Hoots, Howls, and Hollers – October 13, 2020
As you have no doubt read in our recent communications, our annual fundraiser, Wishes for Wildlife, has gone virtual. In the year of COVID the key word for many like us is pivot. Like all of the rest of you, our world has turned upside down. We found, to our delight, that this spring and summer you rose to the occasion and supported our rehabilitation efforts for over 11,000 animals most generously. For that, we are eternally grateful.
As we move out of our busy orphan care season, we move into our education efforts. While we educate all year round, we make Herculean efforts during the school year, as our message of nurturing nature needs to be broadcast loudly and relentlessly to our youth. Today, dominated by “screen time” has made those efforts difficult but ever more important. Schools aren’t able to bring busloads of eager minds to our campus to experience the close-up engagement with native wildlife, interactive activities, and knowledgeable educators spreading the importance of our mission. Once again, we have had to pivot.
No on-site field trips and no tours means we need to find other ways to broadcast our message and once again, pivot must be the word of the hour. We have zoomed our messages even nationally to great acclaim. We know that isn’t the same, but it has allowed us to reach a new audience while still capturing the minds locally.
While we hope that the spring brings a different scenario, we just don’t know. What we do know is that the animals need to be kept program ready. We know that the education volunteers and staff need to be as practiced as always. We know that in a moment’s notice we could pivot again and with wide-open arms, welcome all of our public in all of the old traditional ways to experience our education programming.
Wishes for Wildlife is our main way of ensuring that we can carry on with our educational goals. Our virtual format makes it very easy for everyone to participate. However, if you are interested in a little up-close experience you can host a gathering… socially distanced and safely orchestrated for ten or fewer folks in your home or yard. Our virtual program will be available, our online auction will be fun, and if you are in the Phoenix-metro area, for a mere $750 you get provisions by M Catering including a charcuterie board, two bottles of wine, and a treat for each guest. We are adding to the excitement of that gathering a guest appearance of our educational ambassadors and handlers who come to your gathering. Photos can be taken, questions can be answered, and an up-close and personal experience can be had….special for you and your guests. We also have a $500 gathering that doesn’t include the visitation by an animal ambassador which might be more to your taste and liking.
Here’s the deal. We are scheduling those visits now and need to let the caterers know who’s gathering by the end of this week. So, if you are thinking about supporting us in this way….now’s the time, and it is so simple. Go to https://aesaz.co/ELP/LIBERTY20 and sign up today. You will be glad to support our mission to educate today’s youth about the importance of wildlife and nature, and you will wow your guests with a fun and unique look into the behind the scenes at Liberty Wildlife.
It is important now more than ever. We thank you for your support.
This Week @ Liberty – October 13, 2020
The word for 2020 will forever be remembered: Unprecedented. Every intake is now a new record, and it’ll continue this way for the rest of the year. Our focus has now made the natural evolution as it always does after August from keeping up with the new arrivals to trying to raise funds to keep the operation going for another year. Currently, it’s more difficult due to the pandemic and its effect on protocols and procedures which have led to a total overhaul of how we approach the public in terms of requesting donations. Hopefully our friends, new and old, will step up and answer the call by supporting us in the usual ways, including Wishes for Wildlife. Our work continues in any case, and many thanks to all those who make it possible!
The shelves are empty now, no instant “Feed me!” peeping that greets the morning visitor from March until August. The brooders have been cleaned and stored, ready for six months of rest. Kathleen and Mel can relax for now, having successfully piloted Orphan Care through the minefields of another baby bird season. BUT, in just a few months, just as the world cycles from season to season, the new babies will again be arriving and OC will once more become the happiest place on earth (yes, Disney Land, you’re number two!)
(Look for 3 pictures.)
Even when the intake numbers are down, the injured and orphaned still show up. A great blue heron was brought to the window last week presenting severe injuries, most likely from a dog attack (Sometimes, the damage is too graphic for pictures.)
Almost everything that comes in gets fluids as a start to treatment. When the care is successful in the long run, the bird is given a leg band and then gets to go into an outside enclosure to regain flying skills and to reacclimatize to our ambient conditions.This is always a big step on the happy road to release.
Some birds don’t need a lot of medical intervention, like the little pied bill grebe that was found in a swimming pol at a local golf club recently. Grebes require an appreciable amount of “runway” to successfully take off and if they land on the ground, or like this little guy, in a pool, they are stuck until they are relocated. In this case, he needed nothing but a ride to a larger body of water to be released.
In the last photo, the West Wing Staff was out front taking photos of some of our goats to use in a promotion for Wishes for Wildlife. Goats not being the most cooperative of creatures, it was kind of fun to watch.
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Not sure if it’s the prolonged drought or climate change in general, but we seem to be getting more bats than usual. The good news is we have been able to release more than usual as well. The hoary bat that came in a couple of weeks agate well and responded to treatment and was released last week, along with a couple of other bats of varying species. I recently ordered and received two additional bat enclosures for use in rehabbing these little guys. Since they are so high on the rabies vector list, they need to be sequestered while they are with us. They can also only be handled by volunteers who have gone through the rabies vaccine series for safety reasons. At one point last week, we had five bats in our care.
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It’s really great to have a group of superb, dedicated veterinarians volunteering at Liberty. The level of care each animal receives is extraordinary and all the doctors seem to work together with amazing coordination. Checking on a barn owl’s wing one minute, and then fitting a splint to the leg of a Cooper’s hawk the next means nothing is missed and all the birds get the best care possible. Add to this, the assistance from medical school interns and students means the next generation of wildlife veterinarians appears to be in fine shape and the work will carry on.
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When the Swainson’s hawks are migrating, the potential for new arrivals of this species goes up. This young bird came in recently presenting wing injuries which truncated his journey south. As has happen before, when the migratory trip is interrupted for any length of time, the injured bird has to remain with us until the direction is reversed when the season changes. Migration is difficult to start with, and if you remove the safety afforded by huge numbers traveling with you, it becomes almost impossible. If the bird is successfully rehabilitated, he can join his fellows again in the spring when they head north and again pass through the valley. (The Swainson’s we noted in the last update that Tuk and Kyle had quipped with GPS trackers had made it as far as southern Mexico by the end of last week!)
(Look for 4 photos)
A raven arrived recently with a gunshot projectile in his wing. The damage was extensive but Dr. Lamb thought there was a chance to surgically repair the bones. The procedure was scheduled for last Saturday. Dr. Lamb was assisted by Dr. Reeder and Melissa Ochoa, one of the medical students at Midwestern that helps out at Liberty. The surgery went well and the bird is recovering at this time. His prognosis is guarded due to the proximity of the fractures to the joint. Keep your fingers crossed for this bird!
(Look for 3 photos)
When I was flying (especially long airplanes, like the 757 or the A-321) one of the hazards we had to be mindful of was the danger of “tail strikes”. Yesterday, a little flammulated owl arrived at the window and it appears he had bumped his, er…”tail” on a bad spot. There was a cholla cactus ball stuck to his…rump. I would have thought they would have covered avoiding this hazard in owl school, but hey, we all make a bad landing once in a while. He is currently recuperating in a brooder in ICU.
(Look for 2 photos)
Posted by Terry Stevens