I WISH the weather would make up its mind what is happening; one minute we have gorgeous warm sunshine and the next we have freezing cold winds and hail.
This is clearly causing some confusion and problems for some of our birds, which are attempting to nest and rear their young. A number of birds like the blackbird, starlings, collared doves and pigeons have fledglings leaving their nests already.
We are getting calls from people wanting us to take away fledglings, and a few people have been getting upset with us when we refuse to. We are not allowed legally to pick up wildlife unless it is sick, injured or orphaned and although there are a few exceptions to the rule, we are not allowed to touch fledglings and birds in nests.
Baby birds which just have bare skin, or nestlings which are just a bundle of fluff should not be out of their nests, but fledglings which have proper feathers and sometimes a small amount of fluff sticking through around their head and neck should be left alone.
Most people don’t realise that when most birds leave the nest they can’t fly, they need to build up the muscle strength in their wings, and they can’t do this in the nest very well.
Once they leave the nest the parents will encourage the youngsters to different locations, so that if a predator like a cat or fox finds one they don’t find all of them, and they stand a better chance of survival as a result.
The smaller the bird the quicker they are to fly off. Small birds like blue tits and sparrows will be flying within hours of leaving the nest, but blackbirds and starlings can take six hours or more, doves and pigeons can take a day or more, corvids and gulls can take several days. If you have a cat or dog, please keep them under control and indoors if necessary.
This week has also been a week of domestic calls, including calls to released white pigeons nesting in a dove cote, escaped parakeets, a sheep, a cat and a dog. We are wildlife rescue, and deal with British native wildlife, not escaped pets or animals dumped into the wild.
A few people have been again upset with us for not dealing with these calls, but then you wouldn’t call the Dog Rescue and expect them to deal with a fox.
We have always tried to help where we can and if we come across a domestic casualty we will obviously always help where we can, but we do have limited funds and the Charities Commission can force us to repay money if we spend it on animals which are not within our charity remit.
I would like to say thank you to the people who have contacted WRAS over the past week about the poisoning in the Seaford area. We have had a number of people suggest the same people and we have advised all callers to contact Sussex Police who are investigating all these reports.
There have also been a number of calls about little fox cubs outside of their dens during the day time. Now the cubs are getting a bit bigger, it is not unusual for then to start exploring and to come out of their den to play.
Normally if disturbed they will disappear back underground again. They are not normally abandoned if seen doing this, however, if you see a cub wandering aimlessly and calling, it may be abandoned, so give us a ring and we will advise you further or visit and check it out.
We did exactly this for a little cub found under a shed at a children’s nursery in Eastbourne last week, however, it looks as though the vixen was in the process of moving her cubs from one den to another and overnight the cub was collected by mum and taken away.
Tony also rescued a little fox cub at Jevington last week, various local residents saw the cub and they had a hard time trying to catch it, but called us once it was caught. The little cub is now with Debbie who is looking after all our cubs at her home in Rotherfield.
Driving home at about 9.30pm on Thursday night, I found a hedgehog a few roads away from home and noticed it wasn’t using all four legs but when I picked him up to check him over we discovered it was one of our released hedgehogs from last summer.
He was a three-legged hedgehog called Douglas who has a blue Tippex mark on his back still. He had been soft released in Kathy’s garden as vets had not taken any finder’s details from the RSPCA who originally picked him up.
It was great to see he had survived hibernation and his health is so good, it just goes to show how far these hedgehogs travel – and on three legs!
Thank you to the members of Rascals – The Rheumatoid Arthritis Social Care and Leisure Society – at Pevensey Bay who donated £118.89 after I did a talk to their group last week. Your support is very much needed and appreciated.
Becca ,one of our volunteers, has decided to do a sponsored skydive for WRAS, she has never done anything like this before. She is paying for the flight herself, so all donated money will go directly to WRAS. You can sponsor her at her just giving page at www.justgiving.com/Becca-Brown-Skydive.
Other calls this week have included a fulmar found grounded at Seaford Head and a heron entangled in line at Willingdon. So please keep your support for our charity going, this time of year gets very busy for us and feeding, medicating and housing our casualties takes a lot of time and money so if you can help please do so to ensure we can help as many people as possible.
East Sussex WRAS is a voluntary organisation which relies on donations, receiving no funding from government or the RSPCA. Anyone wishing to make a donation should contact the treasurer at PO Box 2148, Seaford, BN25 9DE.
• 24-hour rescue line 07815 078234