Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Happy New Year 2016.

Here's Mrs Sparrowhawk making her daily visit to be fed. She was brought here 7 years ago as a juvenile from Scarboro after fracturing her wing. She faired well and was released here.She arrived back on top of an aviary within a week and I started feeding her. Such a privilege to see her nearly every day. She disappears during the breeding season and once her mate followed her in to feed. He was a small dark handsome male. Long may she reign. 2 juv Sparrowhawks came in from the RSPCA,they were lifted from a back garden where they were being kept illegally. Both were well , a brother and sister. I kept them separately as the bigger female can attack the smaller male. Both did well, were wild and were released in separate wooded areas. It was August so plenty of food about. A couple from the North East have very recently been found guilty of cruelty to amimals . Red the buzzard arrived here in 2014 in a very poor state. She was found in a coal bunker in Leeds. All her flight and tail feathers were broken , her wing butts and cere were raw and bleeding and she was very skinny and under weight. The West Yorkshire Police WCO lifted her and she took readily to the space and food in an aviary here. It took a year for her to regain her plumage and for her previous "owner" to come to court. Her eventual release was moving and will remain unforgettable. Sadly wildlife persecution is still rife here in Yorkshire so please report any concerns to police or me to pass on. I was asked to attend a badger dig near Whitby in October. This black terrier appeared from below ground at the sett and clearly showed the injuries a terrier faces. The diggers did a runner with 2 more terriers never to be seen again. The injured dog had surgery to its injured bottom jaw. She's out of it now thankgoodness. I attended another badger dig near Selby where blood was splattered about the dug area. Anyone out in the countryside who hears or see's men with terriers, spades etc do ring it in to the police with locations straight away, badges could be saved if you do. Take car numbers but take care.

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Summer Time.

Hannah, Jamie, Lucy and me well muddy after ringing Greylag goslings and then releasing rehab Mallards at Wheldrake.
These x rays show a bad break on an adult Kestrels wing, the bird had been shot. The bird was found at Leppington and treated by Mark Naguib, experienced bird vet at Battleflatts vets, Stamford Bridge. He expertly pinned the wing and the bird stayed a while with me for rehab. Thankfully it worked out even though the bird removed the pin him self 10 days in !
Here he is just about to go, always thrilling but more so when you realise how far you've come with all the treatment and rehab needed to get this bird right. He flew well into an ash tree and called as he landed . Yippee !!
Tyto Guttata. This stunning German Barn Owl was found on a container ship bound for Immingham. She was taken to the dock office on landing and passed to vets from there. She ended up here, thin beautiful but with a badly dislocated elbow joint. Sad but an amazing bird to see.
These little belters came to stay for a weekend. This pair of female Peregrine chicks were being illegally held and were brought here by Steve Downing RSPB investigator. I think you can tell Mark Naguib and I were well impressed with them. They were wild fostered and thank goodness it all worked out and they now live a wild life. There is a court case pending so will tell all as and when.
Here's Bella with some of this years juv hedgehogs, I've just released the last of them, they seem to have had a good year.
This little dog otter cub was found alone on a jetty on a fishing pond in East Yorkshire. He was squeaking loudly and should not have been away from his family. They are the most amazing things to have in the hand and he faired well. He is now safely housed for rearing at the New Forest Wildlife Park who do a wonderful job of rearing wild otter cubs.
Releasing a young Tawny Owl after an rta, always the best bit. I've 2 Buzzards on the go, 2 this years Sparrowhawks, more hedgehogs, collared doves etc etc.

