Wild Blog, Part 25

World Animal Day 2018

This social movement has been raising awareness of the need to raise global animal welfare standards. T.V’s Chris Packham is getting behind the event and challenging wildlife lovers to raise money for British wildlife. As one of the south wests biggest wildlife charities we too are supporting World Animal Day. Chris Packham, one of our patrons commented “Secret World is caring for British Wildlife in an amazing way. They are wonderful people doing wonderful things”. We are asking for support to get us through what is looking like being a busy Winter period. As little as £3 will feed a poorly bird and every penny counts. The challenge made by the television presenter comes after one of our long standing supporters completed a 1600mile motorcycle journey in aid of Secret World. Robin Seymour visited 26 Harley Davidson dealerships around England, Wales and Scotland. Robins challenge took him from Surrey to Scotland and back to our centre in East Huntspill. To donate to Robins challenge, visit his just giving page ‘Robin Seymour Ironhog 2018’.

Manx Shearwater

Two of the incredible seabirds and rare inland visitors have been brought to Secret World over the past few days. These enigmatic birds are ocean wanderers, mating for life, they usually only come to land to breed on grassy clifftop slopes but breeding season is over making their arrival especially unusual. The bird was collected by one of our volunteer response drivers and when it arrived at our centre created quite a stir. Amazingly, the very next day another Manx Shearwater was found when it walked in to a house in Taunton. Spending most of their lives at sea, these birds have not developed a fear of humans so the homeowner would likely have had quite a shock.

Both birds were assessed at Secret World, stabilised and then transferred to RSPCA West Hatch where they have special facilities for sea birds. Animal carer Dan Bryant said “It was amazing to see the birds but right that we should pass them on to West Hatch who have experience of these incredible birds”.

Whiskered Bat.

This beautiful small bat was found clinging on to the grill of a car. This amazing and usual sight must have been a shock for the kindly person who alerted us to it. These little bats were only identified as a separate species in 1970 and news of its arrival spread quickly through our team. The bat is now being cared for by our animal carers. Look out for next weeks blog to get an update on its progress.

Cirque de Secret World

Dont forget that our circus themed ball and auction is next week on 13th October. This is sure to be a great night with life music and entertainment. See our website for details.

Wild Blog, Part 24

Injured Swan Gets The Help It Needs

A swan which had been unable to eat has been brought in to Secret World to receive the care it needs. A member of public spotted the bird at Portishead Nature Reserve who saw that it appeared hungry and distressed so it was brought in to the centre to be assessed. The lump was found to be grass or mud after being removed by the animal carers and the swan was then given fluids to rehydrate before being out in a pen to recuperate from its ordeal. Once he is fit enough he will be released back where he was found, whenever possible animals are released back where they are found as it is familiar and they will be easily able to access food and water. In 2017 Secret World treated 212 water birds.

Gannet in Distress

Another water bird which has been admitted to us this week is a Gannet which had been blown in land from the coast in the recent stormy weather. Luckily, a homeowner spotted the unusual garden visitor grounded and in need of help. The bird was brought in to our centre to be assessed and was found to be cold and wet but with no obvious injuries so was given fluids and warmed up, he was then put in a pen to get some rest. Once the gannet was fit enough he was transferred to to West Hatch RSPCA who had other birds he could mix with in their pre-release facilities. Once he is fit and healthy he he will be released back by the sea.

Hoglets

Three tiny and helpless baby hedgehogs are being hand reared by one of our volunteers after sadly being abandoned by their mother. The tiny hoglets had been cowering under a shed, one baby had crawled out in search of its mother who was nowhere to be seen and after being spotted by the homeowner Secret World were alerted. They were brought straight to us and were found to have no injuries but were far too tiny to fend for themselves.Volunteer Jenny Warring is now caring for the trio off site which enables her to feed them every few hours around the clock. It is vital they put on enough weight before they are released to allow them to hibernate through the winter months, if they are arent able to they will stay in Secret Worlds hedgehog hotel “Hogwarts” until spring when they will be released when the weather is warmer. Currently Secret World is caring for 50 Hedgehogs but this number is expected to swell as Autumn and Winter are testing times for these declining animals.

