Hoots, Howls, and Hollers – October 11, 2022
Can you see my glow? I am still radiant after “The Weight of a Feather” documentary debuted at the Harkins Cine1 theatre at Tempe Marketplace on October 2nd!
It was so rewarding to see the culmination of two years of collaboration with Kristen Atwell Ford, Bill Davis, and the folks at Quantum Leap Productions come to fruition. We are very proud to tell the world about the work that Liberty Wildlife has done for the past 41 years… our accomplishments, our partners, our dedication to the mission of nurturing the nature of Arizona, our universal growth… the real tagline could be ‘wildlife, nature, and cultures’… that about says it all!
If you haven’t yet been able to see the film in the theater on the big screen there is still a chance to take it in. It will be showing at the Tempe Marketplace Harkins Theatres through Thursday evening at 5 and 6:45 pm. First, you’ll be able to stream it as a package in our Wishes for Wildlife event. Later we’re hoping to have it picked up by PBS, and still later shown at film festivals and in other venues… keep the message going!
To sign up for our big fundraiser, Wishes for Wildlife, get your tickets at https://aesaz.co/ELP/WISHES22. This will be a hybrid event, with a virtual silent auction and online videos “behind the scenes” here at Liberty, on October 22nd . A mere $25 ticket will let you bid on some exceptionally cool items. There are trips including a week at St. Andrews in Scotland, three days in Napa Valley, three days in New Orleans, with shorter jaunts throughout the country. There are baskets of delightful items, unique, antique and collectibles that you couldn’t buy in the store…but are at hand for you to choose from at the Wishes for Wildlife auction. There are pet supplies, libations, and outdoor treasures, and many more things to choose from. You just need to be registered to vie for these incredibly wonderful items.
Maybe you want more than just the online offerings. Well, this virtual fundraiser with a twist– the opportunity to have our education team show up at your house/party to provide a close up look at why we do what we do. You and your guests will get to interact up close with hawks, owls, reptiles, vultures, falcons, or even possibly an eagle. We provide the educational “entertainment” and you can decide the rest.
Last year, I ordered pizza for my guests and hosted a casual get together on my patio. Maybe you will invite family and neighbors over for a potluck, or some may opt to plan a multi-course meal. There are no requirements but that you sign up for a private party and send us the names and emails for your guests, so they too can register to participate in the online auction. They will get messages keeping them up to date with the specifics of the auction.
Remember this ALL goes to further our mission, and we depend on you to help us do this. Not only do you have the good feelings of helping a cause you believe in, but you get to be with friends to share the message; you get to bid on fun and valuable items; and you get to be one of the first to see “The Weight of a Feather”. Trust me, you won’t be sorry, and it will be the best investment you have made in a while.
Right now, go get your tickets and get the ball rolling for a very special event and experience,
I “virtually” hope to see you there!
This Week @ Liberty – October 11, 2022
This is the time of year when I remember why I live in Phoenix; Halloween decorations are in full swing, Thanksgiving and Christmas are just around the corner and the weather is once again bearable. The snow birds are coming back (hello, traffic!) and our days of hiking and camping and all things outdoors are coming back in full swing.
That means there’s lots happening here at Liberty Wildlife, too.
With our education season in full swing, we have off-site programs, field trips, open hours, private tours and events happening weekly, including our upcoming annual fundraising event Wishes for Wildlife coming up on October 22…we’re never at a shortage of things to do.
Truly, we’d have it no other way!
Weight of a Feather
It wasn’t long after I started volunteering here at Liberty Wildlife that I heard rumblings of a documentary being made about the place I was quickly falling in love with. I was almost a year into my volunteer effort, just beginning to shadow for Medical Services, when I would catch the film crew and staff coming and going. Though I was always at the tail end of it, I was excited to see what they’d inevitably put together.
October 2nd, 2022 was the screening premiere; it was as wonderful as I expected. Opening with soaring Arizona landscapes, then interviewing my new co-workers and documenting all the wonderful work they’ve done over the last several years, Quantam Leap Productions didn’t disappoint. They captured exactly what Liberty Wildlife has been about since 1981 when Veterinarian Kathy Orr began this endeavor: to nurture the nature of Arizona through conservation, education, and rehabilitation.
If you’re interested in seeing the documentary (and I highly recommend it!), it is playing at Harkins Tempe twice a day from October 7th-13th. Don’t miss your chance to see this short, but sensational, film about your favorite rehabilitation center here in the valley.
Mythical Gods and Tricksters
Like most animals, there is a variety of mythology attached to Common Ravens. In Greek mythology, they’re associated with Apollo, the God of Prophecy, and were sent as messengers to the mortal world, but often symbolized bad luck. For Vikings, ravens were associated with Odin, and a symbol of a raven was sewn on a banner for good luck on their sea voyages. In Native American folklore of the Pacific Northwest, they are seen as tricksters.
Yet despite all their myths of omen and bad luck, the ravens under our care are intelligent, playful, and sometimes mischievous. Often ravens and other members of the Corvid family will bring people gifts in exchange for ‘goods’ (and by goods I mean food). Plus, they’re not picky; they’ll eat anything from carrion to nestlings to pet food to whatever’s left in your garbage.
