79-year-old Chris is one of our incredible bird wildlife carers, taking injured, sick and orphan baby birds under her wing every day. Not only does she have a dedicated set up at home to care for native birds before they can be released back into the wild, Chris has also proudly adopted two dogs and four cats from the RSPCA.
“I’ve really loved wildlife all my life. I raised 28 parrots when I was nine years old and ever since then I’ve been doing the same thing.”
Chris first volunteered with the RSPCA as an Animal Ambulance driver collecting and transporting sick and injured animals. “We used to do two 4-hour shifts, which was hard work but lots of fun. I did that for about three years, but I was about 70 when I finished.”
Still wanting to help all creatures great and small, Chris became a wildlife carer for birds. “I came home with three noisy minors and instructions. I just loved it, so I did a whole lot of classes and learned how to do it properly.”
Chris is incredibly committed to the animals in her care, feeding baby birds every half hour from 6am to 7pm. It’s a full time job!
A whopping 5,000 wild birds have been cared for by Chris. She’s even hatched native eggs. “I got two or three eggs of Striated Pardalote babies. A dog dug them up. I hatched them in the incubator and reared them. They were released into a flock of Pardalotes. Rearing them from eggs is so hard because they only weigh about 2g when they’re born (usually about 9g when released).”
Caring for wildlife brings so much joy to Chris’ life. “I came out this morning and that egg had hatched; oh it just made my day. I hardly ever sit down. It keeps you so active and it gives you something to focus on... something to get out of bed in the morning for. I jump out of bed at six o’clock quite happily.”
There can be some difficult parts to caring for wildlife Chris says, “When you lose one you’ve had for a while. It cuts you up.”
Even though there are the sad times, some wonderful things happen when caring for wildlife. Chris got a little fairy wren in with a fractured leg. RSPCA Queensland Wildlife Vet Tim patched up the fairy wren, made a splint, and Chris took it home for care. The little wren was eventually able to be released.
It’s because of incredible volunteers like Chris that animals have a brighter future in the wild.
RSPCA are always looking for more volunteers and those that are passionate just like Chris. Whether it be driving our Animal Rescue vehicles or helping in another way, volunteers are always valued and needed. Find out how you can become our next volunteer here.
If you're interested in becoming a wildlife carer like Chris, you can learn more here.