Monday, October 26, 2009

This Week at Liberty 10/26/2009

The fall is usually a little slower in terms of the number of intakes, but since there are young birds out there, we get to see some stuff we rarely encounter at other times of the year. This, plus lots of releases and new volunteers getting trained make this an exciting season (and, if it ever cools off, it'll be even MORE exciting!)
An adult peregrine falcon in a brooder.
A sad little flammulated owl.
A pretty little acorn woodpecker hit a window.
Mike and Anna minister to a great blue heron with a bad leg.
Electricity, windows, cats, automobiles - all these things take their toll on wildlife. A good looking adult peregrine falcon arrived with evidence of an electrical burn last week. We also took in a flammulated owl that had apparently been the victim of another cat attack. A collision with a window seems to have injured an acorn woodpecker who presented a head injury, while a beautiful great blue heron had a bad fracture of the left leg, most likely sustained from a car collision. Almost all of these are instances of adult, or nearly adult birds being negatively impacted by contact with the human world.
Playing in the mud again!
Rescued by "McGruber!"
A call late yesterday took me to the Gilbert Riparian area to rescue a juvenile osprey who was stuck in the mud. Yes, you read it right, he was stuck in the mud! It seems he had a fish he had caught and landed to eat it, but his landing site wasn't a sand bar, it as a "mud-bar"! This held his legs and most of his wings in a sticky, quick-sand like morass from which he couldn't escape. A ranger saw him and finally got me on the phone, telling me I needed hip-waders and 50 yds. of rope. I had neither of those things, but I did have several long, narrow rolls of used carpet I was throwing away. I rolled them out over the soft mud which kept me from sinking up to my armpits as I advanced. I got the bird, and then retraced my path along the muddy carpet back to solid ground.
New Education volunteers learn the paperwork of the job.
Linda shows Lindsay the proper technique of "boxing."
The class of new Education volunteers is progressing rapidly under the training of Education Coordinator, Linda Scott. Formal classes are held on Wednesdays, and some hands-on handling practice was done this past weekend at the facility. The new people seemed to be thrilled as they held their first hawks and owls and learned to control the birds while getting them into their transport boxes. Much more practice will ensue, but the proper techniques are best learned early in the process.
Peggy Jelen (APS) holds a juvenile harris' hawk while Alison gives tips.
The perfect release!

Another young HaHa goes free!
Peggy Jelen, who is in charge of environmental and wildlife issues for APS (and our contact for the Research and Conservation team) was invited to release one of our rehabbed harris hawks last week. On a beautiful morning, with the help of Liberty's Alison and Nina, Peggy performed the perfect launch of this young bird into the Arizona sky. He circled the area once then picked out a large tree to rest and get his bearing before heading off for a new life of freedom. Nice job, Peggy, R&C, and Liberty!

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