Hoots, Howls, and Hollers – November 9, 2021
If you haven’t visited our campus since the summer, you might want to slot some time into your busy calendar. The days are getting delightful, and we have been adding fun opportunities for your visit.
The old standbys remain. Our displays down the hospital wall inform you of some of the goings on in the busy east wing. Last Saturday’s visitors watched through the observation window as the veterinarians and techs performed surgery on two desert tortoises. It was mesmerizing.
The Non-Eagle Feather Repository was fully staffed and shared information on the whats, whys and whens of our outreach to Native American communities, nationwide. There is just something about the extended use of feathers that can no longer fly… but can become messengers of and to another culture. It is spell binding.
We have added a flighted bird program, a wildlife training program that features a Harris’ hawk, and “keeper” talks along the trail. Our regular stand by “pop ups” allow you to get up close and personal with many types of wildlife, and the return of Cheese and Quackers, the Indian runner ducks, are a highlight for many.
You may get to view in depth the aviary and its continuing metamorphosis… maybe it is painted buntings, indigo buntings or lazuli buntings… or perhaps a quail or a cardinal… who knows, but if you spend some time looking you might be surprised… bring your bird list and binoculars—even though you are up close, the aviary is large and some of these birds are pretty small!
The eagle feeding is a big hit in the amphitheater and posing for a picture with one of the big guys is always a nice take away. Plus, think about how much you will learn in a very short time. A lesson that is so imprinted in your memory that you have a permanent bit of “swag” that can’t be beat.
While we have long served more than just avian species, there’s even more to see now in our Interactive Education Room… where we now feature squirrels, a ringtail, alongside our large assortment of reptiles, amphibians, insects and arachnids. Lots of changes here this past year… definitely worth seeing who’s new in this space.
It is our goal for you to leave wanting more… and of course, if you get a yearly membership, you can visit again and again, to keep current with all there is to do at Liberty Wildlife. It is our goal to present you with educational opportunities in a fun and active way. In the absence of a private tour guide, our new signage allows you to point your smart phone to a QR code and go directly to our web site. Once there, you will find out, in depth, about the individual animal you are observing on the trail. Learning about each animal and its natural history is what it is all about…and by the way, you will also find out why a particular creature is with us and not free… and freedom back into the wild is always our primary goal.
There are other ways beyond Open Hours to enjoy Liberty Wildlife. We have the occasional Movie Night. We have monthly Nature Walks along the Rio Salado. We will be announcing new and exciting events throughout the spring…stay tuned to our web site and to our social media posts. Also, there are separate events afforded to members… an extra addition to the fun and learning… just reach out often to see what we are doing.
We look forward to your next visit. We hope you go away wanting more. It is our goal!
This Week @ Liberty – November 9, 2021
We’re heading into the major holidays which means increased activity for the Education Team, and as we can see from the slow growth in the intake numbers, a corresponding easing of the workload for the Medical Services group. I have been working double-time to keep TW@L filled with tid-bits of an informative nature but there’s just so much I can say about great horned owls, red tailed hawks, and kestrels… So the next few updates might be a little on the sparse side with the emphasis on holiday and organizational activities. I’m going to continue with “The Way We Were” as is appears those who follow TW@L enjoy it and have opened up new possibilities for interesting things until the intakes begin to pick up in the spring. As always, if something “blogworthy” comes in, I’ll try to cover it as usual.
Thanks to all the loyal readers out there for sticking with me!
After the arrival of the golden eagle and the 80lb. sulcata, we recently took in several smaller animals in need of care. Requiring less food (and less manpower and muscle) to treat, these include: this little cliff chipmunk that was found by a local camper in an RV. The cliff chipmunk (Tamias dorsalis) is a fairly small, bushy-tailed squirrel that normally lives along cliff walls or boulder fields bordering Pinion-juniper woodlands typically found in Arizona. Unlike other ground squirrels, Cliff chipmunks do not amass body fat. Instead, they create a “cache” of food to which they return during the cold winter months. This little guy will be fed and monitored until he can be released back to the wild.
We also took in a desert spiny lizard, several varieties of which inhabit our area of the Sonoran desert. This pretty little reptile displays some vibrant colors as it does “push-ups” as a form of territorial display. The darker colors may aid in collecting heat from the sun, as, like all reptiles, the desert spiny is cold blooded. With a little fluid replenishment, we’re hoping to be able to release this guy as well.
Baby desert tortoises are no strangers to Liberty Wildlife as we get several of them each year. Both the Mojave and the Sonoran species are protected and although they can be adopted and kept as pets, possession of them is subject to several restrictions. This is why Arizona Game & Fish Department will attach an identifying numbered tag to their shell in order to keep track of those that have been adopted legally.
Finally this week, yet another orphan baby bird has arrived. Volunteers from the Medical Services and Daily Care teams are caring for this tiny baby goldfinch. Totally off-season, this may be yet another sign that climate change is disrupting nature in a lot of unexpected areas.
(Look for 10 photos)
A beautiful northern goshawk came in recently, presenting a fractured ulna and possible vision issues. X-rays determined the causes of both of these problems were gunshot wounds. Most likely, the bird was shot and subsequently crashed to the ground causing the wing injury. The other pellet was lodged in his head directly behind the eye socket and is in an inoperable position. If there is any good news, the wing fracture is in a good place (mid-shaft) and is most likely repairable. The downside is that they are one of the largest of the accipiter family, and as we all know, accipiters are terrible patients! They are fast, strong, and wound very tight…meaning they react to stimuli like Tasmanian devils on espresso. What makes this case especially egregious is that he is an adult bird that really needs to remain in the gene pool. Hopefully, with the veterinary talent available to us, we can see this bird returned to the wild someday soon. Keep your fingers crossed!
(Look for 3 photos)
In the catch-all file this week, I have included a shot of Junior, the black-crowned night heron, enjoying his new home. Recently constructed on the west end of the Education wing, he has this totally opulent habitat in which to strut around.
And a quick shot of the Halloween Wish Tree set up by the teen volunteers. The kids filled out Halloween wishes on pumpkin cut-outs and hung them on the “wish tree” to commemorate the holiday in a sugar-free celebration!
(Look for 2 photos)
The Way We Were
Looking back over the years, I offer some shots of things we saw that perhaps some of today’s volunteers either don’t recall, or never knew…
Our little burrowing owl Frodo, who spent most of her life with Liberty Wildlife.
Dr. Orr performing surgery on an eagle in the old “bird room”.
The initial exam of Rio when he arrived at Liberty from Payson in 2007.
And Joe Miller and Aurora in the Veteran’s Day parade in downtown Phoenix 7 years ago this week.
(Look for 5 photos)