Feed the Birds project update

Rachel Scopes

Feed the Birds is a project we have been running for several years. It connects those who are socially isolated with a volunteer who visits each week to top up bird feeders and chat about wildlife.
Due to Covid-19 this project has become more important than ever, helping more people who are now house bound. Find out how we have adapted the project to meet this new challenge below:

Sadly we had to curtail our ‘Feed the Birds’ volunteer visits back in March so as to reduce risk of infection. The good news is that we have managed to arrange for someone, in most cases a family member, to continue topping up the bird feeders for our vulnerable and lonely clients. The volunteers, who up until then had been visiting once a week and chatting with the clients as well as filling up their feeders, have stayed in contact with a weekly telephone call.

goldfinch small garden bird

Goldfinch (c) Neil Aldridge

Of course we know that telephone doesn’t really replace quality face to face contact with a fellow human being, but it’s reassuring to know they’ve had a friendly voice at the end of the phone speaking to them once a week and that their feathered friends in the garden are also being looked after.

In April we decided to try a new way of delivering Feed the Birds by tapping into the many community networks around Shropshire. It started with a wonderfully creative and dynamic group in Ludlow led by Sarah and Emma  who run the Ludlow Wildlife Watch group (Wildlife Watch is the junior branch of The Wildlife Trusts and volunteer groups deliver nature based activities for children on a regular basis).

They have worked in partnership with Ludlow Pulling Together, a consortium of community-based organisations and we were able to provide them with 250 window mounted bird feeders and bags of bird food to distribute to elderly and vulnerable people and families around Ludlow. Local children have also been drawing pictures of birds to  distribute with the feeders. To find out more about this Ludlow project, you can watch the video below:

The success of this led us to contact some of the Mutual Aid groups that have been set up in response to Covid-19 along with care providers such as Blue Bird care and also local support groups and church groups. To date we have distributed nearly 500 bird feeder kits across Shropshire including many to individuals struggling with social isolation and loneliness which has been exacerbated by the Coronavirus pandemic.

Blue Tit Gillian Day

Watching garden birds such as blue tits and hedge sparrows feeding close at hand is such a joy and many people can relate to the simple pleasure of seeing these little creatures getting on with their lives: feeding, nest building and raising young, oblivious to the problems and struggles we humans are dealing with.

There is much evidence to show that contact with nature is essential for human happiness and that being deprived of engagement with the natural world leads to depression, anxiety, increased heart rate, and other health and life limiting conditions. A simple activity such as a walk in woodland or a park, or watching birds feed outside your window lowers heart rate and leads to improvements in breathing and essentially, longer life.

Our hope is to set up local Feed the Birds schemes across Shropshire supported by Shropshire Wildlife Trust but run and managed by the local community. Do get in touch with us if you are interested and we’ll be delighted to help.

Diane and Tommy

Diane Monether 

 

Diane Monether 

Feed the Birds project officer

FtB Logo

Feed the Birds is funded by The National Lottery Community Fund