Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Late Barn Owls.


3 late Barn Owl youngsters are residing here for a while. The little fluffy male was found sat out yesterday in the rain. He was wet and straggly and far too thin. A night in the warm cupboard with food has put him right this morning.  He'd managed to eat of his own accord in the night so is out and away from human contact in a warm dry hutch in the garden. He should do well but is only about 4/5 weeks old so he has a way to go yet.
The older pair were put together in a small aviary with barrel box for shelter. Both are flying and ate well over night . They will need soft releasing with back up of food and barn owl nest boxes to roost in .Let's hope for a dry, mild winter .
Swans appreciate other swans in rehab and these 2 came in with a couple of days of each other.
The big adult male is an old friend of mine, we have crossed paths many times. He is the adult breeding male from Beck Mills.He has fathered many broods of cygnets on the pond on Welham Road and has been fed by many local people.  He is BTO metal rung but has a small round hole in the webbing of one of his feet so is instantly recognisable when he's out of the water. He was found under telegraph wires near the golf course in Norton. He has a slightly dropped bruised wing and is on anti inflammatory's but no breaks so he should do well.
His new friend is an extremely lucky bird after having an altercation with a train !
The train driver hit this flying swan and she spun round three times in front of the moving train.
The RSPCA collected her and she was x rayed and cared for overnight at Battleflatts vets at Stamford Bridge, where she was very flat. She came here after picking up and the pair of them are chatty and eating well.


Saturday, 20 October 2012

Badger Cull.

Ralph Underhill cartoon, need I say more .........................................................................

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Marsh Harrier

A female Marsh Harrier was found flitting about in a game cover crop up on the Wolds by a farmer. He rung the East Yorks Red Kite's Nigel Puckrin who brought the bird here.
She was light but seemed in good form with no breaks etc.
She had a brood patch so she must have been a breeding bird.

I left her to rest in a warm shed with food after re hydrating her.
She had a thin line, with chips on her feathers underneath which usually means they have hit overhead cables. So think she must have been bruised and unable to hunt
and got weaker and weaker.

Here's Mike Jones the vet giving her the once over.

I heard there was a roost of Marsh Harriers up on the Wolds close to where she was found with 10 birds dropping into uncut corn.
The crop had been harvested in the time she was here.

She faired well , put on weight and was soon ready to be off.

After discussions with Craig we decided to release her at North Duffield. There had been up to 15 Marsh Harriers dropping into long rank grass on the Ings by the river.

She was bto ringed and quickly released. She flew spectacularly well , high with perfect wing beats ,
back out where she belonged. Always a thrilling sight to see a big bird out in its element.

She has been seen a few times from the hide at North Duffield , the only ringed female , coming in to roost with juveniles and an adult male.


Thankyou to Craig and the team at Lower Derwent Valley.

Barn Owls.
The 4 Barn Owl youngsters mentioned in the previous blog were returned to their nest box for release.
Andy Menzies had been and put in an inspection hatch in the nest box and fashioned a cage to go on the front of the box bob hole.
The birds, now all flying and looking grand were returned home. Andy fed them for a few days contained in the box. Once they were eating well and settled, the cage covering the bob hole was quietly removed and the young birds were free to come and go.
Young Barn Owls tend to roost back in their nest box home. So we decided to continue with the food and Andy kindly went to feed them every other day. They did return to feed and its good to know they are back in the wild just where they should be.
My thanks to Andrew Menzies, the householders and their kind neighbours in Swinton for looking out for these lovely birds.

This young bird was found collapsed on a ledge outside a nest box. He was very weak, cold and alone. The farming family that found him took him straight to Battleflatts vets at Stamford Bridge.
Mark the vet got some fluids into him and warmed him up.
He's doing well, eating growing. I have to be very careful not to spend time near him as he would imprint very easily.
So I am minimal round him and he hisses crossly at me when I put food in for him. He should do well , lets hope for a mild November when he will be ready to go.

Badger Persecution.
A farmer from Bulmer in March this year filled an active badger sett with 5.000 gallons of cattle slurry. I received a phone call about it and PC Jez Walmsley the Wildlife Crime Officer at Malton and I went out for a look.
The sett was full of slurry pooled up high in the entrances, horrendous to see.
I photographed the scene , took notes and left Jez knocking on farm house doors.

Malcom Foster pleaded not guilty and we went to Scarborough Magistrates Court for a one day trial.

