Monday, May 11, 2009

This Week at Liberty 05/11/2009

Like the 60's TV news series said, "That was the week that was!" The heat is here to stay, I'm afraid, and with it, all that comes with wildlife living on the edge of humanity. Some bright spots this week, some challenges, and a sad farewell...
A bucket-o-baby-birds!
A nestling green heron surveys his surroundings.
A little female kestrel gets evaluated.
The baby birds keep coming in, one at a time, two at a time, sometimes by the bucket full! This superb little nest filled with baby birds was delivered to the intake window late last week. Two small green herons also arrived and are now growing stronger by the day.  And suddenly on Friday, it was the "Day of the kestrel" with multiple arrivals, including this tiny little female who somehow got separated from her nest and was brought to a house by the cat! 
Glue paper, like war, is bad for all life forms...!
Lucky sparrow only has feather damage.
People, people, people... What are we gonna do with you? When you put out some kind of "animal control" device, you need to consider that hardly any of them are species specific. The sticky glue paper that is meant to catch mice will also hold ANY small animal, and is particularly injurious to small birds, like this sparrow.  Luckily, he only has feather damage and no bones were broken. After a little bath in detergent to remove the gunk, he can hopefully replace his missing and damaged plumage and go free again. Please - somebody - design a better mouse trap!
A schoolyard scare...!
This beautiful gopher snake turned up at a local schoolyard last week.  Gophers are not venomous, and despite looking like a diamondback, has no desire for contact with any humans. However, the school officials thought it might be better for him to be relocated to a less threatening environment so they brought him to Liberty. He was released in short order!
Tony brings in a barn owl.
Jan watches while Leslie examines and Tony holds his owl.
Ace R&T volunteer Tony Sola brought in a pretty barn owl last week. Exhibiting unknown injuries, it was assessed by Leslie, given fluids, and went into one of the ICU brooders for further evaluation and WDQ (Warm, Dark, and Quiet) care.
A beautiful burrowing owl habitat...
...until you step back and catch the surroundings!
A scene from "Raiders of the Lost Burrow"!
Melanie uses the opti-scope.
Nina and Jan help as Melanie examines the excavation.
One newly laid egg.
Mom emerges.
The ABS is fabricated.
New home construction!
Very attractive surroundings.
Last Tuesday four of us went out to the west side to do a "Passive burrowing owl nest translocation" in Buckeye. A great nest location was about to fall victim to development but luckily the construction company wanted to do it right so they had us relocate the burrow. On day one, we dug two new burrows made by burying a synthetic structure (ABS) within a specified distance from the existing burrow. The next day, we went back and excavated the burrows where the single pair of owls had been observed.  This was to confirm and salvage any eggs or baby owls that may have been present. After digging for over 5 hours, one egg was found and removed to our incubator (and eventually to our foster parents at Liberty). The mother who had recently laid the egg then flew out and the burrow was collapsed safely, allowing the parents to find the new burrows that we had buried the previous day. (Look for a complete story and more pictures in next month's Nature News.)
Isis... What more can be said?

The quiet enclosure now empty...
Last week, sometime during the early morning of May 5th, our 23 year old cooper's hawk, Isis, peacefully made her final flight. She had been semi-retired for the past few years,only doing local educational shows, and living quietly in her shady enclosure, eating quail - her favorite food. As with all of our Advanced Age Raptor Population, she was beginning to show signs of old age, but was monitored closely for any signs of discomfort. I was first introduced to her as "The bird from hell" in the early nineties, and as cooper's hawks are wont to be, she was strong-willed, feisty, and sometimes difficult to handle. But she was strikingly beautiful and a great bird to demonstrate what accipiters are all about.
       Farewell, old girl. May all the sparrows be fat and slow...

1 comment:

Deborah said...

Terry, boy did you get that right on Isis. I think we were all introduced to Isis as the bird from hell, but she will be sorely missed. It is so sad to think that so many of the birds that I worked with so many years ago have joined me in AARP or are no longer with us. I echo your comment, may all her quail be slow!

Deborah Barrett