Category Archives: volunteer

Volunteer Profile: Combining my love of hiking and Bird watching!

As an avid bird watcher and nature lover, being outside brings such peace and relaxation and with so much to be thankful for.   It’s an added blessing in my life. Several times a week you will find me visiting Rio Vista Park at Thunderbird and 101.  The walking paths are asphalt and there is plenty of wildlife to see.

Some of my most treasured sightings, besides the coyotes and butterflies, are the great horned owl, roadrunner, green heron, egret, a pair of ravens nesting under the bridge, hawks, ducks, kestrels and the beautiful finches. I have also encountered the woodpecker and the occasional rare bird flying through such as a Cardinal.

I am also, avid heart rock collector; I have built quite the collection. In the spring time, the wildflowers are at their most gorgeous and fragrances lull the senses into a peaceful relaxed state of extreme calmness. Each time I venture out there, I am never without a sighting and often I get surprised by who shows up! So being outside in nature, and being serenaded by the songs of birds, is a total stress reliever and a reminder of how beautiful life truly is.

You won’t be disappointed if you choose to visit Rio Vista. Your senses will be delighted and I guarantee a big smile on your face and a full heart!

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Pam, Volunteer at Fallen Feathers

#birds #volunteer #birdwatching #hiking #riovistacommunitypark #Peoria #greathornedowl #egret #finch #roadrunner #heron #wildlife

Completely Unexpected

The past month has been event after event after event after event.  It’s good for Fallen Feathers – lots of opportunity to educate people.  As birds, we get our pictures taken and see all the ooohhhhs and aaahhhh and what is that?

Tres RIos Nature Festival is an event we have been going to for years.  If you have never been, It’s out by Phoenix International Raceway – south of I-10 on Avondale.  The festival has AZ Game and Fish and several of the local Audubon Societies and other vendors for people to find out more information.  There is fishing and bird walks to participate in.  This year it was lovely weather with just a little bit of breeze.  But first we have to get there…..

Our volunteers get up early to get us ready – jesses on and put in our carriers.  Any last minute items are packed and also any babies that need cared for on a hourly basis – this year we have eight hummingbirds, a sparrow and three pigeons.

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Once we arrive – the tables are prepared and we are put on our perches or held, depending on the bird and the volunteer.   Voldemort, the Turkey Vulture and Alice, the Coopers Hawk, were both very happy with our space.

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I cry out to the people walking by (literally – I haven’t learned to stop using my baby cry).  I was brought to the rescue as a juvenile Red Tailed Hawk with a broken wing.  The break was high up into my shoulder and had already started to set.  It couldn’t be fixed, so I am one of the lucky Education birds.

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As part of this event, volunteers also help children make birdy bagels.  While most of us birds of prey are not interesting in this seed stuff, we know the songbirds and pigeons/doves love it.

Don’t forget to see other great pictures from the event here at AZCentral.

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What made this event different was that people brought us several birds to rehab at the event.  Saturday we received a dove, two hummingbirds and a call to get a harris hawk.   The hawk had been in a person’s yard for two days.  When he was picked up by volunteers, the main injury was to the right eye.  Treatment began immediately and so far the hawk is doing well.

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Sunday, we were back out at Tres Rios.  This time we were brought a pigeon.  But when we got home, that’ when things really got strange.  A Pelican had been dropped off.  White pelicans are not all that unusual in Arizona, but Brown Pelicans are less common.  It had stepped on a cholla cactus.  It took about 45 minutes to get all the thorns out of the feet and mouth.

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This is not Fallen Feather’s first Pelican.  The timing of it’s arrival was interesting.  Jody and her volunteers will take care of the injured, the orphaned, the hungry and us, the residents.  Here’s to speedy recovery to my fellow feathered friends.  I cry for you.

Red, The Red Tailed Hawk

P.S. Nigel, the Pelican has asked for lots of fish.  It’s not the normal diet kept here, so if you know of any fishermen with some, it would be greatly appreciated.

Road Trip

I’m Alice, a Cooper’s Hawk.  I’ve lived at Fallen Feathers for a while.  I’m still being trained to attend our events.  It takes a lot of work to go to events and I’m a very anxious breed of bird.  Our Executive Directors and volunteers are very patient with me.   Let me tell you a little about what they do to support us every day and thru these events.

