My Nonprofit Reviews
Review for WILD BIRD FUND INC, New York, NY, USA
In the interests of fair disclosure, I am a regular visitor to the WBF. I am a photographer with an interest in wildlife and have been providing photo services on a pro bono basis to the WBF. I have been doing this for more than a year during which time the WBF moved from various private homes and shared professional facilities to its own center on Columbus Avenue. In that time I have met and photographed perhaps 25 volunteers and staff members and perhaps 300 birds of various species. (You can see some of the WBF work here: http://fredcohenphotography.weebly.com/the-wild-bird-fund---p1.html .) As you might surmise from this I have spent many hours at the WBF center and have observed their work on many occasions.
I have been constantly impressed with the dedication, competence and knowledge of the paid staff; with the kindness, sincerity and concern for the animals of staff and volunteers alike; and with the attention to training of volunteers in the care of birds and safety. During that period the WBF has also shown a constant concern for outreach to the neighborhood and teaching about respect and care for birds of all kinds. The demand for WBF’s services immediately outstripped the physical confines of its new facility and I know for a fact that some staff and many volunteers provide foster care for over-flow animals in their homes when and to the extent permitted by wildlife rehab regulations.
However the primary function of the organization is to save injured wild life that can be saved and to release them back into the wild. I have seen the staff in action enlisting veterinary services as needed, testing for lead, taking x-rays, administering medications, feeding and exercising each bird – of which there are often more than 100 in residence. This brings me to comment on Mr. Jenner’s remarks on Ernest the Pheasant in an earlier review. First, each bird at the center is given a daily opportunity for exercise unless they are carriers of a communicable medical problem. Second, I have not known the center to turn away a needful bird. So it may well be that at any time there are raptors and prey simultaneously resident in the WBF facility. However I have never seen them loosed for exercise at the same time and I have never seen them caged in sight of each other. Third, I have seen the center react quickly and sensitively to aggression of birds of even the same species toward each other. Fourth, I saw Earnest from his first days at the WBF center until the final days before his release to a reserve some months back. He had the run of the place and seemed to form a bond with a chukar, also in extended residence. I never saw Ernest exhibit lethargy or distress except in connection with his injury. Given the thin staffing resulting from a very limited budget and reliance for more routine work on volunteer workers, the WBF provides tender care and manages to treat and release a huge number of birds throughout the year. I have not ceased to be astonished at their throughput, their constant good humor, their patience and their willingness to do the dirty work, as well as the engaging work, required to maintain their charges.
I have often been called with notice of the arrival of a photogenic bird only to find that it had been released or shipped to a cooperative facility in another location before I could get to the WBF center. I have always agreed that the treatment and welfare of the birds has a higher priority than any photo-graphic opportunity so this does not distress me. The staff who have helped me with my photographic efforts have always been sensitive to any stresses on the birds produced by that process.
In short I am a believer in the work and organization of the WBF. With greater funding, additional professional staff might be retained, and that could only strengthen the services and relieve some of the stresses on the current staff. But I certainly cannot fault the WBF for any lack of concern or care or effort, or results.
Would you volunteer for this group again?
For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?
Did the organization use your time wisely?
Would you recommend this group to a friend?
When was your last experience with this nonprofit?
Did your volunteer experience have an effect on you? (teaching you a new skill, or introducing new friends, etc.)
I have improved my photographic technique in 'shooting' small animals, I have learned a lot about birds and the regulation of their care and treatment, and I have met wonderful people.
How did this volunteer experience make you feel?
I have only good feelings about this experience.