All set to show off our new facilities
It's almost two years since I started volunteering at the Rollo Centre, and even in that time the trust has made enormous improvements to its facilities, thanks to the donations and support of local wildlife lovers.
We now have Hotchi Mews, a series of outdoor ‘deluxe chalets’ for hedgehogs, and the Claw and Talon room for larger birds and animals that need a quieter environment for recovery.
And, although it makes no odds to the animals, the volunteers have a spacious double stainless steel sink area instead of an old ceramic one to wash out all the food buckets and bowls every day.
This weekend sees the official unveiling of the Longridge Towers Aviary, built with funds raised by pupils from Longridge Towers School.
The far end of what we call ‘the big room’ was used as a general storage area, where old cages, old wellies, and all sorts of paraphernalia ended up.
Now it has been cleared and transformed into a spectacular indoor aviary, where wild birds can re-learn their flying skills in safety.
Visitors to our open day this Saturday, May 26, from 10.30am to 2.30pm, will be able to view this most recent addition to the trust’s wildlife accommodation. The Rollo Centre is on the Ramparts Business Park, opposite the recycling centre.
Also on show will be some of the trust’s current ‘guests’, which include a fluffy, feisty shellduck duckling. He already has the distinctive shellduck markings, and the most enormous feet, which I’m assured he’ll grow into eventually.
One permanent resident getting ready for the open day is Errol the tawny owl, the Rollo Centre’s adopted mascot. Jim had installed a new roosting box for him, but Errol clearly decided it was too high up for his liking as he would sit hunched glumly on top of it to avoid hitting his head on the aviary roof, so Una donned the leather gauntlets to distract Errol while Jim unscrewed the box and adjusted the height.
I sensed a great photo opportunity so joined them in the aviary with my camera. I managed to get a couple of nice shots, but because he has that amazing 360 degree turn in his neck, he was able to just swivel his head to face the wall and ignore everything that was going on; he was clearly not in the mood for a photoshoot.
Our winter hedgehog crisis is now just a distant memory, with most of the hogs now released to get on with their lives in the woodlands and hedgerows of the Northumbrian/Scottish border.
Huge thanks to everyone who responded to our desperate appeals for newspaper, which we used to line the hogs’ cages in the daily cleaning routine. We were getting through a big pile of tabloids and broadsheets every day with all those hogs to muck out, but those fantastic collectors can stand down for the summer as the demand has eased for a few months; no doubt come the autumn we’ll be sending out requests again.