Hoots, Howls, and Hollers – September 27, 2022
Did you experience that roiling earthquake beneath your feet these last couple weeks? Just as it seemed the torturous summer heat was abating, and the latest Covid wave was subsiding, we got caught in a tsusami of activity here at Liberty Wildlife. I sure felt it, and saw it here all around our campus.
Our guests have returned for open hours in great numbers. And it is wonderful to see them! The number of events and rentals at Liberty have also surged.
But perhaps you didn’t know that Liberty Wildlife is a treasured venue for your special events!
In the upcoming months we have scheduled many activities, including a memorial service for a woman with a passion for wildlife. What a great recognition of a life lived in concert with our natural world. There is a wedding booked in a few months… when the campus is stunningly beautiful, and the weather is sublime! Birthday parties also sprinkle the calendar….something for everyone.
If you are a business or corporate type, then hosting a meeting here is perfect. We provide the best breakout areas, break moments, and a stunning setting…though it might be hard to concentrate…but we can close the curtains if that is a problem.
Coming up in the next couple weeks we will have a nonprofit organization hold their meeting in our classroom, and the very next day, we will be hosting one of our favorite corporations. Whew, October is going to be busy. But you can still book our space for your event – just make sure to plan ahead!
Our calendar is full with more than just the activities on our campus. We also have the premier for our documentary, “The Weight of a Feather” which will be this coming Sunday! And then it will be showing to the public in the theater at Harkins Tempe Marketplace. Showings will be at 5pm and 6:45pm each day, starting October 7th through October 13th. But get your tickets now, because they are going fast! I’m pretty sure you will enjoy it…
On top of everything else, our school field trips are beginning to arrive, as well as our off campus educational programs. Private tours are available to anyone wanting a special look at what we do. But with all of these offerings, I advise each of you to get on the calendar quickly– things are really filling up. We don’t want you to miss your chance to interact with Liberty staff, volunteers, and our cadre of educational animals.
Don’t forget that our free Nature Walks along the Rio Salado start again on November 5th at 8:30am. Don’t miss the opportunity to see what the river is doing, what the beaver has been up to, and which birds are migrating. I will be looking for you on the 5th.
Watch out for the flurry of activity – you just might get swept up in the fun, entertainment and education. See you on the campus.
This Week @ Liberty – September 27, 2022
It’s that time of year: mornings are cooling off, the sun is setting a little earlier, and we’re finally seeing a dip in temperatures after a long, hot summer. For Liberty Wildlife, that means baby season is mostly behind us (with the exception of a few stragglers who you’ll see in Notable Mentions), and things are winding down on our rehabilitation side. We get to take a deep breath after a busy season and focus on the little things…like cleaning, building, and all the other things that keep Liberty going.
This by no means indicates we’re taking a break; it’s quite the opposite, actually. Where our rehabilitation side sees a dip in intakes, our campus finds itself in a different role—a host to a variety of events and education programs all over the valley. Whether it’s our upcoming yearly fundraising event Wishes for Wildlife or our education volunteers are heading off to talk to first graders about our incredible animal ambassadors, October marks the start of beautiful weather and a busy (but rewarding) schedule.
And let me just say we’re here for it one hundred percent.
Remember when I said baby season was mostly behind us? Well, these Canyon Towhee parents didn’t quite get the memo…
Hailing from Hereford, AZ, this little one’s rescuer found him on the ground still in his egg on September 9. The rescuer wrapped the now brand new hatchling in something warm and made the trek here to Liberty Wildlife. And Thanks to our dedicated staff and volunteers in Orphan Care, this little one has grown, and grown, and grown, and soon, he’ll be ready to release right back in Hereford.
If you’re looking to spot these birds, it’s unlikely you will; they aren’t extremely common here in the valley. They are, however, very much desert dwellers who tend to time their nesting to the summer and winter rains; both bring an abundance of foliage and insects for parents, and babies, to eat.
So, if you’re looking to add this bird to your watch list, now’s the time to head down south to spot them; you’ll likely find them on the ground beneath thick shrubs where they like to eat and hide (and they’re very good at hiding!).
