As the COVID-19 virus comes to Alaska, all businesses have had to adjust their operations to provide for the safety of both customers and employees. A non-profit like Alaska WildBird Rehabilitation Center is no different. To allow a safe social distance, we have reduced our staffing to only one employee or volunteer working each day. While this may require longer hours, we all agree it is for the best. Many volunteers have been asked to just sit tight until the crisis passes, we have assured them that we appreciate their contributions to the center, and they will be welcomed back once it is safe to gather in groups again. Visitors are not allowed in the building, even if delivering an injured bird. All interactions with the public will take place on our front porch, and we may ask that items delivered, whether a bird or a donation, be just set there for us to handle in a safe and sanitary manner.
We want to assure you that we are still in the business of taking care of injured, orphaned or sick wild birds. But with social distancing, we may not be able to offer the same level of assistance as in the past. As always, we appreciate it when the finder can rescue the bird and bring it to us. Please call in advance before bringing in the bird to be sure someone is available, or if you have questions about rescuing, or even whether it needs to be rescued. Looking at the piles of snow it’s hard to believe, but soon it will be baby bird season. Many of our calls are about baby birds, and it is always better to have the parents raise the young rather than us, so please call if you find baby birds, and we will assist and advise. Our office number is 907-892-2927, and if it is after hours, our recording will give you an after-hours number to call.
We recognize that many of you may be involuntarily out of work due to businesses closing.
This is a tough financial time for all. We have also been affected in that our income has dropped precipitously. In the last few months we have had unplanned Toyo Stove and freezer repairs, and theft of fuel oil. We had to cancel a major fundraising event scheduled for April. Spring is typically busy when we take our education ambassador birds to many school classrooms and science fairs; with schools closed these are also not taking place. We ask that you consider assisting the center with a donation if you are able. Do you normally have a weekly evening at a movie or restaurant? Did you have to cancel a vacation? Perhaps that funding could be re-routed to help the wild birds. Our busy spring rehab season will soon be here, and the resident hawk and owls still need to be fed. The recently passed CARES act has added an incentive for charitable giving by creating a new above-the-line deduction that applies to all taxpayers for total contributions of up to $300. For larger donors there are additional changes to tax laws, check with your tax accountant for details.
Despite all the negative news, Alaska WildBird Center was happy to help the local medical community with a donation of excess personal protective equipment (PPE) to Mat-Su Regional hospital. We had medical coveralls, face masks and gloves that can be used by our medical professionals to help the virus victims in a safer manner. All these items had been donated to us in the past, and we had more than needed.
Thanks to everyone for their kind thoughts and considerations of us in this uncertain time.