PLEASE Stop and Think before touching...

....a baby bird!


I am getting alarmingly high numbers of reports of wildlife rescue centres having to close due to being 'full', during what is the busiest month of the year for wild bird rescues.


This is not due to an increase in the number of accident victims, but due to the unusually dry weather, people are spending more time outside, and coming across young birds who are out getting some sunshine rather than sat under a bush as it's usually raining - hence the conflict between people/fledglings.


The danger is threefold;


1. Birds are being removed unnecessarily from their parents, reducing their chances of survival. Even though each hospital prides itself on its standard of care; mum and dad bird generally do a much better job.


2. Hospital space is at a premium at this time for most sanctuaries; very few operate as Three Owls did where we can always get any casualty in, and if necessary open a temporary extra hospital room to cope with demand. If a sanctuary has to close to new admittances, then there is a huge knock-on effect to surrounding sanctuaries who then also are at risk of becoming swamped and having to close to new admittances also.


3. Funding for any sanctuary is always tight, but the cost off specialist food, bedding and medicines stretches many sanctuaries to breaking point. Please NEVER leave a casualty at a rescue without leaving 'something' to help them out. It need not always be money - often they have a website or social media page where they have appeals running for what they specifically need at that time.


 


The danger is that if the smaller sanctuaries become overwhelmed, then the national animal welfare organisations will simply euthanaise even more of our wildlife, simply to stem the tide of those being diverted their way. This is not said in a nasty way; it is simply what I have observed over thee past 40 years while working with Three Owls.


To give you an idea of figures; I've been manning the Helpline today. Of the 53 calls so far for assistance, only 3 needed hospital help, the others were simply fledglings which were hopping around and learning about life outside of the nest. Please remember that some birds take a full 5 days after leaving the nest before they can fly properly, and so during this intervening period you will often find them in the gardens/yards, verges, fields and woods hopping/sitting around whilst they await mum/dad's next feed (usually every 3-4 hours).


IF you DON'T think 'your' bird fits this criteria, or it clearly has a injury such as a trailing wing, dragging leg, or clear open wound; THEN telephone your nearest wildlife rescue centre BEFORE moving it, so that it is confined for the least time possible. Too many birds have perished because the box/bird was left in the greenhouse/conservatory while people have only later in the day been seeking help.


Of course, there is always the exception to the rule where the bird is in the road or a cats mouth and needs immediate intervention! Obviously you don't then follow national advice of 'put it back where you found it', but again ring your rescue centre who will advise you dependent upon the birds' condition, before transporting it away from the area you found it in.


Sorry for the length of this report, but the list of 'closed' centres is growing by the hour, and things need to be put into perspective.


Nigel

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