TREVOR WEEKS MBE - Lessons have been learned from pigeon found injured

Nestling blackbirds - the first to come in to the centre this spring.

Nestling blackbirds - the first to come in to the centre this spring.

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We had a very disturbing call this week about a badly injured pigeon.

WRAS received a call from a lady whose dog had picked up a pigeon and brought it inside injured. The lady told us she placed the bird out into the garden and left it overnight as when she has previously tried to rescue birds like this and bring them inside they would normally die on her and didn’t want that to happen again. She went to work the following morning and when she returned home late in the evening the bird was still in the garden so she tried ringing a few different organisations and then contacted WRAS. We sent an ambulance to pick up the bird and assess it. The lady explained that this was the first opportunity she had to do anything and her boss at work would not have been happy if she had spent time dealing with it and arrived late for work. Attending work slightly late because of dropping an injured wild animal or bird off at a veterinary centre is not grounds for disciplinary action or dismissal. When you find a sick or injured animal you have a legal responsibility to deal with it leaving it and not doing anything can be classed as causing unnecessary suffering or neglect.

The injured pigeon was discovered to have multiple compound fractures to both wings as well as nasty wound to its chest. Even the emergency vets were shocked at the pigeon’s condition and how long it had been left. I’m not going to report this person to the RSPCA or Police for neglect as I don’t think it will achieve anything. It is clear they have realised their mistake and they know we are more than happy to help them in future.

It is times like this that I wish WRAS was a lot bigger and could respond much quicker to all calls for help, but as with any organisation there are limits on what we can do physical and financially. We will always try to help as many people and casualties as we can. If we are busy and unable to help you please remember that all veterinary practices have a responsibility to help injured or sick wildlife and all practices have an out of hours service too, they do not charge members of the public too. We regular collect casualties from the good veterinary practices in our area.

Our first true baby garden bird of 2014 was admitted to our Casualty Centre last week. The call came in at 8pm and an ambulance was sent to check on the bird as the description was unclear. The bird turned out to be a nestling blackbird and was found sat at the side of a road in Seaford. The finder carefully picked it up out of concern it could get run over and took it home before calling WRAS for help and advice. I took the youngster on for the evening having it at home till about 10pm ensuring the bird was given fluids using a special rehydration solution and warmed up. It’s always important to ensure any casualty is rehydrated and warmed up before attempting to feed them, attempting to do so with a cold bird will just cause additional problems.

Each baby or nestling bird will cost WRAS between £10 and £75 approximately depending on age, species and condition of the bird when admitted. WRAS is a funded by donations so anyone wishing to contribute towards the cost of the care of these birds should call 01825873003 to make a donation or donate online at www.wildlifeambulance.org

This week ambulances have been out to a very poorly fox in the Salts Recreation Ground at Seaford. Disorientated and soaking wet, the fox was acting very strangely and ended up being rushed straight to the vets. An ambulance has been out to collect a young pigeon from Bexhill Wildlife Rescue to help them out, which was found abandoned after some roofing work in Bexhill. Also we have responded to calls about an injured wood pigeon at Haywards Heath; picked up a magpie from St Annes Vets in Eastbourne which was originally rescued from St Phillips Avenue; road casualty badger at Blackboys which sadly died before the ambulance arrived.

My weekly weigh in – well I am now 93.1kg, I was hoping for more of a loss but still decreasing, I’ve now lost 5.8kg or 7.25 hedgehogs! Please help support me on my weight loss for WRAS. http://www.justgiving.com/trevsweightloss

Big thank you to all our amazing volunteers at the Casualty Centre who have worked very hard this week. Our Baby bird team has started this week working from 7am till 9pm, as well as our volunteers rescuers out on the road and getting busies by the day, and of course to our fanatic volunteer feed and clean shift volunteers who help support the casualties whilst in care but also thank you to our management team Kathy, Lindsay, Chris and Kirsti who have worked so hard too.