It was a hard day, the defending barrister was a difficult arrogant man. He had to mind his manners after being told by the Senior Magistrate to moderate his tone with me the witness.

Its always hard and daunting to stand in the witness box but the badgers can't stand up for them selves , so has to be done.

At the end of a long hard day, Malcom Foster was found guilty of recklessly damaging a badger sett.
He was fined £500 with  £700 costs and a £15 surcharge.

The lives of a colony of badgers is worth £1215.00

The badger cull and the shooting of badgers in Somerset and Gloucester looks likely to go ahead.
There has been a big push to make the government think again and wait for the vaccine to make its mark.
They don't seem to be listening , the farming lobby are baying for badgers blood and being so influential the government seem to want to listen to them first.

To allow the legal killing of a protected species is a dangerous precident. Worrying times.

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Here's my son Joe flying the flag for Ryedale Rehab at the Spartan Race nr Ripon. He did a real good time and was in the top 30 of over a 1,000 competitors.

These 3 young Barn Owls were taken into care after being found thin and poor in a local nestbox. The first one was found flip flopping round a garden. She had left the nestbox too early and wasn't a good flyer. A barn owl nest box was located in the gable end of a garage. I manged to find a local builder who likes barn owls to come out to have a look in.
The householders were away on holiday and thier neighbour was watering the garden and found this weak chick.
We hoped the nest box had an inspection hatch sadly it didn't so Andy had to unscrew the back board of the box whilst dangling on the rafters high up in the roof space.
Once inside 2 more young birds were found, one very weak.
I brought them home ,rehydrated them and left to rest with food in a box. They ate very very well and must have been extremely hungry.

Andy up the ladder, rather him than me !

The following day the fourth member of the family turned up in the same garden, perching low under some stone steps.

All 4 are fairing well and have been BTO rung.

Within the next week they will go back to thier nesting home.
I'll grill them in for a few days , feeding daily.

Then the grill can come off and the birds will be free to come and go. Young Barn Owls tend to roost back in thier safe nest box homes so we will be able to continue to feed, giving them a soft release.

I'm still training to BTO ring the birds I get here in rehab. I'm lucky enough to ring with The Lower Derwent Valley , Huddleston and Jackson ringing group. I have ringed some spectacular birds, of which this young male Kingfisher was one.

He was in the passerine ringing nets at Wheldrake early one sunny morning.
A stunning male and so good to know they are about again after the long hard winter previously .

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Mrs Sparrowhawk

This big adult female Sparrowhawk has become a regular here. She was brought in as  young bird with a dippy wing from Scarboro.She needed time out and was carefully looked after , ringed and eventually released from my back gate. See previous blog of her going. She returned after 10 days and I put food out for her. She became a regular and is in her third year. She disapeared last spring for 6 weeks . I presume she had been nesting and things hadn't gone well. She hung about the garden resting and feeding after. She remained off and on and this year she went missing for over 3 months.I was delighted to see her back 3 weeks ago where she appeared on top of an avairy. She looks to have a good brood patch and is eating and carrying food away. I put the spy camera out and here she is having her picture taken ! A beautiful bird living a wild life but allowing me a small glimpse of her antics, mega.

This young Kestrel came in thin , bruised and on one leg.
I can't find a break, his feet were scuffed and he was found on the road side. So think he may have been knocked. He allowed me to tit bit feed him today , so fingers crossed he will recover.

The hedgehogs are doing well, growing and eating all in front of them. I've some young birds on the go and the last juv Tawny is nearly ready for the off.

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Busy, busy, busy.


There's lots of weaning hedgehogs about , plenty of food available but they get cold, wet and fly blown very quickly in this weather.
So get rid of fly strike, warm them up and feed well.
I've got 15 in , all doing well.
They need to put on weight and then they can go out again.

Some needed syringe feeding just to get them going.

 These 2 sisters had flown into overhead wires in Hull.
Both were bruised and sore and a bit jangled up.
They spent time out with me before release.
Both were marked on their necks by the wires, unlucky to hit them but lucky it was just slight.

 More Mallard ducklings and a single Greylag gosling being released by Craig Ralston of N.E. 
at the Lower Derwenrt Valley Nature Reserve. The ducklings came in from far and wide , the gosling was walking the road with his mother, newly hatched by the local shop! I tried to quietly herd her to the nearest water which was a fair way off. She got spooked and flew high and wide and was not seen again.So the gosling was reared with the mallards. They've been out a week or two now .
I went for a look at Wheldrake this week and there they all are looking good with the Greylag still in attendance !

