Swans, magpies and gannets kept wildlife rescuers busy over Christmas

Happy New Year everyone. I hope you all had a great Christmas and New Year celebrations. A huge thank you to all our volunteers and staff who have been working hard this Christmas and New Year.

Saturday, 5th January 2019, 6:00 am
Updated Thursday, 10th January 2019, 11:25 am
Christmas Eve magpie SUS-190201-090109001

On behalf of everyone at WRAS as well as the wild animals and birds we treat, thank you to everyone who has help support our work in 2018.

It has been another busy year for us. It has certainly been a difficult and very challenging year for us.

We have grown beyond belief over the past five years which has given us a lot of difficulties, as we just don’t have the resources or funding to everything we would like.

Christmas Day gannet SUS-190201-090119001

However, every year we increase the number of casualties we can help.

This is only possible thanks to your support and kind donations. So thank you very much from us all.

Christmas Day saw rescuers finding a very underweight and waterlogged gannet on the beach at Bexhill.

Off duty rescuer Chris and Stacey found the bird on the beach whilst on a Christmas Day walk.

Barn owl found by Sussex Police SUS-190201-090129001

They managed to catch the bird and then drove it to the RSPCA Mallydams Wood centre at Hastings as they have good facilities for seabird rehabilitation.

Christmas Eve saw a very underweight and possible head trauma magpie come into care.

Our care team gave one-on-one care overnight with rehydration fluids and warmth. The bird made a brilliant recovery overnight and was standing and bright the following morning.

The swans at Decoy Pond in Hampden Park have kept our rescuers busy between Christmas and New Year.

The Decoy Pond cygnets released at Princes Park SUS-190201-090059001

On December 27 rescuers were called down to the pond after reports of the cob swan starting to tell his young it’s time leave.

One was getting the brunt of the attention and dad was refusing the youngster access to the water.

After observing for a time it was clear that dad wouldn’t be giving in, so rescuers have brought the youngster in with a 
view to relocating him to a safer location after a couple of days’ rest in our Casualty Centre.

A couple of days later rescuers had to return to Decoy Pond for another cygnet. Rescuers found the youngster being pushed into the reeds.

Rescuers caught the very waterlogged and exhausted cygnet which came to join the previous cygnet.

Later the same day rescuers had to return to pick up the remaining cygnets who were also being bullied and attacked.

All the cygnets were kept together overnight and given a good hearty meal and the following day they were all released together at Princes Park lake.

This location is a non-territorial flock of swans so they won’t get beaten up at this location.

It is normal for parent swans to chase off their youngsters at this time of year and they fly off and find new territories of their own or join other groups of youngsters at locations like Princes Park before pairing up and flying off together.

In the wild youngsters normally fly off without much need for the parents to bully them too much.

However in park ponds and lakes
 like Decoy Pond, the youngsters don’t 
want to leave due to the volume of food which is available, so dad has to get much more aggressive in order to get them to leave.

This has in previous years led to cygnets being injured by dogs or being run over on the main road.

Rescuers have also been to the vets in Bexhill after Sussex Police handed in a barn owl which they found on the A259 by the Lamb Inn between Pevensey and Little Common.

Luckily the bird was only concussed and made a quick recovery so rescuers returned the bird for release where found.

You may remember I mentioned a kestrel which came into care a few weeks ago.

Well I am pleased to say the bird has made a brilliant recovery and this week has been returned back home for release.

There is video footage on the release on our Facebook page.