Hoots, Howls, and Hollers – March 02, 2021
It is hard to believe that 2021 is the beginning of our 41st year serving the community by helping wildlife in need. To take a look at this momentous time, I am calling on Janus, the Roman god of beginnings and endings—you know the guy who has two faces, one that looks backwards and one that looks forward…the bringer of the transition between years.
Historically speaking the backward looking Janus has a great deal of interesting things to see in the entirety of Liberty Wildlife’s existence. The growth of our organization from a two or three volunteer cadre, from the 87 animals aided, to $457 bank account, to a tiny room off Dr. Orr’s garage…to no education, no conservation services, to no Non-Eagle Feather Repository, and I could go on and on…but let’s just let Janus do the backward looking.
Frontward looking Janus also has a great deal to see. If last year’s stunning number of animals helped, 12,156, to be exact, was off the charts, we can only assume the same to come. Our LEED Platinum building will continue to show growth with newly planned enclosures (mammals included) and educational opportunities to enrich the lives of students of all ages.
Janus can also see our new Membership program, its growth in numbers and opportunities. Our new members are now “card carrying’. The membership offers a plethora of opportunities for folks who are looking for ways to support the wildlife and nature that they love. Members Only activities include store discounts, Liberty Wildlife stickers for the ever-popular water bottle and laptop décor, and guest passes to invite friends to join in and witness the glory of membership in a great organization. And, then, there are the ever popular Nature/Bird hikes. They fill up quickly and are becoming a sought after experience…members only! At certain levels there is an opportunity to spend an hour with a trainer, early entrance to events, and possibly a new opportunity will be attendance at releases of rehabilitated wildlife…stay tuned.
In Janus’s future scenery, one will find an exclusive donor group: the 12 in 40 Club. Started in January of 2021 with a challenge gift by Jeannie & David Mulford, in honor of the 12,000+ animals seen last year, the 12 in 40 Club also commemorates our mega successful 40th anniversary year. A person, who donates at specific dollar amounts per animal, will become a member at the Icon, Flagship, and Keystone levels. They will be able to display the special 12 in 40 Club stickers and other membership swag. Watch for more details to come…
This Week @ Liberty – March 02, 2021
The intake traffic is picking up a little, and we expect this to continue as we get through “Winter” and into “Spring.” Our expectations for this baby bird season are mostly based on wild guesses as we are still catching our breath from last year’s unexpectedly high numbers. The weather has been fairly benign with few temperature extremes and little wind or rain so that may have an ameliorating effect on the number of birds and mammals that require our help. At the same time, the Education volunteers are gearing up for a full season of activity from field trips to both in-house and outreach presentations to support our message of Conservation and Sustainability.
We take in several American coots each year. Though they live near water, they are not a “water fowl,” being a member of the rallidae family and are more closely related to cranes and other rails. Inhabiting the same type of shores and wetlands as ducks, they do suffer from some of the same problems such as entanglement with fishing lines.
We are more likely to receive turkey vultures as black vultures are more common towards the east (Florida). This bird didn’t present any overt causes for his inability to fly and more observation is required. It is possibly affected by a joint inflammation condition that is known to occur in black vultures.
We almost always have a larger influx of bunnies early in the spring. And the larger their population at any given time, the more likely we are to see negative interactions with human activity. Among these, the most frequently seen are automobile collisions, which are generally serious and frequently fatal. But with the dedicated team of people now taking on the task of manning the Bunny room, at least the orphans have a good chance of surviving to be eventually released.
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The Liberty Wildlife Hotline (480-998-5550) frequently gets calls about animals that are behaving in a peculiar fashion. We can deal with most of these calls without dispatching a Rescue & Transport volunteer, but sometimes we send someone out to get a first hand observation of what’s happening. Recently, we got a call from a local restaurant in the Chandler area that was being visited regularly by a curious (hungry?) roadrunner. The bird would beg food from the patrons and even jump up onto chairs and tables looking for a handout so the manager decided he had to go. After going to the site and checking out the situation, I explained to the caller that Liberty didn’t usually remove healthy animals That were merely a “nuisance” and if they discouraged their customers from offering the bird scraps, he would leave on his own. They agreed to do this and it appears the problem was solved without more active intervention.
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OK, we are getting into “Baby Bird Season – 2021” and this runs the gamut from bald eagles to hummingbirds and everything in between. The bald eagle in the picture is in a nest found by a local power company and whose location is being kept hidden to protect the birds. Eagles build the largest nest of any bird in North America. A nest constructed of sticks and used annually for five years can reach the size and weight of a small pickup truck.
In contrast, this hummingbird nest was brought in and is made mainly of spider web silk and weighs around 3 grams. The web is stretchy to permit expansion when the eggs are laid, and sticky which allows the bird to attach tiny pieces of leaves and moss to the outside for camouflage. The inside is then lined with feathers and soft material to prevent the hatchlings from sticking to the spider webbing. The female does all the work and takes around 3 to 5 days to complete the nest.
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A call came from a man who was keeping an eye on a hawk he suspected was injured in Maricopa City. The bird was transported to Liberty Wildlife where Holly and Meagan did the assessment and initial treatment. The bird was weighed and examined for signs of trauma, etc. A fractured humerus and a possible leg injury was discovered. The wing was wrapped and the bird was given fluids before being allowed to rest and de-stress.
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A pretty little sharp shinned hawk arrived recently presenting a wound of unknown origin and an inability to fly. The bird was X-rayed which showed he had been shot with some sort of pellet. As in the past, in the weeks after Christmas, we tend to see a lot of gunshot damage to wildlife. Hopefully, this little guy will recover and be released sometime soon.
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There isn’t a week goes by that we don’t have at least one kestrel getting care during Vet Night. These pretty little falcons are extremely common in the skies of North America but the care they get from the vets that volunteer at Liberty is anything but common. Whether it’s an eye problem, an invasive parasite, or a fractured bone, these little raptors are going to receive medical care that is second to none by some of the most experienced and talented veterinarians and vet techs anywhere.
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Last Saturday, Laura, our Education Coordinator was doing double time with all the activities planned. In the words of Jan Miller, “We had a rescue transport class, and Channel 3 news was here for a hit then a live hit at 9. The SciTech festival was here with their mascot Nova ( a very large Gecko) from 8 to 2pm. We had a Horsesense program, a bird at a hotel, and the train booth. We had a Zoom program in the large classroom on Bald and Golden eagles with Willow Bend Nature Center in Flagstaff with AZ Game and Fish. Plus we had public hours which was incredibly busy, especially with the news hit. The Saturday crew that helped all knew their places and where to be and when, and did a great job. Everyone involved from the Daily care to education was phenomenally helpful.”
(Look for six pictures)
Posted by Terry Stevens
Liberty Wildlife Volunteer