A Day in the Life of an Animal Care Volunteer

Posted April 27, 2022 by Sasha, Wildlife Technician

Volunteers are an integral part of Wildlife Rescue and they are involved in every aspect of the work that we do. We deeply appreciate each and every person that generously gives their time to help give our wildlife patients a second chance at life. Join us this week as we take a sneak peek into an average day for volunteers at Wildlife Rescue!

Written by Animal Care Volunteer, Isabel

2:50 pm – Arrived for my shift at the Wildlife Rescue hospital and was surprised with the best brownies and cupcakes in the break room—could the day start any better?

3:00 pm – I introduced myself to the new animal care volunteer I would be mentoring for the day, checked the board to see when the next patient feeding was coming up, and picked up a radio to keep in touch with the rest of the Wildlife Rescue team.

When one shift begins, another is just finishing up! Our first task of the day was to check in with the earlier shift and we helped them out with setting up greenery in a patient enclosure before they left for the day.

3:10 pm – We set up Aviary 14- a big enclosure with lots of greenery, milk crates, and roses nestled in the branches to give our feathered friends lots of fun places to perch and safe places to hide. Five volunteers on shift worked together and the job was done quickly! Wildlife enrichment is one of my favourite parts of volunteering at Wildlife Rescue because you get to be creative and wildlife live and play in your art! We create places to hide and perches at different heights to help them build their natural skills, keep their muscles strong, and be successful in the wild. It’s so special to give them a fun and safe environment that supports their needs whether they’re recovering from an injury or just learning how to fly!

3:30 pm – My mentee and I did some training and practice on common animal care shift tasks such as washing crates, preparing safe veterinary disinfectant solutions, and arranging clean and dirty laundry. We took a tour around Wildlife Rescue’s site to learn where the animal care tools and resources can be found and learned about animal safety and handling protocols.

One of the most important things we learn as animal care volunteers at Wildlife rescue is the important health indicators to look for in our wildlife patients and when to communicate concerns to staff. As we’re so often close by to feed patients or visiting their enclosure to clean up, volunteer observations can be key to their successful care!

4:30 pm – We visited the kitchen to check which patients needed to be fed at this time. By referencing the feeding schedule, our patient codes, and each patient’s respective diet in the manual, we were able to determine exactly which foods to pick up.

The schedule let us know we needed to check on some of the ducklings so next we visited 12baby ducklings in the brood sheds to see what food needed to be topped up and what needed cleaning. I demonstrated how to safely move the ducklings into a carrier while cleaning their enclosure and how to safely place them back while minimizing human contact and stress as much as possible. I cleaned both enclosures, carefully demonstrating the extra safety precautions we take at Wildlife Rescue such as diligently replacing gloves between each cleaning.

5 pm – We brought some dirty dishes to the sink, and garbage to the bin. Once we were washed up again, I supervised my mentee as we put together patient diets for more feedings. We carefully went through each enclosure and followed the protocol to open them safely and replace dishes with fresh food. Our new volunteer did a wonderful job and all patients were fed in no time! .

6 pm – We went back to the kitchen to complete some maintenance on our food preparation tools such as washing all the dishes from the day and sharpening knives.

7 pm – It was time for the last feed of the day and we fed the youngest of the ducklings we have in our care. Once again following Wildlife Rescue’s careful protocols, we removed the ducklings, cleaned their enclosure, and fed them their evening meals with as little stress as possible.

Afterwards, we visited the older ducklings as well and learned the differences in diet for each duckling stage and how to read the diet sheet to provide the right nutrition.

7:30 pm – We divided forces to wash the last dishes, sweep, and mop. We took out the garbage, recycling, and laundry and I filled out my mentoring report for this shift.

Finished for the day, we said goodbye to Wildlife Rescue and headed home!

Join the team! Learn more about volunteer opportunities and how to apply >

Posted in What's New