Owl deaths are probably due to eating infected prey

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This week I will catch up on what’s happening at the Rollo Centre. I have been away for a couple of weeks so the last jottings were written in advance.

While I was away we had two tawny owls in from different locations but both were infected with trichomoniasis and sadly died. This week another owl (this time a barn owl) came in with the same condition. None of the owls were from the same area.

All had lost a considerable amount of weight and had horrible yellow lesions in their mouths and throats. It is a disease which is very common in pigeons and doves when it is spread when mating pairs feed one another and when parent birds feed their young. It is also transferred to owls and hawks when they eat infected prey.

The lesions in the birds we had in were very large preventing the birds from eating. All were unable to swallow. We followed the recommended treatment but all three died.

The problem is that wild birds by the time they are grounded and found are very near death. It does seem strange that the three birds all suffering the same condition came in within ten days of one another yet were found in different areas.

At last the weather seems to be settling a little so we took the opportunity to release some of the swans which have been ready for release for some time.

We have noticed recently that a couple of our swans have become very friendly. One of the other ‘girls’ has been eyeing up the ‘boys’. It’s time they went out to the river!

Dick took them off this morning and took the photograph of the happy bunch. The two birds at the front are the two who had been friendly on our pond. The pen was already playing at nesting by tearing her lettuce to bits and tossing it over her shoulder to build her nest beside the pond.

The six swans released were kept in two separate pens so Dick stayed to make sure they all got on well together. He watched them for some time, and by the time he left them two of them were on the edge of the water throwing weed over their shoulders ‘going through the motions’ so perhaps we have been playing matchmaking at the Rollo Centre.

Releasing these birds has eased the space at the centre for the five remaining birds. These are last year’s cygnets. We hope to get them away in another month if the weather behaves.

Our hedgehogs are all doing well. Not too heavy this year. April is their time for the great outdoors. All should be ready by then. This will give us time for a quick spring clean and tidy up before the next orphans arrive.

We are looking for more ‘hands on’ volunteers. Sunday mornings is a good time as our volunteers Emma and Jamie (fit youngsters) are very good at getting the work done. Then Garneth and Jeane see to the hosing and feeding the swans. So Kay and myself just have the laundry and paperwork to do! So do call in and have a chat.