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 April 2021 We have just been doing our end of financial year figures. We thought that we may have had far fewer casualties in due to the Covid  lock-downs, but were surprised to find that we were only 60 down on the year before. We still cared for over 500 birds and mammals  through the year.  We would like to thank Galedin Vets for their help. We had to take 119 casualties to them for euthanasia and they  treated or prescribed medication for 57 animals and birds.   At the moment we are having a short respite from  the normal busy schedule as we are preparing to  release the Cygnets on Wednesday after the gales and snow! We only have five hogs asleep. The rest are awake and putting on the weight lost during  hibernation. They will start to be released towards  the end of the month. We are still persevering with the Buzzard who is still not able to eat for himself  but there is still hope.  In the recovery room we only have one hedgehog  in the towers. He is coming up to weight. He came  in during February underweight but he should be  moved out to a cooler room this week. Jim had  been busy with the paint and rollers. Peter came in one day and gave the floor a good scrub. All the  free-standing units etc. were moved out and Jim  moved in with the paint and gave the floors  another good coat. We were unable to do them  last year as we used the room constantly as we  had hedgehogs everywhere, nearly twice as many  as this year. Jim them moved on to the surgery and that floor was scrubbed and re-painted, and last week he finished up with the Claw and Talon  Room. We have never been able to get all the floors done in the same year before, so we look quite smart now. It has been good to have the time to sort out cupboards and shelves that get so untidy when we are busy and take stock of what we need to order for the  summer. We have been busy too, trying to find pictures for our calendars so they can be printed and ready for our first Open Day  (fingers crossed) which will be on 24th July.  All this work has to be done before the late spring rush, when all the little orphan birds come in and our normal hectic schedule returns.  It was my job to clean and feed Errol Owl on Sunday and he was very hungry and waiting for his chick. I put one on the branch he was  sitting on and he looked so comical creeping up on it I had to take the photo. When we clean his cage he watches us and likes us to talk  to him. He looks as though he understands every word, which is a bit silly but that’s why we do this work.  Pat Goff 1st April 2021 Nearly all our hogs are now awake. We have just six still sleeping. With everyone looking forward to going out again now lockdown is  easing we are expecting the usual freezing Easter holiday. It seems every year when winter should be over we get a chilly reminder to  ‘ne’er cast a clout’.  The Cygnets are all looking very well and will be out on the river just after Easter. They need to be out before the Cobs get too territorial  around their nest sites. Hedgehogs will be following towards the end of April. The ones that are awake are  putting on the weight they lost during hibernation and are already ‘hardened off’ by  living outside in runs or in the big room which is colder we sometimes think, than  being outside. It always seems freezing in the big room except during really hot  weather. We received our newsletter from the British Hedgehog Preservation Society. It  contained a very interesting article by Patricia Richardson about a hedgehog she  rescued. She took it along to a rehabilitation centre near her home. She was able to  release it when it was fit enough and she explains the release. She was given the  hog in a cardboard box. She was instructed to release him at dusk so she left him to  settle into his box till sunset. She explained that she thought the hog had been in  lockdown long enough and when she went out to release him he had done a runner. She thought he must have thrown himself at the lid to escape. He had eaten the  food left for him. This was in a brick built hedgehog feeder she found online. It is  one that the cats and foxes cannot get into. We give the same instructions to people releasing our hogs so keep the lid secure. Another article in this edition was concerning a little lad of seven who had invented  a board game about hedgehogs. The players are hedgehogs and have to find food,  water and a mate but there are dangers in some gardens, like ponds, strimmers, slug pellets and bonfires. It looks a very good game  and something children can make for themselves. There are full instructions for making the items needed on Helping the Planet website  and going to hedgehog-highways-the-board-game. The Buzzard we took in last week is flying well but not eating. This week we shall try cutting up some meat very small and hand feeding  to see if we can get him going. Buzzards, although large birds, eat very daintily, only taking very small pieces of flesh at a time.  Hopefully we will be able to get his appetite going again. It is very stressful for wild birds to be picked up and caged. Some birds cope  better than others so with this one time will tell.  We have settled on a date for our first Open Day as Saturday 24th July. Hopefully restrictions will be much easier by then.  Pat Goff 25th March 2021 It is taking us much longer now to deal with the outside hedgehogs as they are mostly awake and eating. When they are outside in the  huts they each have a small ‘garden’ area so they can get fresh air. This means there is not just the cage area to clean but the little  ‘gardens’ as well. It is a good sign, however, that they are regaining some of the weight they lost during hibernation, usually about 100  grams, which we like them to do before they are released. If you are waiting to hear about the return of a hedgehog you brought in and  are willing to take back, don’t worry. We will contact you as soon as your hog is ready. Mid to end of April is usually release time.  The little Leveret that came in a few weeks ago has, sadly, died. I got up to give him his early milk one morning and found him dead in  his cage. It was a shame as he was just beginning to take his milk well. When  something like this happens we all say ‘I don’t know why I do this I’m not doing  it again’. We always do of course. On Friday our bird ringer brought in a lovely Buzzard. He found it at the side of  the road with it’s head all muddy. He thought it had been clipped by a car or the  turbulence from a passing lorry. We think he had a headache as he sat for over  24 hours with his eyes closed, moving very little. There were no physical injuries  to be found so he had all day Saturday by himself. On Sunday morning he had  his eyes open and when we went in to check on him he had pelleted although he  had not eaten anything. Kay said she would take him out of the cage and box  him up while I cleaned out the cage. He immediately perked up, then gave us  both a hard ‘Try it!’ stare. Kay got the towel and picked up the bird. We now  know he sees very well (sometimes a head trauma causes temporary blindness)  and can hear well. We also found out there is nothing wrong with his feet. He has a good grip refusing to let go of the towel when he was returned to his clean  cage. On Monday he will go into one of the outside aviaries where he will enjoy  the fresh air. My picture this week shows the Cygnets on their freshly cleaned pond. We do this  (well Jim and Jackie do it) every fortnight. We are hoping this will be the last time it will be done. We hope to release them at the end of  the month.  A message from Jackie now. Please do not use our Facebook page to report injured birds and animals. It is not checked often enough to  be of any use. Please use our telephone number and leave a message if necessary. Pat Goff