Gulls at Berwick Swan and Wildlife Trust are still waiting for their wings

This week it has been raining herring gulls. Instead of the little fluffy ping pong balls of a few weeks ago, we now have adult-sized gulls that have not yet acquired their pilot licence.

Sunday, 24th July 2016, 13:30 pm
Updated Thursday, 25th August 2016, 19:58 pm

These birds just run around at a surprisingly fast rate, calling for their parents’ assistance if anyone goes anywhere near them.

The parents are usually keeping a watchful eye from a nice high vantage point and keep the youngsters supplied with fish suppers.

It only usually takes a couple of days for the youngsters to take to the air. Trouble arises when the young gulls are in close proximity to people.

We are able to take these birds in for the few days needed for them to get their wings.

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We have not got enough volunteers to collect, but if they are boxed up and brought in, we will care for them. If there is no one to bring them in, we will collect them, so long as they are boxed or contained so they are easy to pick up.

A clothes basket upended over the bird with a brick or weight on top to prevent them breaking out until we get there will be fine. Doing things this way speeds up the collection process and saves us maybe half an hour trying to catch a fleet-footed gull.

We also have the problem of adult herring gulls being shot. The majority of those brought in or collected have to be put to sleep. They may be noisy and they certainly are messy (it takes us over an hour to clean their pen each day), but they are part of the town. They nest on buildings because the birds see them as cliffs. When living at the coast seabirds will be part of the scene.

Other work at the Rollo Centre includes feeding six rabbit kits just about a week old. The nest was dug up accidentally so we are attempting to rear the babies.

This means bottle-feeding them at the moment – a very time consuming job.

Kay is feeding a very young hedgehog. We also have taken in other tiny hedgehogs, although, fortunately, they are just beginning to eat meat by themselves.

This year we have never had a hedgehog free day.

Later this week we are hoping to move the ducklings from the Lomax aviary and introduce them to the big pond. The last intake of ducklings are feathering up very well and we hope they will get along with the cygnets. The two eider ducks will meet for the first time too as they are growing up well and the larger one, we hope, will not try to duff up the smaller one.

This is where CCTV is invaluable as we can check what’s happening without being seen. Wildlife never behaves naturally when people are around.

We are also preparing for the next open day on July 30.

We shall be open with all the usual stalls from 11.30am to 2pm. Our AGM will start at 2.30pm. Everyone is welcome.

I am hoping that one of our volunteers will write next week’s column as it gives a different perspective on what we do.