Chain Link Fence and the Great Horned Owl
The unfortunate reality of what we do here is recognizing many ailments the animals come in with are because of human activities. Not only have we encroached into much of their territory, we’ve built things that hide within their natural territory. For some of them, getting caught is a death sentence; for others, they’re lucky enough to be found by those willing to put in the effort to get them to safety.
Case in point: this Great Horned Owl who flew into a chain link fence. Her rescuers were able to cut her free, leaving the metal in her wing alone, which prevented further damage to the patagium (tissue that connects the shoulder area to the wrist). Once at Liberty, Jan and Susie were able to cut the metal and pull it free; thankfully, the patagium (which is an integral part to a bird’s flight) wasn’t damaged beyond repair. After receiving fluids—she was severely dehydrated—a wing wrap was placed to keep her from using the wing and possibly causing further harm.
Now resting in ICU and receiving the care she needs to get back out into the wild, this gorgeous girl weighing in at a little over 2 pounds will live to see another day. We’ll keep a close eye on her progress; for now, our volunteers will ensure she’s given the care she needs to get back out there.
Field Trips Galore
Last week hailed a full week of field trips for first and second graders here in the Valley of the Sun. For two hours, chaperones and kids toured our campus and learned first-hand how important birds of prey are to our ecosystem. Not only did they get to see our medical volunteers hard at work, they were also able to tour the interactive room with snakes and squirrels and toads (oh my!).
And while seeing a bald eagle up close and personal may have been a highlight for some, for many, the treasure hunt in the wetlands is what they remember most. With donated binoculars , these first and second graders were able to find birds and other objects around the pond and learn about them as they did.
Sadly, some of the equipment we use for trips like these are running low. While sharing is caring, we’d love to have one for each child who comes in for field trips like these. If you’ve always wanted to donate but unsure how (or what), binoculars for the kids can be found here. You can bring them during your visit to our new public hours (Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday 10am-1pm) or send them directly to us here.
Who’s the Smallest Raptor in the World?
Lord of the Rings may now be a series on Amazon Prime featuring elves, but nothing says fantasy like a teeny, tiny Elf Owl most people probably haven’t ever heard of.
Small enough they weigh less than a stick of butter, the Elf Owl is considered the smallest raptor in the world. Like their larger counterparts , they’re equally as capable in their hunting abilities, and mainly eat insects and small prey easy for them to catch. You’ll only find them here during the summer, and if you’re out looking for them, you’ll have to do so strictly at night…which is a feat. You’ll want to listen for a yapping call that’s quick and far louder than you might think.
As it so happens, we currently have one in our care; who would have thought this ‘big’ bad predator could be so cute?
Coming from Tucson, this juvenile Elf Owl was found to have nothing medically wrong with him. He’s just little and needs to learn to use those wings and hunt on his own! Of course, we’ve given him lots of space to figure that out, and once he does, we’ll take him right back to Tucson to join the ranks of his brethren.
Just a heads up, I take a lot of photos. If anyone were ever to find my phone, I would absolutely be known as the ‘random lady who has way too many bird pictures.’ I would like everyone to know I’m okay with this; lucky for you, I’m even happier to share.
So, without further ado, here are this week’s notable mentions!
The baby Barn Owl is getting bigger by the day! (1 photo)
Handler Camila and Animal Ambassador Diego chat on zoom with a class about raptors. (1 photo)
One of many themed baskets you can bid for at our silent auction during Wishes for Wildlife, coming October 22. (1 photo)
Why are you so little and cute, little ducking? (1 photo)
Handler Claudia feeds Animal Ambassador Cassidy as she stretches those big, beautiful wings (1 photo)
Volunteer Laura rocks out with our two Brown Pelicans who made their way back to California (1 photo)
A juvenile Grey Hawk makes an appearance in ICU (1 photo – by Jake)
Elmer the Gopher Snake comes out for some play time (1 photo)
In closing, remember public hours are changing in October to 10am-1pm, and keepers talks will be back on program. And, if you haven’t gotten your tickets for Wishes for Wildlife—happening October 22 at 6pm—I highly recommend you do so. The silent auction yields lots of goodies for everyone and benefits a worthy cause near and dear to my heart. I promise you this year won’t disappoint.
Until next time!
Posted by Acacia Parker
Public Outreach Coordinator