TREVOR WEEKS: A tough week, but a great week as well with a number of wildlife releases

Trevor Weeks. East Sussex WRAS Wildlife Rescue and Ambulance Service. SUS-160404-145044001
Trevor Weeks. East Sussex WRAS Wildlife Rescue and Ambulance Service. SUS-160404-145044001

It has been a tough week this week with some difficult decisions to be made about some casualties which has hit us all hard, but also a great week, with some birds being released that we were not sure would make it, starlings, wood pigeons, doves and feral pigeons and our stock dove who we brought back from the brink of death three times. Six of our Jackdaws went to their release aviary, nine ducklings have been released, our first magpies have been released, we have also moved many garden birds out into their aviaries as well as our next batch of magpies into an indoor aviary. Our next lot of ducklings will be released this week then another eleven into an outdoor pen as well as some more of our baby rabbits out too.

We have two female hedgehogs with leg issues which we have put into an outdoor pen together. We wanted to check they were coping ok prior to release and given them the chance to build up some strength. WRAS carer Katie got a shock when she went to take out one of the females for release last week only to find a tiny baby hedgehog in with her, and of course in with the other female! We had to just leave everything as it was until this weekend, when Katie was able to give them a quick check over and clean and establish which female was in fact Mum and take out the other one for release:-) Our first babies this year, thankfully mum is rearing them not us.

A big thank you to the A22 Petstore and their customers for raising £26.56 in one of our charity collection tins as well as customers at Crockstead Farm Equestrian Centre and Paws n Claws in Uckfield who we have recently had collections in from.

We have had a lot of calls this past week to incidents where casualties have not been found or not needed rescuing. We found ourselves being called down to a property in Pevensey Bay by a local estate agent only to find the shop closed and that someone had already rescued and released the bird trapped in a building. We attended Holy Cross Church in Uckfield three times last week, after a pigeon was seen flying round inside the church. If it wasn’t for one of our rescues seeing the pigeon when they first entered the building we would have thought there was nothing there. Three days in a row we attended the church unable to find the pigeon.

We were called down to Princes Park in Eastbourne as there are two groups of cygnets on the lake now. One group were in the outlet channel and visitors were concerned that the cygnet would not be able to get back to the lake unable to climb over the weir. Rescuers found the parents and cygnet happily feeding in the outlet, and rescuers returned later in the evening the family had managed during high tide to get back into the lake. We have also been keeping an eye on the cygnets at Westham Pond, where we also had to rescue a young moorhen with an infected join in one leg this week too.

We are also getting a lot of calls about fledgling birds. Fledglings are birds which are fully feathered, able to hop and jump around but are not able necessarily able to fly. As some of you may have seen on Spring Watch when birds fledge they don’t always manage to fly straight away or only short distances as they don’t have the muscle strength to do so. As a result they spend time down on the ground but often will try to jump up onto branches or even climb up trees to get off the ground and stay safe from predators. Fledglings should be left alone despite the risk of predators - there is no such thing as a safe place for fledglings as one predator of another will always be around where ever they are.

We were called out to a sparrow with its tow trapped in a bird feeder in Barcombe. Rescuers Brian and I were able to use a screw driver to bend the metal and free the birds foot for it to fly off.

Other rescues this past week have included being called to a swan wandering along the Wartling road just north of Pevensey Service Station; a road casualty gull in Mulberry Close Eastbourne; the rescue of a catted dunnock in Station Road Isfield; a catted sparrow collected from Uckfield Vets; catted blackbird from Woodpecker Way Uckfield; a concussed woodpecker from Dowland Copse Uckfield and a hedgehog with a wound on his head from Newton Road Lewes.

We are in the process of opening a charity shop in Eastbourne. We want the shop to be a show case of our work as well as a shop. We are looking for keen staff and volunteers. We are inviting people to apply for the Shop Manager and Deputy Manager positions. These people ideally need to have management experience in retail preferably in the charitable sector and a passion for wildlife, who will be able to engage with the customers and help promote the work that WRAS does in new and exciting ways. Salary will be dependent on experience. If interested in the management positions or volunteering in the shop please send your CV to Chris Riddington using his e-mail address chris@eastsussexwras.org.uk.