TREVOR WEEKS MBE - Baby season kicks off

Crashed Swan due to leach, Brampton Rd, Eastbourne 28th Feb 2014
Crashed Swan due to leach, Brampton Rd, Eastbourne 28th Feb 2014
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Oh dear, the baby season is starting! Over the past couple of weeks we have had a number of young collared doves come into care.

They have all been calcium deficient with their tail feathers “in-pin”, very rubbery beaks and weak legs. We now have four of these endearing babies in and all are doing well.

This is Izzy who was caught up in the Christmas bauble in early autumn.

This is Izzy who was caught up in the Christmas bauble in early autumn.

Once weaned they will go into one of our indoor aviaries until the weather is good enough for them to go into an outdoor aviary, where they will be soft released.

Over the next six weeks or so any baby collared doves that are found are likely to need care as the species are recent to Britain and breed too early for our climate. Once into mid-April the young are usually healthier when they develop.

Ambulances have been busy dealing with numerous call-outs including two badger call-outs – one in Ninfield thought to be a victim of territorial fighting but on arrival the badger quickly escaped and ran off in a healthy state. An ambulance also attended a badly injured badgerin Heathfield thought to be a road casualty which sadly had to be put down at the vets.

We’ve also had a few swan calls. A few people have called about a lone swan on the fields along the Stone Cross and Hailsham road. The swan sits in the field eating the surrounding vegetation. It’s quite common for swans to be in these fields but people have been concerned that this swan is on its own. We have been out twice due to callers’ concerns and on both occasions the swan has got up, taken a run up and taken off quite well. Tony also rushed out to this swan which crash landed at Teva UK, Brampton Road, Eastbourne. The swan was rescued and taken to WRAS’s Casualty Care Centre where it was assessed for injuries. The swan was fine but had two leeches attached to its eye lids, which is distracting enough to cause a swan to crash land. Using a heavy salt water solution the eye was washed and the leeches removed easily. Tony then took the swan down to Princes Park and released him.

We have managed to release a lovely sparrowhawk in Ringmer which came to us last week after being caught in chicken wire. The amazing bird had a minor wound round its leg but otherwise was fit and healthy. We gave the bird a few days rest for the wound to heal before getting him back out and released in his home range.

We have had a beautiful greater spotted woodpecker last week, which flew into a window. Sadly it had been left under a washing basket for a couple of days before we were called to help it. Any bird which has a collision with a window or car will need help of some sort so please ring us for advice.

Ambulances have also been out to an injured seagull in Pevensey , also had two calls about guillemots, one oiled in Eastbourne and another unwell in Seaford, both have been transported to RSPCA Mallydams where they have excellent facilities for these birds! We have also had a hedgehog found out during the day in Lewes, a catted pigeon in Eastbourne and an injured blackbird in Polegate.

I know it is difficult and not pleasant to do so, but if you see a casualty like a fox, badger, pheasant or rabbit etc in the road or gutter, please stop safely and go back and check it (except on a motorway). By doing so you are potentially saving WRAS or any other organisation vital funds by them not having to respond if it is definitely dead, but also if it is alive we can then help it quickly rather than driving on and assuming it was dead. Watch the animal’s chest for about two minutes, it should move at last once in that time, also listen for sounds of breathing if you are in a quiet enough environment. If it is a badger or fox which could bite please be careful, but you could tap the casualty (around its rear half) gently with your foot to see if it reacts. A huge amount of suffering could be avoided by everyone doing this simple task. Please be careful touching anything which has been run over as they could have a broken spine or fractured leg etc, so don’t move them unless they are in danger and call WRAS or another organisation for help. To prevent suffering they need you to be brave. If you are not local to East Sussex, please ensure you know who to phone in case of such an emergency.

You may remember this little girl - this is Izzy who was caught up in the Christmas bauble in early Autumn. She healed well from the deep wounds round her neck and reached 660g, but then decided to try to hibernate in our heated hospital for the last 3 months, losing weight each day, although remaining healthy. We have more or less left her to it, monitoring her and keeping her on heat and over the last few weeks she has now ‘woken up’ fully and is eating everything she is given and is now back over 500g again.

Talking about weights. My weekly weight shows I have now lost 4.4kg since 14th Jan 2014. I’m now down to 94.5kg. If you want to help support me in my sponsored weight loss please sponsor me via my justgiving page!