Being a volunteer transporter for ORC is an incredibly important job! Everyday we receive calls from the public about raptors or other wildlife that is in need of transport. This is one the main ways we receive birds and animals.
The way it works
Once you have gone through transporter orientation you will sign up through Volunteer Spot on the transport calendar. Sign up any day you will be available to transport. When we receive a transport call we will call you with the information.
Contained vs. Non-Contained transport
In 90% of the cases we send transporters to, we ask the public that they first contain the bird or animal before we send transport. We do this because birds of prey and wildlife in general are unpredictable and we can't use the resources/time/energy/volunteers to venture out on cases where we're not sure we will find anything. For example- people can't say "I saw a bird off Seaward Ave. on the ground it looked like it had a bad wing but I was just driving by." We cannot send transporters on this kind of mission. Usually the public is willing to contain the bird or animal so when you arrive for transport you just pick it up- this is contained transport. Non-contained transport is for those volunteers who want to take it upon themselves to buy gloves and a net, and be trained on containing birds of prey. Rarely do we send volunteers to pick up birds that are not contained, but there are cases when birds or animals are trapped or caught and will need to be extracted by someone other than the public. For example in 2013 a volunteer transporter who was trained in capture was sent to get a Cooper's Hawk out of a lobster trap in someone's back yard- yes, that actually happened.
Speaking to the public
Being a volunteer transporter is also an important role because it involves you interacting with the public on behalf of ORC. Keep in mind, you may be interacting with people who may be in a heightened state of emotion because they have been part of or witness to an animal in distress. It's very important to be calm, kind and informative. Some people might be skeptical about you picking up a bird or animal- always explain that we are a federally and stated permitted rehabilitation center with trained wildlife rehabilitators on staff. In cases of skeptics or people who might be reluctant to transfer a bird, let them know that wild animals have special dietary and medical needs and it's always in their best interest to get them to professional care. Take a few ORC brochures to give to the reporting parties you pick up birds from. This is a way to show them we are a legitimate organization but also to spread the word about what we do.
*Don't make an assumption or comment on the outcome of the case to the reporting party. You might get questions like "Do you think it's going to make it?" or "They're not going to kill it are they?" It's really important to be sensitive and say something like " I am a transporter, we won't know until it gets to the center and undergoes a full physical exam." You can assure them that if they'd like to call the center a supervisor can give them an update.
*Always remember you are representing ORC- be calm, kind and informative, tell them "thank you so much for calling." Don't answer questions if you don't know the answer.