Wednesday, 6 May 2015


The little Kestrel who was found shotgun shot and had its leg pinned by vet Mark Naguib went on to release. All the hard work came right and this lovely bird was returned to its home territory. Here is the release picture taken by Craig Ralston. Even more wonderful is Craig spotted the bird this last week end sitting on the farmhouse roof where she was originally found, happy days.
I've had a variety of thin /rta olws here , always good to get them back out again. Bella my grandaughter is getting a dab hand at releases.
I had 2 Common Scoters found inland at Easingwold and Harome 5 days apart. They travel over land to breeding grounds in the North and find it impossible to take off from the land.Both were well and just needed the sea to feed and take off again . They were released in Scarborough Bay , scooting off over the water to be seen ducking and diving for food within minutes, lovely birds to have in the hand. My thanks to Craig Ralston yet again for first class birding advice.
A female Kestrel was found injured last October near Scunthorpe and taken to a pigeon fancier who housed the bird in a large pigeon loft. The bird recovered but was never released. I was asked by RSPB and Humberside Police to catch and assess the bird for release. She was light but feather perfect and very wild. She gained weight and did well and was released at Wheldrake on the LDV NNR.She had been ringed previously in Sweden in July as a nestling in a brood of 4 ! What a tale she could tell.
This fight wounded badger stayed a while in April. Here he is ready for off and looking longingly for home in the travelling cage. He was released back to his home territory , let's hope he's learned some manners.
Yet another wild bird of prey persecution case, a shot gun shot breeding female Buzzard. The bird was found in Nettledale Old Byland. A pellet had travelled through her brood patch , up through her heart to lodge near her collar bone. She may have been shot on the nest. What 1st class b does this to one of our own ? PC Jez Walmsley at Malton Police Station is the Wildlife Crime Officer , he is investigating and seems to be finding out allsorts about the area.
Here's the happy throng, spring is here and the mallard ducklings and greylag goslings are growing fast. Bella "loves" them.

Friday, 20 February 2015

Buzzard Persecution , Sledmere, East Yorkshire.

Bird of prey persecution has a high profile here in North Yorkshire at the moment. The prosecution of a local pheasant farmer for setting pole traps to kill birds of prey was a timely reminder that bird killing is rife in these parts. I have cared for far too many illegally injured birds of prey. Sledmere has turned up trumps yet again. This adult female was brought here at the end of January 2015, she had grave injuries caused by an illegally set spring/pole trap.She was found in the grounds of Sledmere House. One foot was missing and the blooded stump , was an offence to see. The other foot was swollen and sore. Her tail feathers tatty and broken. Fen traps are placed often on fence posts or tree stumps, anywhere a bird of prey may perch. The bird lands and the heavy metal trap shuts causing fractures and gripping the leg. The bird flaps and panics to get away causing the leg to snap. She was put to sleep. This second bird also from the dales of Sledmere arrived here on Wednesday. It had been dead and partially eaten. I had the bird x rayed and it showed no shot or fractures to the skeleton of the bird. The feathers were in good working order . So what fate became of this previously well bird ? In the recent past a buzzard was found on the Sledmere estate and sent for toxicology testing. The bird had been illegally poisoned and the Head Game Keeper was raided by Humberside Police and NWCU. More than one illegal poison was found in his house on the Sledmere Estate. He received a conditional discharge ? How bizarre. A badger sett was found illegally dug and I went out to give my expert opinion on the current use of the sett. A badger cub was laid dead next to a man made dug hole on this active badger sett in one of the dales at Sledmere. Am I angry , you bet I am, holding a bird of prey in the hand knowing that its severe injuries are the result of a deliberate man made action should make us all mad. Are we to tolerate this illegally killing of protected species . Time to stop.

Monday, 2 February 2015

Raptor Rescue data for 2014

I am an Accredited Raptor Rescue Rehabilitator and at the end of every year they ask for information on birds of prey cared for in the last year. I cared for 99 injured birds ,43 Tawny Owls, 19 Barn Owls, 11 Buzzards,9 Sparrowhawks,8 Little Owls,7 Kestrels, 1 Peregrine and 1 Red Kite. 53 birds of prey were ringed and released back to the wild. I strive for better but wonderful to know over half were released back to
lead a wild life. I have had a run on rta Tawny Owls , all found by roads ,concussed and quiet. I've 2 here doing well, eating and on the up. I am caring for a shot kestrel with a badly broken leg, his leg was pinned by Mark Naguib , vet and we are hopeful for a good out come, early days yet. Which moron decided it was a good idea to shotgun shoot this bird is beyond me. Humberside Police and RSPB are investigating. The persecution of birds of prey continues. I have 3 buzzard persecution cases on the go and will tell all when I'm able. Please look out and report in to me, police or rspb if you are aware of any wildlife crime, we will all do our very best to address it.
The little Kestrels xray with shattered leg, now pinned, shotgun pellets near the collar bone.

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Birds of Prey

Red Kite
A Red Kite was found downed up on the Wolds. The bird was taken to Robert Fuller, I collected the bird and took him for examination at Battleflatts vets where Mark did an x ray.

