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.. 18th April 2019 It’s all hands on deck at the trust these days with around 50 hedgehogs needing clean bedding and fresh food on a daily basis. Mucking out hutches and preparing meals is now done on an industrial scale, with all the  bowls collected in at once, washed and dried, filled with meaty loaf-style pet food and  mealworms, and returned to the clean cages with water to wash it down. Soon the people  who originally brought them in – or our kind supporters who have gardens leading to fields,  hedgerows and woodland  - will be collecting the hogs for release. At first the hogs will still  be left a nightly bowl of food until they get their bearings and head off to fend for  themselves. Thanks to the generosity of the people who have sponsored hogs, brought in  food and supported the trust in so many other ways, we will have helped these underweight or injured hogs survive over winter and given them the time they needed to recover their  strength. Who knows how many tiny hoglets they will go on to produce, but at least we’re  helping to ensure the area keeps its healthy hog population into the future. While on the subject of future generations, teacher Hazel Miller called at the Rollo Centre  last week to drop off some loaf-style pet food, hand towels and newspapers, all of which  are welcome in the running of a hedgehog B&B. Hazel was telling me how the children of  Class 2 at Chirnside Primary School were doing their bit to help wildlife by looking after the  natural environment around them. Kay had given a talk on the trust’s work there back in  October, and the children had been so enthused they’d put together a fantastic ‘hog hamper’  and donated it to us. Hazel said that the children looked forward to ‘Mucky Mondays’ where they regularly go for nature walks and litter  picks in the woodland close to the school. The young swans that came in last summer as fluffy cygnets are also due to be released any day now. Their white adult plumage has  almost grown in completely, but their dark grey beaks show they’re still juveniles. They probably won’t breed for another year yet, so  they have plenty of time to establish themselves as part of the resident swan population on the Tweed. The only swan that will remain  behind at the Rollo Centre is the lovely Harry, who came in from Wooler underweight and weak. Harry will be with us a while longer as he  still has pink feathering, which is a sign of a bacterial infection. Although the effect looks quite attractive from a human point of view, the  underlying infection causes the feathers to lose their natural waterproofing and in serious cases the swan can lose buoyancy.                             Although swans have a reputation for aggression – and some of them are a bit on the feisty side it has to be said – Harry has the  gentlest nature around both humans and other swans. Elfrieda Waren 11th April 2019 Last week the last of our hibernating hogs woke up. This means that all 52 are now awake and hungry. We do the outside ones first.  Cleaning out 20 huts outside washing the food and water bowls, filling them and returning them to the clean huts. The big room is  holding 15 hogs in triangular runs, and assorted cages. At least these 35 hogs are acclimatised to the outside temperature. We are  hoping that next weekend we can start to get them back to where they were found as a good many of the people that rescued and  brought in the hedgehogs are happy to collect them and set them free, giving them a little support with food for a few days. We shall  then be able to move the recovery room 17 outside once they are fully up to weight and healthy. Then we have to scrub and thoroughly  clean all the huts, runs, and cages, before the whole thing starts again. Our unlucky Cygnet that had to have a wing amputated and then had a sore  foot is now very much improved. He still has a slight limp which he will probably  always have, but he should be well enough to be released with the others in a  couple of weeks time. We have also had in several pigeons that have needed  hand feeding so we  are keeping our skill levels up to date.  Last Monday I gave a talk about our work at the Berwick Swan & Wildlife Trust  during May to September. It was nice to have such a large group to speak to as  there must have been about sixty people present. It was the first time I had  given this particular talk as it was only recently put together with up to date  photographs. St Aidan’s Hall has a lovely big screen and a projector system  ready to connect to. The microphone was also a big help. I was a bit nervous of  the time element of the talk as I had only checked it out by myself. It can be  really really easy when you are talking on a subject you are interested in to talk  the hind leg off a donkey. I always worry someone may fall asleep in the front  row. I was very lucky on this occasion and no-one fell asleep and there were  some interesting questions at the end. Most people then were happy to go over to Debra who was in charge of the hedgehog we took with us. We came away  with a very generous donation so I must say a big thank you to all the members  of University of the Third Age.  We are now preparing for our first Open Day which is on 25th. May 2019. I showed some of the ‘Friends of Wildlife’ round the David Rollo  centre last week and they understood when they saw all the cages and runs in the big room why we had to wait until May to have an  Open Day as there is hardly room to move between all the runs. Pat Goff 4th April 2019 Everywhere you look now, animals are going about the serious business of bringing new life into the world. A local farmer I follow on  Twitter is tweeting videos of the interior of his barn owl nestbox, where to date four eggs have appeared underneath a surprised-looking mother. A female blackbird has been hopping precariously around the edge of the garden pond to collect moss off the stones. And on the  way to the Rollo Centre, I had to drive around a pair of farm geese that were mating noisily in the middle of the lane.    Sadly though, my rescue hedgehog Milligan didn’t survive his winter hibernation. I wasn’t too  worried as he hadn’t woken by the end of March last year, but when Pat said all but two of the trust’s 50-plus hogs were up, I decided I needed to check him.   I lifted the box lid and gently moved away some of the neatly woven bedding material of straw which I’d provided, and the leaves and grasses from the garden which he’d dragged in himself. As I probed the box, all I came up with was more bedding – no hog. I thought he may have  found somewhere else to sleep, so I went on a search under the shrubs and dried out winter  plants along the garden wall. Still nothing. I finally returned to the box, and a more thorough  investigation revealed conclusive evidence of Milligan’s passing. The air hole at the back of the  box had been enlarged by persistent gnawing, and there was a small, pointy skull, attached to some vertebrae: all that was left of Milligan. There were no signs of a struggle, as they say on  ‘Vera’; his slow hibernation heartbeat must have simply stopped altogether, and he died all  snugly wrapped in his leafy bedding. Later, a rat may have smelt his decaying body, widened  the air hole and gradually taken him away. But this is the end of a very positive story for Milligan.  If he hadn’t been brought to the trust he would have wheezed himself to a suffocating death  with his lung infection, which he managed to recover from with daily medication.   In the recovery room, he was noted for his prodigious appetite and consequently extra large size. He was legendary for totally trashing his cage, leaving a bombsite of upturned bowls, soiled newspapers and smeared walls for the  volunteer unlucky enough to clean his cage out.   On release, Milligan had two years pootling about in my garden, enjoying his meaty pet food and mealworms every day, wandering  through the flower beds in search of worms, and on warm summer evenings enjoying a doze in the undergrowth. In his own way, he also gave something back to his human rescuers; in the two years he was with me, he thrilled many children and  adult visitors who had never seen a hedgehog close up, and in talking about Milligan and animals more generally, they perhaps learned  something about wild creatures they might never have otherwise. Elfrieda Waren