Swan Notes: Injured sparrow hawk is very cross

We have taken in three more mute cygnets from Herrington Country Park. Linda and three friends brought them up.

Saturday, 29th August 2015, 3:29 pm
The very cross and bad tempered sparrow hawk hates her cage.
The very cross and bad tempered sparrow hawk hates her cage.

They are quite well grown cygnets but they were abandoned by their parents who moved to another lake occupied by non-breeding swans. It is very unusual for parents to leave their young this way but we were told that they did the same thing last year.

The young birds have had quite a difficult time for the last week or so since their parents left them. Well meaning visitors to the park had taken one of the cygnets to the another lake thinking it must belong to another family there. The adults soon drove it off the lake. They have been hiding in the reeds and it has taken a couple of days to track them down and catch them.

Now they are enjoying the Lomax Aviary together. They have a nice safe area with plenty of grass and a little tank of water. There is plenty of shelter for them and within half an hour they were happily grazing together. They all look healthy and weigh in at between 4.2kg and 4.6kg. We will give them a couple of weeks in the Lomax whilst we give them a dose of wormer and injections against Acuaria (an endoparasite) as the birds have not been reared in running water but on a lake.

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This week the vet sent us down a sparrow hawk that he had operated on to pin a wing that was broken. It is a very cross, bad tempered bird and we were a bit worried as at first it refused to eat the chicks she was given (we buy these chicks in in boxes of 200 together with mice for birds of prey) so we raided our ‘Road Kill’ freezer and found a pigeon to defrost. She was given the pigeon last night and when we arrived this morning we found she had enjoyed a good meal.

She will have to stay in a small cage which she hates until the break has healed (up to two weeks) so we have to handle her every day and give her antibiotics- not easy.

Four of our young hedgehogs have been released this week so two more can move from the recovery room to an outside run before they go.

We have one hedgehog that is causing some concern. He had a broken leg which was healing when he came in. He also had a very infected wound on his other foot and a very scaly skin. We examined him under anaesthetic and found he was infested with mites which were causing the scaly skin.

The wound on his foot was very pussy and has had to be cleaned daily. He was losing weight which was not a good sign.

We have had to clean the poor thing’s ears and neck which is where most of the mites are each day which means we have to give him a quick blast of anaesthetic so we can uncurl him to clean him up and apply a spray to kill the mites. His foot has now healed and the mites are reducing. He is putting on weight too so he must be feeling better.

We shall be at the BARK dog show so hope to see you there.