One thing that never ceases to amaze me (and let’s face it – there are a few), is just how much people LOVE birds. I shouldn’t be surprised – I started my career in ecology volunteering for the RSPB; I did my dissertation on avocets; I’ve spent more time in bird hides that is sensible for a girl my age, and yet – something about a glimpse into the life of a wild bird is such an intimate and privileged moment for most people, that they can come to an event like Peregrine Watch and walk away feeling that they have glimpsed something special; feeling delighted.
I’m very fortunate to be able to spend (almost) as much time as I like outdoors (provided the reports, letters, emails and event preparations, etc are all in on time!). Seeing peregrines, foxes, kingfishers, bats and bumblebees is just a very ‘normal’ thing to me, and I am all too aware that many people are stuck in offices, shops or factories, and that moments like that are few and far between for lots of folks. That is why we need to keep doing events like Peregrine Watch. Conservation organisations (Wildlife Trusts, RSPB etc.,) call them ‘People and Wildlife’ events. The ‘People’ comes first – they are all about breaking through the humdrum and glimpsing the spectacular that is all around us. And they give wildlife fanatics like me a chance to sing the praises of some unsung species!
We had a wonderful Peregrine Watch this year – made some lovely new friends from Gentleshaw Wildlife Centre and Focus Optics, and welcomed back some very dedicated and hard working volunteers from the RSPB Walsall Group and the Black Country & Staffordshire Naturalists. Although the event was cut short by two hours due to a power cut causing the New Art Gallery (where the event was being hosted) to be evacuated, we still had a fantastic time sharing our resident birds of prey with hundreds of visitors throughout the morning. It is also a great privilege to spend a day doing awesome things with inspiring people whose energy never seems to wane when sharing their passion for wildlife with the public.
For those of you who came along to be met with an evacuated, darkened Art Gallery, I’m really sorry you missed it, and we are already making plans to repeat the event if Katy & Matt (Perry) decide they like their new nest box and attempt to breed there, so watch this space. But mainly I just wanted to thank everyone who came out to support our fantastic birds last weekend – these events are only the huge success that they are because of you. x