Hoots, Howls, and Hollers – October 24, 2023
Best Time of the Year – Season for Releases!
The season’s the reason for so much that’s please’n! I know it sounds totally corny, but that is okay. Another Wishes for Wildlife event is in the history book. And huge thanks goes out to everyone involved including the workers, the donors, and the shoppers… all-in-all it was a great success! And, this fundraising success allows us to do what we like best, “please’n” part of wildlife rehabilitation…the release.
We are now in the process of releasing young adults of all species who came into our hospital in various stages of baby-hood. The “orphans” are finally going free/going home.
There is no end to the pleasure of seeing a limp little ball of feathers, fur and maybe scales take off for its best life. They have been nursed and guided to adulthood by surrogate parents, starting with you, a concerned fellow desert resident who stepped in when they needed the first attention. They were helped to grow, in many cases by surrogate parents who taught them to be owls, hawks, falcons, songbirds, etc. They consumed many worms, mice, rats, and seeds, etc., which is what they are supposed to be doing. They maybe met new parents and siblings…but that out of necessity happens…and they all learned to fly and get food, find water, and recognize their own kind.
They have become new citizens of nature and have an important job to do to help keep the balance in our local environment.
As they are readied to go free, we are able to share the thrill with folks who helped in the process and over the years, I have never met anyone who felt the experience was just “ho hum”. Instead, it becomes a wonderful and unforgettable experience for each volunteer who takes part. Everything from a hummingbird to an eagle, a grey squirrel to a grey fox, a gopher snake to a spadefoot toad has an important role to play. And it is exhilarating to see them go free to fulfill their purpose.
We are one with nature whether we know it or not, whether we act like it or not, and a close-up experience like a wildlife release is a very good way to tune into the important part we each play in the whole thing. Rarely in a release does the animal come back and show the immense appreciation…but that is okay. Its act of “fleeing’ means we have done our job.
Saturday night was the scene of a release of a great horned owl. It was a beautiful creature and as it escaped its captivity, it flew into a darkened sky with one wing catching the artificial light while the other wing disappeared into the night it will call home. We humans applauded the success of the process and applauded the release and freedom of one more creature given a second chance because of you and your part in the process—whether worker, volunteer or donor.
Thank you from me and from our newly freed phantom of the night. Be well and prosper.
This Week @ Liberty – October 24, 2023
Whew, what a month October has been! Our annual fundraiser, Wishes for Wildlife, went off with a bang (and raised more money than expected) and public hours is back in full swing! We’re also seeing a full schedule of on-site field trips, and plenty more off-site programs, and even some events happening here on campus over the next few months (make sure to keep an eye out for e-mails on those!). We’ve slowed down considerably on our hospital side, but it doesn’t deter the work that needs done. There’s plenty of animals still coming to our doorstep, and plenty more we’re hoping to get back into the wild (sooner rather than later).
Despite the drop on one side (hospital), we’re still plenty busy on the other (education). It’s the cycle of Liberty Wildlife; we certainly wouldn’t have it any other way.
Every year, we take the month of August off to work around campus. Not only does it give staff and volunteers a break, it also gives our animals one, too. It’s much needed, especially because once October hits, we’re back in full swing with both public hours and off-site events (and on-site field trips, too!).
Of course, this nicer weather also means events pop up, too (like our Cocktails and Condors event, happening November 4th! Tickets are on sale now!).
Still, if you’ve never been to Liberty Wildlife, now is the time to do it. We’re open on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays from 10am-1pm; at $10 a ticket for adults and $5 a ticket for kids, not only do you get to check out our butterfly garden and wetlands, but you’ll get a chance to walk through our interactive room (where you’ll have an opportunity to pet a snake!), and sit in our amphitheater to witness an eagle feeding and flight show. The education trail is also open, where you’ll get to see many of our animal ambassadors, from Henry the Barn Owl to Chaco the Red-Tailed Hawk (and a whole lot of others, too).
