Roadkill pigeon appeals nicely to recovering peregrine falcon

to begin with this week I am pleased to welcome two new volunteers, Paul and Mandi, to our team. They were shown around last week and met a good few other members of the mad crew and we don’t seem to have put them off yet.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 2nd March 2011, 4:23 pm

If there are any more slightly daft but friendly with it people out there we would love to have you join us. We always have tea and coffee and chocolate biscuits in stock so come and join us.

When I showed Paul and Mandi round I got my first look at the peregrine which flew into the side wall of the Farm to Freeze building on the Ramparts industrial estate. It was probably streaking after a pigeon for its dinner when it crashed into the wall.

When the bird arrived the vet examined it and found it was totally blind, but this has been noted before in such head injuries. The bird had to be hand fed with small pieces of meat for several days. The sight in one eye has returned and it is able to fly and land successfully in the recovery room.

Sign up to our daily Berwickshire News Today newsletter

Food was a problem and when the committee assembled for a meeting last week there was a request from Kay. Written in bold letters on a large sheet of paper - ROAD KILL- WE NEED PIGEONS FOR THE PEREGRINE.

I have explained in my jottings before how we always carry a polythene bag in the car in case we find a dead rabbit etc on the roadside which is food for buzzards and other birds of prey. I think it was David who came across a dead pigeon and it was put in the cage with the peregrine.

For 24 hours the pigeon was not touched, but when David and Kay arrived the following day the recovery room had feathers all over the floor. The peregrine had prepared its meal, and then made an excellent meal of it. What was left looked like a Boxing Day turkey, nothing left but a few bones. This is really good news as once any sort of wild bird or animal feeds for itself it is on the mend. We just have to wait and hope that the sight begins to improve in the other eye now. I will catch you up on its progress next time.

At present we still have three young swans (last year’s cygnets) in the big pen. They are ready for release but the rain we have had recently has meant that the river is in flood and as these are young birds we would rather wait for kinder conditions for their return to the big wide world.

There are two adult swans in the small pen, one was attacked by a dog and the other was found very weak after being bullied off its lake by a pair of swans who made no pretence about their objective of having the place to themselves. Both birds look well now so hopefully they are on the mend.

I was surprised when the hedgehogs were checked, a couple of them are a very good weight now. The biggest comes in at a kilo. The photograph this week shows how tiny they are when they first come in to us. They are all the messiest eaters ever known. They are never happy with their food until they have walked in it and spread it about their cage and bedding. They much prefer to eat from the far side of the bowl leaning over the dish and getting the food all over their tummies. They just seem to like playing with their food. They are all doing very well however and will all be fit to go when the weather is warmer. Doesn’t that sound hopeful. When the weather gets warmer. It’s March now, spring is here.

I am hoping that when this column is read we shall be on holiday in Tomintoul in the Highlands. We have been anxiously watching the weather forecast for up north after last week when there was a good fall of snow which blocked up some of the roads near to our destination. We wanted a nice peaceful break but I don’t fancy being snowed in for a week.

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 or to become a member please contact the treasurer, Derek Roughton, on (01665) 578365.