Hoots, Howls, and Hollers – March 29, 2022
We have been ever so busy since the last blog. Perhaps that is what makes it seem like time is moving at warp speed and is vaporizing before our eyes…or is it just me?
On Saturday, March 19th Liberty Wildlife’s Non-Eagle Feather Repository was honored by Arizona Forward at their annual Environmental Excellence Award ceremony. To begin with, the night was beautiful; the Arizona Biltmore was popping; and the ballroom was stunning. The Audio Visual effects were fun and lively. To add to the mix, it was the first time many of us have actually seen each other outside of a screen/monitor. People were ebullient.
The Non-Eagle Feather Repository was competing with twelve other organizations in the Healthy Communities category. While all of them were worthy, there is something unique and widespread about the mission of our repository…particularly the large number of communities that we impact (93 tribes in 32 states just last year). Needless to say, we were thrilled with the recognition and honor. A huge thanks goes out to the judges and to Arizona Forward for their efforts to support, recognize and honor all of the environmental organizations in the state…thank you, thank you, thank you!
And, if that weren’t enough excitement for March, we welcomed our two new educational condors, Marble and Millie, to their new enclosures on our education trail, at our Condors and Cocktails event on Saturday night.
The sold-out evening was a wonderful success. The campus was beautiful as always and got prettier as twilight ensued. The music from Jeordie was delightful, the food truck from Good Eats Only was delicious, and the signature drink, the unique “condor-politan” sponsored by Deep Eddy Vodka, appeared to be a big hit. And it was only possible, thanks to our event sponsors, the Zeriah Foundation, as well as Cancion Tequila.
The education animals and their handlers wowed the crowd while our Alex gave a heartfelt glimpse into “why we care for condors.” And to be clear, Millie and Marble were indeed the hit of the night in their new home for their new audience. It made us proud as if we were parents!
Of course, our store was set up to market our condor paraphernalia…and who wouldn’t want a t-shirt that proved you “saw condors at Liberty Wildlife”, a cup to enjoy your morning joe out of, a condor-themed shot glass, a stuffed condor plush toy, a beautiful terra cotta colored (as in the vermilion cliffs) condor t-shirt, a kids design condor t-shirt with two baby condors, a condor hat, or a young adult condor-themed novel? And there is always all of our other prized gift items in the gift store…so much good shopping. There are still items left, and we will be re-stocking. Stop by during our next open hours (Wed, Sat & Sun between 10am-1pm) and check it out!
You can tell when an event is a success when the party lasts until the very end. And this one did. We are so grateful to all of you who joined us and for everyone, staff and volunteers, who made it happen. For those of you who couldn’t come, we look forward to you joining us in the future. You don’t get many opportunities to see condors so intimately…too cool to miss!
This Week @ Liberty -Mar 29, 2022
Preparations for the upcoming busy season are progressing apace and the intake numbers climb as steadily as the temperature. Historically, the busiest time of the year for Liberty Wildlife is the May/June period when lines form at the Intake Window and the volunteers can barely catch their breath. Orphan Care is opening and soon the walls will be lined with hungry baby birds, each being fed by eager volunteers several times a day until they are released to the world they will bless with their songs and color. Spring is a time of renewal and nothing exemplifies this more than the preparations under way at Liberty! Take the time to come and visit us during Public Hours.
Besides the usual suspects like grackles and doves, our Medical Services team provided the required intervention to a collection of water birds. A great blue heron was treated for a leg injury, which, for a wading bird like this, can be a huge problem. Along with this bird, we saw the arrival of two baby goslings that put us way up on the “cutest intake” scale for this week. They also did some maintenance work on “Quackers”, one of our Indian Runner ducks that stars in the “Cheese ‘n Quackers” show during Public Hours. The crested caracara that came to us recently is doing well, but its injury might not make it a good candidate for ultimate release. Updates will ensue…
Look for 8 pictures
Public Hours are some of the highlights for the Education Team each week. Recently, the usual routine was augmented by specially organized field trips for specific classes that have been arranged with Education Coordinator Laura Hacket. The kids are arranged in smaller groups and given up-close-and-personal tours of the coolest parts of Liberty Wildlife and all we do. Special activities are also provided for the children to enhance the learning experience Liberty offers.
Look for 5 pictures
Red Tail Hawk
Red tail hawks are among the most common broad-wing hawks in North America, being found from the Arctic Circle down to the Caribbean. I used to say that if you see a hawk roughly this size and shape anywhere in North America, bet somebody $10 it’s a red tail and you’ll get rich. Because they are so ubiquitous, we tend to get a lot of red tailed hawks in for medical care each year. Recently we took in such a bird that happened to be a first-year juvenile. This youngster presented a fractured leg bone which, for a bird that makes its living using its legs and feet to catch its prey, is not a good condition. The good news is it was a young bird, and also the position of the break was what we call “good” in that it was mid-shaft. That means it was not close to a joint, which might have become fused, or stiff if the bones had to be immobilized to facilitate healing. As I understand, the bird went through several periods of ups and downs during its recuperation and came close to losing its battle a couple of times. Finally, the bones healed with a nice callus forming allowing the remodeling to take place. Hopefully the bird will be released back to the wild soon.
Look for 7 pictures
Baby Barn Owl
Barn owls have always been a favorite of mine. They are some of the most studied nocturnal raptors, plus they have so many interesting adaptations. Recently, a clutch of three baby barn owls came to our attention having fallen from their nest prematurely. One presented fractures of the femur and the tibia received in the fall. Barn owls frequently nest high up in palm trees and if they exit before they are old enough to fly, they have a long fall to the ground. Dr. Lamb looked at the X-rays and determined that the little bird was a reasonable candidate for surgery. This involved inserting two small steel pins in the owlet’s leg to stabilize the bones as they heal. Tori assisted as the baby owl was anesthetized and the pins were installed. The bird’s youth is an advantage as its bones are still developing so the prognosis is fairly positive.
Look for 18 pictures
The big event last Saturday night was a total rock concert – all 400 tickets were sold. It was a bargain as it was a once-in-a-lifetime event. If you didn’t make it, try to come out some time for public hours and see our two California condors, Millie and Marble. Their new habitat seems to suit them well plus you’ll get a chance to see these truly extraordinary birds up close and personal. The Liberty Wildlife Experience is getting better all the time!
(Look for 5 photos)
There are more photos and videos available at the links provided below. Thanks to all the volunteers who attended and took photos of this perfect event on a perfect evening!
Posted by Terry Stevens
Liberty Wildlife Volunteer