BREAKING NEWS

A tawny owl which had been treated here at Secret World and was about to be released back in to the wild has been found to be suffering from an eye ulcer. Its release was delayed while a vet examined the owl which has now been given the all clear.

The Wild Blog, part 23

It is really important that we have suitable sites to release wildlife once they have made a full recovery. With this in mind we were delighted when local holiday resort Unity dedicated a piece of woodland on their site to us for releases. Pre-release pens and aviaries have been constructed in the woodland and a new hide has been built so visitors can engage with the woodland wildlife. We are always looking for sites which are suitable for releasing the wild animals that have successfully completed their rehabilitation. We always aim to release adult animals to the spot they were found where food and water supplies are familiar, but orphaned animals have to be released to a new location. Our release manager Jamie Kingscott said “This year we have been able to release several different animals in to the woods at unity farm, which is not only great for our rescued wildlife but also for the woodland ecosystem. Mick (the head gardener at Unity Farm) has been a huge help, always keen to put his skills to good use to help wildlife, and we are very grateful for it.”

Feeding time!

This week we have around 50 hedgehogs on site, and this figure is set to rise dramatically with the onset of autumn and winter. The colder months are testing times for hedgehogs as food sources will be in short supply. When they arrive at Secret World they are underweight and often suffering from parasites. We feed the hedgehogs on a diet of meaty cat food in jelly and cat biscuits to help build their strength up. This can get expensive when we have a lot of hungry mouths to feed, and so we are asking for donations to help get our prickly patients through the winter season. Animal care section leader Dan Bryant said “We are expecting a lot more hedgehogs to be admitted over the winter, when nights get colder and they struggle to find food. Feeding and treating them becomes expensive and stretches our resources so we are asking for donations of cat food and biscuits to help the little creatures put on the weight they need to get through hibernation.”

Star

Our beautiful resident Tawny Owl, Star, has had a visit from the vet this week after some attempted amorous behavior with a wild interloper! Star has suffered from damage to the top of her beak after trying to get to a wild owl on the other side of her pen. She has been left with a small injury which has been assessed and treated by a vet, and she will soon be back to normal!

 

One of our squirrels

We need your help foraging for food for 5 energetic squirrel orphans. We try to feed our orphaned squirrels on the food they would naturally find in their habitat, so with this in mind we are asking for your help to search out their favourite foods in parks, woodlands and even your garden. This will help us get them fighting fit and ready to be released. Foraging is a great way to get out in the countryside and learn more about these precious habitats, especially in the name of helping these youngsters.

 

The Wild Blog, part 22

This week at Secret World we have had a lot of birds through our doors, mostly pigeons. On Tuesday alone we had 16 admissions, of which 10 were pigeons.

Kingfisher

Another bird in need of our help was a Kingfisher. These easily stressed birds are a rare visitor to Secret World with just 3 admitted so far this year. This patient had been brought in after flying in to a window at a house in Chew Magna. The homeowner saw the animal was distressed and did the right thing by bringing to our centre to be assessed. Luckily, the kingfisher was suffering only from a slight head trauma after hitting the window. Animal carer Dan Bryant who was responsible for assessing the kingfisher said “We now need to test fly it in one of our flight aviaries, and if all goes well then we can release it back in to the wild”.

The long eared bat

One success story this week is a long eared bat, who thanks to the quick actions of a member of the public and the care it received at Secret World will take to the skies again. The adult bat, which would not normally be found on the ground, was spotted lying flat in a car park in Highbridge by workers at nearby Eaton Controls UK who then promptly called Secret World to seek advice. One of our volunteer response drivers was sent out to pick it up and bring it in to us. When it arrived the bat was found to be fatigued but otherwise in good health. Once it had been given the once over by our animal care staff it was placed in an enclosure to build its strength up. The bat will be released in to the wild as soon as it is back to full health. Did you know that all bat species, their breeding sights and resting places, are protected by law. Some species of bat are relatively common, including the brown long-eared bat. But some, like its grey long-eared cousin are much rarer. The bats huge ears give it exceptional hearing, it can even hear a ladybird walking on a leaf!

