TREVOR’S WEEK: The story of Syd, our smallest rescue pigeon

Syd SUS-161209-095730001
Syd SUS-161209-095730001

A few weeks ago we had a small, fresh out of the egg, baby pigeon came into care.

Named Syd, he was rescued on August 17 by our casualty manager Katie along with six others on a building site in Carshalton. He has turned out to be a very cheeky little chap. The four eldest pigeons have been released from two of our soft release aviaries already.

The other two along with Syd are still with Kathy and growing well. You can see video of them on our Facebook page www.facebook.com/wildlifeambulance.

A few days before little Syd was rescued we had a hedgehog with a huge lump the size of a tennis ball on his back. He is now almost fully recovered. Casualty manager Katie has been documenting the wounds throughout its care.

Cleaning and treating the wound on a daily basis and packing of the wound to help it heal.

It was so badly infected that our vet Mike had to cut a large area open and there was a thick plug of pus inside that would have been impossible to flush through the previous drainage holes made.

It was so deep and extensive that it had to be packed daily as it closed up. And further necrotic tissue was cut back. Well in just three and a half weeks his recovery has been amazing and we hope that in the next few weeks he will be suitable for release.

After weeks of trying to catch a young fox in Old Town Eastbourne, knuckling on both back legs, rescuer Tony finally managed to catch her at the weekend.

She is a lovely creature but has a spinal problem causing the rear half to be twisted and bent, possibly as a deformity from birth. Amazingly the fox has been able to balance herself and run just using her two front legs.

Our vets checked over the fox on Sunday but the damage was not repairable and sadly we had no choice but to put the fox to sleep. We were hoping that at least one of the legs would be repairable but sadly it was just not possible.

Trying to catch mobile casualties is not easy and very frustrating.

Callers often think it is simple to catch mobile foxes and other animals; that we will just turn up and magically catch the fox regardless of what condition it is in.

Many think we will use a dart gun or similar or place a trap.

Sadly traps are not that productive in catching foxes which have leg problems and dart guns don’t work quickly enough and will allow a wild animal to run off and hide before any sedative takes effect which can lead to a disorientated animal running out in front of a car and being killed.

Over the past few weeks we have been trying to catch foxes in Seaford and Uckfield as well as this one in Eastbourne, rushing out numerous times to try catching the fox.

It’s the same with birds with injured legs but can still fly. There is no magical way of catching them if they can fly.

It’s one thing to get close to a wild animal or bird when you are feeding it, but if you have a net the animal is wary before you get anywhere near it.

Often it is luck and the skill in choosing your moment which can result in capture but sadly there are occasions when this is impossible to do, which is extremely frustrating.

After the excitement of the red-footed booby last week, this week we had a more local but uncommon visitor to our centre, a fulmar.

The poor creature was walking round a garden in Seaford, but after a few hours the bird still hadn’t flown so the caller run us for help.

The bird was underweight but appeared not to have any injuries. So has also joined the booby at RSPCA Mallydams in Hastings. We understand that the Booby is doing well and the RSPCA are liaising with another rehabilitation organisation abroad with more experience in dealing with these species.

Wednesday evening turned out to be a busy one. Late in the evening I had to rush to a barn owl disorientated and grounded just off Willingdon Drove Eastbourne.

The poor bird was very underweight and cold. He was found to have a ring which allowed us to track down the owner who had been looking for the bird for over a week.

On my way home I received a call about a road casualty badger at Heathfield. When I arrived on site the badger was found to be fine and snuffling for worms on the grass verge along with three female fallow deer on the grass verge eating the leafs from a tree - all completely unfazed by the passing traffic just feet away from them.

We have also had a several mice and voles caught by cats, yet more juvenile pigeons and doves.

The previous week’s tawny owl which was entangled in fishing line over a lake at East Hoathly was also released last week back to the wild.

You can check out the video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M_w8DNxTma8.