Helping out at the Swan Trust

Taking care of our prickly friends
Taking care of our prickly friends

Well, it had to happen at some point: on Wednesday morning I had a phonecall from my fellow volunteer to say she had a horrible sickness bug, and wouldn’t be able to do her normal ‘shift’ at the Rollo Centre with me. After four months of working alongside my wildlife rescue trainer and mentor Una (and having a lot of laughs along the way), I was going to be flying solo!

As if to pile on the pressure, we had a new recruit volunteer, so it was down to me to show him. After a moment of blind panic, I realised that I wasn’t really on my own - Kay and Pat were on hand to consult if I needed help.

In the recovery room, I showed Steve how we weigh each hedgehog, record what they’ve eaten, and place them in a holding box so we can clean out their cage. We started preparing fresh food for the swans, cygnets, ducklings and eider, who are now all in the big pond enclosure. They get chopped up bread, grain and dried mealworms with grass cuttings, lettuces and yet more mealworms sprinkled on the water. It’s always great fun feeding these birds, especially the eider duck who propels himself across the pond by flapping his wings furiously, I think out of the sheer joy of eating mealworms. When we’d finished the hogs, Steve said there was a lot to remember!

Volunteering at the Swan Trust isn’t just about helping to ensure the ‘patients’ have the best possible chance of recovery and release, but for us humans it’s also about the good company of the other volunteers as well.