Latest News Avian Influenza (Bird Flu) Sadly bird flu is now moving on from sea birds, to other species of birds, including geese, ducks and swans, and the Trust is receiving many calls from the public spotting sick birds. There is no treatment available and sick birds will often die within a day of showing symptoms. We cannot rescue or accept sick birds at the Centre as this would compromise those birds already in our care and could lead to the Centre being forced to shut down. Our advice, painful as it is to give, is to leave the bird and let nature take its course. Do not touch a dead bird or let a dog near it. The local Council is responsible for collecting them in a controlled manner. In some cases you may report findings to DEFRA on 03459 335577 or visit their web site for detailed advice here. Open Day  Please note that the planned Open Day for 15th June has been cancelled due to nesting gulls. *************************** "Swan Notes" News items written by Trust members and volunteers and usually appearing in the “Berwick Advertiser" newspaper each week. For those unable to read these items, and those living outside the Berwick area, here are the last few editions... 6th June 2024 The last few weeks we have been concentrating on releases. I think we have only one overwintering hog still with us. He is just waiting to gain a little more weight. We have four more that came in this year and are needing treatment still. All the hedgehog cages and boxes are being deep cleaned ready for later in the year, when they will be needed again. Last winter proved how well the new Hogwards Shed worked. It also showed that our extra very patched up (thanks to Jim and Ian) outside huts are really needed to just get the hogs acclimatised before they finally go back to the area they were found. This gives them the best possible start to their life back in the wild. Hopefully some of them will be looking for partners to breed later this year. A few weeks ago we were presented with three rabbit kits. They had no whiskers and also had burns on their paws. Their fur also looked a bit patchy where they had been singed. A bonfire had been made on top of their nest and the heat had driven them out. Fortunately they were saved and brought in.  One of the youngsters died but the other two although hard to bottle feed have made it and Jackie, who did the bottle feeding was happy (but still a bit sad) to see them released. They were fit and healthy apart from having shorter whiskers, but they will grow. It was not the fault of the fire setter at all, as I have had experience of rabbit behaviour I knew nothing about until a few years ago. In our garden at home we had a slightly raised veggie bed just outside our bedroom window. I opened the curtains one morning to find two rabbits sitting on the bed, which was cleared and ready for planting. One started digging the smooth surface and then to my surprise went down a hole. She came back after a minute or two and carefully smoothed over the ground until I could see nothing to show what had happened. Dick set up the video camera and waited until the evening. They came back just before dusk and he filmed the one rabbit on watch and the other uncover the nest and disappear. The hole was filled in again and the ground carefully smoothed over. Later she came and dug open the entrance and stood over the hole and the growing babies came up and suckled before returning down the tunnel. The ground always looked undisturbed when the adult rabbits left. Another week and they had all left. We dug out the nest and found it lined with dried grass and soft fur. Having seen this happen at home I can quite appreciate that no-one knew the nest was there. The parents would have left the nest for the day so they would be safe. We have also been able to release a Barn Owl that has been with us for some time. He came in with a damaged wing but was very underweight. It has taken some time to heal the wing and bring the bird up to weight and then get him fit. Alison on Holy Island has given the bird a barn and a box to soft release him. She took a Barn Owl for us a month or so ago and since she has had this one she has heard the birds calling at night. Another satisfying release. Our nesting Herring Gulls at the Rollo Centre are sitting tight. We expect the chicks in a week or so. We shall still have our August Open Day as they will be away by then. Pat Goff 30th May 2024 The overwintering hedgehogs now are all back to where they came from and hopefully, enjoying their freedom. It has been a mammoth task this year to get them all acclimatised and ready for release. We just have a handful in now and these are mostly ones that have come in this year. We have had problems with Tesco and the netting on the roof of the store. We have dealt with three Herring Gulls that have been trapped in the netting. One has survived, after having spent a week with us, recovering from a swollen shoulder. The latest one was trapped for two days hanging upside down caught in the netting by one leg. Lynn managed to bring it in to us and taken to the Vet but the leg was so badly damaged the bird had to be euthanised.  