Hoots, Howls, and Hollers – September 13, 2022
Officially, at Liberty Wildlife, vacation time is over. The wildlife ambassadors have had their “rest” time, and they are ready to wow the guests who did indeed return on last Saturday and Sunday. It was great to see everyone back and filled with enthusiasm. For the rest of this month we will maintain our “summer hours” of 9 to 11 Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday.
Then comes October! We will be premiering our documentary, The Weight of a Feather, on October 2nd. After that, it will show in the theater at Harkins at Tempe Marketplace for two showings a day (5:00pm and 6:45pm) from Oct. 7-13. Don’t wait. Tickets are on sale now at Harkins website. You won’t be sorry!!!
And, if that isn’t enough excitement for you, we are getting ready for the 29th offering of Wishes for Wildlife, a virtual event. This fun affair will be held on October 22nd at 6:00 pm. You can attend as a single participant for a mere $25. This ticket allows you to bid in our awesome silent auction for trips, garden items, things to do, ladies and gentlemen items, unique, antique and collectibles…and baskets of themed items guaranteed to tickle your sole, or provide practical but fun goodies. You will see behind the scenes videos, and meet some of our educational ambassadors.
If you really want to have fun, plan a small gathering… The cool thing is that beyond the all that is included with an individual ticket, when you “gather your gaggle” of friends and family, our educational team can show up to entertain your guests…questions can be answered, photos taken, and who knows what other surprises might occur. Learn more about these gatherings or go ahead and purchase tickets.
And remember this fund raiser is our biggest one of the year. Funds from this event supply almost a quarter of our annual budget. This allows us to help the tens of thousands of animals you bring in, to provide educational programs across the state, and to send feathers to Native Americans helping them maintain and practice their cultural and religious needs. Each one of our programs is so unique. And each is so practical and efficient in our provisions that your money will be well spent… beyond your wildest expectations. You can count on that!
Added to all of those festivities we are welcoming back our 5 to 11-year-old “superheroes” group starting on October 8. If you know a youngster who want to have a positive impact on the natural world – this is for you! These kids are eager to learn how they can make a difference, and we are eager to show them. For more information on how to get involved with this group, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also on Saturday, October 8th at 8:30 in the morning, we resume our monthly, FREE, nature walks along the Rio Salado…right outside our back gate. Experienced guides, Brian Miller of the City of Phoenix Parks Department, and experienced biologist/birder Robert Mesta will stroll with you down the river. You will learn totally interesting facts and features of our own “ribbon in the desert,” our rare desert river, and they will introduce you to the wildlife that inhabits it… in particular, the migrating birds who use it as a highway on their journeys to and fro.
While our hospital continues to burgeon and releases buoy our emotions, the busiest season of the year is beyond us for a little while! We are always here for you when you have wildlife that needs help. Don’t hesitate to bring in any wild creature needing care. It is the best thing you can do for ill, injured, and orphaned wildlife.
As you can tell, our “vacation time” is gone for this year. Now for the weather change, and our offerings will continue to bloom. If you haven’t been to visit us lately, you have missed a lot of changes and additions. Schedule a time for a visit; bring your family and friends. Make Liberty Wildlife your wildest destination!
This Week @ Liberty – September 13, 2022
It’s funny how life works sometimes. At 21, I became a licensed cosmetologist, and for the next 2 years believed being a hairdresser was my calling. At 25, I began work in corporate America, and for the next 5 years, believed car insurance was it for me. At 30, I quit corporate work to follow my dream of being an indie author/artist and never, ever thought I’d want anything else.
The truth is what we want isn’t always what we need. Since 2016, I’ve written in worlds I only ever imagined and created art I never thought I could. It’s been an amazing journey…but, sometime in 2019, I realized it wasn’t enough. Something was missing, and I had no idea what it was until I started volunteering at Liberty Wildlife in October of that year.
Turns out, this far-fetched dream I’d had to work with birds of prey was a feasible thing. Since then, I’ve gotten my hands in whatever Liberty has let me; from Medical Services to Orphan Care to Education, I’ve devoured it all. It’s given me the freedom to continue to be creative, too; if anything, it’s fueled it even more.
It’s quite surreal that last week was my first official week as an employee vs. a volunteer. It’s such an exciting opportunity; I’m so grateful to be a part of this wonderful organization and look forward to what lies ahead!
Well, we did it; we’ve officially reached our 10,000th intake for 2022! Want to take a guess at who it might be? I’ll give you some hints…
- Year-round resident
- Plumage is chocolate/reddish brown with a white tipped tail
- Mating group consists of one female and two males, with the female being dominant
- One of only two raptors in the world who hunt in groups aka “the wolves of the sky”
Did you guess Harris’s Hawk? If you did, you’d be right! These birds of prey are found in semi-arid areas like Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas. Here in the sunshine state, it’s unlikely you’ll find them further north than Wickenburg, but there has been some evidence that range is expanding.
