MIGRANTS: Anita volunteers rescuing injured birds in Regent's park, London.

Every year on the 25th of December, we have our little ritual, we like walking by Regent's canal to Regent's park, it is a good way of not spending the whole day at home, to clear our minds. London is very beautiful during the festive holiday, it is quiet and still, very unconventional. People greet each other walking by the canal, and the lack of cyclists, or traffic on the streets, makes it a very relaxing journey.

One of the things that I like the most about living in London is it's public parks. During the winter and autumn, I love going out for long walks. During the Spring feeding the baby ducklings, swan, cygnets and gees. During the summer the picnics and gatherings and so on.

A big bird told me that birds in the city cannot talk to each other for the simple reason they cannot hear each other due to the heavy traffic. Recently, I read an article published by the Smithsonian Insider "that an study published in November’s issue of Behavioral Ecology found that the same could be true for songbirds in urban areas. Researchers from the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute’s Migratory Bird Center study how songbirds are affected by both general noise and the acoustics of man made habitat in the city. Their findings suggest that some species are altering their songs to adjust to either human-made noise or human-made objects, but the birds seem to have more difficulty altering their song in the presence of both".

While we were at the busy park, I noticed a post on Birds Rescue at the notice board. It was next to some adds of different classes of exercises provided at the park's hub, also a pined advert about the dog's hub. It was a very brief note, which reads: Wings, Bird Rescuer, Anita, the only contact details available were her phone number. I took a picture of this advert with my mobile and thought about contacting her for my blog. At the moment, I am putting together a photography exhibition on migration, at the Bird's Nest Gallery.

In January, after the holiday I contacted Anita via text message, to which she fortunately replied very quickly. I wrote her that I wanted to know which are the most common species that she had rescued and the most exotic ones. The most difficult rescue job that she has done. I emphasized that I was also interested in birds migrations. Finally, I wanted to know the time of the year they migrate somewhere else and the park's habitat for them.

She replied confirming that she is a volunteer rescuer in her spare time for the Royal Parks and The Swan Sanctuary in Shepperton. She is based very central and local to the area, so she is more of a dropping off point for sick and injured birds. The heavy traffic getting into London doesn't make her life easy, paradoxically the commuters that live outside London and that do not like the big city and the traffic, are the ones that congest central London. The sanctuary collect the waterfowl from her late at night when there is less traffic.  

The park does have wildlife officers but they admit "they’re not too hot of rescuing birds. The birds trust her because she feeds them everyday, plus she has quick reflexes and show no fear! This is why they asked her to place her details on the notice boards around the park". 

She added "I pick up many sick and injured pigeons. Most I get well again with antibiotics and release them back with my number on a leg tag. The ones that are disabled I take to my friend in Burton on Trent, she has an amazing sanctuary there that caters for many pigeons, chickens and wildlife". 

 

Anita is very honest when she confirms that she knows nothing about migration. She gives me the contact of a person who is a wildlife officer and who works for the Royal Parks. He is very knowledgeable and has his own blog on the Parks. She finishes her message by sending a link to his page. I will contact him for my next blog entry.

I find Anita's empathy and compassion to be very moving. I am off to Clissold park!

PS: The opening for the exhibition EUROPA. MIGRANTS: What does home mean to you? is the 29th of March at 7.00 pm. At the Bird's Nest Gallery, Deptford, London.

Thank you for reading.

London, 16th of February, 2019.

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