Toy used to rescue to bird of prey in Uckfield

HE LOOKS slightly bemused now but thanks to a quick thinking couple and a child’s toy this little sparrowhawk was rescued after becoming trapped in a warehouse in Uckfield.

Volunteer rescuers from East Sussex Wildlife Rescue and Ambulance Service (WRAS) based at Whitesmith, were called out after a sparrowhawk flew inside the City Electrical Factors warehouse in Bell Lane.

Rescuer Kathy Martyn attended the site but due to the height of the roof, decided it would be best to try a night time capture.

Kathy said: “It’s well known in the rescue world that sparrowhawks won’t fly in the dark. The normal procedure is to wait till it is dark, turn the lights on, make the bird fly then turn the light off and normally the bird then flutters to the floor, but it is still very difficult to find them in the dark and they don’t always reach the floor if there are other objects close by where they can land easily.”

Back at Christmas Kathy gave her partner (and WRAS founder) Trevor Weeks a simple children’s night vision viewer. Kathy continued: “I really didn’t know if this toy was going to be any good to be honest but I thought it might come in useful so bought one for Trevor for Christmas.”

As a result of using the toy Trevor was able to follow the normal procedure of making the sparrowhawk fly, but once the lights were switched off, the night vision viewer was used to locate and catch the bird.

Trevor was able to give directions to fellow rescuers and the bird was caught easily and quickly with little stress to the bird.

Trevor reckons the Christmas gift was the best present he has ever been given. He said: “I was amazed at just how good it was and how much quicker and easier it was to deal with the rescue as a result, I’m seriously going to suggest to the committee that we get another couple of these to go in the ambulances for future rescues. It’s the best Christmas present I’ve ever been given!”

The sparrowhawk was caught at about 10pm on Tuesday May 10 and was taken to WRAS’s Casualty Care Centre overnight.

He was then released in the morning outside of City Electrical Factors where he flew off well into the woodland nearby.