Latest News We now have a YouTube channel with a number of new videos taken by Elfrieda Waren, including a new one of swans released on to the pond iced up during the “Beast from the East”.   Look on our Photos/Video Page. ******************************* "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 June 2018 Is there such a thing as karma? My two cats had been confined indoors for four days after I’d seen a freshly fledged songthrush fluttering down into the garden,  all  wide-eyed and wispy-winged. Before letting them out, I’d gone round the garden checking the undergrowth, and watered the plants with quite a powerful hose which normally flushes out any furtive fledglings. There were no anxious parents perched with a beak full of  breakfast, so I decided it was safe to let the panthers have a roam. Within a few minutes, Thomas had found and killed a sparrow  fledgling; thankfully it was quick.   Later that day I was in the Rollo Centre, helping feed the numerous tawny owlets glaring  defiantly from their cages in the recovery room, when a lady from Cornhill brought in a  tiny sparrow nestling she’d found on the path. When I was in ‘normal’ employment I never took work home with me, but ‘fostering’  helpless nestlings isn’t a nine to five job; to have any chance of survival, he’d have to be  in a trust volunteer’s home for some out of hours TLC. And that’s how I came to have  Phelan in the spare room, far away from predatory pussycat eyes. Coronation Street viewers will know why I’ve named the sparrow nestling Phelan, as he  came in on the day the evil soap character finally got what was coming to him.  Searching the internet, I’ve learned that Phelan was just over a week old, with a few  feathers emerging but still some bald pink patches of skin. Unlike ducklings and hen  chicks, they don’t hatch as balls of fluffy cuteness; they’re helpless scraps of raw skin and  bone. But just 14 days after hatching they leave the nest, and in another 10 days or so  they are completely independent. Taking on the role of foster parent to just one baby sparrow means feeding them as many  live mealworms as they’ll take every 20 minutes or so from early morning until about 8pm.  And it’s quite a delicate operation; at first I’d struggle to aim the worm at the spot in  Phelan’s mouth where he could comfortably swallow, and as often as not the worm would  end up on him rather than in him.   If he continues to progress, Phelan’s future could be a long and happy one of squabbling in bushes and frantically feeding nestlings of his  own for many years to come. Sparrows have quite a long lifespan, and while it’s shorter in the wild, in captivity they have been known to  live up to 15 years.  Before he’s released, Phelan will have to earn his wings – quite literally – by proving to us that he can actually fly. If he gets to that  stage, he will be one of the first little birds to benefit from the amazing new Longridge Towers Aviary, where there’s plenty of space for  him to get strengthened up for life outdoors. And maybe in some way that will make up for my killer cats.  Elfrieda Waren 7th June 2018 The casualties that come into the Trust seem to come in batches. During the autumn it was hedgehogs a seemingly endless queue of  hedgehogs. Last month just as the overwintering hogs were released it was Tawny Owlets. Nine altogether from lots of different places. All a doing  well except one which is going up to see the vet today. Now it seems it is the turn of the ducklings. A rescue party went to Simpsons on  Saturday where there were two ducks together with their offspring running around the  wheels of the huge grain lorries going in and out of the premises. There were only two  ducklings left with one duck. Employees said there had been nine or ten to begin with  but crows, seagulls and vermin had taken the rest of the babies. The other duck had ten  ducklings all running around her.  The rescue group managed to corner one duck and get her in a carrier causing her to  quack for the babies. They tried to get to her and were quickly put into the carrier with  mum where they settled down. Meanwhile there was a hunt for the other duck and her  two remaining ducklings. Try as they might they could not catch mum although they  managed to grab the two babies who were very small. The duck eventually made off and  left her youngsters. Mum and her ten babies who were about eight or nine days old were taken up to the  Chain Bridge where there is plenty of cover and is a very good place for ducks. They  were released together and mum quickly rounded up her offspring herding them into the  undergrowth. A good outcome. The remaining two ducklings who were only two or three days old were taken to the Rollo  Centre where they will remain until they can fly and keep themselves safe.  We have two larger ducklings (one Mallard and one Shelduck) as well as six other Mallards about two weeks old. At home (as they need feeding very frequently ) I have a young Magpie who is now feathered but not picking up for itself and Five  Jackdaws- Very loud Jackdaws when calling for food. I have had to put them in one of our aviaries fortunately close enough to the house  not to get too wet when I feed them (or Peter feeds them whilst I’m at the Trust) and its raining. The Jackdaws are feathered but still  very much in the nest.  We also have five rabbit kits at the Centre who are almost ready for outside. Fortunately the people that found them in a woodpile are  happy to take them back when they are ready to be released. Before I close I must say how pleasing it was to receive so many phone calls and e-mails saying how impressed people were after their  visit on our Open Day. We are used to clearing up poo and washing out cages so to get compliments about they way we look after the  ‘patients’ in our care is very uplifting to all of us involved.  Pat Goff 31st May 2018 We held our Open Day on Saturday and thank goodness the weather was fine. Several staff and children came from Longridge Towers  School to help open the new indoor aviary for which the children at the school raised so much money. The cash they raised allowed us to  buy all the materials so Jim and Peter were able to build. The aviary looks great and will be ideal for birds needing a bit more space  before they move outside or to allow is to check that a smaller bird is flying sufficiently well to be released. The mesh in our outside  aviaries are too large for really small birds so this one is going to be very useful. Some of the children had experience of being in an  aviary when they were shut inside to have their photographs taken. A great big thank you to all the children and we hope they enjoyed their day seeing all the  young birds we have in with us. We currently have eight tiny Tawny Owlets, six Mallard chicks, one tiny Shelduck, a Magpie  just growing feathers, two Rooks in a nest, two very young Sparrows, five baby Rabbits,  and six hedgehogs all indoors. This meant their was loads for people to get up close to.  Thank goodness we have the Claw and Talon room it is perfect for the Owlets once they  can eat for themselves. We also have other birds and swans outside so there was plenty to look round outdoors. We decided as we have so many Owlets that people might like to sponsor them. They are  expensive to feed as we have to buy in frozen mice and chicks for them to eat. They need  the mice so that they know their natural food and the chicks being cheaper keep costs at a minimum. We were surprised just how many people wanted to sponsor them and it  boosted our takings nicely for the day. The day was a great success and although we were tired at the close we were very  pleased to have made the magnificent total of £1,200.   We only have one employee (who also does ten hours each week as a volunteer) and  eighteen volunteers working to keep the animals and birds in tip-top condition as well as clean and tidy. We are very proud of the work  done by the Trust. Some of the visitors this year were not aware that we took in young birds and mammals they seemed to think we just looked after  Swans. The majority of casualties now are not Swans but a varied selection of wildlife. We are also reliant on donations and have no  connection with any other charity. We like to think we are small but beautifully formed. If it was not for the regular support we get from  many members of the public we would not survive.  I have to contact the school for permission to publish their photo’s so instead this week I am showing one of our very small Owlets. Pat Goff