Up, Up and Away!

Faster than a speeding bullet (or our shutter speed,
anyway) the recuperated Sparrowhawk
took off for the wild, released by
our helpful volunteer Stacie

This year has been surprisingly quiet on the hospital front, the number of injured birds being brought in to us considerably down compared to last year.  General Manager Andy thinks this might be for a variety of reasons.  On the downside, it seems that the especially hard 2010/2011 winter may have been responsible for the natural cull of some birds unable to survive the prolonged, bitter conditions.  On a more positive note, we have seen a marked reduction in the number of orphaned chicks that have come in to our hospital compared to other years.  Our message to people has always been that it’s best to leave an apparently abandoned youngster alone and wait to see if the parents are indeed still looking after it, which more often than not is actually the case. Luckily, it would seem likely that this message is really beginning to get across!
So, whilst it’s good to know that there have been fewer raptors so far this year needing our hospital services, we are still ready and waiting for those that do!  Most recently, I’m pleased to be able to report on the successful release of a Sparrowhawk, which was found at the end of July in Old Newton, having probably flown into a glass window.  We tend to suggest that people put bird or other transfers on large windows  (especially if they’re very clean) so that birds realise they can’t fly through them!

Talons to deceive - a rare chance to appreciate the
long, sharp talons which are the tools in trade
of the Sparrowhawk

The usual comprehensive health checks didn’t reveal any broken bones, or anything of serious concern, so the Sparrowhawk was moved from the hospital into one of our secluded rehabilitation aviaries, where she could be kept stress free and quiet, whilst still having plenty of space to regain her strength and flight fitness.  Two weeks later, on the 14th August, Andy decided that she was ready to look after herself again.  Volunteer Stacie Warvill accompanied Andy to the release area and the Sparrowhawk was successfully released back into the wild.
Hospital update
Currently we have two Tawny Owls in the hospital, one the victim of a Road Traffic Accident and one that fell down a chimney.  We also have another Sparrowhawk, which was found in a garden, concussed and unable to fly.  Keep posted for updates on how they get on.