Hoots, Howls, and Hollers – March 30, 2021
I don’t know about you, but I tend to get overwhelmed with the enormity of environmental issues. I would love to DO SOMETHING right now about Global Warming and all of the implications surrounding its impact. I would love to DO SOMETHING about saving the rain forest or DO SOMETHING about the coral reefs or any number of dastardly issues we are confronted with…right now…I know everything we do positively helps, but I have a need to do something now that I can see makes a difference. And, guess what? There is something that each and every one of us can do. It WILL positively impact what we see in our hospital.
Hardly a day goes by that we don’t get in an animal victimized by fishing line, lures, and fish hooks. A recent goose from Avondale recharging lakes was brought in by authorities who found it unable to fly with fishing line wrapped around its legs, head and neck. The goose will survive, but it needed care, or it would surely have perished. A turtle that swallowed a fishhook that wedged deep within had to be surgically freed from the offending hook. And, yesterday, a black crowned night heron was brought in after a heroic rescue by some kind folks who found it hanging from a tree branch above a body of water at Tres Rios.
You can follow the link above to see the efforts of these caring people. And you can see that it was no small task to complete that rescue. No one knows how long the heron had hung there fighting to escape. Sadly the harder that it tried to free itself the tighter the fishing line cinched around its legs. It doesn’t take that long for all circulation to be cut off. The heron, while able to fly and use its wings, would certainly have lost both legs. There is no quality of life, no ability to take care of itself, no normalcy ever again. It could have been avoided.
Despite all the hard work these folks went through, the animal was suffering, un-fixable, and sadly was euthanized. I consider this a failure of sorts unless of course people out there will read this and see how senseless this death was. It just can’t be that hard to pick up fishing line left to silently ensnare another unlucky creature. If there are no trash containers put the line, hooks and sinkers in your pocket until you can find a safe place to discard it. DO NOT WALK AWAY AND LEAVE IT FOR SOMEONE ELSE TO DO.
And, while we are talking about what you can do…I am seeing face masks tossed aside in parking lots, sidewalks, hanging from trees…very present in the out of doors. Guess what…they have ear straps that an animal can get hung up in also. Cut these loops and throw them away when they are no longer needed. Cut the loops and throw away plastic six-pack holders, and only the heavens know what you can do with discarded balloons…just stop buying them!
Check out the link to see the efforts of this caring couple. If this doesn’t compel you to do something to make a difference, I don’t know what will short of looking into the eyes of an animal wounded and dying because we didn’t think we could make a difference.
It is hard to be free attached to a tightening string of plastic fishing line that ends with a hook in an eye, mouth or wing…tightening with every breath and movement. For each piece of fishing line we pick up and properly discard, for each soda can six-pack ring we properly dispose of, it will make a difference. And this I can be sure of…to the ensnared creature, it will make a difference.
You can make a difference now…just do it.
This Week @ Liberty – March 30, 2021
One week to Easter and the numbers keep climbing. In years gone by, we’d be on the lookout in the next couple of weeks for an influx of discarded pet chicks and bunnies – some of which have been dyed some hideous color to make them somehow more “cute”…
Thankfully this practice has declined somewhat in recent years, but there are still some ignorant people out there that think this is fun and acceptable. You can even see articles on the internet explaining “How to Dye a Baby Chicken: 7 Steps (with Pictures)” This activity was considered so cruel that 45 years ago, Florida made it illegal. But right now, they are one signature away from repealing that law which will no doubt signal an uptick in hot pink and candy-apple green chicks.
Even if the dying is done humanely, the problems arise a few days later when the novelty wears off and now the cute chick or duckling is a larger bird that produces a mess and needs to be fed and housed properly.
PLEASE, resist the temptation and just color a basket of eggs, not chicks. Buy a bag of Peeps or a toy stuffed ducky instead. That way, nothing suffers when Easter is over and the chocolate coma wears off. Liberty Wildlife only takes in injured and orphaned native wildlife and does NOT accept unwanted pets.
The Orphan Care room is open for business (as are the bunny room and the foster enclosures…)! Several experienced volunteers from previous seasons are supplemented by a crop of new baby feeders eager to start nursing the tiny chicks in their care. The bins along the walls are filling rapidly and soon when the light comes on in the morning, the peeping will be nearly deafening. I always say it’s the happiest place on earth outside of Disneyland. New volunteers are trained to feed and care for the variety of babies we are apt to get in a season, from hummingbirds to love birds, and starlings to all manner of doves.
(Look for 8 pictures)
As previously noted, hummingbirds are among the first orphans to arrive at the Intake Window. Luckily young hummingbirds will often gape (beg food) and can be fed more-or-less easily by experienced Orphan Care volunteers. Once they get a little larger, they can be fed with a syringe or tube simply by offering the open end to the bird. It seems as though hummingbirds are hungry all the time , due probably to their extreme metabolic rates supported by a heart rate of up to 1,200 beats per minute. I wish I could blow through calories as fast as they do! The one nest in the pictures was brought in as it was found, constructed on top of a set of Christmas lights in someone’s garage (Note the snipped wires). They thought it was safer to bring in the entire nest, and they were probably right to do so.
(Look for 5 pictures)
We have a great egret displaying breeding plumage currently in our care. There are various herons and egrets hanging around our wetlands pond right now, several with these lacy courtship plumes which only appear during breeding season. The great egret is differentiated from the snowy egret by the yellow beak and black feet.
The cinnamon teal is a very photogenic member of the duck family and not an uncommon visitor to the area. This guy has already been released by Susie, our stellar volunteer.
The red-billed tropicbird makes only a rare appearance here in Arizona as it mainly stays along Florida and Texas coastal waters in the USA. This is a younger bird (hence the lack of “red” on his bill) and explains why he might have gotten blown off course and landed near Gold Canyon. His presentation is not definitive as yet and his x-rays showed nothing of note. He’s still under observation as of this writing.
(Look for 5 pictures)
There was a time when a peregrine at the facility was a rarity. Thanks to the Peregrine Fund and other conservation groups, these amazing birds have returned in remarkable numbers. Peregrines are one of the most widely dispersed animals on the planet, being found on every ice-free land mass except New Zealand. In fact the only bird found in more habitats than the peregrine is the pigeon.
This bird has a fractured metacarpus which compromises the blood supply to the wingtip. If it doesn’t require amputation, it can hopefully be released. If it needs surgery, he is possibly a candidate for the Education team or maybe a foster parent job. Fingers grossed for him!
(Look for 4 pictures)
The Education team keeps busy despite the pandemic. One of our favorite shows is in Clarkdale with the Verde Canyon Rail Road. Last week we braved the cold and the wind and displayed three birds that the passengers might possibly see while riding the train. We were joined by Mare who explained the Non-Eagle Feather Repository and what that means to the Native American community throughout the United States. It’s always a positive experience for all who attend while waiting to board the train.
(Look for 4 pictures)
Posted by Terry Stevens
Liberty Wildlife Volunteer