Rescue U Builds a Barn to Protect Adoptable Birds

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Noah Horton, assistant director

A curious Canada goose comes to the island to check on the progress of his new pole barn.

Today I experienced a little bit of island life. No, there weren’t any piña coladas, Hawaiian shirts or tanning sessions — I was working on an island at Carolina Waterfowl Rescue in Indian Trail, NC, as a part of our current Rescue U renovation project. (Read more about the renovation.)

A Rescue U volunteer ferries building supplies to the island via kayak.

CWR has around 150 adoptable birds at any given time. The majority are cage-free waterfowl, and those birds need water to swim, for enrichment and grooming and to avoid predators. There are several small ponds around the 11-acre property that serve this purpose. The largest pond surrounds a small island on which the geese and ducks at the rescue can sleep overnight to keep themselves safe. However, they were still vulnerable to birds of prey such as owls at night. Rescue U decided to build a pole barn — a small barn without walls — on the island to protect the birds from aerial predators and the elements and to keep the food kept on the island dry in the rain.

The only way to get to the island is by kayak. This makes building a bit of a process, as all tools and supplies must be ferried across the pond. And because the barn would rest on uneven ground and the boards had to be cut at odd angles, each board had to be measured and marked on the island, sent back to the mainland to be cut, then ferried back and installed. Finally, after a huge team effort, the whole pole-barn team and I were on location with all the supplies we needed to get the job done.

It took all day, with curious adoptable geese frequently coming over to say hello and check on our progress, but by the end of the day, the barn was completed. The waterfowl now have a little extra protection from the elements and predators.

In the coming days, Rescue U volunteers will be building a feeding box to store under the pole barn so food won’t need to be taken to the island by kayak as often, and will stay dry once there. Stay tuned for more updates!

Noah (center) and other volunteers celebrate the completion of the pole barn, which will protect many of the birds at the rescue.

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