This weekend was busy with more than 50 new casualties brought into care. There were 4 adult hedgehogs and 7 babies. 4 of the babies were from the same litter, found cold and weak in a garden. The others came singly. Sometimes it is difficult to know what kind of accident has happened to adult hedgehogs. One has an infected wound on its back, another has an injury near its mouth, and there were a lot of fly eggs that we removed before they hatched. There was a poor old hedgehog with very bad teeth. Obviously it hadn’t been able to eat enough food.
There is a new roe deer fawn that was rescued from the canal, and a new fox cub rescued from Pollokshields. It has probably been hit by a car. Its hind legs don’t work very well, but there isn’t a fracture, just severe bruising.
Another young barn owl came today. It was found near Ballantrae, too young to be out of its nest. This is a female owl, and will be reared and released with the young male barn owl that we rescued on Saturday.
Other new patients include house martin chicks, fledgling starlings, a jackdaw, a quail, lots more young gulls and various pigeons.
Today 6 swifts were released. They were in very good condition and keen to go. It was great to see them flying high and darting after insects.
When the hospital begins to fill with swallows and house martins, we think that the end of the hand rearing season is in sight. This doesn’t seem to be the case this year. We have plenty of swallows and house martins, and 5 swifts too, but nestling dunnocks and robins and still coming into care. There are lots of young blackbirds, a pied wagtail, and two very small cygnets.
We have some late mallard ducklings too. A clutch of 5 was rescued from a drain near Biggar during the week. Lucky that someone spotted them falling down. We have older mallards living outside, and 80 or so have already been released. The little tufted ducklings are growing well. They will soon be diving in their pool.
Yesterday 2 swans were rescued from the grounds of an abbatoir. You would think that if there is one place that wildlife would stay away from, it would be a slaughterhouse. But these swans had been there for a week. They had been walked out of the gate, and returned, again and again. We will relocate them to Irvine Harbour.
Today we tried to catch a cygnet from the pond at Robertson Park, Renfrew. It has netting tangled in its beak, probably hooked over the back of its tongue. Today the cygnet kept well clear of us, but we will try again tomorrow morning.
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.