Daffodils have been flowering around the site which, despite the cold weather, has given us all hope that spring is on its way! A lot of work has been going on this week to get out aviaries and pre-release pens ready, as spring is our busiest season. It is when we see an influx in orphans arriving at our centre, including otter, badger and fox cubs, and fawns.
Spring also sees the arrival of Easter, and our fundraising team have been busy planning our Easter family fun days. We will be open on Friday March 30th and Saturday March 31st and will have lots of fun activities for all the family to enjoy. There will be talks on our animals, crafts, and an Easter trail. We hope to see lots of you there – its free entry!
Every week our resident birds of prey have their health checks, which is very important as it helps us to keep track of their condition and spot any problems. This is done by our team of bird handlers, who check their weight, as well as their body condition, eyes, talons and beaks. We have 6 resident birds of prey – Star the tawny owl, Tinnun the kestrel, Zazoo and Shadow the barn owls, Mumbles the Bengal eagle owl and Daphne the European eagle owl. These are all birds that have been born or bred in captivity elsewhere and come to us. We are unable to release them into the wild as they are used to human contact and cannot hunt for food themselves.
When we receive injured birds of prey we treat them and then release them back into the wild. This involves cutting off all human contact with them before they are released, to ensure that they do not become too tame. Stanley, a beautiful sparrow hawk, arrived this week after being hit by a car. After an initial examination he seemed to be relatively uninjured, just stunned. He was then taken to the vets for an eye examination. It is very important that birds of prey have good eyes as they need to be able to hunt from their food, and spot their prey from high up in the sky. When Stanley’s eyes were examined the vet found that he had an eye ulcer. He is now receiving treatment for that, and should be ready to be released in a few days.
Tiny Finn was another one of the animals we admitted this week. He had been caught by a cat and brought in from a field where there are many warrens. If cats catch wild animals and break the skin they can inject infection through their teeth, and the victim may need to be given antibiotics. Luckily Finn was uninjured and is now being cared for by Katie, one our animal carers. Weighing only 120 grams, Finn is still on milk, but rabbits only feed their young kits twice a day so it’s not too much work! He is already eating greens so will soon be weaned.