Big Foot? Or...

Big Foot?... or just a case of swollen toe
The work of the hospital is key to the ethos of the Suffolk Owl Sanctuary, as it is a vital part of being able to rehabilitate injured or orphaned raptors and return them to their natural habitat.

A recent instance involved a Marsh Harrier that was brought in to us from Fingringhoe in Essex. Apparently it was found by the side of the road and was in a pretty poor state. Apart from the bird being very thin, the big toe on its right foot was about three times bigger than it should have been. On examination, we discovered a nasty, open, infected wound which required immediate cleansing using a mild solution of Hibiscrub.
We then took the Harrier to the vet, who elected to do an x-ray just to ensure that there weren't any other serious complications. We were shocked to discover that there were two bits of shot in the bird's wing - a clear indication that it had been aimed at with a shotgun!

Thankfully, the Marsh Harrier is now recovering and, although it will be a fairly slow process, we are hopeful that it will be ready for release some time in later in the month

Fascinating Raptor Facts
There have been Marsh Harriers in Britain since the 12th Century, although for a while their numbers were seriously depleted due to the draining of the Fens and other wetlands. Traditionally, these raptors would nest in large reedbeds, but thankfully they have adapted and many of them will now breed in cereal crops, so their numbers have risen significantly again in recent years.

The Marsh Harrier is the largest of our Harriers and is quite distinctive because of its long, narrow tail, long legs and the way it holds its wings in a 'V' shape in flight. Males and females have quite different colouring from each other. The males have grey and brown wings with black wingtips and greyish head, tail and underparts with a chestnut belly. Females are a more subdued colour, being predominantly brown with a cream head and shoulder patches. When hunting, the Marsh Harrier can be seen gliding low over marshland before diving for a small mammal or bird.

We are pleased and excited to announce that our three Tawny chicks from our 'chicklets and twiglets' blog in May this year, have finally been released. They took to their new environment as though it were the most natural thing in the world... which of course it is!