Swan HQ turning into a wildlife hotel and spa

A Turtle Dove submitted Graham Bell
A Turtle Dove submitted Graham Bell

There has been quite a lot of coming and going down at the swan shed during the past few weeks.

Barrie told you last week about the little swan cum cygnet that arrived. It did seem strange to see this dainty little ‘adult’ plumaged bird and then hear its plaintive little peep-peep baby cries

It certainly looks quite the thing on the pond and since the two normal mute cygnets which were both twice this bird’s size have been released it has got on very well with the other birds.

It was odd that the two cygnets took exception to the little rarity and wanted nothing to do with it.

The turtle dove has had its plaster cast removed from its leg and has not only been able to stand on the repaired limb but we were thrilled to see that it is able to use its toes to grasp and is able to perch with ease.

It has not been happy close confined in a cage but now its leg has healed it has gone to Dean’s aviary where he has an indoor area for cold weather. We hope the little bird will make use of this as otherwise we shall have to make up an indoor aviary at the shed for him. The problem being that he broke his leg just as he should have been off to warmer climes for the winter and it is too late now to release him. So it will be hotel accommodation until the spring. He is a beautiful little bird so we don’t mind looking after him.

Our young barn owl has now lost all his baby fluff and has been moved to an aviary. He will have to stay with us until the spring as it is difficult for experienced adult birds to survive the winter when mice are difficult to find outside.

We think loads of them (mice that is) during the past few weeks have decided to come into our sheds and stables at home. I heard one in the loft so traps were set and the mice have been recycled to the owls.

I don’t like to kill but mice breed so fast we would be over-run and it does supply the right food for the birds. So our little barn owl will also have a top class room in our wildlife hotel.

All the hedgehogs were doing well when last I saw them. They will get the best rooms in the hotel as they get fresh sheets and towels every day. It is like a proper spa. They are weighed daily and their food prepared to individual requirements. All very pampered.

We are now trying to sort out the volunteer working over the Christmas and New Year period, as the work has to be done just the same. None of us really mind filling in for the ones away visiting family or like Lanark Lodge have fixed holiday periods. They work hard the rest of the year but we are always very glad to see them back after the holidays.

I have not been down to the shed as I’ve had a horrible muscle problem which came on quite suddenly and I have barely been able to walk but the steroids are kicking in so I shall soon be back to normal I hope. Next time I write Christmas will be here and I hope I’ve managed to get everything done in time.

PAT GOFF

Should you find an animal in need of our services, or if you need advice please phone HQ on (01289) 302882. We are happy to help. You can also e-mail via our website www.swan-trust.org. We are also on Facebook at www.facebook.com/swantrust.

If you would like to donate to the Trust (cheques payable to B.S.W.T.),or to become a member please contact treasurer, Derek Roughton. Yew Tree Cottage, Branton, Alnwick, NE66 4LW. Phone (01665) 578365. The Berwick Swan and Wildlife Trust is registered charity No. 1064805.