Hoots, Howls, and Hollers – March 15, 2022
Shhhhhhh…still yourself….listen…can you hear it? Spring is popping out all over. Pop! There goes a penstemon …pop, pop there go the desert marigolds! I swear (though maybe not on a bible) if I am very still and very focused, I can hear these things happening around me. The neighborhood birds have certainly become more vocal. It seems like all of a sudden the trees are leafing out, the lizards are leaping, and the birds are carrying food to their nests. I love this time of year.
That is until the winds begin to blow and loosely moored babies begin to lose the battle with gravity and are flung crashing to the ground. That is when things turn bad. If the baby is lucky, someone like you will find it in time and return it to its nest…the very best solution to a bad situation. If that isn’t possible, maybe you are the person who finds the unlucky nestling, and you know where to bring it… to Liberty Wildlife. Then maybe things can become serene for a while until the next interruption to this annual slide into spring.
The point is that even though this time of year is filled with potentials and possibilities of beauty and new beginnings, it also is a time of great need for a wildlife rehabilitation center. We are very, very busy until the end of September (if we are lucky). It is a time for eager and responsible volunteers. It is a time for conscientious and compassionate people. It is a time for purchasing food, medical supplies, and expertise. Somehow, caring people come to the rescue of the organizations helping them solve the problem of orphaned wildlife…and we greatly appreciate it.
Watch for our sponsorship programs for Orphan Care, for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. What a great gift a sponsorship makes to a dedicated mom or dad. What a great way to say, “We are with you unfortunate orphans. We won’t let you down!”
Watch for announcements of our upcoming Baby Shower with fun activities. You’ll get entrance with a donation of an item from our wish list. The event is scheduled for April 10th during our Open Hours from 10:00 to 1:00. For more information on the details of the event, keep an eye out for this blog; check out our social media spots; or visit our web site.
In the meantime, start noticing the changes around you. What popped last night or this morning? Notice who comes to your feeders and fountains. Enjoy the spring…if you live in the desert you know what follows… And, by all means, if a baby really does need help, bring it in. But, be sure you aren’t just kidnapping a baby whose parents have gone out in search of food.
You and your efforts can help us protect our wildlife neighbors. This could be a goal during these trying times. We want to partner with you to help our natural world that ultimately supports us all.
How grim our lives would be without the annual pop of the penstemon! Did you just hear it?
This Week @ Liberty – March 15, 2022
The Ides of March are upon us, and instead of lurking Shakespearian assassins, we rejoice that the weather is getting into the “Chamber of Commerce” time of year. If you think the desert is a barren moonscape, devoid of life, then you need to come to Liberty and learn the real story. In this admittedly harsh environment, some of the most delicate and beautiful animals and plants thrive in the niche they have found in the Sonoran Desert. Yes, some have spectacular defense mechanisms and lethal success strategies, but if given the proper respect, their beauty can be seen and appreciated.
There’s always something new cooking at Liberty, and I’ll try to cover the new animals, new structures, and anything else new at the facility. In the meantime, don’t forget the Cocktails & Condors event on the 26th. Get your tickets now!
As time marches on, we find that we have to add new structures to the facility in order to better meet the need of the animals we take in for care. While we operated from Dr. Orr’s back yard in Scottsdale, we never dreamed we would someday need a special enclosure for Indian runner ducks, California condors, and goats! And as we were designing our new facility, one of our favorite words was “Eventually”… This includes the planned space for things like orphan care and certain memorial pavilions. We have to expand internally to allow us to keep growing in both intake numbers and public activity. Our new California condor enclosure is part of this new growth. This structure was designed explicitly for the condors, built to engineering specs from the Peregrine Fund. We have also added our star entertainers “Cheese and Quackers” to those that have their own enclosure. And finally (for now), we have 6 goats as a part of our team that helps keep the weed population to a manageable level. They have been given their own enclosure to hang out when not patrolling for various edible foliage. All these new structures are part of our ongoing efforts to constantly improve our facility and make life better for our animals and our volunteers.
(Look for 7 photos)
As I’ve said before, usually some of the first animals that arrive at the window each year are cottontail rabbits…and hummingbirds. Hummingbirds are thermally sensitive and when the mean overnight temp drops below a certain value, they will become sluggish, and their activity level drops into the range of torpor. Torpor is the hummingbird version of hibernation. The sleep-like state allows them to conserve their energy by lowering their body temperature. Some drop 50° below their normal 102°-104° temperature. If one is found in this condition, many people believe they are sick or injured and bring them in. Usually, all that is required is to keep them in a warm environment until their body temperatures can sufficiently rise to a normal level, at which time they can be released, assuming the local ambient conditions will remain at a temperature high enough for the bird to maintain its own level of thermal activity.
When Liberty gets one that is presenting this condition, we will place the little bird in a warm, protected environment, and provide food for it to use as it increases its own body temperature and heart rate. Frequent feedings are required and a safe environment to again regain normal activity. We sometimes get in several young hummingbirds which are placed in a special enclosure for them to rest, be fed, and be safe until they are again fully active.
(Look for 4 photos)
New patients are always arriving at our intake window, met by an outstanding staff of wonderful volunteers who cheerfully check in the arriving birds and mammals. This last week saw the admission of an adult cottontail who might have been struck by a car, a few hummingbirds who may be in torpor from the cold weather, two species of herons (a great blue and a green), a pair of baby barn owls, some orphan baby sparrows and other passerines, and two more California condors presenting symptoms of lead poisoning. The condors’ level of lead are not extremely high which may be indicative that the AZ Game & Fish Department programs to reduce lead ammunition in the condor area are having an affect. Please help pass the word to all your hunting friends.
(Look for 10 photos)
The hours that Liberty is open to the public are 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM on Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays. With the weather improving now into Spring, it’s probably best to come early as parking is somewhat limited. It’s a great time to stroll the Education trail through the West side of the complex and see the wildlife ambassadors in our collection. You can get up close and fairly personal to bald and golden eagles, various types of hawks, owls, falcons, marsh birds, vultures, and after March 26th, California condors! There is also an interactive lab where you can interact with various non-avian examples of Arizona wildlife of the four, eight, and no-legged types. If your timing is right, you might get to watch surgery on an eagle or an owl. It’s truly a great little opportunity to see your state’s fauna face-to-face!
(Look for 3 photos)