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Volunteers band together

Friday, 18th November, 2016

Barbara Hands cleans the eye of a Crested Pigeon, which received a severe blow during Friday’s storm. Barbara Hands cleans the eye of a Crested Pigeon, which received a severe blow during Friday’s storm.

By Kara de Groot

Carers with a local volunteer group have been inundated with animals, especially birds, injured during Friday’s hail storm.

In the hours following the storm, 30 birds of various species were found injured in the parks and streets around Broken Hill, and since then another six birds have been recovered with injuries consistent with storm damage.

Barbara Hands is a bird carer, coordinator and trainer with RRANA, and is currently looking after half a dozen storm-damaged birds, on top of the others she has been caring for.

“We’re a very small group of carers but we’re well organised, and when something like the storm happens we pull together and do the job that has to be done,” Mrs Hands said.

“All of us, we had damaged houses and cars from the storm, but we straight away went out to the parks to look for injured animals, because that’s more important than property,” she said.

“It was pretty awful, there were screaming birds, some were already dead, it was traumatic.

“Some birds had to be euthanized in the following days, some had broken wings, but at least some of them now have been able to be released, which is good.”

For the most part Barbara and other RRANA volunteers have been providing respite care for the injured wildlife, which consists of providing them with a safe place to recover before releasing them back into the wild.

Sometimes veterinary care is required, but often it’s a case of cleaning wounds, rehydrating and feeding the animals, and providing them a safe space to recover away from predators and other stresses.

“This time of the year is always busy anyway, but the storm just tripled our numbers,” said Mrs Hands.

“If any of the public would like to help us donations of towels would be greatly appreciated.”

RRANA has a 24 hour number available on their website to arrange collection of donations, as well as reporting of injured wildlife.

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