On top of that, you’ll also get to meet our volunteers who spend time here, learning how to handle our animal ambassadors to present to the public. That means you might meet a few American Kestrels or a Gray Hawk—it’s different every week! Which means that you may have to take a few trips here (bring a new friend each time!) to meet everyone.
As always, we’re grateful to our volunteers who spend their free time here, and to everyone who comes in to visit. We love to see new faces and recurring ones; we know our animal’s ambassadors sure love it, too!
Who You Might See in the Fall (in your neighborhood!)
It’s finally happening; our cool temperatures in the morning have me bringing out a light sweater, and by the afternoon I’m layering down. Regardless, that crisp, fall morning air is upon us. For us, that means the holidays are right around the corner (and I mean right around the corner). For our wildlife friends, that means a number of things. Some will be going into brumation (where reptiles like tortoises and snakes go into a sluggish half-sleep), and others will be migrating (northern populations of animals will head south for the winter). And, if you’re anything like me, sitting out in my backyard to enjoy the weather is an absolute must; if you’re the same, these are some of the raptors you might be seeing:
- Great-Horned Owls are crepuscular; they will be most active at dawn and dusk, where they will hunt for their prey on silent wings (quite literally). They have about a mile and a half hunting range, where they’ll go for squirrels, prairie dogs, rabbits, and skunks (where available). They perch high, on street lights or tall palms, listening for their prey.
- If you’ve seeded for grass and have noticed an abundance of doves and/or pigeons in your yard, chances are you might have a Coopers Hawk stop by. These accipiter’s are not only fast, but they like to ambush their prey aka doves and pigeons. They’ve been known to chase them right into windows, and once stunned, make off with their meal. These raptors are diurnal; they are most active throughout the day, and can be found anywhere with an abundance of passerines.
- Roadrunners are out and about now that their prey is out; lizard, snakes, and other reptiles are not immune to this quick cuckoo (and yes, a Roadrunner is considered a cuckoo). These birds of prey won’t be flying like the first two; they’re primarily runners, and will do so quickly across your backyard or streets (so make sure you’re paying attention while you’re driving!).
This list can go on; you might see a Swainsons Hawk (they have a dark bib that stops midway down their chest and who are currently migrating through Arizona) or a family if Harris’s Hawks (dark, rufous brown raptors a little smaller than a Red-Tailed Hawk). I encourage you to get out and see what you might find in your own neighborhood; Gopher Snakes and reptiles of all kinds are taking their chance at sunbathing before finding a nice, quiet, dark spot to hide for the winter.
There are weeks I take a million pictures, and others I take none. Much like Liberty Wildlife has its own cycle of busy-ness in different areas, I, too, have it with pictures. And though this week’s notable mentions are a little on the shorter side, I promise not to make a habit of it. There’ll be plenty of random pictures to be had next time around!
Without further ado, here are this week’s notable mentions:
- Volunteers Doris and Ceci find a California Kingsnake underneath a water dish in an enclosure (Ceci was able to move them to a safer location) (2 pictures – by Doris)
- Quannah the Turkey Vulture comes out for some sunbathing on a brisk Tuesday morning (1 picture)
- A private tour makes a pit-stop with Jan and Cochise to learn about Bald Eagles (2 pictures)
- A work group gets a private tour before beginning work around campus (1 picture)
- A Black Crowned Night Heron took a bath in their fish bowl; Alex and Jake took a quick moment to give them a bath! (1 picture)
- Elmer the Gopher Snake takes a dip for some much needed bath time (1 picture – by Ceci)
- Another California Kingsnake was found under a water dish on the Rehabilitation side (1 picture – by Claudia)
Remember to stop by and say hit during our public hours on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays from 10am-1pm. And, if you bid on anything during our silent auction (and won) you can come to pick up your items starting this Wednesday, Oct 25th (head to the intake window and let our intake volunteer know…we’ll go get your goodies for you!)
Until next time!
Posted by Acacia Parker
Public Outreach Coordinator