There were tears in our eyes on successful release of barn owl

Whilst I have been off ill the past few weeks the staff and volunteers have been working hard covering and dealing with numerous rescues and calls for help and advice.

Saturday, 3rd November 2018, 6:00 am
Injured barn owl, which has now been nursed back to health and released SUS-181031-100800001

A stunning little goldcrest was admitted after flying into a window in Whitesmith not far from our casualty centre.

After a little time in a dark area and some rehydration he was flying again.

He was certainly fit and suitable to be released back home by the finders.

Heron found with an injured wing in Eastbourne SUS-181031-100811001

A gorgeous heron had to be admitted after being found with an injured wing in Eastbourne.

Rescuer Murrae attended and transported the bird to our hospital where the care team examined and gave first aid.

Unfortunately the bird had a broken wing so the vet team at the Swan Sanctuary were contacted for advice.

Thank you to rescuers Ollie and Nathan for transporting the bird straight up to the sanctuary at Shepperton for specialist help.

Hungry baby hedgehog is fed with kitten food SUS-181031-100749001

We have also had a run of hedgehogs come in over the last couple of weeks too.

A little hoglet came in from Hankham with a few puncture wounds. After having his wounds cleaned he very quickly started tucking into a bowl of kitten food as he was so hungry.

At the end of July WRAS were delivered an injured barn owl who was found, caught by his wing, above the hinge of a barn door.

The owl was brought to our hospital and our care team and vets took emergency x-rays and gave emergency first aid.

Goldcrest, which flew into a window in Whitesmith SUS-181031-101057001

The x-ray revealed a very poor prognosis.

The owl had suffered a nasty double fracture to two bones in the wing.

The bones were quite displaced, trying to repair the bones was looking impossible.

Our care team decided to give it one shot of splinting the bones.

Using a coffee stirrer a folded bit of cardboard and some tape, a suitable splint was measured and created.

Once applied to the fractured wing, another x-ray was taken.

Amazingly the team had managed to align the bones much better than expected to give the owl a chance of recovery.

The wing was very carefully strapped and placed into our ICU unit for one on one care and to reduce the handling.

After two weeks the bones had started to knit together but sadly not enough for release yet.

Our vet team wanted to try a little longer, so the wing was once again strapped and given a little more time.

On the next assessment the wing had calcified much better so the splint and bandages were removed.

After a few days the owl was moved into our indoor flight pen to help build up the strength in its wings.

Barn owls have to be silent fliers to be able to catch their prey.

The owl went from strength to strength and was moved to one of our large outdoor aviaries for the last stage of rehab.

A last assessment gave the owl the green light, which we never expected we would ever be able to see.

He was cleared for take-off.

He was taken back to his home range and on release flew straight on to a gate looked around, got its bearings and flew off into the night sky.

It would be safe to say there were tears in our eyes when he went off.

What amazing work by our dedicated veterinary and care teams.

Just a reminder that as we are in the bonfire season, please check out our 10 top tips for keeping wildlife safe during the season which are on our hedgehog advice page on our website at

Hedgehogs and other wild mammals, birds and reptiles will hide in bonfires so it is really important to build the bonfire on the day to intend to light them or lift the bonfire using broom handles so you can move it or check underneath for anything nesting.

Also it is important to only light a bonfire on one side to ensure there is an escape route for anything which could be still in side.

To be on the safe side ensure your have a bucket of water handy just in case.