Last year, in 2020, we had to adapt in order to be able to carry on caring for wildlife during the pandemic. The lockdown meant that many of our volunteers who were either shielding or over 70 were not able to come in. We also had to reduce our staff by furloughing them just to save costs and to survive with cancelled events and reductions in donations.
This all started just as we were going into the orphan season. Classed as an essential service, we were only able to manage with volunteers actually doing the orphan rearing at home – both mammals and birds. However this was restricted by the number of incubators that we had available.
In fact, it worked very well and these carers kept their babies until they were able to feed themselves and only returned once they needed larger pens/aviaries.
It looks like we are going to be in the same position this year and, with building work still going on for our Wildlife Treatment Centre, we will have even less space. With our donations reduced, we wondered if you would be able to help us to increase our equipment, meaning we can get more ‘foster mums’ to help us off site. We would like to get our orphan packs ready for the first baby to arrive. Very tiny babies need incubators for the constant heat and we would like to buy more of the smaller incubators that can house each group of orphans. It is so sad to see these small helpless babies coming in cold and hungry but with warmth they revive, and are soon calling for food.
Some unfledged babies such as swifts and blue tits need special foods to help with their delicate stomachs – wax worms, meal worms and a special fluid food for tiny orphans means they have a better chance of surviving. It is important to know which baby is which in a group when feeding time is due, otherwise the greedy one will get the most! We hope to buy varying sizes of light-weight rings to fit on the legs of the orphan birds in to make them suitable for all species.
Brooders are needed for the birds that self-feed, such as moorhens, ducklings, sea birds and waders. We place a heat lamp over one end of the brooder as they have no mother to keep them warm. If it is possible to supply pop-up aviaries to go up in the garden of carers, they wouldn’t need to return the orphans back to Secret World as they could be released directly from their gardens. With small groups released in this way, it will not put too much pressure on the birds already living there. All orphans reared at home are monitored by our permanent staff who are always happy to give advice.
If you are able to help us, please use the donation form above. But please do not worry if you can’t. We know just how much the pandemic has affected so many people, making life very difficult, so please think of yourself first. You may feel lonely by the isolating and if you do, please feel you can ring and chat any time you would like to on the number given below. We can tell you about what’s going on at Secret World and it might brighten your day.
Thank you for your continued support. Even if you are unable to donate, it is good to know that you are out there supporting us.
With best wishes,
Charity Founder and Advisor
Direct line 01278 768701