Storm Force Clean Up

Hurricane Stonham!  Perhaps not nearly as dramatic as hurricane Katrina but in some ways nearly as damaging in its own way!

Last week, this region (and most of the nation, it seems) were hit by the worse storms for over seventy years.  Gale force winds with recorded speeds of between 70 & 90 mph were responsible for huge amounts of damage across the entire East Anglian region, leaving over 5,700 homes without electricity for over 24-hours!

As far as the birds here at Stonham were concerned, I am happy to report that there were no injuries or fatalities - but unfortunately, the shrubbery wasn’t quite so lucky!

Thankfully, the aviary design that we employ here at Stonham is relatively sound when it comes “SDS” - Storm Damage Survival!  This due to the fact that the main hexagonal aviaries have no solid walls to speak of, enabling the high winds to pass straight through them.  Had they been completely solid wall structures we might not have been so lucky - the areas of damage we did sustain, most were purely cosmetic.

The only aviary to be badly affected was that belonging to ISIS, our Pharaoh's Eagle Owl, as the mature tree that grew inside was completely up-rooted by the wind.  But we did our best to save it by giving it a healthy trim and re-planting it - with any luck it won’t be too long before it re-establishes itself.  Isis himself didn’t seem to have too much to say about the incident, with not so much as a ruffled feather to show for his ordeal: being the regal bird that he is (Egyptian royalty - don’t you know), he simply sat rather serenely as we went about the busy task of tidying up his royal Kingdom!

How else did the storm affect us?  Well, we were without power for almost 24-hours.  And what, you may ask, do Birds of Prey need electricity for?  The simple answer is that in the wild they don’t have any need for it at all: however, for those in our charge it is very necessary to power the electric freezer’s that keep their food - chicken poults, rats, mice & quail - frozen until required.  And as we had just received a month’s supply of food the day before, it became a military operation in order to find a portable electric generator before everything defrosted!  Thankfully, we did manage to find not one but two and disaster was averted - the food remained frozen and we were provided with the technology to produce the numerous cups of tea needed to keep the team warm as they toiled away repairing the damage.

Amongst the other damaged sustained was the loss of a huge proportion of our perimeter fencing, all of which had to be replaced before the daylight faded, in order to keep the Sanctuary secure.  Even Anna, who is normally exclusively to be found in the SOS office, was drafted in to help with the clear up campaign - all of which went to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that the girls are every bit as capable as the boys (as you can see from the photo of our Warden, Julie, above as she grappled with broken fence panels!).

Thankfully, we did manage to get all the work done by the end of the day, the electricity finally did come back on and all that remained for us to do to finish off a tiring & stressful day was (yep, you’ve guessed it) - have yet another cup of TEA!