Hoots, Howls, and Hollers – March 14, 2023
Best Kept Secret in Town
Best kept secret in town…
Three times this past week people have used these words to describe Liberty Wildlife. Puzzled, I looked at each of the three with astonishment. We are, as we have always done, providing the best wildlife rehabilitation possible for the state of Arizona. AND, we are doing so much more beyond that.
It happened incrementally over the last 43 years; so it seems like we have always done so much…but for the public, until they had a chance to see our documentary, The Weight of a Feather, and to visit our campus, they might never have known. Now people are coming to the realization… and thus, “the best kept secret in town!”
Not only is our campus beautiful and a soothing place to be, our programs for folks who visit improve by the day. We strive to introduce visitors to as many of their wildlife neighbors as is possible. We are currently working on moving our non-releasable mammals to the education trail to make them more available for visitor experiences (more about that to follow in the future). Both our Condor/vulture pavilion and our eagle pavilion allow close up views. And the falcons shine as well as the hawks as your favorite daytime neighbors. Lenny, the raven might bless you with a “hello, Lenny” conversation if you are lucky. Experiencing the difference between ravens and crows couldn’t be more obvious as they live side-by-side in neighboring enclosures.
The owls usually reign supreme at night, but our educational exhibit allows you to get a close-up view during the day of a vast number of these nocturnal species…from very large to teeny tiny. And the Interactive room allows for visitors to view small mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and tortoises, along with a smattering of the many insects and arachnids that add to the diversity of our desert world. What’s not to love in getting a great, close-up education in a serene setting?
Those are the things we’ve been known for…our wildlife rehabilitation and our natural history educational efforts. What many didn’t know: Our powerful teen program. These young students not only learn the value of nature and its denizens but also learn how to present them to the public with the overall goal of creating future wildlife advocates. And, if that weren’t enough…our newest program, the Liberty Wildlife Superheroes, is fashioned to gather the energy and enthusiasm of young (elementary-aged) minds to set them on the path of caring for the planet…it will be theirs in no time, after all….right?
The newest program that can be visited on campus is our national award-winning Liberty Wildlife Non-Eagle Feather Repository. Purposed with being a legal source for federally recognized tribal members to obtain feathers and other protected bird parts to be used in cultural activities, the LWNEFR program has a dual purpose of practicing conservation and simultaneously slowing down the illegal take of protected birds. This assists in enabling the Native American community to maintain its cultural practices. The success of this program is off the charts!
Conserving wildlife, engaging people, protecting cultures in a beautiful and mission compatible campus…there’s a lot there. Maybe that is why we are called the “BEST KEPT SECRET IN TOWN”. I am so glad the cat is finally out of the bag! Come see for yourself!
This Week @ Liberty – March 14, 2023
Blink, and this is what happens; we go from a brand new year to being three months in already. Animals are coming in steadily, but soon it’ll be babies and adults and everything in between. New volunteers are starting in brand new ventures or moving to different areas here at Liberty, and as always, we’re grateful for the time and energy everyone puts in to help our native wildlife.
Soon, it’ll be the busyness of late spring and summer, where intakes are not just a steady stream but a raging river. We’ll take in a hundred animals in one day in the heat of it; which is just fine with us! While it’s hard to see them come here, for whatever reason they’re here, we’re happy we’re able to help at all.
It’s all the name of the game, and we’re here to do what we can.
What to Do If You Find A Baby Bird
It’s official: baby season is upon us. After that viral video of Snickers the Great Horned Owl Fostering two nestling orphans, I think it’s safe to say spring is in full bloom and so are all the things that come with it. Except, instead of the horse, carriage, wedding and then babies, it’s just babies. All. The. Babies.
While it starts off a slow trickle with Anna’s Hummingbirds, Doves and Pigeons, the flood gates open sooner rather than later. Before we know it, it’ll be Songbirds and Coopers Hawks and everything in between. Which begs the question; what do you do if you find a baby bird?
First things first; what kind of bird is it? If it’s a passerine bird (pigeons, doves, etc.), is the nest close by? Is mom near? If the bird has simply fallen from the nest and is unharmed, it is completely okay to place said bird back in its nest (but only if you’re able to safely do so and you’re 100% sure it’s the correct nest!). If the bird is harmed, or you’re unable to keep yourself and the bird safe while placing back in the nest, our intake window is open seven days a week, 8am-6pm.
