Rescuing the rescuers - Mercy 'Flight'



It was a very busy and hectic day for us yesterday; we visited colleagues at four wildlife rescues and met up with a fifth. The purpose of our visits was a culmination of weeks of preparation to further aid wild bird rescue and rehabilitation; as so many sanctuaries are bursting at the seams with a huge number of rescued birds this year – the baby bird season started earlier than usual, but this does not mean an early finish, but most probably an extra brood – and more work.


Our aim yesterday was to relocate 7-9 birds to Knoxwood Wildlife Rescue Trusts' care to alleviate pressures elsewhere in the system, which gives the smaller sanctuaries improved ability to provide the one-to-one care needed at this time of year. We were also taking with us a vanload of donated foodstuffs which in turn help preserve the precious funds which are needed everso much on one-to-one wildlife care.  However, the needs of the smaller sanctuaries far exceeded my previous planning and expectations, and the number of birds needing relocation grew alarmingly to 22 in number. With Knoxwoods own phone lines down due to a BT fault, I sent a text through but was unable otherwise to warn them of the trebling of expected casualties we would be arriving with that day.


Upon arrival therefore I gave them the option to refuse some of the birds of which I would try to place elsewhere, but with their professionalism and willingness to care, they would not hear of it. This was in spite of the staff working at near-exhaustion levels, as they (in keeping with so many other sanctuaries reporting-in), have been badly let down by scheduled volunteers this year – there just hasn’t been the commitment given as in previous years, and I was shocked to see how tired everyone was looking. All this, and we are only half-way through the baby-bird season. Knoxwood do continue to care for several of the permanent residents previously housed on our site at Rochdale, which relocated there in 2010 along with one of our hospitals.


It was a busy 24 hours and I covered some 410 miles 'flying' around visiting sanctuaries in Slaithwaite, Meltham, Rochdale, Wigton, and Carlisle. Following on from this, late on Sunday evening I arranged for the Three Owls trustees to hold an emergency meeting, where an emergency grant was issued to Knoxwood to cover the cost of employing either two additional members of staff for 13 weeks to get them through the baby bird season, or one member of staff for 26 weeks. I remember all-too-well when in the 1990’s; I had been working a ‘usual’ 20-hour day for several months due to the needs of Three Owls at the time, and this culminated in a blue-light ambulance dash to the local Coronary Care unit; this proved to be through overwork and not my heart – but having experience of this I would not want someone else to suffer as I did, if there was something we could do to help avoid it.


Therefore my grateful thanks extend to my two co-trustees; David and Stewart, who both immediately endorsed my request for emergency funding in these circumstances. This support from Three Owls has only been made possible due to continued support from YOU and your wonderful donations and legacies – please do keep them coming in, and we can continue to both directly and indirectly make a huge difference to the welfare of the wild birds around us.


Nigel

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