Aimee Wallis from Corvid Dawn Wild Bird Rescue Sanctuary is well known across England as a corvid specialist but she will rescue all British wild birds including song birds, pirds of prey, waterfowl and pigeons. Aimee has been running the sanctuary for 7 years and receives about 1,000 enquiries from the public every year who have found injured birds in the wild or have pet birds they can’t look after any more.
Aimee has the capacity to take in about 200 birds every year.
This female blackbird called Thelma was rescued from a cat and brought to Aimee when she was a new fledgling at a week old.
Aimee hand-fed her and gave her antibiotics until she was ready to live in the aviary with her sister Louise.
The period in the aviary is important for the birds to break the bond with humans before they are released back into the wild.
Thelma and Louise have now been successfully returned to the wild.
Aimee specialises in reversing imprinted birds that have been tamed to rehabilitate them back into the wild. This involves a lengthy period of reducing human contact and increasing contact with the other birds in her aviary.
She also offers long term care for birds that need more time to recover or are old and need somewhere safe to live for the rest of their lives.
Corvids have an important role to play in our eco system as pest controllers. A crow family can eat 40,000 grubs, caterpillars, armyworms and other insects in one nesting season. That’s a lot of insects many gardeners and farmers consider pests. They clear carcasses, speeding up decomposition, preventing bacteria and disease. These good environmental citizens also transport and store seeds, thus contributing to forest renewal. Jays in particular are the main reason for diversity in most woodlands around the UK.
Corvids also tend to mirror the intelligence of humans more so than other animals, recognising faces and emotions, solving puzzles and using tools. They have an extraordinary capacity for empathy between themselves corvids and also extending to other species. It’s the reason wolves and ravens work well as a hunting team. They will show compassion for other species such as a malnourished squirrel by feeding it or showing other species there are food sources.
Most surprising of all they will do something that no other bird species will do as far as we can tell and that is raise their young despite imperfections, such as blindness, calcium issues or even a deformity. Song birds will push out an egg, or a new born as soon as signs of these issues begin. But corvids are far more emotionally invested and can not reject their young.
When you care for a corvid there’s a much deeper bond and understanding between you and the bird.
Can you help?
The land Aimee has been renting for the past two years is no longer available from July 2020. They are urgently looking to rent (longterm) or purchase one acre of land in a quiet location preferably in or near the Lambourn Valley. The only visitors will be Aimee and her husband Dario. A water supply would be very useful but if not available they will truck in their water. They will construct some free-standing aviaries so no planning permission is required.
For more about Aimee’s work and her advice about fledglings please listen to these radio interviews with her: