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.
This afternoon we got a call to say that people had ushered a barn owl off the road, and it left it in bushes beside Lochend House. The location wasn’t far from Hessilhead, so we set off straight away, and while I was knoocking on the door of the house, to explain what we were up to, Andy had the owl in a net. It is a youngster, still with some tufts of down, and may have fallen from a nearby tree. Barn owls don’t feed their young on the ground, and the owl is a little dehydrated. It has had fluids, and looks much better now. It will probably be ready for food later this evening.
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.