Another couple of busy days has brought in 27 new patients, but 54 gulls were released yesterday. That cuts down the work and the feeding costs quite a lot. New patients include a heron from Glasgow Green that had a treble hook down its throat. A trip to the vet was needed to remove the hook. There is a new tufted duckling and 2 more mallard ducklings, a bat and a rabbit, both caught by cats, and several small birds, some cat victims, some found at roadsides. Another fox cub was brought to the hospital this morning. It is also a road casualty, badly concussed. A well grown cygnet was brought in from Rouken Glen Park, it has a leg problem, and sadly, a young roe deer, found on the roundabout at Morrison’s, Stevenston, did not survive. Hedgehogs continue to be high on the list of admissions.
There is good news about Georgie, the common seal pup that came from Northumberland last week. He has learnt to feed himself, and is happily chomping his way through 3 or 4 sardines are every meal.
Today we had a call from Maxwell Park in Glasgow, reporting 5 ducklings walking along the road with mum.There is nothing too unusual about that, but on this occasion mum was determinedly walking her brood away from the park and the pond. As the family was in danger, we asked if the ducklings could be put into a box, and we arranged to collect them within the hour. The next surprise was that the ducklings were not mallards, as we’d expected, but dark, fluffy tufted ducklings. They have settled in well and are feeding themselves.
The glorious weather of the past few days has allowed us to release some birds. The blackbird aviaries have been opened, and dunnocks, robins and blue tits have ventured off on their own. We released a tawny owl at Rouken Glen Park; it had been found in a goal net, and ducks and ducklings have been released too. It doesn’t make for any less work or more space at the centre, as more than 20 new casualties arrive every day.
This evening we are off to release 7 hedgehogs. Some of these have been caught on the Uists, and sent to us for relocation. Others have been treated here and now fit and healthy. In the hospital we have 14 baby hedgehogs. Most of these have come from disturbed nests, and luckliy for us, they are just old enough to feed themselves. They are drinking esbilac, a special milk formula, and eating tinned cat food. We can see them getting bigger by the day.
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.