Now, if it’s a raptor (Harris’s Hawk, Barn Owl, etc.), the process is different; those talons are sharp and powerful, and even babies know how to use them to defend themselves. If you happen to come upon one, chances are mom is close by. Careful watch is a good first move, as the bird may be able to get back to the nest on its own (fun fact: Western Screech Owl kids are great climbers!). When in doubt, always call our hotline, where our volunteers can direct you on what to do; Rescue and Transport volunteers are always on the ready to come and help!
As always, we appreciate your ever watchful eye; 11,111 animals were brought to us last year from all over Arizona, thanks in big part, to you. And, of course, the babies say thank you as well. For those brought to our door, this is a second chance at life, and they wouldn’t have it if not for you.
So keep up the good work out there; our wildlife thanks you!
The Dam is Open
For those of you who’ve visited us here on our six-acre campus, I’m sure you’ve taken note of how close we are to the Rio Salado River. It’s a wonderful riparian area here in downtown Phoenix inhabited with plenty of wildlife and critters we often overlook in our busy lives. Peregrines, Bald Eagles and Osprey have been known to frequent the area, with lots more bunnies, coyotes and squirrels to add to the foray.
Which we’ll no doubt see more of since the Salt River Project released water from Bartlett Dam last Thursday. With lots of snowfall up north, the project is making room for all that water expected to go into the Verde once it melts. And with the dams currently at 85% capacity, it was certainly time to release the ‘waves’.
Not only is it great news for us and our local wildlife living within our bustling city, the Rio Salado Peace Trail lines our border, and I was able to take a short hike down to see the new water flow. It seems otherworldly, that sound of rushing water, but it takes you somewhere else, too, especially when in the not so far distance planes are taking off, and a busy highway continues to the east.
It’s a busy time of year for this trail, too; plenty of hikers and bicyclists head down this trail, many of whom stop to see some of our animal ambassadors who might be out and about.
If you’ve never been, you can find more information and trail entrances here. And I definitely recommend taking a look at the Salt River Project—with people moving here from all over the United States, water is a hot commodity, both for us and wildlife.
For now, make sure to take a hike before those summer temperatures get too hot. I promise it’ll be worth the sweat!
There’s been a steady stream of new animals through our doors these past few weeks. Lots of babes (who are so dang cute I can’t even stand it!) and plenty of cottontails, too. But there are always a few who stand out, sometimes due to their injuries and sometimes due to the story that brought them in.
First is a nestling great horned owl; with no notable injuries and no neurological symptoms, it’s safe to say there’s nothing wrong with this little guy. Upon closer inspection, however, we noticed a significant amount of bloating and an unwillingness to sit up straight. While those aren’t necessarily ‘bad’ signs (since he’s just a kid, after all), it’s enough for us to keep him close until he’s a little older to ensure there’s nothing internal happening.
Then we have a Harris’s Hawk who came littered with pellets. Several in the left wing, several more in the legs and torso, this raptor is lucky to be alive. Our volunteer veterinarians were able to place him under anesthesia to remove the worst of the pellets, yet the road to recovery is long for this one. With a fracture in the ulna/radius (think forearm), the veterinarians placed a pin in both bones to keep the fracture steady, and wrapped it to keep it in place. Once the fracture heals and the pins come out, this Harris’s will remain until he can be placed outside to stretch those wings and regain the muscle he’s lost due to his injuries.
It’s safe to say this won’t be the last time we’ll see injuries like this Harris’s or a youngster who needs some time to figure out life (because don’t we all?). Thankfully, we’re here to give them that second chance to get back out there and do what they do best.
Baby season=busy season, one we’ve been preparing for since the end of last year. Of course, this also means more picture opportunities, and also the chance to fill up my photo library with more snippets of birds and all the animals who come our way. While I can certainly go on and on about it, I’d rather show you!
Here are this week’s notable mentions:
Baby Cottontails are in abundance and growing up fast (1 picture)
Marble and Millie sunbathe on a warm, spring afternoon (2 pictures)
Snickers takes great care of her two new babies (3 pictures)
Our resident mallard duck couple get cozy near the wetlands (1 picture)
Aurora (Bald Eagle) laid eggs (infertile) (1 picture)
Public Hours are still in full swing; we’re here Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday from 10pm-1pm. And, Sunday, March 19th brings about our Spring Celebration and Young Art Exhibit to help orphaned babies (open during public hours). You don’t want to miss out on seeing all your favorite animal ambassadors, and even some new ones making their presence known!
Until next time!
Posted by Acacia Parker
Public Outreach Coordinator