It isn’t always good news at the wildlife rescue centre. Today a buzzard was delivered to us, and we were disappointed to see it had been shot. A pellet had punctured the buzzard’s crop, and some of its last meal was oozing out. We cleaned it up, stitched the wound, and hope that the pellet hasn’t gone right through the crop. The bird will need antibiotics, and we are hopeful of a full recovery.
Yesterday another young buzzard was rescued. It was reported to have been on the same rock, at Snypes Dam, for several days. It was a long walk from the car park, and before our rescue team reached the bird, another thunderstorm had thoroughly soaked them. They soon caught the bird, which has an injured elbow, and the lady who reported it was right to be concerned. Fortunately the bird is still in good condition. It was probably still being fed by parents.
It was a surprise to get a common seal pup today. The pup was found yesterday, on a beach in Northumberland. It has been given rehydration fluid and treated by a vet. It is a skinny pup, with cuts on its mouth, but nevertheless is quite active and aggressive. We have given the pup more fluids, and hope that it will eat small fish soon.
Today we ran a Training Day, Owls and Raptors. 11 enthusiastic people were keen to learn about the care of the tawny owls, barn owls and buzzards that we have in care, and also about their behaviour in the wild. Everyone learnt how to handle these birds. People were amazed at the small size of tawny and barn, under that thick layer of feathers. The ears of owls are amazing too; they are huge. We spent some time dissecting owl pellets, and found the skulls of voles and shrews, as well as lots of other bones. The highlight of the afternoon was to release a buzzard. The buzzard was found in May, tangled on a barbed wire fence. Its wing was badly injured, but after weeks of care, physiotherapy and exercise, it was ready for release. Everyone went to the release site, and there was relief and smiles as the bird flew high. One very lucky buzzard indeed.
Andy and I came back from holiday last week to find a very different Hessilhead. First of all we noticed a great surge in the growth of vegetation. Our niger feeders had had been submerged by the buddleia and other feeders were hidden by head high nettles. Hessilhead had blossomed!
Likewise patient numbers had soared. There were more families of ducklings and lots of nestlings on heat pads. Another batch of starling chicks were noisily demanding food, and the fist swallows, house martins and even a swift and were feeding well. There is a delightful family of goldcrests, so small yet so full of character.
A few dramatic rescues had taken place. A fox had been rescued, with its head firmly stuck in a plastic baked bean container. Some ducklings had been rescued from a drain, which had involved a trip back to Hessilhead to collect crow bars etc. and two moorhen chicks, with unbelievably long legs and toes, had been rescued from a war time oil tank. Not long ago we rescued a swan from this same place.
Two buzzard chicks had come into care. They are siblings, beautifully feathered and well grown. Now they are in an aviary for flying practice.
The oldest common gull chicks have feathers now, looking quite grown up and smart. The youngest chicks were still in the hospital, but have moved to a shed now. One of our largest enclosures is filling up with lesser black backed gulls. these have mostly fallen from roofs.
The biggest surprise was to find 14 baby hedgehogs in the hospital. Most of these had come from disturbed nests. The good news was that all were old enough to feed themselves, possible a bit prematurely, due to being very hungry when found.