Finally we have an exciting event coming up next month that we hope you will be a part of. Yes – the fun and entertainment of the circus is coming to Secret World! On 13th October we will be presenting Cirque de Secret World, a circus themed charity ball at the Webbington Hotel in Loxton. We are inviting friends, supporters and wildlife lovers to our biggest fundraising event of the year, which will be hosted by BBC broadcaster Mike Dilger. Every year we host a charity ball with proceeds going to the continued care of injured, sick and orphaned wildlife. The event will include two auctions- one silent – with over 100 items on sale plus a three-course meal. There will be a magic show between courses as well as a casino for the adults to enjoy. After the meal, guests will be able to burn off their puddings on the disco dance floor and be entertained by a David Ford tribute act until the early hours. To buy tickets visit our website.

The Wild Blog, part 21

Here at Secret World Wildlife Rescue we help every poorly animal that comes through our doors with the aim of releasing it back into the wild. This is why we were so pleased to be able to release a group of tawny owls, who had beaten the odds to survive and fly free. This group included Tiny Tawny Tim and Tiny Tawny Tom, as well as Otis, who has featured in previous blogs.

Tiny Tawny Tim and Tom

Tiny Tawny Tim arrived after being found grounded in Sampford Arundel, Somerset. Tim was soon joined by another tawny owl named Tiny Tawny Tom after he was found with torn claws in Yate, South Gloucestershire.  Otis was rescued by Secret World earlier this year after becoming matted with fly eggs.

The five owls were taken to Gloucester and placed into a soft release pen. When they are ready to be released, the doors will be opened and all the birds will be able to fly free. It is so lovely to see them have their happily ever after ending!

The baby leverets

Four tiny baby Leverets were brought in to us after being found huddled next to their dead mother. This sad scene was found by a member of the public who was walking his dog when he suddenly noticed his companion had one of the tiny hares in his mouth. Shocked, he managed to release the leveret uninjured and after having a look round he found the body of an adult hare with the leverets next to it. The kind rescuer was passing Secret World that day so was able to drop them in to us. They were initially assessed and are now being looked after by animal carer Marie who is feeding them regularly to build up their strength.

 

Gannet

We also had a Gannet in who was found way off course in Shapwick. These large wondering sea birds are not usually found in land but this one was spotted stranded on a driveway in the Somerset village. The member of the public who spotted the young bird called us, and we sent a volunteer response driver to pick him up. Upon arrival he was assessed and found not to be injured but was a bit thin, so he was fed through a tube to get his strength up and then placed in a pen to get some rest. As soon as he was fit enough he was transferred to West Hatch RSPCA who had other birds he could mix with while they get ready to be released back to the sea.

The Wild Blog – part 20

Visitors meeting Star the tawny owl

This bank holiday weekend offers you the chance to come and join us for our summer fundraising event. Wildlife Wonders will be a great day for all the family. You will get to meet our resident birds of prey and hear their stories, as well as hear fascinating talks about the animals we help. There will be games and nature activities as well as face painting. For the adventurous visitors, you can walk our woodland themed treasure trail through our beautiful countrywide surroundings. Bring the whole family for a fun day out. We rely solely on charitable donations and these fundraising events raise money to care for injured, sick and orphaned wildlife.

Amore as a tiny cub

 

A familiar face has returned to Secret World Wildlife Rescue to continue its recovery. Amore the Otter was rescued by Secret World in February and after spending a period of time under the care of staff here, Amore was transferred to another animal care centre to be paired with another orphaned otter called Amico. Secret World boasts a state of the art pre-release facility for orphaned otters so the decision was made to bring both otters back to continue their care. Otters are sociable animals and together they will learn the vital skills needed for their release to the wild in 18 months time.

