The participation and help given by the public in community projects always gain recognition but, sometimes, there are some examples that merit special attention.
As you may know, the Recuperation Centre for Wild Animals looks after a thousand animals a year, of which about one hundred are orphaned chicks. These are small birds born in urban surroundings that fall from their nests. They are vulnerable to cars, cats and other dangers encountered in towns. A group of committed volunteers donates their time and efforts as adoptive parents to give a second opportunity to these small birds. They are, amongst other species, sparrows, green finches, thrushes, swifts and house martins, kestrels and owls.
Once the little birds have grown up, they need a period of training. Training to learn how to fly and find food on their own. This is a very important period so that the bird can return to the wild with the greatest ability for it to hunt in its natural habitat. In the Recuperation Centre there are cages large enough in which raptors can fly about and where kestrels and owls learn to fly and hunt in safety. The swifts and house martins do not need any training as their deep instinct is to take to the air so that when they have done it for the first time they can then always soar with the winds to perfection. In addition, we have the little house birds; the sparrows, green finches and thrushes and once they take wing they need to have a period of adaptation in a safe place. Although they cannot fly very well at this time, once they gain their independence it will be necessary for them to be able to find their food and here they learn how to cope with confronting their life in the wild with confidence. The last step in their total freedom.
Suitable areas for them are not easy to find. These little birds need an open space, which is tranquil, free of dangers and where it is possible for their development to be controlled. An oasis such as this exists in Mahon. It breathes tranquillity and care. A small interior patio at the Municipal Geriatric Centre functions as a cage in which the little birds can fly. It has cultivated plants that provide hiding places; Oliver and the rest of the attentive staff fill the feeders and bird drinkers, and it is where other wild birds can enter and encourage our small flyers to become free and secure. The old people of the geriatric centre live each day with the excitement of seeing the little birds returned to their freedom, and feeling they have participated in this life giving project.
A small oasis in the middle of a town that is remote from what occurs in this discrete patio, where collaboration between the elderly and wild life is made possible.