LIFE ON WINGS

by Rohit Gangwal

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About the project :

Birds, one of the most beautiful creations of the almighty, today face excruciating challenges in the open sky, hundreds of them get injured, at times fatally , during the Kite flying festivals. We, at Raksha, endeavor to provide an ecosystem for the birds’ wellbeing. Let us join hands together for “Life on Wings”, let us become the voice of the voiceless

RAKSHA is a registered charitable trust established by a young team of enthusiastic individuals in the beautiful city of Jaipur. We are inspired to start a movement and make lasting change to work against cruelty towards animals, to improve the health and welfare of animals, to protect the environment and by doing so improve the livelihood of people. 

Our team carries out the following programs throughout the year: 

  • • Bird Helpline
  • • Bird Orphanage 
  • • Reptile Helpline in Jaipur and Phulera 
  • • Educational awareness in schools, colleges and villages. 
  • • Reduce Carbon Footprints 
  • • Promote Vegetarianism 
  • • Plantation drive 
  • • Educational field trips 
  • • Water bowl program in summer 

Due to high rate of mortality in baby birds, RAKSHA started a one of a kind BIRD ORPHANAGE in 2013. Our main aim was to reduce baby birds’ mortality rate, give individual attention through foster mothers, introduce baby birds to birds of their own species, guide the baby birds from birth to their final flight for freedom in searching feed, safety, height etc. Slowly and steadily the mortality rate was down in two years. 

Since 2013, Raksha has been running this campaign thereby saving hundreds of birds every year. The campaign and team specializes in bird rescues and is capable of raising any species of baby bird from passerines to raptors.

All Foster Mothers are trained with correct knowledge about what to feed and how to feed depending on whether the baby birds are precocial, semialtricial or altricial. We also help in controlling where to keep the birdsas the correct combination of temperature and moisture is necessary for them in the initial phase of their development. Some of them were abandoned at such an early stage, that even their eyes were still closed. In such cases they had to be kept under constant observation and fed timely. Some success species include Sparrows, Pigeons, Brahminy Starling, Copper smith Barbet, Crows , Shikra and Black Shouldered Kite. Our team fostered about50 baby birds in last one year and released them back in wild successfully.This whole process is completed in three stages:

RESCUE 

The organization has been working towards the cause from last 10 years. It rescues over 40birds annually. 

The trained volunteers or staff reaches the rescue site from where the call is received. The bird is taken into consideration; observed for any injury and their age is estimated.If they are nestlings, we try to relocate the bird back into the nest so that it isaccepted by its mother. In conditions where the mother is no more or the bird was lost and found and can’t be put back, then such baby birds are adopted by us and taken to the shelter for further rehabilitation. Proper protocols are followed for each and every rescue. Data about species, spot treatment given, condition of the bird, place of rescue is recorded after the rescue.

REHABILITATION:

The main work of raising a baby bird starts just after its rescued and brought to our shelter. Once rescued, the birds are immediately provided veterinary assistance if necessary.Data is recorded about type of injury , its severity, medication given, stress level, further medication to be given, isolation details (whether required or not), shifting to cage as per the bird’s size etc.They are also observed for carrying  any diseases, whether internal or external. 

The baby birds are kept under 24 hours observation as depending on their age they required to be fed continuously. They are given extra supplements in the form of vitamins and calcium for proper growth. Juveniles of raptors are needed to be fed non vegetarian diet which is done just the way  their  mother feeds them. They are fed with tweezers from which they are made to snatch. 

Rehabilitation is the most critical phase in the life of a baby bird as this is the time when they develop their instincts and understand signals of the nature. In the wild,  during this phase they are exposed to maximum threats and they have to learn to defend themselves. So, for a foster mother which rears these birds has a task of not just providing right kind of nourishment to it but also to train the baby bird to  feed itself, perch, take small flights etc. 

Most importantly if there are two or more juveniles of same species then it’s ensured that they are kept together so that they could see and learn from each other. While raising birds it’s also important that they learn the natural behavior of communicating from the foster mothers- which are birds of their own species kept at the shelter, which have lost the ability to fly. 

RELEASE:

RAKSHA has successfully rescued and rehabiliated over 80 baby birds and guided them to their flight of Freedom. It takes around 30-45days for a fledgling to take its final flight. After observing the bird’s behavior, movement and feed intake a panel of veterinarians, rehabilitators and care takers decide the final release time of birds. Before the bird is released in wild, its capability of flight is checked by giving them early flight training.

Contributors will help us achieve:

Birds constitute are an important aspect of our natural world. They are an important part of the global ecosystem and biodiversity. Many species have settled close to human habitations and prospered by sharing resources and trash of their human neighbors to carve out a successful niche for them. However, this nice balance of sharing and co-inhabiting the same space has been greatly shifted to a negative ends from the dynamics of the human perspective. 

With the help of the funds that would be raised through the campaign we ensure that more number of birds would get its benefits. 

Raksha believes that rescues have to be backed by more effective educational awareness and community participation programs. The charity raised through this project would be used for our programs for birds rescue and rehabilitation. The funds would be spend with an intention to bring down mortality rates in  both , the juveniles and sub adults, which are still not self dependent and ready to fly.

The resources and your contributions would help us to reach out to more people and spread more awareness of avian conservation. Many times due to lack of medical facilities, the baby birds die on the spot. Such problems can be overcome if there is an arrangement of emergency ambulance that can handle many cases in a day.

Ultimately a help by contributors would enable us to multiply our efforts of saving life and put it back on wings.

Why RAKSHA:

Our mission is to safeguard‘life on wings’. RAKSHA started its first Bird Treatment Camp in 2006. Since then we have been consistently working to save injured and orphaned birds. The organization has experienced personnel who are active in dealing with all species of baby birds.

To ensure that the baby birds are reared with care, the organization has a strong base of very dedicated volunteers and staff(fosters mothers) who are well informed about how to raise a baby bird whether nestlings or fledglings.  The rescue helpline runs 24 hours as we get numerous calls at any hour of the day.

Raksha is the only organization in the city to be running an orphanage.Our strength and skills lie in the sound rehabilitation and release policies which carry greater impact in education and public awareness programs. As a result we have seen a marked increase in intakes of orphaned songbirds, confiscated parrots and injured or downed baby raptors.

RAKSHA has successfully conducted Avian Rescue and Rehabilitation Program during Kite flying festival in Jaipur district in 2013. 

Risks and Challenges :

The biggest risk that we face during all this process is the mortality rate. This generally happens due to lack of resources such as mobile vans which could cover distances in less time and provide immediate relief to the birds. Another obstacle lies with the baby birds which are registered with the organization in large number. These juveniles are highly prone to infections and require a lot of care day and night because of their vulnerability. They need to be kept under 24 hour observation, given proper nourishment etc. Aproperly built facility with monitoring devices would be a strong backup which would certainly decrease the mortality rates. This and other such factors could definitely be overcome through public support.

Other Ways You Can Help :

Contribution is not always necessary to be through monetary funds. If people support our cause through other ways such as promoting campaign on social media, spreading our message of saving feathered friends forwarding our helpline number so that the case could be forwarded to us through different other means of communication then it would indirectly be a help in reducing mortality.

wonderful project !!

Awesome !!