For over 25 years Hessilhead has cared for Scotland's injured and orphaned wildlife, aiming to rescue, treat, rehabilitate and release birds and animals back to the wild



February 11th 2018

Time for an update after a couple of weeks with a mix of patients. Good news about the roe deer from Lochwinnoch, found at the roadside a couple of weeks ago. She was released on Friday evening, fully alert and having been eating well.

Other releases of the past week have included a woodcock that was caught by a cat. It had a sore wing, but not broken, and after a few days of digging worms from frozen ground we took the lively bird into our wood. The first flight wasn’t good, and we approached the woodcock, sitting against a tree trunk, thinking we might have to take it back into care. It thought differently. With the usual crash when a woodcock takes off, it flew high, over the tops of mature spruce trees, heading back towards Kilbirnie. We released a buzzard last week, and a bunch of recovered feral pigeons. It was good to see a song thrush fly off strongly.

The mix of new patients includes a new otter cub from Arran. The cub spent an afternoon calling for Mum, and local people kept watch from a distance. When the cub was still on the beach at 9pm, squeezed between boulders, the concerned people called us for advice, and we thought it best to take the cub into care. He came to Hessilhead next morning, still calling for mum. He has settled down now, is eating trout, though I do have to start him off at each feed time. Once Norman is eating confidently, he will be introduced to our other cub, Otzi. They have already been chatting to each other in the hospital.

We have two more buzzards in care. One had the tip of its beak broken; the other has an old fracture in the wing, but this has healed quite well, so we are hopeful that the bird will fly. A barn olw was brought to us yesterday. He is very subdued, but no fractures. he is taking small bits of meat.

Yesterday we had a call reporting an albino addrer. This would have been a real rarity, but on collection we found a pale coloured corn snake. It was lucky to have survived such low temperatures. A kittiwake was a surprise casualty today. it is a youngster, underweight, now on fluid therapy and heat.

During this snowy weather the last patient we expected was another hedgehog. It is underweight, was dehydrated, but ate a good supper last night. I am sure it is happy to be in the warm hospital.

Good news that we have another seal up to weight for release, and others eating well. We still have a couple of stragglers though. If only they would discover how easy it is to pick up their own food!

We are looking forward to more releases this week, with swans ready to go and a pink footed goose.

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