Have you heard of the 30 Days Wild challenge? The initiative is managed by the Wildlife Trusts here in the UK. Everybody who signs up aims to do something wild each day for the month of June. Wild interactions can range from visiting a nature reserve, to seeing a snail safely across the pavement. The acts of wildness encourage people to connect with the life around them, enjoying and appreciating the natural world #30DaysWild.
You’ll gather from reading my blog that I am fascinated by nature. I enjoy exploring and photographing nature, and I try to protect the life around us. No surprises therefore that I have signed up for the #30DaysWild Challenge.
It just so happened that this year’s challenge started on the same day that I began volunteering with Oak and Furrows, a local wildlife rescue centre. As a driver for the rescue, I am called upon to collect animals which need the care of the centre.
At this time of year, many of the new arrivals are fledglings. With a constant feeding schedule, the volunteers at the centre are tireless in their efforts. The drive of the young birds to live is matched by the dedication of the team caring for them. It was both humbling and inspiring to watch the staff as they did the rounds of feeding and cleaning.
The call outs on my first day were all to pick up birds. A jackdaw who was too young to fly, but old enough to have a very firm grip when it clung to my finger with its beak. A pair of hungry blackbirds who had been taken to a vet’s where they were looked after until I collected them. Another vet had taken in what looked to be an extremely young blue tit. Cold and frail, the baby bird was nevertheless fighting to live. Its tiny feet clung on as I cupped it in my hand, and its eyes opened slightly as I placed it carefully in a temporary nest.
New arrivals are greeted kindly and efficiently when we reach the centre. Food is ready and nests are prepared. I was particularly reassured to see the blue tit tuck into a nest of young robins, of a similar age, where it could warm itself before being fed.
Volunteering at Oak and Furrows is by no means designed to enable me to connect with nature for #30DaysWild. The timing of the Wildlife Trusts challenge, and my voluntary role commencing is purely coincidental. Offering my services to the rescue is another way of giving something back. Of making the best out of a situation where I now work for myself and have more flexibility over my schedule than I used to. Playing a direct role in helping wildlife is something I have dreamed of since childhood. In that respect, I really am living the dream.
I asked the team at Oak and Furrows what they need most in terms of donations at the moment. Kitchen rolls and puppy food was the immediate response. If you live in or around Wiltshire, please feel free to stop off at the centre. Supplies will be welcomed with open arms!
Finally, if you do find a fledgling bird and are unsure what to do, the best advice is to seek advice. There are many reasons for young birds to be on their own, not all of them are lost or abandoned.[Updates on my #30DaysWild experiences will follow on Twitter and Instagram throughout June.]