I wish we could do something about this netting on buildings. It should be checked more frequently so that trapped birds do not suffer like this. We have our own problem with herring Gulls, as we have a pair that have nested on Errol’s aviary roof. It was a wonder no-one saw them building it. Volunteers were in and out all day and Jackie and Barbara too. There are a lot of gulls about all the time as they gather over at the recycling centre. No-one noticed the one sitting on the roof. I had to stand up on the wall to get the photo. She is sitting tight and could be smiling. The pair of gulls are proud of their nest and since it is against the law to remove it, it will have to stay. This has led to us having to cancel our first Open Day which was to be in June. We could not risk visitors being dived on as they looked around or having cakes and sandwiches stolen as they sat on the lawn for a picnic. Our second Open Day is in August and by then the youngsters will have flown and it will be safe to open to visitors. The birds seem to know us and don’t bother us too much at the moment although they may be a bit more territorial when the eggs hatch. We may have to move Errol for a while if they annoy him. He doesn’t seem to be worrying about them at the moment. We may also try to have some input to other events to make up for losing an Open Day or fit another one in during September. We shall also be at the Beastie Hunt in July. Can I please now appeal to people finding fledgling birds that seem to be abandoned by their parent. PLEASE leave these birds alone. They need their parents to feed them and once they are ready to leave the nest will not take food from us. We get folk say ‘I can’t stand to watch them die.’ Bringing them in to us just means we have to watch them die nine times out of ten. They refuse to take food from us and are unable to feed for themselves. Please leave them alone. Their parents will find them.  We know many fledglings are predated by cats, which is not nice to see, but we can try for days and days to get a bird to take food from us, only for it to die later. Try to put the young bird if you have to move it, to a higher branch or on top of a wall where the parents can find it. These young birds are so difficult to keep going so please help by leaving them alone. Pat Goff 23rd May 2024 I was away all last week so it came as quite a surprise to me to see how well the rabbits had done. Sadly, one of the three died before I left, but the other two were so changed when I looked in at them this morning (Sunday).  They were both munching away at their food and were hiding in the tunnel they have, when anyone went close. They are at the point now when we need to make sure they have no contact with humans for a week and then they can be released. Jackie was very worried about them as Kay and me were away at the same time but she has done a good job and learnt a little about bottle feeding tiny babies. The picture shows one of the bunnies at the entrance to their tunnel. I had a job to get close enough to get a picture at all. The other baby I was looking for was the little Wood Pigeon in the picture last week. I was surprised to see it flying. It is still having to be hand fed so it came for food. He now has a bigger cage and food scattered on the floor and a perch to sit on. When we left at lunchtime he was pecking at the seed but not able to toss it to the back of his throat. I think a couple of days will see him pecking up for himself and then he can go to an aviary to forget he was brought up by humans. We also checked on our Barn Owl in the big flight. He is flying really well now so we need to catch him up and get his weight checked. He was a young bird and was quite a bit underweight when he arrived. Providing he is up to weight he may be able to go very shortly. We have two Herring Gulls in. One had been trapped on the roof at Tesco for several days. It has a very swollen left shoulder joint but is flying so hopefully it will make a full recovery. The other Gull flew into a window and has a slightly dropped wing. At the moment it has made no attempt to fly but both birds are eating. The Blackbird that came in a few weeks ago after being taken by a cat has now been released. It was just a young fledgling and needed hand feeding for a while but after a week or so in an aviary to learn to find food it was sent on its way. We also are caring for a little lone duckling. He is a sweet little thing. It would be nice if he had a companion but it never seems to work like that. He has a mirror to keep him company and he lies next to his reflection and chatters to himself. It sounds silly but a mirror does work and stops them being so lost and lonely. We are now down to around sixteen hedgehogs. Quite a drop from the sixty five we had at one point. A much easier number to deal with. It is just as well as we are now having to think about our Open Day on 15th June. It is easy to say ‘Oh, there is plenty of time’, but it very soon comes around. Do come along if you can and enjoy looking round to see what we are caring for then.  There will be tea or coffee, rolls and cakes to enjoy. If the weather is fine you can picnic on the grass. There will of course be all the usual stalls. Pat Goff