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.. 14th March 2019 It was lovely to see all the daffodils around the fence at the Rollo Centre all in full flower when we got back from our holidays last week.  The majority of the outside hedgehogs have woken up, so cleaning and feeding them is taking quite a long time now. We had one little hog weighing under 400 grams brought in from Coldstream.  He was very lucky to survive the hibernation, but perhaps the warm weather  of the last few weeks allowed him to wake up before he lost too much weight.  We are a little worried about him as he has blood in his poo, but he has a heat  pad and has been put on a ‘first aid’ treatment that should help get him back  to health. He is eating so we are quite positive about his progress. Since we  seem to be in another spell of winter weather he is lucky to be with us.  We  now have 46 hedgehogs in our care so any help you can give us with dog food  and mealworms will be much appreciated.  It seems that the gulls of the town must be pairing up and making noises that  are not welcome. We had our first shot bird of the year brought in last week.  The bird had to be put to sleep. We get really fed up with these cruel incidents  every year. I must give you a catch up about one of our cygnets. We feel very sorry for  her as she has gone from one problem to another. The photograph shows her  with her foot bandaged. I will go back to the beginning and tell her story. On 25th September last year she was brought in with a fractured left wing. She was taken to the vet who pinned the wing and put  ‘scaffolding’ in to fix the bones in place. Her wing was still hanging down. On 11th November all the pins were removed and although her  wing was still down we tried her first on the little pond and then in with the other birds in the big pond. The wing did not improve. It was  still trailing and it was proving difficult for her to get around. On 13th December we consulted the vet who said the only option was to  remove the wing. The operation was performed on 18th December and was very successful. She had to be kept undercover and out of  the water but on 28th December she went back on the pond. She has recovered very well from all this trauma, but a couple of weeks ago we noticed she was limping. On 4th March she was put in  the undercover pen and examined her to find a swelling on her leg and foot.  So it was back to the vet who operated and drained the  fluid build up. It turns out she has an infection similar to bumble foot caused by a little cut becoming infected. She now has to be kept  out of the water and is in the undercover pen again, but we hope now she will make a full recovery. Pat Goff 7th March 2019 What to do for the best: it’s often difficult to tell whether a wild animal is in distress and in need of help or it’s perfectly comfy, thank you very much. One concerned caller phoned the trust recently to report a sighting of a pair of swans in a field on the Berwick to Cornhill road. She’d seen the swans sitting in the same place for two weeks, one with its head tucked into its wing, and she was worried that something was wrong with them. With the farmer’s permission Kay was able to go into the field and approach the swans, who duly flew off to find a quieter spot where they wouldn’t be disturbed. Kay said that at this time of year it’s quite common to see swans on farmland as there’s a shortage of food in the rivers. “They are generally fine if they’re just sitting down,” she said. “If they’re actually lying down, then they could be in trouble and people should contact the trust. If the swan is lying underneath power cables, it has possibly flown into them and will need urgent attention.” Another situation where it can be hard to decide whether help is needed or not is when a seal pup is on the beach, seemingly all alone. Most of the time, a lone pup is simply resting and its mother is probably just offshore, hidden by the waves. It’s vital to stay well away from the seal and just watch from a distance; if you approach there’s a danger the parents will be scared away and abandon the pup. At the trust we don’t have the facilities to deal with seals or seal pups; instead we refer callers to the British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR), who have the training and expertise to assess what action is the most appropriate. If you think a seal is sick, injured or really abandoned, you should phone the BDMLR for help, giving as precise a description of the location and condition of the animal as possible. You can reach them on 01825 765546 (weekdays 9am-5pm) or 07787 433412 (outside office hours). If you’re on the beach regularly, you could add these numbers to your mobile phone contacts list so you always have them with you if they’re ever needed. While you’re waiting for help to arrive, the BDMLR asks that you keep other people and their dogs away from the seal. And they warn not to get too close yourself as even a young pup can deliver a nasty bite. Back at the Rollo Centre, the recent February ‘spring’ weather has fooled about half of the outdoor hedgehogs into coming out of hibernation, so tinned meaty pet food replaces the dry mix they have in the hutch for occasional winter snacks. Donations of the loaf- type tinned meaty dog food (not fish) - which is easier for the hogs to eat than the chunky stuff - would be hugely appreciated, especially by the awakening hedgehogs. Elfrieda Waren 28th February 2019 This week I thought I would tell you a bit about the detective work we have to do sometimes when a casualty is admitted. We recently had in a Tawny Owl that had already been to see a vet (not the vet we use) the very nice people who brought it in said that  their vet told them it was thin but had no injuries so it just needed feeding up. When Kay  examined the bird she firstly wondered why it was so thin so she decided to give it a good  check over herself.  When she opened the bird’s beak she immediately saw what the problem  was. It was infected with Trichomoniasis. This is a condition is commonly found in pigeons but  over the last few years we have found it frequently in birds of prey. It is a parasite that infects  the mouth, throat and crop of birds. It is spread when adult infected birds feed their young or  when adult birds pair up and feed one another as part of courtship. It is caused by a  protozoan parasite which grows into little cauliflower lumps in the mouth and throat. It is  treatable if found early but most of the birds that come in to us are too badly infected and  have to be put to sleep. In the case of the Tawny Owl the infection had almost completely  closed the throat. It was unable to swallow and was dying of starvation. It is a horrible  condition and we are finding it more frequently now.  We are currently treating a hedgehog that came in recently with awful head wounds. You can  see from the photo I took that the wounds are still very open. We have been bathing the  wounds and applying intrasite ointment to help with healing. The wounds should close slowly  from the outside. We wondered how the wounds were caused and we are pretty sure now that a stoat or weasel had given the hog a good bite.  We have had hogs with much worse wounds  recover but this hog also has cataracts  in both eyes and we are not sure just how much it can see. We feel at the moment we must keep on with the daily treatments and antibiotics to prevent infection to give the little guy a chance.  When these casualties come in we have no idea what has caused the injuries. We have a pigeon in at the moment that was unable to use one leg. When it was examined we found a wound under one wing. After cleaning up the wound which was very dirty the poor bird  looked very wet and untidy. We thought that the damage to his body had also affected his leg. We decided to give him  time to see if he  could recover. He is the pigeon that was cooing at us every time we cleaned his cage. He has been in the Longridge Aviary for a week or  so and his limp is much reduced.  All of the casualties that come in have a story to tell its just a pity they can’t talk.  Pat Goff