Latest News Friends of WildlifeClick here to find out more about the Swan Trust Friends of Wildlife scheme.  "Swan Notes" News items written by Trust members and volunteers and usually appearing in the “Berwick Advertiser" newspaper each  week. Unfortunately, sister newspaper the “Berwickshire News” are no longer following suit. For those unable to read these items, and  those living outside the Berwick area, here are the last few editions.. 21st February 2019 As I enjoyed a Giacopazzi’s ice cream in the warm sunshine at Eyemouth at the weekend, it was hard to believe that almost exactly a  year ago we were enduring the Beast from the East storm, with a snow-blocked A1 and waves of ice piling up on the seashore. At the Rollo Centre, the swans had been literally grounded, as the water in the big pool was  frozen solid and took a fortnight to thaw. Some volunteers weren’t able to get to the centre  because of blocked roads and cancelled buses. The animals relied on someone being there  every day to feed them, and somehow we managed. A year on and things are completely different; we’re having bright, calm mornings, the larks  are tuning up for spring, and the garden blackbirds are already vying for territory.  The recent warm spell has allowed the kestrel which was brought in with a broken leg a few  weeks ago to move outdoors into the undercover aviary. His leg has healed well, but Kay was a bit concerned that he was holding his left wing lower than the right. Having a bit more  space should give him the chance to strengthen his wings, as when he’s released he’ll need  to be able to hover in the air to scan the verges and fields for food.   The milder weather might also tempt some of the 20-plus hedgehogs hibernating in the  outdoor hutches to give a yawn and a stretch and start tucking into their dried food mix.   The indoor hogs really seem to have taken to their new ‘des res’ apartments, although their choice as to where to do their nightly poo  has been creative to say the least. Because the ceilings are much lower than the original metal cages, one particularly agile hog has  actually managed to deposit his ‘doings’ up aheight, presumably by performing a handstand up against the back wall of his home. My  volunteering colleague Una is off at the moment so Steve, who has very kindly agreed to stand in for her, has been the unfortunate  that’s had to mop up after the hog’s hi-jinks on a Wednesday. So much for the back end of a hedgehog – the front end can be equally  fraught as I’ve found with one particular ‘resident’. Most hogs seem to get used to the recovery room routine of being taken out of their  cage for weighing. Sometimes you find them at the front of the cage nosing out as if they’re looking forward to the fresh food and  bedding. But one hog was clearly annoyed at being lifted out of his box for cleaning recently, and expressed his displeasure by delivering  a sound nip to my finger. It didn’t hurt, especially being protected by the plastic gloves we wear, but it was a reminder that they’re wild  animals and a cage in a room is not their natural environment. Perhaps he can’t wait for spring when he can be free.  Elfrieda Waren 14th February 2019 Thank goodness the icy weather has left us for a while, it’s been very difficult for all the volunteers but especially for Jackie who usually does all the hosing on the days she works. We had no water up at the pond for several days, as the taps were frozen up, not helped as the swans had picked off all the lagging that we put on to keep the pipes free. Swans have strong beaks so although the lagging was taped on will they soon make short work of it and all we find is a shredded heap of material at the bottom by the stop cock. I dare say they got bored as the big pond itself was  frozen although we managed to keep the small pond open so they could have a bath. This week Dick cleaned the big pond as Jackie was off work. At least the weather was a mellow 8 degrees. It should last another three weeks now before it needs emptying scrubbing and refilling. Sadly, a swan that Dick collected from Burnmouth died shortly after it arrived. It only weighed 5.5 kilos so was very light. A cygnet brought in from Eyemouth with a prolapse showed sign of improvement but sadly the prolapse showed itself again. The vet operated to try to save the bird but the following day we found it with blood on its beak where it had pulled at itself. We were left with no option but to put the bird to sleep. Yet another Cygnet brought in unable to stand and thought to have been caught in the ice on the river was taken to the Vet for x-ray was found to have a broken pelvis and also had to be euthanased. We all feel down when this sort of thing happens, but fortunately, there is always something happening to lighten our mood again.  A Kestrel with a broken leg is improving and can be moved into the undercover flight in the next few days although we are a bit worried about one wing. There is no fracture so we are hoping by having more room it can build up strength. Being able to move the Kestrel out meant that we had to move the Tawny Owl. It was in the undercover so we had to move it to the Lomax Aviary and the Crow that was in the Lomax had to move to the JD Aviary it gets a bit like musical chairs, but it does mean progress for all the birds concerned, which is very heartening. A pigeon was brought in a few weeks ago with a large wound in its side and unable to use one leg. We have been checking the wound which has healed very well although it still has a pronounced limp. Every day when we lift him out to clean his cage he is very vocal cooing and complaining about having his cage invaded. He has been moved to the Longridge Aviary so he can get fit again after his cage confinement. We are getting some memberships coming in for our ‘Friends of Wildlife’ scheme and hope to have our first get together at the end of March. Please check out our website if you would like to join us. Pat Goff 7th February 2019 Whether out in the wild or recovering with the trust, animals need the right conditions in order to thrive. An estate agent would describe our new hedgehog accommodation as deceptively spacious one-bedroom apartments with an open living and dining space. The floor-to-ceiling windows boast superb uninterrupted views of the recovery room, and the interior décor is finished to the highest standard throughout in contemporary white. The new cages are also a hit with the volunteers who arrive on a daily basis to carry out cleaning duties and replenish food bowls. The floor of the cage (and the dividing ‘wall’ between the rooms) is actually a removeable tray, so saving a lot of struggling to reach the back of the cage when wiping down the inside walls. As Pat says, replacing the newspaper bedding requires some basic origami skills to fold the paper around the upright dividing wall, but again this can be done while the tray is on a table and not within the confines of the cage itself. There’s no doubt one of the most important advantages of the new cages is how much warmer they’re going to keep their hoggy occupants. The old metal cages were taller than necessary and the grille doors allowed cold air in; the plastic tray base together with the lower ceiling and the solid Perspex front doors promise a much cosier environment for hogs to build their strength in preparation for release. Of course, the time when the hogs in our new blocks of flats are ready to go back into the wild is still some months away. The swans and cygnets will also be with us until the icy blasts of winter are long gone. But even now animals come into the trust which simply need a couple of days’ respite before they are on their way, and it’s important to find the right kind of habitat for their release. One trust supporter, Shaun, recently brought in a blackbird that had flown into a window and although it wasn’t badly injured, it had time to rest and recover. Jim, a fellow volunteer, released the blackbird in his garden which has plenty of woodland close by and – even better - garden feeders. The bird is easily identified by a single white feather on its neck, so Jim has been able to report back that he’s seen it returning to eat. The lovely little Muscovy-mix duck that flew into a window in Wooler but didn’t seem any the worse for her experience was ready to leave once she’d rested and got over the shock. Because we weren’t sure where in Wooler she’d come from and the Muscovy-mix ducks often seem comfortable in a domestic setting, I approached a neighbouring farm to see if they might like to add her to their already diverse collection of ducks and geese. So she too has found the ‘des-res’ of her dreams; a farmyard with pond, and a grassy bank offering spectacular views towards the Cheviot hills.   Elfrieda Waren