Hoots, Howls, and Hollers – November 10, 2020
A breath of fresh air has brought in a welcome change. At last it is cool…I mean cold. That is, cold for Phoenix. With the winds of change, came a little bit of moisture, but also a great hope for the future. It was getting a little old breaking all records for the hottest day ever on…name a date…
With the appearance of fall, we also see different animals. Many of the unusuals that we get in rehab are migrants needing a little help on their way. Our Swainson’s hawk that we released with a GPS pack continues its migration and at last count had made it almost to Argentina…3000 miles or there about…but who is counting? We are very hopeful that we will get positive results on its way back in the spring. I will keep you posted. I continue to marvel that this little bird on the brink of death has made this journey on those two wings working hard together and with a will to succeed that is hard wired.
We have also seen interesting migrants that are passing through using Liberty Wildlife as a way station to their final destination. We have had visitors from species who are extending their ranges and our campus has become a temporary stopping point. Here are a few of the recent visitors: rufous-backed robin, painted red-start, hermit thrush, Townsend’s warbler, yellow warbler, yellow rumped warbler, black phoebe, ruby crowned kinglet, black throated gray warbler, hermit warbler, black tailed gnat catcher, and at the wetlands, great blue herons, green herons, great egrets and coots….and the resident mallard ducks that visit during nesting season. We have a list of other raptors that fly through or hang around, and that will be covered at another time.
Our human guest list also continues to grow. Our delightful outdoor venue provides a great place to practice our COVID protocol….masked and socially distanced while still providing house bound folks with a respite where the scenery is inviting and the viewing of wildlife is provided…safely at all times. Our goats are making appearances now and guests can see the hard work they provide keeping weeds under control in a non-toxic way. It is a great relief to our virtual world.
And, as we have learned to pivot in a number of ways, we are now providing our “goat to meetings and conferences.” Through the miracle of ZOOM, we can bring a breath of fresh air to your virtual meetings adding an element of education and of levity to the hum drum of another virtual experience. Look it up online if you are curious.
Our Non-Eagle Feather Repository (NEFR) stands ready, as all of us do, to recognize November as Indigenous Americans month. Stay tuned for information about our efforts to take the NEFR as well as Liberty Wildlife to a new national level…more to follow.
All-in-all, it is a time to be thankful for the changes we are experiencing. For me, a long exhausting season has regressed to the background. I am hoping not to go through a hot spell like that again. Here’s for a well needed change and a breath of fresh COOL air.
This Week @ Liberty – November 10, 2020
It appears we have finally entered “Fall” if the temperature is any indication. Still not sure if the break from the heat will last or if it’s just the weather gods teasing us, but for now, it’s rather pleasant. We’ve all said it, “This is why we live in Arizona!” but the period during which we say it is getting shorter every year. This might be why the intake numbers are remaining high – if we average just 7 intakes a day for the rest of the year, we’ll hit 12,000 – a dubious milestone. Still, we are here for the animals and as long as they keep arriving, our fantastic volunteers will keep providing them with a level of care they could not imaging were we not here for them. Of course, this doesn’t come for free. From the total funds generated by Wishes for Wildlife this year, and from the continued munificence of the people dropping off animals at the intake window, we’re all humbled and heartened by the generosity of the citizens of Arizona! The public keeps us going…and going…and going…
Recently veteran Rescue & Transport volunteer Carl Price got a call to go to rescue this 40lb beaver. It seems the large semi-aquatic rodent was seen huddled against a wall at the Granite Creek Dam for a couple of days and it was determined that he probably needed some help. Lacking appropriate wood to chew on, he was sharpening his teeth on a rock! After effecting the rescue, Carl transported the animal to South West Wildlife where we outsource a lot of larger mammals for further care.
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Liberty doesn’t usually take in pet birds or animals, but when this little lovebird came in last week, we couldn’t turn him away. In the wild, birds will bite and chew on harder substances and this action wears down their breaks to a manageable size and is a totally normal process. This little guy’s upper beak was so overgrown it nearly reached his chest, most likely interfering with his ability to eat properly. It appears he was then allowed to fly around (or perhaps released) and hit a window injuring the beak further. As soon as he was admitted, our Medical Services volunteer Amyra treated the injury and then trimmed the beak to a more suitable length. With proper care, this little guy will live a normal life.
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We took in a few more migratory birds last week, including this little hermit thrush. Highlighting what a dangerous activity migration is, especially for small birds, this little guy presented wounds he acquired by being attacked by a cat. He is currently in ICU and doing well.
Another pretty out-of-town visitor was this ruby crowned kinglet. These little warblers tend to be true “snow birds”, summering all across northern Canada and spending the winter in the southwest down to Mexico. We tend to see them this time of year as they arrive for the cooler months. The males have the red patch on top of their heads.
We also got another flammulated owl as a patient. These tiny owls usually only show up here if they run into trouble while migrating. This is particularly unfortunate for them as they tend to “tanker up” on food for the trip which translates to fat for their flight. If the journey is interrupted and they have to stay immobile for any length of time while they recover, the fat stores cause them liver problems which can have dire consequences over time. They need to get back on the road ASAP!
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Tuesday is always “Vet night” when several of our volunteer veterinarians come in. On this night, pretty much all animals in our care are seen by some of the best wildlife vets in the business and animals who would not have had a chance to survive are given the very best care possible. The patient list reads like a who’s who of Arizona raptors from great horned and barn owls to red tailed hawks, peregrine falcons, and turkey vultures. On some days, you might even see a California condor or a bald eagle being treated, but no matter the species, all get the best care possible.
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The waterfowl in our care encompass a variety of species, some more common than others. Currently, they run the gamut from local mallards to some more exotic (or at least less common) birds. The blue winged teal is somewhat rare in Arizona, but as with other migrants, we do see them occasionally.
The pretty mandarin is not something we see often as they are usually in private lakes and gardens. We’ve seen the Egyptian goose in an earlier posting a few weeks ago. And the ubiquitous Canada goose is both a frequent visitor and a common resident across the country. (As you can see, we get a LOT of Canada geese in for treatment!)
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Recently a gentleman who was driving a semi-trailer across the country stopped out front and presented this western grebe. He had found the bird along Interstate 40 where it intersects with I-17 in Flagstaff. He picked up the bird and placed it in a box in the truck’s cab and somehow figured out where to take it. As with most grebes we see, there was no real injury, just an unfortunate choice of landing places. I know I’ve said this before, but due to the arrangement of their legs in relation to their center of gravity, grebes are designed to land and take off on water. If they end up on land, they are stuck until they somehow get returned to a body of water large enough for them to accelerate to take-off speed. The upside of this is, they rarely need a lot of heavy medical intervention, just a lift to the nearest lake of appropriate size. Luckily, that’s all this guy needed.
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Thanks to a local animal shelter, we now have a new education long nose snake. He is obviously a youngster and we have named him “Cyrano.” Since he has been in captivity for an extended period, he can’t be released to the wild so he will be joining our Education team as soon as we can train the handlers how to properly display him to the public.
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This was submitted by Rescue & Transport volunteer Dave Thomas.
Can anyone identify what it might be?
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Posted by Terry Stevens