Swans no help in breaking the ice

Thank goodness the icy weather has left us for a while. It’s been very difficult for all the volunteers, but especially for Jackie who usually does all the hosing on the days she works.

Friday, 15th February 2019, 2:24 pm
Pond cleaning.

We had no water at the pond for several days as the taps were frozen up. This was not helped by the fact that the swans had picked off all the lagging that we put on to keep the pipes from freezing.

Swans have strong beaks so although the lagging was taped on, they soon make short work of it and all we find is a shredded heap of material at the bottom by the stopcock. I dare say they got bored as the big pond was frozen, although we did manage to keep the small pond open so they could have a bath.

This week, Dick cleaned the big pond as Jackie was off work. At least the weather was a mellow 8C. It should last another three weeks before it needs emptying, scrubbing and refilling.

Sadly, a swan that Dick collected from Burnmouth died shortly after it arrived. It only weighed 5.5kg so was very light.

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A cygnet brought in from Eyemouth with a prolapse showed sign of improvement, but sadly the prolapse showed itself again. The vet operated to try to save the bird, but the following day we found it with blood on its beak where it had pulled at itself. We were left with no option but to put the bird to sleep.

Another cygnet brought in unable to stand and thought to have been caught in the ice on the river was taken to the vet for an x-ray. It was found to have a broken pelvis and also had to be euthanised.

We all feel down when this sort of thing happens, but fortunately, there is always something happening to lighten our mood again.

A kestrel with a broken leg is improving and can be moved into the undercover flight in the next few days, although we are a bit worried about one wing. There is no fracture so we are hoping by having more room it can build up strength.

Being able to move the kestrel out meant that we had to move the tawny owl. It was in the undercover so we had to move it to the Lomax Aviary, and the crow that was in the Lomax had to move to the JD Aviary. It gets a bit like musical chairs, but it does mean progress for all the birds concerned, which is very heartening.

A pigeon was brought in a few weeks ago with a large wound in its side and unable to use one leg. We have been checking the wound, which has healed very well, but it still has a pronounced limp. Every day when we lift him out to clean his cage he is very vocal, cooing and complaining about having his cage invaded. He has been moved to the Longridge Aviary so he can get fit again after his cage confinement.

We are getting some memberships coming in for our Friends of Wildlife scheme and hope to have our first get together at the end of March. Please check out our website if you would like to join us.