TREVOR WEEKS MBE - On vacation but still saving animals

The young goldfinch in London Road, Hailsham, attacked by a cat. Luckily the cat in question was a kitten and didn't cause much damage.
The young goldfinch in London Road, Hailsham, attacked by a cat. Luckily the cat in question was a kitten and didn't cause much damage.

Well Kathy and I have managed to get away for three days this week for a short break.

It’s difficult trying to take time off because of how busy we are, and trying to find time when casualties are not reliant on you is difficult. Also on my low wage it is difficult to afford to go away. Kathy and I went down to Wiltshire and stayed at Devizes. It is typical that every time we go away we end up having to deal with one casualty or another and this trip was no exception. We visited Bath the first night we were away, and a fledgling gull flew down from a roof top into the middle of a cross roads in the city centre. As the traffic lights changed, two lines of cars drove towards this young gull which clearly wasn’t strong enough to take off again. The cars clearly saw the bird but as they got close they just expected the bird to move out of their way. As a result the gull ended up going underneath one of the cars and panicking he came close to getting hit by two more.

I stopped my car to prevent vehicles from our direction running him over and Kathy jumped out to help him. Once off the road, I pulled over and with the help of a passing member of the public, we managed to corner the gull and catch him. He was extremely lucky, and although he had a minor limp there were no serious injuries. We placed him in the park next to the road, so he could stay with his parents but be somewhere safe away from the road. He managed to fly a short distance and land again, certainly a lucky escape.

On our way back to our accommodation late in the evening, we came across what we first thought was a rabbit crouched down in the road, but as we got closer, we could see it was actually an owl, and as we pulled up it turned its head round and found it was a fledgling Tawny Owl. He didn’t move, so again Kathy and I got out and approached him slowly, and Kathy managed to pick him up without a fight. I checked him over, and again could find no injuries, but he seemed a bit concussed. All of a sudden he started becoming more lively. Although it was difficult to know for sure, we think he was a youngster who had probably had a near miss with a vehicle. As I went to move him to a low hanging oak tree in the field next to the road he started struggling so I let him fly off across the field and away.

As if that wasn’t enough, on our final day away, we came across an injured duck with a damaged wing on the canal at Devizes. We had a pole and net in the car so we tried catching it but it was way to wary so we had no choice but to report the casualty to the local Wiltshire Wildlife Rescue who said they would attend and see what they could do. We had run out of time and had to leave so headed back to Sussex.

I would like to thank Chris, Lindsay, Kirsti and Tony as well as all our other volunteers for working so hard in our absence allowing Kathy and I had to a few days break.

Some of the rescues back here in Sussex included a night time call out to a hedgehog with a damaged leg which turned out to be broken and maggot infested and had to be rushed into the local vets. There has also been a young goldfinch in London Road, Hailsham, attacked by a cat. Luckily the cat in question was a kitten and didn’t cause much damage. He is now in WRAS’s Casualty Centre where he is being observed and fed due to his age. We have had way more goldfinches this year than any previous year for some reason.

Although people expect orphaned bird in the spring, people don’t realise that many birds will have second or third broods, so we are still getting young birds found even now. Rescuer Chris rushed to Ringmer after this little one was found by a lady in her garden. The baby was rushed back to the centre and warmed up and handed over to our assistant manager Kirsti for overnight care.

Rescuer Tony has been busy running around dealing with rescues too. He was called out to a swan in the grounds of Eastbourne District General Hospital. He was on site within 10 minutes of the initial call of him walking along Kings Drive, but he luckily had moved into the grounds of the hospital. He came into care for an assessment and for 24hour observation and has now been released again, it good health.

We have had numerous hedgehogs in recently with some very nasty injuries. These include a dog attacked hedgehog from Eastbourne and a hedgehog with multiple injuries from Heathfield. Other calls have included another juvenile gull caught on a TV aerial in Eastbourne; a road casualty gull from Mill Road, Eastbourne and another from East Dean; plus a pigeon from Gorringe Road in Eastbourne, a mouse attacked by a dog in Polegate, an injured blackbird from Hempstead Rise in Uckfield, which sadly died before we arrived, as well as an injured blackbird from Glynde, an injured sparrowhawk from Polegate and a bat in Hailsham.

Wednesday last week was a busy day with rescuers dealing with a wood pigeon which was unable to fly, 3 juvenile field mice whose mother was caught by a cat, a goldcrest caught by a cat, a pied wagtail found down a well at Bodiam Castle, a juvenile seagull with a broken wing, a young seagull which had fallen off a roof and a thrush which was caught by a cat. Good news though, we were also able to release our goose, a crow, one of our gulls and a wood pigeon as well as our last four hand-reared crows. Great to see them going back to the wild - preventing suffering and returning casualties to the wild is what it is all about.

This week our colleagues from British Divers Marine Life Rescue have been keeping a close on eye on Rusty the seal at Newhaven who gave birth to a youngster last week. Sadly the pup didn’t survive very long, and BDMLR are looking at a Post Mortem examination to find out what happened and why it didn’t survive if they can.