The Harris’s currently receiving medical care, however, hails right from our backyard: Glendale. Weighing in at 1.3 pounds (a good weight for a male), he has a carpometacarpus fracture to his left wing (a very small bone after the wrist that leads to the “fingers”). A splint was placed beneath the fracture for added support and wrapped; the vets and our medical volunteers are keeping a close eye on him, and so will we.
We’ll check back in a few weeks to see how he’s doing, so keep an eye out for his update!
Let’s be honest, summer “showers” are few and far between the last few years for us here in the sunshine state. Monsoon season seems to bring nothing but dust, dust, and more dust. Oh, and don’t forget the wind! Add in a dash of high temperatures (we’ve had 145 days of 100+ degree heat this year!) we get a lot of hot, humid days without the benefits.
It’s a little unfair, no?
Lucky for us, we can remain quite comfortable here in the valley. We run from one AC run-place to another; visit waterparks; head up north to cooler temperatures; for many of us with pools, it makes for a quick cool-off session right in our backyard.
But what about our feathered friends here at Liberty Wildlife? How do they stay cool in this summer heat? Particularly Great-Horned Owls with feathers covering their entire body and a feather count upwards of 10,000?
One way is from several evaporative coolers donated to us by the Avangrid Foundation!
The other way is quite simpler; with a little help from us, of course! And you’d be surprised how much they enjoy the water! They’re one of the few birds of prey who you might find standing in the rain, wings stretched and tail feathers wiggling, instead of finding shelter and waiting for dry weather. Animal ambassadors Snickers and Darwin certainly seemed to enjoy their time beneath the hose…you know, like how we used to run through sprinklers in the “old” days.
So, you might be advised on the next storm to seek the largest owl in Arizona out and see if they’re “dancing” in the rain. They’re crepuscular (most active at dawn and dusk) and they’ll be up high; their size and feather tufts can’t be missed once you spot them!
Brown Pelicans in the Desert
Not many people would expect to see this saltwater bird here in the desert. But with strong monsoons come strong winds; even with an impressive 6.5-7.5 wingspan and weighing anywhere from 4.5-11 pounds, they can easily get caught in our storms and blown off course.
While we welcome the visit, we’ll be just as happy to see them off. These birds require around 1500 grams of fish per day (just over 3 pounds each!) and enough water to fill a small kiddie pool. And, to keep them comfortable, they get their own evaporation cooler, which we often find them in front of during our hottest time of day.
The good news for these two is they don’t have to stay much longer. We work closely with Sea World San Diego to figure out the best plan of attack to getting our large, feathered friends back to where they came from. Soon enough, they’ll be hanging out on those sandy beaches, diving for fish in the Pacific with the desert far behind them.
Baby Season is over…or is it?
Summer is notorious for being our busiest time of the year. The record heat and monsoons have nestlings fledge early or get blown from the nest; sometimes they’re perfectly fine and others, a broken wing or leg is a result of the fall. Those who require medical attention stay in our orphan care room, while the others go outside to a brand new annex (completed this year) to hang with friends and get some good meals until they’re big enough to get released.
By September, we begin to see a decline; most birds have laid their eggs, raised their babies, and seen them off. Nestlings to juveniles coming to our intake window are less and less…so you can imagine our surprise when a baby Barn Owl made a recent appearance!
Though Barn Owls can breed any time of year, they will typically only raise one brood per year (but have been known to raise up to three). And this late in the game, it begs the question…is this little nestling a late bloomer, or an early one?
Time will tell for this little guy resting in ICU. Volunteers are ensuring he’s fed mice several times a day; once he’s big enough and gained some weight, he’ll go outside to stay with some of our foster parents until he’s ready for release.
There’s always a lot happening here at Liberty Wildlife; remember, we took in our 10,000th intake not so long ago. Unfortunately, I’m unable to write about all the wonderful animals who come through our doors and the stories that follow…but a notable mention seems prudent.
Education Ambassador Millie (California Condor) watching closely as I clean her enclosure and get her food ready.
Burrowing Owls ready for release!
Cheese and Quackers following handler Ceci as she takes them on a short walk around campus.
A goose floating in a large water dish…because, why not?
A golden eagle stretches his wings in one of our flight cages (look at those wings!)
A teeny, tiny Desert Nightsnake makes an appearance.
A baby Cottontail with two broken wrists gets splints and a snack in a carrier before moving to a bigger enclosure.
Last but not least, a juvenile nighthawk getting fed (bribed is more like it) before a wing wrap change.
And finally, don’t forget open hours are back! From 9-11 Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday, you can come visit our amazing animal ambassadors and learn all about their stories and the incredible wildlife we have here in our state.
Until next time!
Posted by Acacia Parker
Public Outreach Coordinator