SWAN notes

THERE was a bit of confusion at my house earlier today when I was at work. My wife answered the door to find Dick Goff, husband to Pat who also writes this column, standing outside our house wearing a Berwick Swan and Wildlife Trust shirt.

He asked if Graeme was in. To which my wife replied I was at work. He then said the Graeme had told him that he would be in all day. My wife was starting to wonder why I had said that and why I had not mentioned that someone from the BSWT might be dropping in.

It was only when the person wearing the BSWT mentioned that he had geese and ducks to drop off to Graeme that the penny dropped with my wife. Dick wasn’t after Graeme (as in me) he was after Graham who lives next door to us and has helped the BSWT in the past by housing the occasional bird in need of a temporary or permanent home. My wife then explained the situation to Dick.

I knew nothing of this, although I did spot some of the new arrivals in Graham’s run when I was walking from my car to my house when I got back from work tonight. When I got in and my wife explained what had happened I thought this was the perfect story to start my column with this week and to lead on to some of the issues that the trust sometimes faces.

There are four new arrivals next to us. Two mallard ducklings, a gosling which Graham thought he was told was a greylag goose and a Canada goose. The two mallard ducklings and greylag are native species to the UK but the Canada goose is not native and it is illegal to re-release it back into the wild even if that is where it was found. So this means that the Canada goose that arrived at Graham’s today will be staying.

It will have company though. Graham has plenty of domestic hens and ducks, as well as a domestic goose and another Canada goose that was brought into the Trust that suffers from angel wing, where the last joint of the wing is twisted and the feathers point out to the side.

At the trust we aim to release all the wildlife we can back into the wild but sometimes it is not the health of the animal that stops us but the law. Any species that is considered non-native cannot be released back into the wild. If we did we would be breaking the law and could be prosecuted. That is why having people like Graham who are willing to take in some of the wildlife that we cannot release is so important. If you think you can help out then please do get in touch with the trust.

GRAEME WILSON

Should you find an animal in need of our services, or if you need any advice please phone HQ on (01289) 302882. You can also e-mail via our website www.swan-trust.org. If you would like to donate to the trust contact Derek Roughton on (01665) 578365.