Latest News "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.. 8th November 2018 It’s always a bit of a jolt to the system when the clocks go back, losing the daylight a full hour earlier and the long summer evenings already a distant memory. The animals at the trust aren’t best pleased either with the late start; when I went into the pool enclosure to collect up the feeding buckets for cleaning and refilling, Harry the swan and his four ‘foster’ cygnets seemed to be wondering why the lettuces were so late in arriving.  The hedgehogs too are much more inclined to settling down gradually into their winter routine of hibernation; many aren’t venturing out at all for their food on the frosty nights, but they’re still popping out in the milder weather. Two birds that won’t have to fit in with the trust’s winter feeding routine any more are the crows which have been released at long last, after many months in the trust’s care. One came in to us way back in August 2017, very thin and not flying. According to his record, he had ‘very poor feathering’, but what plumage there was had distinctive flecks of white among the black. The other crow was brought in in January this year and was in a sorry state, with virtually no flight feathers and wheezing and gurgling because of a serious lungworm infection. They always looked quite comical being unable to fly, as whenever you entered their flight, they’d head for the opposite end of the enclosure in a series of ungainly bouncing jumps like a pair of rubber balls. They’re very intelligent birds, and to pass the time you’d often see them playing leapfrog along a branch, one sitting quite still while the other hopped over him, then shuffling up the branch for his turn at a hop. For months there was no sign of any improvement, and I did begin to wonder if there was ever going to be any recovery for them. But in the space of a few weeks new tail feather began to grow and the trips up and down the flight became more airborne. Towards the end of October the pair were freed, both able to fly but needing the open fields and woodland to strengthen their wings and develop their agility in the air. Jackie said by the time they went, their plumage had returned to a lustrous healthy black colour – but of course one still had his characteristic white flecks. Let’s hope they have long and healthy lives back where they belong. Speaking of the winter routine, anyone who put the date on their calendar for the trust’s Christmas fair after reading Pat’s article last week should now correct it to Saturday November 24 – it’s not on Christmas Eve you’ll be relieved to hear. Swan Trust raffle tickets are now on sale with the top prize being a £50 Morrison’s voucher. Tickets – available from the Rollo Centre and trust volunteers - are just 50p each and the draw will take place on Wednesday 12 December. Elfrieda Waren 1st November 2018 It does not seem possible that another month has just flown by. We seem to be forever playing catch up with the seasons. At minus four  degrees this morning, realising winter is very much on its way.   Our Swans and Cygnets are doing well. The tiny Cygnet that came in last month is now gaining weight and we have to look carefully to  pick him out at a distance.   We have taken in several Wood Pigeon squabs recently. We have had to hand feed these downy fat babies. Sadly we found as they grew bigger that they had a nasty fungal infection in their crops which had been passed to  them by their parents when they were fed as tiny babies. The infection then grows up into the throat of the bird so that it cannot eat and eventually dies of starvation. The infection  can be treated if found early enough but we suspect most of these young birds were  orphaned because their parents had died of the infection. Sadly we had to put the babies  to sleep as by the time we were aware of the infection it was too late as it was already  blocking their throats. The infection can occur in any bird but particularly in birds that are  fed food from the crop of the parent. A sad end to all the hours spent looking after the  birds.  Our biggest problem at the moment is hedgehogs. We currently have thirty staying with  us. All of which will have to stay with us through the winter. Only twelve or so have been  sponsored so if you would like to help please call in and perhaps give a sponsorship as a  gift for the person that is fond of wildlife. Every winter we have the problem of funding  the food, heating and cleaning materials for all these little cuties. Sponsoring really helps,  also any donation of canned dog food (the loaf variety preferred as it goes further),  mealworms, clean hand towels and newspapers are also very gratefully received. A very  big thank you for the kind donation of four bales of straw for outside hog bedding. This  should keep us going for some time. We rely on kind donations like this and could not keep going without the generosity of the public.  Our volunteers are noticing the change in the weather, indeed Kay and myself were out cleaning and feeding hogs already in the outside  hutches on Sunday morning when the heavens opened without warning and soaked us with icy rain. We are also busy preparing for our Christmas (dare I say the word yet) Fayre which will be at Berwick Baptist Church hall on Saturday  24th. December. There will be seasonal sales as well as a huge tombola and ‘Wine or Water’ which is always popular. This is our last big  fund raiser of the year and we are hoping it will help keep us going through the rest of the winter. We also have our Christmas Raffle with first prize of a £50.00 Morrisons voucher. Tickets are on sale at the David Rollo Centre and Baby Steps shop in Marygate.  Pat Goff 25th October 2018 A broken wing would normally be a death sentence for a bird in the wild. At the trust, it’s often still touch and go whether or not they  survive, but at least the birds that come into the Rollo Centre have a chance of recovery.   For some, all the treatment and care is not enough, as with the beautiful short-eared owl we had in over the summer. Despite keeping  him rested in a cage in the recovery room for several weeks, his broken wing did not heal and the kindest thing was for him to be put to  sleep. Recently, though, we’ve had some good news about another bird with a broken wing. A large cygnet was brought in from Kelso about a  month ago, his left wing hanging uselessly by his side. The vet pinned it, it’s since been checked and appears to be healing successfully.  Hopefully, once the healing process is complete and the pins are removed, he’ll be able to  join Harry and the other cygnets on the big pond. Despite his injury, the cygnet is still proving to be very feisty, hissing and raising his one  good wing whenever someone enters his enclosure. When Jackie asked me to help bring  him in for checking, I was quite relieved that my job simply entailed opening and closing  gates and not handling him. He’s just about adult-sized, with only his grey colouring the  obvious giveaway that he is still a juvenile. I watched as Jackie approached him slowly,  gently taking hold of his neck and then swiftly dropping a towel over his back and lifting  him so that his wings were tucked safely into his sides. Once she had him in her arms, he  became totally calm and taking him out of the enclosure was relatively easy – for me  anyway, closing the gate behind them. I doubt lugging a fully grown swan about is one of  Jackie’s favourite jobs.   Hotchi Mews – our ‘housing estate’ of outdoor hedgehog hutches – is now filling up with  hogs that have reached a healthy enough weight to be outside but that need to overwinter with us. They still need to be cleaned out and fed with wet food every day until they go into  hibernation. Some of them have already started missing the odd overnight meal if the  temperatures fall close to freezing. My hedgehog Milligan (I keep him in our completely enclosed garden at home because he couldn’t be  released into the wild due to a lung condition) has taught me that hibernation is far more nuanced than just shutting down the body’s  systems one day and not waking up until spring. He’s already started sleeping right through the odd chilly night instead of toddling over  to the back door for his bowl of meaty pet food. Last winter the number of nights he slept through without eating gradually increased  until by mid-December he finally went into his deep sleep. It’ll be interesting to see what happens this year.  Elfrieda Waren