Swan Notes: Five gulls shot in town centre

We are currently preparing for our Open Day on Saturday, May 31 at the David Rollo Centre, Ramparts.

Mrs Patti Lomax will do the honours at 11.30am by opening our new aviary which is dedicated to her husband, Eric, (The Railway Man). She has also kindly donated some first edition copies of his book for us to raffle.

There will be bric-a-brac and sales tables, tombola as well as refreshments and face painting for the children.

Most of the animals and birds in our care will be able to be seen but we may have to keep really sick animals quiet.

Do come along, we shall be open until 2.30pm.

We now have two young Tawny Owls. They are kept in separate cages at the moment so that we can monitor their food intake but they will eventually go into an aviary together before they are released. It is good for them to have company. They can then be released together when they are old enough.

We have started to get calls about injured Herring Gulls in the town centre. We were out shopping on Saturday when one call came in. We set off to collect the bird when my daughter phoned me to say that my granddaughter Caroline had picked up an injured Herring Gull. We just then spotted her on Golden Square with the gull wrapped in her coat.

We put the bird in our carrier and then picked up the other one. When we examined them, we found they had both been shot.

Later that afternoon we took another call also about an injured Herring Gull on examination - it too had been shot. All three had to be put to sleep. This is as well as the two that were picked up last week.

On a happier note the swan with scaffolding is still doing well. She will have another x-ray next week to check on the progress of the fracture.

We feel very sorry for her at the moment as she would love a bath but is not allowed on the water till the break has healed.

The Mallard Drake we picked up from the slipway with a head trauma is making great progress. He was very unsteady on his legs and wobbled his head quite a bit but now he only rarely staggers and is eating as only a Mallard can. He also looks a lot smarter than when he came in. Another week will see him back out on the river.

Kay went out to Spittal to rescue a Mallard Duck that was taking her ducklings to the sea from the rocks. The trouble was the Black Back Gulls were picking the ducklings off as they followed mum. Kay saw one gull pick up a chick and the mother jumped up and pulled it out of the gull’s beak. Kay managed to pick up five of the little chicks. The sea was so rough she doubted if they would have made it had they reached the water. Unfortunately Kay could not catch the mother so we have another five ducklings at the centre. The following day one died which we thought may have been the one snatched from the gull. The other four are doing well.