The wing was fractured but thankfully not the joint, but close enough to be a concern.
The x rays also showed damage to the air sacs so we think he may have been a road casualty.
The fracture was stable and healing, so he needed to be well fed and rested, easier said than done with big birds of prey !
Things went well and the bird was confined to a quiet shed , he would not eat, I tried rabbit, hare, partridge , dead day olds etc. So had to tit bit feed him quietly twice a day . He gained weight and looked thoroughly fed up as Kites do in rehab. They are beautiful birds all feather with that wonderful long forked tail. He began to look perky and his demeanour improved no end.
The fracture site settled down with no swelling or heat. I tried him in an aviary and he flew !
Making the decision to release is often hard as birds need to be good flyers to lead a wild life.
I have lots of experience of rehabbing big birds of prey and you have trust your instinct .

The decision was made and Robert, Vick, Lily and Ruby Fuller went with me for the release.
Vick took the video on her phone, as you can see all was well !

A lovely young buzzard was found floundering in a horse field near Beverley . The persecution of Buzzards is rife here in North Yorkshire. So every bird of prey is x rayed looking for shot or poisoning. This young Buzzard had swollen kidneys which press on the nerves to the legs making it difficult for him to stand. The reason why , we don't know , this is the second Buzzard I've had with this condition and sadly the first didn't make it. The bird was sensitively handled and he improved.
His release was also filmed by the kind family that found him , MEGA !
Barn Owls.
This fine second brood of Barn Owls are from a nest box locally , just hope the tiny one survives too .


Monday, 25 August 2014

Badgers, Buzzards, Egrets and the rest...............................


This fight wounded badger came in from one of the local villages in a thin , poor way. He was stoddy with infection and needed cleaning up. He was taken by the RSPCA to Battlflatts vets at Stamford Bridge to be knocked out and his wounds bathed. He was difficult to anesthetise as wild creatures often are . He came here for rehab and needed antibiotics and feeding up. He was very thin but with good teeth. He fed well but was very nervous and wild and rehab was hard for him.

The wounds healed well, I hid the meds in his food and he did well.
I released him back to the outskirts of his territory, where he left the travelling box without a backward glance. Always good to get them back home.

This boar was visiting a garden where they are nightly fed. A tight snare was caught around his neck rubbing the skin sore, causing infection. The kind householders knew he was in trouble and e mailed me some pictures. They sourced a cage trap and spent 2 nights trying to catch him.
They managed to get him in the end and he was taken to the vets for removal. He came here for rehab and was given a course of antibiotics.
Here he is looking round the pen on arrival.

I sneaked a look in the pen at 6am one morning and caught him relaxing !
He was in beautiful condition , no doubt due to the caring people that fed him on his nightly visits to their garden.

He healed well and arrangements were made to return him.

He knew where he was on return and shot from the travelling box under a hedge and out into the wood and his sett beyond. We could hear him crashing through the under growth on his determined and fast dash for home.

I hear he returned 2 days later for his supper .
My thanks to all involved.

This fine young Buzzard is here recovering . She was found downed near Beverley. She has had x rays etc and has swollen kidneys, they press on the nerves affecting her stance.
She is in good condition but wobbly
legged and refusing to eat.
Buzzards are one of the wildest birds of prey and I'm tube feeding her and tit bit feeding. She accepts and eats and I'm being minimal and at last today she has eaten some rabbit.
She may have been poisoned as she has no injuries/shot etc.
Buzzards are badly persecuted here in North Yorkshire, I've had them in shot, trapped and poisoned. If anyone is concerned about bird of prey persecution and knows details do speak to local police, rspb , or me.

A Little Egret was found near Spurn. The bird was not a flyer and skeletal thin. It came here and was rehydrated and x rayed by Mark Naguib at Battleflatts vet.
She had a broken clavicle/ collar bone , bruising and damage to her air sacs. We think she must have flown into something , hurricane Bertha may be responsible for this one. She was slight fairy thing , she was tube fed and stalked about the shed . Sadly she was laid quietly dead next morning. We did a p.m. and she had just gone without food for too long . A beautiful bird to see close up.

I've been in court with badger diggers who were found at an active sett near Leeds. A working terrier emerged from the sett wearing a locator collar with its bottom jaw bloodily rearranged by the badgers below. On their mobile phones were horrific images and video of badger , fox and deer torture.
One was sent to prison the other got a suspended sentence.
My grateful thanks once again to PC Andy Katkowski and his team at Wetherby for hard work, diligence and attention to detail.
If you see or know of anyone involved in wildlife persecution please get in touch and if it is happening now then ring 999 and let the police come and deal with them.