Protecting and supporting wild birds is at the heart of everything I do at A Little Bird Company, and over the past year I have been learning more about how our national wildlife charities research, monitor and record bird populations. Izzy Fry, an inspirational young nature lover and wildlife photographer based here in the UK has been volunteering for the BTO (British Trust for Ornithology) and I spoke to her to learn a little more about the important work she does with the charity.
Teenager Izzy has had an interest in the natural world since a very young age, and her family has always encouraged her passion. She does a lot of volunteering work, including bird ringing for the BTO, working with sick and injured animals and birds at the wildlife hospital and conducting surveys for the People’s Trust for Endangered Species (PTES).
Her love of nature and wildlife began on a visit to Skomer Island in Wales with her grandparents to see the puffins. She borrowed her grandparents’ camera and captured shots of the beautiful seabirds with mouthfuls of sand eels and coming out of their burrows and has been fascinated by birding and wildlife photography ever since. Puffins remain one of her favourite birds, and she loves to go back and visit Skomer Island with birdwatching friends.
Izzy began training to be a bird ringer with the BTO just over a year ago and loves the work she does. Bird ringing is an invaluable way for the charity to monitor population numbers, productivity and the movements of our British birds, all information vital for their conservation. She puts up mist nets made from thin nylon, which are designed to be invisible to the naked eye, and birds fly into the nets and wait there until they are carefully extracted by the volunteers. Each bird is fitted with a unique numbered ring, enabling them to be identified and monitored. The birds are never harmed and are back into the wild within minutes, and the ring doesn’t hurt or weight them down – it’s the equivalent of you or I wearing a watch! Izzy dedicates her time to bird ringing whenever she is free and the weather is suitable.
The pandemic was a difficult time for many of us, but Izzy found time out in nature immensely helpful throughout lockdown. Although she found it hard to stay positive and keep motivated with school work, a daily walk improved her mental health and well-being. Izzy built a bird table just outside her window and enjoyed sitting at her desk and watching new species come to feed– although it distracted her from schoolwork it massively improved her mood and well-being, which I think is much more important!
Izzy aims to inspire her peers to protect, conserve and enjoy the nature around them. She hopes to become a certified bird ringer within the next couple of years and would like to study wildlife conservation and zoology at University.
If you would like to see more of Izzy’s beautiful wildlife photography or learn more about her work as a bird ringer, you can follow her on Instagram @izzyfryphotography or visit her website at http://www.youngnaturalistizzyfry.com/