Nowhere can this be more evident than at the WRA. Suddenly, from a time when there are often more volunteers than there are patients and when doing laundry is the activity of the day, the WRA becomes a buzzing site of chirps and squeaks, people rushing to and fro, timers going off constantly and a general hubbub of activity and commotion.
The day the first fledglings arrive is met with mixed reviews. For one, the dedicated staff grows wary of the long shifts, guaranteed stress and constant workload. The volunteers on the other hand, having been subject to the often uneventful low season during fall and winter, eagerly await the coming of a busier and different routine. Nonetheless, everyone from volunteers and permanent staff to summer staff are happy when they hear and see the avian newcomers.
There are few things in life as heart-warming as seeing a squirmy baby gosling or nervous finch fledge and all their brothers and sisters who have made the WRA their temporary home on their journey to rehabilitation and growth. To hold a young animal in one’s hand is something indescribably gratifying. It’s one of those memories that are never forgotten. To know that you are what is between this tender animal and its survival is extremely meaningful. The fifteen or thirty minutes that a timer goes off announcing it’s time to feed anew one of the little ones is a reminder of how precious and frail they are and how important it is to be the most attentive and caring as possible.
So, if laundry is a constant pile so high you can’t see over its heap; if every square inch of the centre and its surrounding land are occupied by the housing of a fledgling or nestling; if the kitchen resembles the New York Stock Exchange on a busy trading day, and if timers are going off at an unstoppable and nauseating rate, then you know that spring has truly sprung.
If you dare be at WRA during the peak months of spring and summer then all I can say is good luck and may the force be with you. Having been there many times I know all too well the adrenaline and business that abounds during those months; yet, I also know how utterly exciting and unforgettable that period really is. When from one day to the next the centre is transformed from a slow-paced, uneventful wildlife centre into a hullabaloo of activity and action, be prepared for the exhaustion and simultaneous satisfaction the busy times bring. I promise that you will never be the same again!