 Warm cupboard and the odd bods !

How cute are these ?
Bella with a house martin and mallard duckling.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Otter and Stoat.

 This 5 month old otter cub was found dead on the road side nr Malton. She was in lovely condition, just had a clip with a car which killed her. I took the carcass to the Environment Agencey in York who send them to Cardiff Universirty for post mortem. Good to know they're about but sad this one didn't make it.

The baby stoat did well and has grown into a fine looking animal.

Been out Barn Owl ringing with Craig, Lucy and Fallon in the Lower Derwent Valley. This fine pair were found fat and happy in a wooden nest box. They will soon be fledged and out and about.

Sunday, 10 June 2012

June juv's.

Another roe fawn came in from Norton. This little orphan was found in a layby near Leeds and brought home by some passing motorists.
They rang the rspca , who called me to collect it. They promised they would get it to their wildlife hospital in Cheshire asap. When I called to collect it the couple spoke little english and had done a wonderful job of getting it to suckle from a baby's bottle.I rang the rspca again on arrival home and sadly they were not willing to act quickly. So I boxed him up and went to Cheshire myself. Her needed to settle and begin his rehab without any more sholling about. He fairs well I hear and has been joined by another. They are very difficult to rear.

Here's one of the fostered jackdaws now resident at Wheldrake, fledged and raring to go.
This young Oyster Catcher was found on a trading estate with a scraped leg. He was thin but ready to fly. I took him for ringing and release at Bank Island on the Lower Derwent Valley NNR. Craig, a passing birder and me took him on to the wet pasture for release. As we put him down a passing adult Oyster Catcher made that familiar call and the juv called back whilst still in my hand  !
3 days later Craig rang to say he was watching a ringed juv Oyster Catcher folowing an adult about the wet pasture , all very satisfactory.

A farming couple found this young Little Owl in their hen run with the chickens all joining in to make short work of this little predator. He was rescued and put in nearby bushes where the crows and jackdaws decided to finish him off. So he came here to build up before his return. He should do well and is resting with food and in a dry pen for now. The persistant rain has not been good for juvenile wildlife and many young birds and mammals will have perished. I heard of young tawnies wet through and dying ground nesters found in the long wet grass. Let's hope it cheers up soon.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Here's Fallon Mahon of N.E. with the first lot of orphaned Mallard ducklings being released at North Duffiled NNR.
They came here in ones and twos and were reared on together.
They so love to be out in a natural space and dabbled and swam in the pond. Within 30 minutes they were hiding and behaving just as wild ducks do, wonderful.

These 2 rescued juvenile Jackdaws were taken in after their nest in an old ash tree was cut back illegally. I cared for them for a couple of days and then they went to be fostered at Wheldrake. A favourite nest site for Jackdaws had 2 youngsters the same age. So Craig Ralston of N.E. suggested they all be reared together.
Here's Craig introducing the 2 newcomers to their new home.
Over a week has gone by and all 4 are looking well and thriving.
The N.Y.Police are looking into the reasons they were removed from their nest.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Growing Up.

 This young Mistle Thrush is out in the shed , just beginning to feed itself. Flight feathers still growing , won't be long before its off. It has a blackbird friend and they are both learning to fly and wild up in a bigger space. They need some time and some warmth to get going properly.

4 young Tawnies are now out in the avairy.They're not good flyers yet but getting there.
I had an early one which was ringed and released earlier this week.

Friday, 11 May 2012


This days old roe deer fawn was picked up by a Staffie dog walker who boasted to his neighbours he'd chased the mother off. He left this nervous youngster in his house with the dog whilst he went off to do a days work. The RSPCA were called and waited and waited to try and recover this wild mammal. Eventually the dog owner sent his keys by taxi for the RSPCA ACO to help this enforced orphan. He came here shocked and flat . He never recovered and sadly after lots of careful TLC died quietly under a heat lamp.Roe deer are very nervous creatures and give birth in meadows and woodland at this time of year. They leave their newborns in the long grass and keep coming back to feed them. After a few days the youngsters follow their mothers browsing the greenery around them. These newborn wild deer must not be touched or moved  by humans or their dogs as the mother deer may not continue with their care. So please leave them alone , their mothers will be close by and will continue to look after them if they are left alone.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012


