SWAN notes

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AS I sit at the computer typing these notes the snow is driving horizontally past the window. Thankfully it is not settling and the lying snow is gradually thawing away.

I look at the feeding station in the garden and see all the tiny birds gathering to sample the goodies we have out for them today, and even in this cold weather to enjoy a bath which they need to keep their feathers in good trim.

I still wonder how they manage to keep out the cold. Their bodies are so small. I must say it makes me very glad of my scarf, coat and gloves, and I have a big enough body to keep in the heat!

Down at the shed we have not been able to hose down the swans as everything has been frozen. The swans have been brought in under cover and we have been in several times a day to refill and de-ice their feed buckets.

The swan brought in by the RSPCA has sadly died. It had been beaten up by other swans and although it showed no injuries was very lethargic although it did rouse itself when we went into the pen. This could have been because it was unable to defend itself. It just seemed to lose the will. Some birds and animals seem to do this, it can be really frustrating when you are doing your best to keep it going and return it to fitness, and they are determined to die.

On a happier note our hedgehogs are doing fine, most up to around 700 grams mostly due to the wonderful donations of meat and mealworms we have received from readers of the jottings. So many people have called in and said they have seen our appeal. It’s nice to know how many supporters we have.

Kay and I have been very busy producing a booklet for our volunteers so they can read up on how to look after casualties as they arrive, also to do the ever increasing paperwork that is involved. Most of our volunteers know what to do but for new helpers coming in we hope it will be useful. We have spent a lot of time covering the dreaded health and safety aspect - very difficult trying to find a way of dealing with hedgehog prickles! One volunteer (I won’t name and shame) suggested little silver beads stuck on each spine to render them safe to handle! Just think how long 24 hedgehogs would take to cover with beads and how expensive it would be. The gloves are a lot cheaper so they will have to do.

That’s all for this week but do keep reading.


Should you find an animal in need of our services, or if you need any advice please phone HQ on (01289) 302882. We are happy to help. Please visit our website at www.swan-trust.org to find how to email us about non-urgent matters and easy ways to support or join us.

Donations can be sent (cheques payable to B.S.W.T.) to the Treasurer, Derek Roughton, Yew Tree Cottage, Branton, Alnwick NE66 4LW. The Berwick Swan and Wildlife Trust is a registered charity in England No. 1064805.

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