 

This year we are launching our Wildlife Christmas Shoebox appeal. Over the course of the next few months Britain’s wildlife will be preparing for Winter. With days getting shorter and the weather getting colder, animals will be getting ready and will need all the help they can get.

With this in mind we are appealing for help to look after the animals in our care over the Christmas period. Christmas is a time for giving and we are hoping to be able to offer our patients a Christmas treat. We are asking members of the public and schools to get involved by sending in shoeboxes filled with goodies which will help us look after the wild animals in our care over the winter period. Keep an eye out on our website for more details.

The Wild Blog, Part 19

This week has seen a special visitor to Secret World in the form of a water vole. It was exciting for us, as these rare creatures are seen in decreasing numbers due to habitat degradation. This lucky Vole, who we have called Walter, had found himself washed out to sea. Incredibly, he managed to find his way back to shore. Having been given a full check over and some rest in his very own swimming pool, Walter has now been released back in to the wild. We were sad to see him go, but glad that he has been given a second chance back in his natural habitat.

On a slightly less pleasant note, a buzzard was brought in by our response driver Cindy after getting stuck in a slurry pit at West Hunstspill Sewage Treatment Works. The very smelly bird was given a wash straight away! Once he was dry and feeding he was placed in an aviary exclusion pen to be given the best chance of recovery and to build up muscle. He is now looking majestic and is set to be released soon. Laura Benfield, who is our head of animal care, said “It is likely that the buzzard was after a small mammal running over the crust of the effluent material, but his weight made him sink in and he was unable to get out”.

Have you been following our work and wondered how you could help us? One way is by becoming a volunteer response driver. This crucial and exciting role is a vital link in the chain of getting sick and injured animals the help they need. We need people to pick up injured animals and bring them to us, and also to assist in releasing animals once they have recovered. You can put your name down for hours to suit your availability. If this sounds like something you are interested in then you can find out more on the volunteer section of the website.

The Wild Blog, Part 18

The Wild and Deadly Show

There were lots of smiles (and a few scared faces – mostly from the parents) onsite this week as we held our first Wild and Deadly Wednesday of the Summer! Nick Wadham hosted his special Wild and Deadly show, where he showcased a variety of creepy crawlies. A particular highlight (for the kids at least) was when they got to nominate their parents to hold the tarantula! We also ran some great craft activities, and visitors had the chance to see our resident animals, including the birds of prey, foxes and badgers. If you missed it, and think that this sounds right up your street, come along on the 15th or 22nd August, 12 – 4pm. It’s £4 for adults and £2 for children, and promises to be a fun afternoon out for all ages!

Sweetpea and Daffodil

At the moment we have 3 lovely fawns onsite: Sweetpea, Daffodil and Jasmin, who are being looked after in our fawn paddock. Sweetpea is a red deer, who was found at the side of the road. She had stomach problems and animal carers were concerned about her sight. After treatment and being bottle fed Sweetpea improved, and was put in the fawn paddock with Daffodil, a fallow deer that had been hit by a car. Daffodil had head, neck and leg wounds, and when found it was touch and go whether he would survive. However he surprised staff with his recovery and fight to survive. The last deer, Jasmin, a roe, was found lying in a ditch at the side of the road. Fawn is usually the term we use for baby deer but in fact the only one that is truly a fawn is the fallow. The Red is called a calf and a roe is called a kid – however fawn is the term usually used as the accepted name for a baby deer.

These young deer will remain with us until the autumn where they will be taken to a release site monitored by the land owner. This will the responsibility of Jamie Kingscott, who is the Wildlife Release Manager at Secret World. We are always looking for release sites for many different species so if you have land that may be useful, please ring Jamie on 01278 783250 or email Jamie.Kingscott@secretworld.org.

This weekend our resident birds of prey will be out in Weston-super-Mare, on the Grand Pier. Why not pop along and meet them. You will be able to chat to our bird handlers all about them, and find out how they came to be at Secret World. Each owl has an interesting story to tell!

