A swan, a heron and a goose keep rescue teams on their toes

Rescuers Chris Riddington and Katie Nunn Nash had an early start on Tuesday morning after reports of a goose with blood on its neck were received the day before.

Sunday, 15th January 2017, 7:00 am
Rescued swan from Princes Park SUS-171101-103932001

Rescuer Tony Neads had been to the lake at Hampden Park but the day before but the goose was very mobile and managed to escape to one of the islands and with fading light the rescue was called off. Chris and Katie met at the park just before 7.30am to try and catch the goose off guard.

After walking around the lake for the 3rd time it was finally spotted being chased by the male swan which kept chasing the goose out on to the bank which gave Chris and Katie the perfect chance to see what injuries he had. It was quite obvious the goose needed catching as there were two puncture wounds either side of his throat causing clear discomfort. After failing the first few attempts they almost gave up until they spotted the swan had once again pushed the goose out of the water, but this time into some reeds. Katie blocked the exit to the water and Chris approached from the other side and they managed to pin the bird against a fence and secure it. The goose was rushed up to our casualty centre where I checked it over and after advice from the Swan Sanctuary Tony drove it up for specialist help to treat the injuries.

An old friend has come back into care this week. “Tiny Tim” the hedgehog from Dover Road, Polegate. He originally came in as a 201g baby on December 2, 2014 and was released in the spring 201 5. He was found on Monday night in the same garden he was originally from. He was found limping into their feeder. Unfortunately he has a nasty abscess on a rear leg which has been drained and medicated. We are waiting to see if there is any no bone infection or other damage.

A poorly heron was rescued from Lower Dicker after reports of it being unable to stand. Rescuer Tony attended on site and managed to catch it easily. On arrival at our hospital the care team gave him a once over and spotted an old fracture on his leg. The fracture has overlapped and started calcification. At around the same time a poorly duck was also admitted from Westham Pond, very underweight, lethargic and unable to fly. Both have now been kindly accepted at the Swan Sanctuary for further treatment.

We have also had this beautiful swan admitted over the weekend after reports of a distressed swan at Princes Park, Eastbourne. The swan was out of the water with its head down and unable to stand. Rescuers Karen Francis and Hannah Stainton went down and managed to secure the swan using a swan hook. It was driven back to our hospital and for the care team to assess. We believe the swan had possibly crash landed. He was medicated and placed in one of our indoor pens to recover. After as check over a couple of days later and looking a lot brighter as well as hissing at our volunteers, it was decided to take him back for release.

As you will have seen in the news, avian flu is present in the UK. At WRAS we have introduced heightened biosecurity at our hospital. We are hearing more and more from people concerned that neighbours and friends are not containing their captive birds. The Animal and Plant Health Agency has issued guidelines asking people who are concerned about backyard flocks of ducks, poultry or other captive birds being allowed to free roam, to speak directly to the owners to make them aware of the current restrictions which have been extended till mid-February. You can also contact your local Trading Standards team if you’re still concerned.

A breach of the control order is an offence, with a penalty of up to £5,000 or up to three months’ imprisonment per offence. Bird flu has now been found in a number of counties in the UK as well as in commercial and backyard flocks as well as in the wild.

We have not seen any sign of it, but a number of swans have been found in Dorset. The risk to human health is extremely low and the precautions have been put in place to help protect the agricultural community.

Do you have problems with the water in your bird baths freezing? There is a new product on the market currently being sold by Ark Wildlife which helps to stop water freezing. Its made from 100 per cent natural ingredients and effective down to -4 degrees C and safe for birds to drink and for use in bathing water too.

If you mention East Sussex WRAS when order, Ark Wildlife will make a donation to our charity – just visit www.arkwildlife.co.uk

East Sussex WRAS was established as a voluntary group in 1996.

Some of its rescuers have been rescuing since 1985.