Spring has sprung...

The first eggs of the season from the Lanner Falcon

Despite the lingering frosts and a slight reluctance for the weather to finally shake off winter, blue skies over the Sanctuary over the last few days have given us all hope that spring is indeed on the way. And there are signs that our raptors are beginning to feel the same way too - on Friday of this week Andy was surprised and delighted to discover that a Lanner had produced two beautiful eggs, shortly followed by a third.

The expectation is, that the Lanner will lay a fourth egg some time over the weekend. Unfortunately, this particular young lady has a bit of a reputation for smashing her eggs, so the plan is that they will be taken away after about twelve days and put into the incubator to hatch.

Amongst other things, now is the time when the incubator is thoroughly cleaned out and disinfected, ready for just such an eventuality. Although left spic and span at the end of each season, the incubator is re-sanitized again at the beginning of every new season, just to be totally on the safe side.

This Goshawk is the first tenant of the new creche aviaries

Improvements are being made all the time at the sanctuary and over the last couple of weeks Dean and Andy have been working hard to put up the three new crèche aviaries. At last they have been completed, creosoted and secured with netting (the netting covers not just the top, but also the whole of the inside of each aviary so that the birds can't hurt themselves when they fly around). The aviaries definitely provide five star accommodation for their new occupants; one has a young Goshawk in and the other a new Saker Falcon.

On the road to recovery - the ‘bumblefoot’ Tawny (see our recent story)
is getting better & due for release soon - the ‘seeing eye’ above him is part of our CCTV system, which enables us to keep an eye on vulnerable birds without disturbing them

You may remember that of late we have been concerned about a young Tawny Owl that came into the Sanctuary back in December but are now pleased to report that, despite the setback of an infected foot, the Tawny has now finished a course of antibiotics and things are looking much better. At present, he is resting in one of our flight recovery aviaries (which you can see in the 'Work of the SOS' section) and it looks as though, weather permitting, it may be possible to hack him back to the wild some time next week. Fingers crossed!

We think this recent inmate was the victim of a glancing blow from a passing car or van - but he is not seriously harmed and should also be released soon...

But, there’s never a dull moment here and just as one Tawny is about to be released, another has landed on our doorstep. It appears as though this one has been in some kind of road traffic accident, thankfully after a thorough investigation the falconers are fairly certain that there is no major damage. Although a certain amount of blood in the Tawny's mouth was of some concern, checks to wings, feet, vision, hearing etc seem to suggest that he was probably the victim of a glancing blow from a windscreen or, perhaps, the top of a van. More specifically, the Tawny's awareness seems to be absolutely fine, which thankfully suggests that there isn't any brain damage. Forty-eight hours under observation in the sanctuary's raptor hospital will be sufficient to see whether the Tawny is well enough to be released and, as always, we will keep you updated on developments.

All in all, some exciting stuff going on - look out for further installments next week! Meanwhile, don’t forget Mother’s Day will be special at S.O.S. this year - click here for details