Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Big Red.

A large bird of prey was found grounded at Cawthorne Roman Camp, Pickering on a cold Saturday evening. Luckily Colin Dillcock a raptor worker was walking his dog in the area and gathered the bird up and brought him here.
The bird,a last years male Red Kite, was dopey and cold. I tubed him with warm re hydration fluid and left him to rest under a heat lamp.

Next morning he was still alive , still daft and sat on the floor. I tubed him again and left food in the warm shed.

The next morning I took him over to Battleflatts vets in Strensall for Andy Forsyth to see. Andy is an experienced bird of prey vet and he gave him a thorough examination. Here he is having a look at the back of the eye.

 This x ray shows his skeleton was intact , there was no sign of trauma, no shot, no fractures or wounds.
The birds plumage was immaculate and his feet were clean and pristine.
What ever had happened to him had been quick and sudden.
North Yorkshire has a terrible reputation for bird of prey poisoning and looking at this big birds predicament leads me to think that this Red Kite had been poisoned.
One of the illegal substances used is alphachlorose, it stupefies birds and drops their temperatures. If the victim is found quickly enough then keeping them warm and giving lots of fluids can save their lives.
 The bird improved over 2 weeks ,ate heartily and was moved into an aviary .
Red Kites are odd birds to care for, they have a tendency to sulk under stress and it can be difficult to tell when they are ready to go. I rely on observation and a knowledge of big birds of prey here in rehab.
I went into the aviary to feed him after a fortnight and he clearly expressed his readiness to leave !
I was reluctant to return him to Pickering and after speaking to Craig Ralston of N.E. one of the best birders I know, he was released onto the NNR near Wheldrake.
He was BTO ringed by Mike Jackson and took to the big blue skies once again. To see him soar and own the sky was a moving and uplifting sight, I'm a lucky woman.

Later on that same day Craig saw the Kite on a goose carcass on the reserve.
I can ask for no more.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Snared Badger Release.

I released this snared badger sow last night on pasture near her home on the A170 near Lockton.

These descriptive pictures give a flavour of how badgers caught in snares react, they were taken by RSPCA Ins Geoff Edmond who went out to collect her. He took her to vet Mike Jones at Battleflatts Vets Stamford Bridge ,York. He cut off the snare and put her on a course of antibiotics.

This first photograph shows how a badger tries desperately to get away from the tight thin wire cutting into its flesh.
She had dug and scratched and tried her damnest to move away and get away from the wire fastening her to the fence. Badgers are strong and determined and she will have given it her all to no avail.

 Here is the pressure necrosis wound on her neck. The snare tightens and cuts off the blood supply to the skin directly below the wire. After 4 to 6 days this wound opens like a pusy zip where the skin has died . It is almost impossible to bathe these wounds without the paitent. So she was filled with antibiotic injected every other day. She was given a warm heat lamp plenty of food and water and peace and quiet.

Here she is hiding in a short barrel which is really useful when rehabbing badgers. She hides in the barrel head first and her fine ample backside sticks out at the back. It is then possible to inject the drugs needed. If you're quick and carefull the badger finds it difficult to swing round and bite from this position. This not for the beginner !
She faired well and was good and tolerated the rehab with good grace.
She boxed well and was released in the moonlight back to her home territory.

It is illegal to set a snare to catch a badger. It should be illegal to set a snare to catch a fox for they suffer just the same in this antiquated method of control.