Well, the Baby Season is very much upon us now...

May 9, 2021

As advised last week, I was transporting a heron-chick up to Knoxwood yesterday. The weather was rather glum on the way up, but the welcome heart-warming, and it was great to see the bird swiftly admitted into their care for what will be the final stages of its rehabilitation. People may ask “why take it all that way, when you could have reared it in Rochdale?” Yes, it could have been reared in most sanctuaries; however with any such predatory bird, there is an extra responsibility upon the rehabilitator to ensure that the orphaned bird is not imprinted (made tame) in any way, as this could prove fatal not only for the bird, but for any human/smaller animal it comes into contact with.


When we had the hospitals in Rochdale I would see a number of such imprinted birds each year; where people had found and reared birds at home and then put them back in the wild. Alas, many of these would be killed by cats/cars/people/weather or even other birds within the first 48 hours of being free, as they had no knowledge of what to do and their feathers were not weathered having been kept inside peoples’ houses. The ‘lucky’ few would make it to our doors, where we would do our very best to rehabilitate – this often took months of work and even then was not successful on every occasion. Alas, Corvids (magpies/crows/jackdaws/jays) are particularly susceptible, but when released in a semi-tame state, can prove deadly to people especially infants, as the bird gets mixed-up between instinct and what it has ‘learned’ from its ‘keeper’. The bird instinctively knows to peck its parents’ beak to be fed. Alas its foster parent is a human, so upon release it flies round looking for something familiar and often finds a child. The danger then is evident and it will fly to the child and intend to peck at their beak (their nose) – hence the bird is immediately a huge danger and castigated (and often killed) for it, when in actual fact it was the ‘fault’ of the keeper not taking it to a qualified wildlife rescue in the first place.


The day was also filled with assisting numerous people from around the country with their own wildlife concerns; from mother duck & ducklings found in a garden, to starling chicks in the garden, to various cat attacks on numerous birds, and baby owls on forest floors. All standard enquiries at this time of year...


Nigel


 


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