Juvenile time of year with lots of young wildlife in to care for.
This little stoat came in with a nicked ear, still blind and needing warmth and lots of food.
She's doing well.
This fat Mistle Thrush is thriving, eating mealworms and cat food.
Young Tawny Owls come out to branch from their nests.
The parent birds are usually about but walkers pick them up and bring them in . They should rear well but would be far better off parent reared .
Mallard ducklings enjoying the sunshine. They will be ringed and released on the Lower Derwent Valley soon.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Spectacular Swift Release.

A long distance summer visitor was found floored last night by a dog walker close to home. This adult swift was wet through and being closely watched by the local cat population. The bird arrived here this morning , weighing 47g.It had dried out overnight and was tube fed with critical care.It flitted across the kitchen and looked bright and alert.

So off into the back field for release. Swifts cannot take off from the ground , their little legs are too short for them to gain momentum. Swifts have to be enthusiastically thrown into the air to return them to the element they are most at home in. So it was with this one , off it went wide and high , spectacular !

Sunday, 29 April 2012

North Yorkshire Badger Cubs.

 These 2 little sweeties were found running the road alone and lost, sow badgers do not leave their cubs to chance.
A lady taking her children to school near Robin Hoods Bay found them and picked them up on her way back.
The RSPCA collected them and brought them here.
They were alive with fleas and lice but front line soon sorts that out. I tried bottle feeding them but they were too big for that.
I managed to syringe feed them and left them to rest in a warm pen with a straw filled hidey hole for the night.
They are about 8-10 weeks old, brother and sister and in wonderful condition, but where was there Mum ?

It is possible to put cubs back if you know for definite where they come from and can wait at a distance to make sure. This is a job for the more experienced badger worker.

These 2 were very mobile and could have come a distance from their home.
The protocol with rearing wild badger cubs is to tb test them 3 times before they are released in the autumn. The first test is done before they move and are introduced to other orphaned cubs. It is a sin to keep them alone , they are social creatures and need to be reared together.
I took them for tb blood testing to Mike Jones , Battleflatts Vets , Stamford Bridge, York. He's used to dealing with badgers with me and has shown great kindness over the years having to deal with persecution post mortems as well as the more pleasurable task of helping with cubs.

Badger cubs like Mike , they relax and trust him.
They ate well and settled down in the pen next to the big badgers which have now been released.
It was the Badger Trust Agm at the weekend and I took the cubs with me to Staffordshire . Secret World in Somerset are nationally known for badger rehabilitation and Pauline Kidner is the best person I know to care for orphaned cubs.They were much admired at the meeting where I kept their appearances to a minimum.  So they travelled down to Somerset after the meeting with Andy Parr, Secret Worlds release manager. Pauline's e mailed me to say they have settled well, and have eaten straight away .............they are Yorkshire badgers after all !

Thursday, 26 April 2012

2 More Snared Badgers.

 This pair of badgers were found 100yds apart both in snares on a fence line, over looking the sea near Scarboro'.The boar had the snare round the neck and the sow was caught around the chest.

Mike Moor of the North Riding Badger Group attended and managed with great care to release and box both badgers working alone. He took them both to the vets where the instruments of torture were removed under anaesthetic.
 This was the site were the boar was caught, he'd tried his best to get away and chewed up the ground desperate for release.
It is illegal to set a snare to catch a badger so North Yorkshire Police WLO P.C. Graham Bilton and RSPCA Insp Geoff Edmond are investigating.
The badgers came here for treatment and I waited to see if the snare wounds opened up. I managed to inject them every other day with antibiotics and they settled and ate well, taking comfort from one an other in rehab.
After 8 days the dreaded pressure necrosis wasn't too bad and they were ready for release.
I took them back to the release site and met up with Anne and Mike Moor, the family that found them and Geoff Edmond.
It was raining hard , badgers like the rain , more worms to eat.
Here they are lined up and raring to go.
The sett was 80/100 yds away on a steep bank below the snare line where they were caught.
As you can see by the photograph they knew exactly where they were and were keen to go home.
They both left the boxes immediately, moved well and shot off down the slope for home.
Lovely to see them go but the thought of those dreaded snares damaging our wildlife rankles me no end.