If you’re a camper, you know to watch out for them because they will, absolutely, find a way into it.
Of course, with their intelligence comes bold personalities. We have several Common Ravens here at Liberty Wildlife, including Tikani and Beaker, who’ve become resident foster parents to nestlings in the spring and summer who’ve fallen from their nests. Tikani’s injury is a little less obvious; in 2018, he came to Liberty Wildlife with a severe left wing injury which prevented him from fully using the wing. Beaker, on the other hand, had severe damage to her lower beak (or lower mandible, if you want to get technical) and since 2010 has adapted by using her upper beak as a ‘scoop’ to lift pieces of food into her mouth (usually off a perch where it’s easier).
Out in the wild, these birds are almost everywhere; they’re as large as a hawk with glistening black feathers and are often by themselves. Keep an eye out…they like to make trouble, but they’re worth the watch!
Wishes for Wildlife
I’m sure you’ve seen this pop up recently; maybe it was on social media, maybe at an event somewhere. For those who don’t know, Wishes for Wildlife is our annual fundraising event (in fact, most of the money we make to sustain this campus comes from this event!). This year marks our 29th annual year, and while we may do it a little differently than we have in the past, the evening promises to be nothing short of amazing.
For only $25, you can gain access to our silent auction and all the items up for bid there. And no, it’s not just limited to Arizona! Anyone anywhere in the United States can purchase a ticket and get involved (aka buying some really awesome stuff). Keep in mind not all items can be shipped (like big baskets and benches and wine); rest assured our website will tell you if the particular item you’re bidding on is available for shipping.
If you’re looking for something more intimate, you can create your own small gathering and have members of our education staff come to you! For $750, a hawk, falcon, vulture or owl will come to meet you and your guests; for $1000, a bald eagle will make an appearance.
I’m not saying you could potentially be the coolest event host ever…but the possibility is there.
There’s still time to buy your tickets, too. You can get them here, and you don’t even need to leave the comfort of your own home to do it. But, you should still mark your calendars; October 22, 2022 at 6pm is when the festivities start.
Hope to ‘see’ you there!
Becoming an Educator
I remember the moment I wanted to work with birds; granted, I’ve always loved animals, but this was THE moment. I’d gone to California with my husband for a work trip, and we had dinner on the beach…with a falcon friend. When I asked the handler about the falcon, she said they were there as ‘pest control.’ Whenever a seagull or other bird got too close to the food, she released the falcon to scare them off, and she remained through dinner to keep them at bay.
It wasn’t long after I found Liberty Wildlife and began my volunteer journey, but it wasn’t until the fall of 2021 that I made the leap to education.
Like many things, to become an educator at Liberty Wildlife, it’s a matter of time and commitment. Your first step is to start volunteering in another department here on campus; once you’ve committed to that position for a minimum of six months, you can join the Education class. For five weeks, you learn and practice public speaking, along with learning the natural histories of the birds.
After graduation, you schedule time with practice partners (other volunteers) who’ve worked with our animal ambassadors for years. You learn the birds’ quirks, mannerisms, as well as how to watch their body language to keep yourself, and the public, comfortable and safe. There are different levels of birds, too. Level one birds are more tolerant of newbies and will be the first you’ll handle as an education volunteer…level four requires dedication to building a relationship with the bird, which, like all things, takes time.
With life slowly getting back to normal, the days of zoom meetings are becoming fewer and farther between, and our education volunteers are busier than ever. With off-site programs like Urban Wildlife Conservation Day and weekend trips to the Verde Canyon Railroad, our schedule fills up fast in the fall and doesn’t slow down until spring.
So, if you’ve ever wanted to be that person at an off-site program or here on campus building strong relationships with our animal ambassadors and talking to the public about our feathered friends…here’s your chance to take that dream and make it a reality. Check out our volunteer application and get involved; I promise it’s worth the wait.
I’m not saying this is my favorite section, but it’s my favorite section. Not only do I get to share these random photos with all of you, they also remind me of how vibrant and eventful life is here at Liberty Wildlife. There’s never a shortage of new things to see and experiences to learn and all the things that come between.
It certainly makes for a busy, but rewarding day.
A private event turns to Laura for a tour plus volunteer time afterward (1 picture)
A Western Screech Owl fell into a pool and finds himself waiting for medical attention (1 picture)
Marble sunbathes in the early morning before public hours (1 picture)
Speaking of Condors, Millie looks like she might be up to something… (1 picture)
Handler Phyllis sits with Rio, a Zone-Tailed Hawk, who you can see during Public Hours (2 pictures)
The Elf Owl has found a catch…a cockroach, to be exact! (1 picture)
Last but not least; I spy with my little eye… (hint: ribbit ribbit) (1 picture)
Remember to buy your tickets for Wishes for Wildlife; it’s fast approaching! And, of course, we’re always happy to see you for public hours on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays from 10am-1pm.
Until next time!
Posted by Acacia Parker
Public Outreach Coordinator