Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Guest Blogger Tuesday - TRC Volunteer Gives So Much

Jim returning a great horned owlet to a nest site.

We continue our Guest Blogger series with one of our treasured volunteers.  Jim J. started on our transport crew, then added carpentry, and more recently, rescue.  Our volunteers build some very exceptional skills as they work with raptors in their respective areas (transport, clinic, rescue, flight, etc.)  Jim has also become a wonderful educational voice about raptors when he responds to transport and rescue calls.

Jim graciously agreed to write about his personal evolution in his experiences.  More raptors than we can count have Jim to thank for their second chances at life.  We are so proud to share unique contributions and ways that one person truly makes a difference with Jim’s story.

 “At TRC I’ve been witness to many incredible turn-arounds. Broken, poisoned or sick birds with no chance of survival flying again free.  It is of no wonder to me why passion and dedication run deep in so many, volunteer and staff alike. So many new experiences have happened at TRC for me, being able help an injured bird or even building a hutch (bird house) for an eagle. One can truly question if one has ever built a bird house till one builds one for an eagle! I, like everyone hate to see a raptor in need, and also like everyone, understand there will always be birds needing help. With that said, I’m proud as with everyone else to be able help where and when I can.  

Being prepared for a rescue is the culmination of every past rescue. Species, age, condition of the animal and even location are all factors that affect what I take. With the number and diversity of birds I’ve been lucky enough to work with, my vehicle and its contents have morphed over time to reflect my experiences. Gassed and packed at all times with about 90% of the items and tools that have come in handy during previous calls, it requires little effort to respond quickly.  I keep an area in the garage dedicated to the other 10%. For instance a baby great horned owl on the ground might require a new nest. Because of the foresight of some at TRC, I have a replacement nest in my garage. An eagle will need “the big cage”.

On site, questions get answers. Is it a baby? Are there any injuries readily apparent? Can the animal see? Is it interested in my approach? Is it standing? How long has it been on the ground? I usually get most questions answered from the people who called in. I have found people greatly concerned for the welfare of the birds I’ve been called to rescue. The first call I ever responded to was a red-tailed hawk with a broken wing, called in by two landscapers, whose concern was both genuine and heartfelt. Driving to TRC from that call I thought to myself; “this is a good thing happening here, something everyone can rally around”. I’m seldom disappointed with anyone’s reaction to an animal in need and willingness to help in any way."

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