Hoots, Howls, and Hollers – November 05, 2019
It is November…yikes, why is the year moving so quickly? November feels like autumn in most places…not so much here. It feels like harvest colors and falling leaves…not so much here. It also feels like a time to be aware of all I have to be thankful for…a month of thankfulness…that part is definitely here!
We have just put Wishes to Wildlife 2019 to bed. It was wildly successful on many levels. It was a great party. The guests were generous, the weather Gods smiled. The food was wonderful and the evening went as planned. This wouldn’t have happened without a team of Guardians who planned all year (Yes, W4W 2020 has already set a date for next year, Oct 24th, 2020) and will start next year’s plan shortly. You can join up to be a Guardian if you are interested in helping our mission, if you like a group of like-minded friends to hang out with and if you like to be part of a good time. As any of you know, an event like this has so many moving parts that there is a plethora of places to share your expertise…and we welcome your involvement.
A big shout goes out to the Liberty Wildlife Board of Directors who jointly embraced our crazy plans and invited friends to join in the fun. The Liberty Wildlife staff jumped in to help do the grunt work transforming the campus into a festive Halloween arena and putting it all back in place after the fact. The Liberty Wildlife volunteers stepped up by providing a delightful program featuring our education group and wildlife ambassadors and by manning the stations the night of. We had an extra bonus of volunteers from Chase Bank who stepped right in to make the visitors to our campus feel at home and to enjoy a perfect evening.
No evening goes without its challenges and a thunderous thanks goes out to our specialists who wear many hats and quickly donned them to smooth out any wrinkles in the plans without a notice by the group…the group too focused on the fun at hand.
The thanks can’t end without a warm and grateful acknowledgement to Darlene and Glenn Fitchet of Tampa, Florida and to Richard Cole of Miami, Florida (what’s up with the east coast delegation) who thrilled the group with their most generous donations along with The Rob and Melani Walton Foundation who donated in honor of the Wishes for Wildlife annual fundraiser.
And, lastly, a major thanks to all of you who bought tables and tickets, who acted as our audience, who donned creative costumes and also to those of you who dressed like Phoenicians and scoured the auction tables and live auction items vying for and winning every item we had. It made clean up very easy! Each of you topped the dessert of a very successful event. We look forward to having all of you back next year….maybe there will be prizes for the best table team along with best costume, best animal depiction, most original…the possibilities are endless, the potential for success is waiting.
This Week @ Liberty – November 05, 2019
Last Friday, the intake number surpassed last year’s total – and we still have almost two months to go this year! I doubt we’ll hit the 10K mark, but every animal that arrives now is a new record. What is remarkable is the range of species we are getting. In one morning last week, in addition to two pigeons, we took in a great horned owl, a prairie falcon, a sharp-shinned hawk, and a flammulated owl – all before noon! It’s most likely due to migration as a great influx of animals transit the Phoenix area on their way to wintering grounds in the south. In any case, we are still seeing injuries from adverse contact with humans which might be mitigated if we were to modify our behavior slightly…gunshots, poisonings, electrocutions – almost all are preventable with some care and forethought.
Wishes for Wildlife seemed to be a big success on the 26th, which was a Halloween themed event this year. The weather was nearly perfect and a pleasant evening was had by all the pirates, monsters, and characters who attended.
Let’s see what the last few weeks looked like…
This time of year, we don’t get many orphans in needing care. Currently we take in mostly adults and juveniles, including this gorgeous adult red tailed hawk. Most raptors will exhibit darker eyes as they get older, and from the deep brown/red of this bird’s eyes, it is NOT a first year bird. By estimating the age of the intake, the skilled Med Service volunteer knows where to begin the examination by knowing what to expect – and what not to look for.
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Two young animals did come in recently. A very young gopher snake and a youthful possum. We don’t get many juvenile snakes and this guy was a popular patient when he arrived. The little possum got here after climbing into a truck in Texas and riding to Phoenix. He was confused, very hungry, and infested with fleas! This is no way the first hitch-hiker to arrive after a truck ride from far away. A few years ago, I had to fly to Cleveland to retrieve a roadrunner that somehow got into an auto parts truck in Hermosillo and ended up in Ohio!
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On Halloween morning (the 31st), we took in a sharp-shinned hawk, a flammulated owl, a great horned owl, and a prairie falcon – all before noon! The joke going around was they were all out trick-or-treating but I’m sure that’s not what really happened. The sharpie was most likely a window collision while the flammulated’s injury was undetermined. The great horned was a bit of a celebrity as he was impaled on the grill of an SUV and rode quite a distance before being extricated by a Liberty rescue volunteer. The local news media was all over this one and followed him for a couple of days. (I guess they never heard about “Tucker”, one of our Ed GHO’s who suffered similar injuries a few years ago!) Then one of our great R&T volunteers drove to Wenden Az (between Quartzite and Wickenburg) and picked up the bird who had arrived from Havasu City the day before. She was X-rayed upon arrival at Liberty and the radiograph clearly showed her fractured ulna to be the result of a gunshot.
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The latest addition to our Desert Tortoise Team, Roadway seems to be fitting in well. Recently he was taken on a “walkabout” by the Ed team and was given some watermelon which was obviously quite a delicacy! We treat our tortoises (and ALL our education animals) very well indeed! Also worthy of note was the discovery of some baby queen caterpillars chowing down on the milkweed in our pollinator garden. These pretty little crawlers are destined to become monarch butterflies and as such made us all very happy and proud when they were discovered! (Jan has great eyes – they are very tiny at this stage and not easy to see – or photograph!)
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One morning recently a gentleman brought a plastic trash can to the window. In it was a little nighthawk totally soaked with used black engine oil. He had apparently hit a window at the airport and fell into a bucket that was being used to change oil in one of the tugs at the cargo facility. He was immediately given a gentle bath with Dawn and allowed to rest. Unfortunately, by the next morning he was observed to be deteriorating and was at that point quietly put to sleep. He had been so soaked I could not even see any field markings to confirm he was a nighthawk or a poor-will. The biggest danger to birds who are covered in petrochemicals is that in attempting to preen themselves, they ingest the toxic fluids and the poison kills them. A sad demise for a pretty bird just trying to remove flying insects from our environment.
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The evening was perfect and everyone enjoyed the food, the company, the animals, and the spirit(s)! Something Wicked This Way Comes was the theme and lived up to its promise! See Megan’s comments above.
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What it’s all about! A couple of release photos (and video) by just a couple of our many volunteers…
(video by Megan Hughes Rini)
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Posted by Terry Stevens