Hoots, Howls, and Hollers – March 10, 2020
Mistakes, miscommunications happen all of the time. An unsuspecting rodent mistakes the dihedrally flying dark bird as a scavenging turkey vulture. “Doodeedoo,…Oh, not to worry.. it’s just another turkey vulture.” However, the zone tailed hawk’s natural disguise worked again. The unsuspecting rodent becomes the meal of the mimicking zone tail…a costly mistake for the rodent.
Or, the phone call that came in to our hotline about a baby vulture found on the ground. The caller described it as yellow downy with pink feet and two large bumps on the beak…definitely a baby turkey vulture he claimed. Wrong! A baby pigeon has just been rescued from the Lake Pleasant area.
Then there is the fledgling bald eagle, all tawny brown, that rescuers were sure was a golden eagle…close but no reward. The adult screech owl was mistaken by a caller for a baby great horned owl…misunderstanding, mistakes, goof-ups…some costly…some not so much.
Mistakes dealing with wildlife happen all of the time. But, don’t let a mistake or confusion like that cause you to miss two of our upcoming events. Events that are super important to supporting our mission to nurture the nature of Arizona. Both of these events fund our Orphan Care efforts. Both of them are fun…but fun for different groups of supporters.
The first of these two events, Wee Ones, occurs on Saturday, March 21st at Liberty Wildlife. For this event, admission is free to anyone who brings an item from our wish list. Those items include: a pack of 6 paper towel rolls, pack of 6 rolls of toilet paper, a 20 lb. bag of bird seed, a 10 lb. bag of dry kitten food, or gift cards from Visa, Fry’s or PetSmart. With youngsters and their parents in mind, the event will feature games, a raffle, crafts, a bird release and more! Everyone is welcome who is interested in helping us with a successful Orphan Care season. There will be displays of wildlife babies and information on becoming an Orphan Care volunteer. It is always a fun event.
Easily confusing at first is the second event promoting our busy Orphan Care Season. This event, Wild Ones is an adult only event, Crepes and Cocktails. This fun new happening is to be held on Sunday April 19th from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. at Liberty Wildlife. As with most baby showers there will be games, giveaways, a silent auction, a raffle, spirits, brunch and more. Don your very most creative hat and enter the hat contest…yep, there will be a prize for the best hat. I can’t wait! The early bird ticket is $45, but after April 5, the price soars up to $50. The cost of the ticket includes brunch and two drink tickets. Adult means, of course, you must be 21 to attend. RSVP today at www.libertywildlife.org and do your part to make this orphan care season the best ever.
Remember, get your facts straight; do your part; help your native wildlife neighbors.
This Week @ Liberty – March 10, 2020
The intake traffic is picking up and right now we are about 90 ahead of last year on this date. We don’t yet know if the hysteria over “coronavirus” will have any affect on our operation, but hopefully cooler and smarter heads will eventually prevail. Conspiracy theories not withstanding, it is extremely doubtful that contact with wild animals either generated this condition or proliferates it. Liberty Wildlife has no plans to curtail our activities in the wildlife rehabilitation area. The only effect we have seen thus far is an increase in the difficulty in obtaining the paper towels we use so ubiquitously in our operation, especially in Orphan Care and the intake window. Any donations of this type of material is greatly appreciated.
We did get in another bald eagle and the number of bunnies and small birds is increasing, along with a rise in the number of orphans (especially owls). We will have two events associated with “Baby Bird Season” coming up on the 21st of this month and on April 19th. Check the website for details! As always, we are continually trying to improve the facility for the benefit of the public and the Arizona wildlife we serve. Visit our website often to keep informed of the facts and events that affect us all…
We are always looking to increase the usage of the facilities here at Liberty Wildlife, and one area we are working on is event rentals. Last weekend we provided a venue for a wedding and tried a new set up for the amphitheater. The weather certainly cooperated, and the arrangement of the event went off without a hitch. the only thing we needed to do to modify the area was to “bird-proof” the overhead in the structure. This involved a totally benign addition of bird spikes around the overhead to keep local rock doves (pigeons) from nesting in the structure and dropping both sticks and, well, “stuff” on the ground beneath. The gentlemen painting our neighbor’s new building was nice enough to use the lifting device they had ended to install the deterrent devices which will help us keep the area clean and presentable.
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The “usual suspects” are examined and treated during Tuesday night “Vet Night” each week. Whether it’s a great horned owl, an American crow, or a cottontail rabbit, each patient is examined by a volunteer veterinarian who checks for condition and response to treatment. The level of care these animals get is extraordinary considering that without Liberty, they would not have access to medical care of any type.
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As we get more deeply into “baby bird season” we sometimes receive whole nests (sometimes whole tree limbs!) at the intake window. Probably the most common nest is a hummingbird’s since it’s so tiny and easily transported intact. But last week we got in a box full of sticks and twigs which turned out to contain two young curved bill thrashers!
In other arrival news, a leucistic dove arrived, as did young red tail hawk with striking light plumage that might grow into a Krider’s hawk. This is a subspecies of RTH with almost completely white underparts. Along with the two additional baby hummingbirds, we took in two fledgling Say’s Phoebes. Yes, I’d say the baby bird season is upon us!
(Look for 7 pictures)
In addition to the Chihuahuan raven with the injured foot, another bird who got our attention last week was a black-crowned night heron in beautiful breeding plumage. Presenting multiple injuries, this bird is another example of a consummate professional fisherman nearly done in by a careless amateur. The X-ray clearly shows a multi-hook casting lure attached to the bird’s leg. This also ended up involving his wing as well. On top of that, the radiograph also showed a pellet near his throat.
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Another bald eagle (an adult) came down to us from the northern end of the state recently. It appears this bird got into a fight, possibly a territorial dispute with another bald eagle. It came in second in the battle, probably because it was somewhat compromised by dealing with lead poisoning. This is the second bald eagle in a row that came in with lead levels elevated enough to require chelation. I try to remind people who would minimize the danger of lead in the environment that this is a substance that no living organism uses to sustain life. In any form, and in any amount, lead is toxic. All opportunistic scavengers (including bald eagles!) are at risk when they ingest animals that have been shot with lead bullets. Please, if you are a hunter, consider using alternatives to lead ammunition.
Posted by Terry Stevens