About a week ago, we attended Parada Del Sol parade.  It was the first time we have been there and it was quite the honor.  The event itself started at 10am, but we had to be there to set up at 7am.  That means that the people wake up at 4am to feed us and start getting us birds ready (jessed and crated).

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We were on the road a little after 6.  We checked into the event and everyone started unloaded the trailer.  We birds waited patiently (except Raven, she hops around).

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Once the canopies and tables are all up, the perches are set up and we come out.  People start coming by almost instantly with questions.   Some of our events we have a kid section too with some sort of craft.

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Our volunteers spend the entire event educating people about us (birds) and about the rescue/rehab we live in.  At this event, I got a new perch.  It was very nice and I felt very comfortable.  The other perches we had were fine, and the other birds didn’t seem to mind them, but I am particular.

Here I am, along with Jack, the Harris Hawk and Digger, the Burrowing Owl.    Flat Stanley visited us on Valentine’s Day, shown here with a volunteer and Raven.  Finally, there is Robert, the Great Horned Owl.

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Our entire education bird family is not shown here, but we were all at the event.   The Parade portion of Parada Del Sol finished at 4pm.   People continued to visit while everything was being put on the trailer.  This is common for us.  It’s nice to be seen and cared about by the public and our volunteers are always happy to answer questions.  You’ll just have to come see us in person to truly appreciate everything that is done.

We got home about 7:30pm, put in our aviaries to have our dinner.  It was a good day and now we get to rest.

We will be back with Parada Del Sol this weekend for the main events on Feb 28th and at Tres Rios Natural Festival next weekend (March 7 & 8).   Hope to see you there.

Alice, the Cooper’s Hawk

It’s a Wonderful Life.

It is truly Duck Season.  All the ducks are looking for mates; even me.  My life is different though.

My name is Ducky.  I was brought to Fallen Feathers after I was taken from my nest.  People thought that my parents abandoned me and then keep me for a few days because I was a cute little duckling.  They handled me and played with me and they imprinted me.  This means that I no longer associate with my fellow ducks/ducklings.  I have lost my fear of humans and I know to rely on them for food rather than providing for myself.

Every year Fallen Feathers get lots of ducks that have legitimately lost their parents.  The other big problem that the people at Fallen Feathers see is people buying ducklings (especially for Easter) and then wanting the babies released back to the wild or just because they change their mind.  This isn’t practical and it’s not fair to us ducks (ducklings).

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Please, DO NOT BUY A DUCK FOR A PET JUST BECAUSE IT IS CUTE OR IT IS A HOLIDAY.
DO NOT BUY A DUCK unless you have plenty of land (and a pond would be nice) and a place to keep your ducks safe.
Ducks cannot be Potty Trained.  I also don’t like diapers and I’m very clever about getting them off.
DO NOT BUY A DUCK unless you know what it’s like to own ducks or are ready for a full 15-20 year commitment.   Ducks live longer than your average pet, if kept safe and healthy.

If you still want a duck, call Fallen Feathers.  We may be able to help.

I know all this because I have lived it.  The people at Fallen Feathers tried to integrate me with other ducks (both my size and smaller) but I didn’t get along with them.  I didn’t understand the other ducks.  The ducklings my size picked on me.  When I was put in with the smaller ducklings, I was scared and stayed in the corner.  It didn’t take long before the volunteers figured out that I was imprinted.

Jody then had to figure out what to do with me.  I am not a migratory bird.  In fact, I can’t even really fly.  I am a Rouen.  I am the breed that is typically eaten for food.  I needed a home as park life was not going to be for me.  One family that volunteers at Fallen Feathers offered to take me.  They have become my flock.

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Ducky 051413 First Day Home

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Ducky 3rd Day home. At least double her size.

 

 

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Ducky 052513 Nearly grown in one week; starting to get feathers (not all fuzz)

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One Year Later Ducky still loves sitting on Dad’s shoulder.

The family that adopted me are very good to me.  Ducks stay awake nearly 20 hours a day so I have to entertain myself sometimes.  We have a daily routine.  We play nightly.  I take baths regularly (I prefer warm water).  I love to eat with the family, except bread.  I don’t like bread and it’s actually not good for ducks.  I really like vegetables – nearly anything green, but my absolute favorite is peas.

When the weather is nice, we go for walks.  It stops the traffic in the neighborhood.  I help with homework, cooking, sweeping the floors, taking care of the other pets food, and I make my own messes.

