate box turtle was brought in and is now in our care. This little guy has some damage to his shell and will stay with us until he is ready to back to the wild. Not much is known about their absolute numbers in the wild, but it is thought that they are in decline due to habitat destruction, habitat fragmentation, and over-collecting for pets. In any case, they are protected in Arizona and it is illegal to pick one up as this could be harmful to the animal. If you find one in the wild, you can report it to the Arizona’s Ornate Box Turtle Watch Project through the Arizona Game & Fish Department.
(Look for 3 photos)
Bunnies and Hares
As usual for this time of year, we are seeing hummingbirds (babies and adults) and cottontails arriving by the day. We even got in a baby jackrabbit, which is fairly uncommon to see at our facility. While cottontails are true rabbits, the jackrabbit is actually a hare. The differences are noticeable in adults as hares (jackrabbits) have longer ears and longer hind legs. Because of this, Mark Twain called them “jackass rabbits” and the term morphed into jackrabbit. The long ears are a sort of heat exchange unit and help in cooling down the jack’s blood supply by acting as a radiator in high-temperature areas.
(Look for 3 photos)
Condor goes Home
The single biggest danger to California condors in the wild is lead. Not that they are being shot, but they scavenge other animals that have been shot with lead ammunition. When a bullet hits an animal, it fragments into hundreds of tiny shards of lead, one of the most deadly substances in nature. The danger comes when an animal that has been shot with lead bullets dies and is eaten by a condor. If the animal is field-dressed and the gut pile is left, the same thing can occur. If one of these particles lodges in the bird’s digestive tract, it will leach lead into the blood and bone marrow causing a host of symptoms before finally killing the bird. One of the latest California condors we were treating eventually passed the lead fragment that had been ingested. After its final treatment for lead poisoning, it was returned to the wild last week. Lead isn’t just bad for condors as we have seen many more eagles and hawks adversely affected the same way by lead poisoning over the years. Arizona Game & Fish Department has various programs designed to encourage hunters to avoid lead ammunition and to pick up gut piles if they use lead.
(Look for 3 photos)
Great blue heron
A great blue heron came in last weekend having difficulties with flight. He was given a complete exam by Dr. Lamb and Dr. Attarian and then allowed to demonstrate his ambulatory ability. After that, he had an x-ray which showed a fracture of the ulna on the right wing. The break appeared fairly well aligned and was in a good position and not compound so it was decided that a pin would not be needed. The wing was carefully wrapped and the bird was placed in an outside enclosure to recuperate while the bone healed. At this point, he is a good candidate for eventual release to the wild.
(Parenthetically, a few years ago I got a call from someone who said they had a “herring” in their backyard. I said, “You have a fish in your yard?” They said, “No, one of those big gray birds!” After explaining the difference to them, I proceeded to do the rescue… )
(Look for 6 photos)
We have two prairie falcons in treatment, both with fractured wing bones. Both of these birds came from our contact in Havasu City, Pam Short. Prairie falcons are not quite as hyper as Cooper’s hawks or sharp-shinned hawks, but they can be very active and vocal when being handled. Plus, unlike many raptors, they do bite! Doctors Lamb and Attarian were busy the better part of Saturday surgically pinning the fractures of these two birds. Luckily the breaks were in reasonably good places and were fairly recent. Having two veterinary surgeons on our volunteer team is a wonderful stroke of luck for these and all birds fortunate enough to find their way to our intake window. It also is handy to have the ability to take x-rays in the room adjacent to surgery and to have an x-ray monitor on the wall for the surgeons to be able to refer to it while operating. Liberty Wildlife is a state-of-the-art hospital for which we are all thankful and proud!
(look for 15 photos)
Posted by Terry Stevens
Liberty Wildlife Volunteer