TREVOR'S WEEK: Trapped birds, and the fox we couldn't save

This week has been all about birds in chimneys. They have mainly been jackdaws. Most of them have been freed and released but a couple of them needed to come into the hospital for a check over and clean up before release.

Sunday, 17th April 2016, 12:00 pm
Rescuer Charlotte with the rescue bird trapped inside Weald Mobility SUS-161104-083923001

Jackdaws are very good at building nests inside chimney posts and are experts at flying in and out.

There is no easy or completely safe way of getting birds out of chimneys when they are part way up, other than waiting for them to come down or find their way back up.

Some birds are actually capable of working their way back up and out, but it depends of the design of the chimney as to whether it is possible.

We are getting quite a few baby birds coming into care, mainly robins, blackbirds and doves. Most of the cat attacked birds, or fallen from nests, so our orphan team are really starting to put in the hours now.

WRAS took a call from a concerned member of the public after spotting a sparrow trapped inside a workshop owned by Weald Mobility.

The workshop was closed owing to the weekend.

Luckily a staff member was able to be contacted and, even though it was his day off, offered to come down and open up to give us a chance of catching the trapped bird.

Rescuers Andrew and Charlotte caught the bird with ease once inside, checked it over and released it.

Thank you to Chris Davies of Weald Mobility for coming out and giving our rescuers access.

Rescuers Charlotte, Andrew and Chris joined me at Wyevale Garden Centre to rescue a wood pigeon trapped inside the store.

It’s rather unusual to have wood pigeons trapped inside stores.

When we started, the rescue turned into a bit of a tennis match with the pigeon flying between one end of the store where Andrew and Charlotte would encourage him to the opposite end where Chris and I were trying to catch him.

After about 10 minutes of trying, Charlotte managed to net the bird against the wall, where it was them lowered to the ground.

Outside we checked the bird over to ensure it was not too stressed nor underweight. He was then released outside in the car park to fly up into the nearest tree.

You may have seen in last week’s paper about the fox which was hit by a train at Bishopstone.

A big thank you to Network Rail for their assistance in dealing with this.

At first we were not sure the fox was alive. Rescue manager Chris Riddingon and I attended on site and gave first aid to the fox on the platform of the station.

The tail was damaged, and there was blood from the nose and a small open wound on the head. It was clear one of the rear legs was damaged so the following morning our vets X-rayed the fox and found the internal injuries were a lot more serious than we hoped.

With multiple fractures to the pelvis and one of the rear legs the fox was sadly not going to be saveable.

Most of our overwintered hedgehogs are starting to wake up this week, despite a few nights of frosts.

We are looking at arranging the release of most of them over the next few weeks. We have overwintered a total of 96 hedgehogs this winter.

Slightly less than normal but primarily due to a decent cool autumn which prepares them for hibernation and allowed us to release more than normal before the cold nights hit.

Talking of hedgehogs – Hedgehog Awareness Week takes place between May 1 amd 7.

We will be at Jollyes Pet Food Store in Hailsham on Sunday May 1, Monday May 2 and Tuesday May 3 between 10am and 4pm with our hedgehog educational display trailer as well as a table with our sales goods and leaflets.

There will be a raffle too, where you can win a trip to look round our wildlife hospital and see some real live hedgehogs.

We are also doing some survey work that week too. So on Wednesday May 4 in the evening we will have ambulances in the Polegate, Westham and Langney area where we want people to call us if they see a hedgehog in their garden, so we can go straight round and scan them to see if they are microchipped, which will indicate whether they are ones which have been released back into the wild by WRAS over the last few years.

We will be doing the same on Thursday May 5 too based in Seaford.

We hope to have our hedgehog educational trailer present if we can find a suitable off road location where we can put it where people can visit.

The number of calls we are receiving has certainly increased this week.

It very much all or nothing on the rescue line. Some days the phone is quiet, and on others the phone is constant.

Some of the calls this week have included an injured pigeon in Newhaven which sadly died just before rescuers arrived, a catted mouse in Lewes which is now in care at WRAS’s Casualty Centre, a young pigeon found outside the car auction house in Brampton Road Eastbourne, a bird stuck in a chimney in The Green Ringmer, a hedgehog from St Annes Road Lower Willingdon, a little blackbird from Pipers Field Uckfield plus young dovelets from Isfield and Crockstead Manor near Uckfield, and via the emergency vets at Bexhill.