The Wild Blog, part 17

We have been engaging with lots of our younger supporters this week, both on and off site. This is so important to us, as these children are the future, and by teaching them to appreciate and look after wildlife we are protecting it for years to come.  We had two well attended Wild Academy sessions, focusing on birds of prey, and reptiles and amphibians. Our Wild Academy workshops encourage children to find out about the natural world around them through games, crafts and outdoor activities. The children who attended certainly seemed to enjoy themselves! We also attended an organised play day in Apex Park, where we made over 250 seed bombs with children!

The cygnets

This week we have had a lot of birds in, including two cygnets who were abandoned by their parents. The two tiny birds were found alone as their parents had flown away.  They were too small to fly as their wing feathers had not developed and they were unable to get off the ground.A member of the public found them, and delivered them to us, where their condition was assessed. Both birds were found to be in good health, just too young to be left out alone. They are now flourishing in one of our outside paddocks, where they will stay until they are stronger and their flight feathers have developed. Once this has happened a suitable release site will be found for them, one where there are other swans that they can join.

The tiny birds

Another happy story this week involved four tiny sparrows. We had a call from a member of the public who found three tiny sparrows who had recently hatched, and one cracked egg on the ground. The recent rain had destroyed their nest, leaving them to fall to the floor. They came in to us, where they were put into an incubator. The three birds were so tiny they were not expected to survive, but miraculously they did. In another twist of fate the cracked egg is now hatching, meaning the last bird will soon be joining its siblings. The sparrows are in our hospital room, where they are receiving round the clock care and hourly feeds. At this time of year our hospital rooms are full of tiny birds, who are all casualties of the weather. Many arrived during the hot spells, when they fell out of their nests due to the heat. Thanks to our dedicated animal care staff and volunteers who are caring for them all!

The Wild Blog, part 16

It has been very hot for the last few weeks, with the UK experiencing a heat wave. This has been especially hard for wildlife, and we have seen an increased amount of animals coming through our doors. The lack of rainfall has left many unable to keep cool or find food. Gulls in particular have been suffering, as hot surfaces and a lack of shade are causing many of the birds to be brought in with severe sunburn on their feet. We currently have 237 gulls on site, and that number could easily rise if this weather continues. This story has given us quite a bit of media coverage, and you may have seen us on Countryfile Diaries, ITV Westcountry or Points West.

To help the struggling wildlife the best thing you can do is to put fresh water out each day for animals and to consider feeding them until there is enough rain to enable them to forage for themselves. Both adults and young alike are struggling to find sufficient food and water so extra provisions at this time can be a life saver.

Ron Weasel

There was a happy ending for one of our more unusual animals this week. We received a call from a member of the public in Weston-super-Mare whose cat had caught a juvenile weasel. Luckily they were able to bring it in to our centre in Highbridge for assessment. The male weasel, who has been named Ron, had a number of puncture wounds caused by the cat’s teeth, and so animal carer Dan Bryant put it on a course of antibiotics to help them heal. Weasels are not animals we see often at Secret World. Since 2011 only 17 have come through our door needing help. It is not unusual for weasels to be caught by cats. However this situation is slightly unusual as cats usually go for weasels who are weak or injured as they are easier to catch. Ron was healthy and so he was probably caught because he is young and let his guard down. The cat must have been very brave, as Ron was a very feisty little fellow! After the antibiotics and a few days of rest Ron was soon up to full health and was released back into the wild.

Moss trapped in netting

Another success story this week was little Moss, a grass snake that got caught in netting in a garden in Berrow. One of our volunteer response drivers was dispatched to the scene and they managed to cut Moss free. He was brought in to our hospital room with some of the netting still tight around his body. Then began the delicate operation of removing the netting and animal carer Sarah Tingvoll used nail scissors to patiently cut him free. Once the netting had been removed Moss perked up immediately. While assessing him Sarah noticed that he had an old wound, which had caused his scales to become slightly dislodged. As a precaution he saw our vet from Quantock Veterinary Hospital. Grass snakes are one of just 3 of our native species of snakes. During this warm sunshine, they can be spotted basking in the sun near their favourite ponds.

 

Keep cool, and don’t forget that dish of water for the wildlife!