Hoots, Howls, and Hollers – May 07, 2018
In the past few months there have been some heartening messages related to our Rio Salado, a ribbon of life that runs through our valley and desert. Over the years, this amenity has been used and abused; it has been ignored and maligned. No more!
In the early 1960’s the revitalization of the river was a dream in the eyes of people who recognized the potential and for a time efforts were made to resurrect it. Unfortunately, it wasn’t completed at that time. Now, however, at the urging of Senator John McCain new life is being puffed into the effort. In Senator McCain’s words, “The Rio Salado project has the potential to transform the Salt River bottom and realize an untapped Valley treasure.”
Arizona State University at the request of Senator McCain will be the oversight entity of this Rio Reimagined by providing a focus on project studies, stakeholder engagement and academic insights. The financial, intellectual and organizational resources will start with ASU but to be successful it must involve all of those impacted along the river….communities, individuals, businesses, tribes, and other organizations that can provide support and input.
In the long run, we all will prosper—physically, spiritually, economically, emotionally by bringing new life to 45 miles of river.
Selfishly, Liberty Wildlife stands to gain a great deal by the revitalization of the river. We are located on the south bank between 24th St and 28th St…at the very end of the original project. Currently we have a permanent river of green…a riparian area that meanders by our new facility. This ribbon of green provides interesting bird life—everything from ospreys and eagles to herons and other waterfowl. Many of the other riparian avian species find themselves at our facility hanging out at the wetlands and taking advantage of bird feeders. It is a joy to log a new species and that number continues to grow.
The wildlife corridor afforded by a source of water that runs through our area sends coyotes, foxes, and beavers scurrying through in search of a living. And, the Peace Trail provides an avenue for bikers, skaters, hikers, dog walkers and the occasional horse riders. It is such a joy to see the interaction with nature, and this will only grow as the plans take place.
By studying the successes of other river revitalizations in cities like San Antonio, Dallas and Fort Worth, it is easy to generalize the overall value to all of us in the completion of this process. I look forward to hearing more of the plans, seeing them materialize, and being a part of the rebirth of a desert river…a cherished commodity.
Stay tuned to this blog to hear more about these plans.
This Week @ Liberty – May 07, 2018
We have taken in over 800 animals in the last two weeks (one day alone saw 107 arrivals!) Now that the winds have died down a little, the temps are at record levels and the babies will be bailing out to escape the heat.
The orphans are coming in large numbers now, and the raptor babies are sometimes cuter than the others. Little red tails, tiny western screech owls, newly hatched kestrels – all more photogenic than the last one. The hungry little carnivore must be fed by a volunteer wearing disruptive clothing or by foster parents to prevent improper imprinting making this a very labor-intensive time of year.
(Look for 4 photos)
We are lucky to have an abundance of foster parents of the GHO variety. Not only do we have Igor, Wyatt, Josie, and Elvira, we also are able to impress some of our education birds into service as fosters after the ED season comes to a close. Some of our long term Ed birds begin getting ready for nesting even before the official end of the season and they move seamlessly into their new role as “mamas” when the orphans start to arrive. After a supervised introduction, if all goes smoothly, the families grow without a thought as to how many eggs were or were not laid…
(Look for 2 photos)
We don’t get in a lot of flammulated owls as they sometimes don’t do well in captivity. However, one came up from the San Pedro area recently and is now in our care. The theory is that the little bird might have collided with a window and sustained a head/neck injury. This would be consistent with its presentation and overall behavior. No fractures were discovered during the initial assessment and it did not appear to be starving. I’ll try to keep you posted on its recovery.
(Look for 2 photos)
Some things just keep on happening, no matter how many time we tell people to NOT DO THAT any more. Leaving fishing gear on the ground, using lead bullets, and glue traps are leading contenders for the “Have you not been listening?” award. The goose had it leg pinned to its side with a fishing lure for an undetermined period when it came in to us. I can only imagine the relief it felt when the Med Services people finally cut it out and released the leg. The glue trapped sparrow represents the top of the food chain that is displayed on the surface of the card. You can see the bugs (including a scorpion), and the lizard that was after the bugs, and then the bird who was then trapped as it hunted it’s dinner. the next day, a curved bill thrasher arrived that was stuck on three glue cards! It’s no wonder these are illegal in Australia as they are totally inhumane and not all that effective.
(Look for 3 photos)
Our second “Sippin’ the Spirits of the Southwest” festival was a large success last week. The weather was nearly perfect with moderate temperatures and blue skies as people strolled the grounds, met with some of our avian ambassadors, and enjoyed some local native food and drinks. The events are a low key and totally enjoyable way to spend an afternoon with friends and wildlife learning about who’s backyard we’re all living in here in the southwest..
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Just a quick shot of the business end of a Harris’ hawk on his way to release. Haha’s have long legs and long, powerful toes supporting their talons and when they want to hurt you, they pack the gear! This is why we send R&T volunteers to retrieve them from the wild and don’t usually allow the public to do the rescuing. Trust me, I know the damage they can do!
(Look for 1 photo)
Posted by Terry Stevens
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