Bird casualties return to the wild

Last week we were able to release one of our tawny owls back into the wild.

Saturday, 10th February 2018, 13:24 pm
Errol the Owl.

The bird came in with an injured leg. After spending some time having cage rest, it went out to the Lomax Aviary to give it more room to move.

At first the bird was finding some difficulty when it came to landing on branches, but gradually it has much improved.

It was given a final check over and we thought it had recovered enough to be allowed to go.

The owl was collected by the same people who brought it in and was returned to the same spot where it was found.

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The other release was of a buzzard, which had been picked up from Spittal.

The bird was very thin when it came in – only two-thirds of its ideal weight. It has taken some time to get it up to weight, then to build up the muscles it needs.

Dick took the bird out of town to release it, but he last saw it heading back to Spittal.

We have been very busy moving more hedgehogs outside. We can use the three huts in the Lomax, now that the owl has been released.

It is not just a case of taking hogs from the recovery room and putting them outside as the sudden change of temperature would be too much of a shock for them.

We have to move the hogs that are sleeping in the big, cool room into the outside hutches. We then clean out their big room hutches, before setting them up ready for the hogs moving from the recovery room.

When we are doing this we have to make sure that all the paperwork is correct so we know exactly which hog is in each hutch.

Work is continuing on the new indoor aviary.

Jim gave the inside two coats of paint last week and a whole load of wood arrived last Wednesday for the framework. He has now started building the framework.

It’s just so cold at the moment, even in the big room.

The RSPCA brought up another of last year’s cygnets from Morpeth. It is thought that the youngster would not leave the territory of its parents.

This is a horrible time of year for last year’s cygnets as the family group that they have been with since they were hatched is suddenly broken apart when the cob suddenly turns on all the youngsters and drives them off.

Some don’t want to leave or may not understand what is going on when dad starts to become aggressive to them.

This poor youngster was in the reeds when dad gave him a good beating for not leaving home.

He will have some nasty bruises, but should soon recover.

I will let you know how he is progressing in next week’s column.

Today, the photograph is of Errol the Owl in his aviary.

It doesn’t seem to bother him how cold it is. He still takes regular baths and sits keeping an eye on us all as we work outside, all muffled up against the icy wind.