Obviously, my life is not like the other ducks.  My family sacrifices a lot to have me as part of their life.   If you aren’t ready to do the same, resist the urge to buy a Duckling in the next few months.

Ducky, the Rouen

P.S.  I still love to sit on shoulders.

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Ducky loves the computer.

Fixing our Nest

The beginning of the New Year means it’s almost baby bird season again.  They have been fortunate the past few months to have the time to “get their ducks in a row”.  If you have never been to Fallen Feathers before, the whole organization is operated out of a home.  It is generous and loving and we birds appreciate it greatly.

   
 
Volunteers have been helpful with removing old broken equipment, building new aviaries and resealing existing aviaries.

While one of the goals of Fallen Feathers is to have a free standing facility in the northwest valley, there is still room to grow until that happens.  Help is needed establishing watering throughout the aviaries and additional landscaping would be nice so that we birds have plenty of shade in any new aviaries.

A very generous donation of various bird items and statues was granted in late November.  Everyone has been decorating the grounds celebrating the very creatures they are trying to help.

Today, another much needed donation arrived.  A new trailer for hauling perches, displays and documents for the various public events that Fallen Feathers attends.
The holidays were good to Fallen Feathers, but they work hard and it is well deserved.  They help over a thousand birds a year solely on donations and volunteers and it still isn’t enough to cover the need.
For now the gifts and the break are being enjoyed.   Next month the babies will start coming in and everyone will be very busy for at least 6 months.  As for me, time to find a place to cozy down and keep warm.
Lovey and Thurston,
the neighborhood mourning doves

It was a Fowl Kind of Day

I don’t want to jinx anything, but it’s been a little quiet around Fallen Feathers these days.   The last of the baby doves and pigeons are grown.  Most of the intakes now are injured birds.  It’s time to get projects done.  Volunteers have been building new aviaries and taking down old structures that no longer fit our needs.  We are “cleaning house”.

For two of us, it’s also our very lucky day.  Today is the day that I get released.  I’m Charles, the Coot.  I’m also called a mud hen.  I’m a water fowl that has a chicken like beak but webbed feet.  I was rescued by the Brophy College Preparatory Rowing Team  at Tempe Town Lake and brought all the way up to Fallen Feathers.   Mac, the coach checks on me regularly, makes me feel very special.

Charles, the Coot and Mel, the Mallard

Charles, the Coot was very excited to be released and quickly joined up with fellow coots in the pond.  Meanwhile, Mel, the Mallard, casually surveyed the area before joining the flock.

For more information about Fallen Feathers, please visit our website at www.fallenfeathers.org

We Are Grateful For Our Partners

What a surprise for us all.  Today wasn’t a scheduled event, but Jody said it was something that we needed to do.  We birds don’t like to go hungry.  We indeed give a Hoot About Hunger.

What is this all about, you ask?  Today, was Super Saturday Turkey Drive for St Mary’s Food Bank Alliance at Albertson’s Grocery Stores around metro Phoenix.   What you probably don’t know is that Fallen Feathers is an agency of St Mary’s Food Bank.  We receive pet food when it is donated to the food bank.  While this is not guaranteed food, it is always appreciated.

A tip of the feather to this great organization.  We thought we would come out and show our support and our gratitude this season.

I’m Nocturnal

Usually, at least.  Yesterday, however, I made an appearance at Local First Fall Festival in Downtown Phoenix. 
 
I had been shot and my wound had been left for 5 days and then I was taken to Fallen Feathers.  I was taken for medical treatment and I lost my wing.  I’m happy to be alive and I’ve been an Education Bird for 17 years now.  I go to events to help Jody talk about the Rescue and Rehabilitation work that they do every day.
I’m one of eight birds that regularly come out to events.  Fallen Feathers has owls, hawks, falcons, a vulture and a raven.  I’m the oldest.

Every year I also teach about a dozen baby great horned owls the ways of the world, how to hunt, how to eat.

It’s a tough job, but some owl has to do it so they can survive when they go back into the wild. 

 
As for today, I watch the other birds.  I watch our volunteers.  I watch the people taking pictures of me and the people waking by.  I turn my head left and right, the full 270 degrees that I can.  I watch everything. 
 
Robert, the Great Horned Owl

 

 
For more information about Fallen Feathers, visit our website at www.fallenfeathers.org