Errol, a Tawny owl ( Strix aluco ), was brought into a vet practice weak and lethargic after being found by a member of the public. After some diagnostic testing it was determined that she had a severe parasite burdon. She was prescribed treatment and was rehabbed by one of FAWs volunteers until able to release. Tawny owls are very territorial so she was released back to the area she came from.
Not the usual bird you’d come across in a busy city centre but that’s where this striking woodcock ( Scolopax rusticola ) was found lethargic in a doorway. Woodcocks are elusive, wading birds that are usually found in woodlands. They are most active at dawn and dusk and they feed by probing their bill into damp ground, eating mainly earthworms and beetles.
Fortunately after a few days rest, a full belly and passing a flight test this little beauty was raring to go! Leaf was released in a beautiful (much more suitable) wooded area next to a lake.
Darth Vader, a feral pigeon, came in after a cat attack, his wounds were superficial but we discovered he had Canker. This is a disease caused by a protozoan (one-celled) parasite, Trichomonas gallinae. We have seen a massive amount of pigeons this year with this issue. This causes yeasty looking lesions in the birds crop and can grow up through the birds throat. It leads to birds not being able to eat and can also grow over their trachea making breathing harder. This is usually fatal.
Luckily when Darth was handed in he only had very mild canker. We have been treating him for several weeks and can finally say we have managed to beat it! After spending some time in our soft release aivary he was released with Padme into an established flock.
Padme came in at a few days old after being found by a member of the public in a puddle. She was tiny and cold and one of our wonderful volunteers has hand reared her to fledgling. This is a several week process which involves minimal contact with the bird to reduce imprinting. After spending some time in our soft release aivary she was released with Darth into an established flock.
Vladamir, a juvenile coot, came to FAW after being taken to a local vets with a very bad limp. He was x-rayed and assessed and the diagnosis was a suspected joint infection. He was given pain relief and antibiotics and handed over to us for rehabillilation.
Coots (Fulica atra) are naturally shy birds but can be very territorial. They are waders and are found in freshwater lakes and ponds.
After two months in a safe aviary space learning to swim and gaining strength in his leg he was released back into the wild.
Tiberius, a hatchling wood pigeon (Columba palumbus), came to FAW on 5th August 2020. He was newly hatched, his eyes still closed, egg yolk still on his baby feathers. He was also dangerously cold, and covered in wounds from a cat attack which must have happened just after he hatched. We had to act quickly - shock and bacteria from cat attacks are fatal to birds. We cleaned and dressed his wounds, placed him in an artificial heated nest and carefully gave him rehydration fluids, whilst starting a course of antibiotics.At first Tiberius was weak, unable to move his head or tiny body. During the first days of life, pigeon parents feed their young a special milk, packed full of vitamins to help the babies grow. FAW had to replicate this to ensure Tiberius had the nutrition he needed to grow into a healthy adult.
Day after day, Tiberius became stronger and gained weight. At a week old, his rehabilitator noticed a deformity in his feet, probably due to a difficult hatch. FAW custom-built orthopaedic shoes to ensure that his toes are straightened so that he can walk normally as an adult.
This year FAW was inundated with mallard ducklings (Anas platyrhynchos). At one point we had over twenty in our care split between several rehabbers. Ducklings are a delight but VERY messy. We strive to ensure they do not imprint and give them a teddy (in one case a stuffed penguin) as a surrogate mother to brood under. They cannot fly until around 8 weeks so are with our rescue team for a very long time. Natalia one of our rehabbers looked after a group of 8 that were found walking around in traffic without a mother and successfully released them into the wild as a group. She says "it's not all cute and cuddly, they splatter food and faeces everywhere!"
This year FAW had 8 Swifts (Apus apus) which they rehabiliated. The birds have come in at various ages from hatchling to adult. Swifts are very specialist birds as they are entirely insectiverous and spend most of their life on the wing and not landing. They are also migratory, travelling all the way to South Africa and back every year. You will see Swifts from April/May time until August.
If you find an injured or grounded swift please contact us asap. For more information as to what to do in the meantime click the link below.
Nestling House Martins (Delichon urbicum) have become a common occurance this year from nests breaking down or from predators seeking them out. We have hand reared and released several successfully which was a massive achievement. Like Swifts, they are entirely insectiverous. However unlike Swifts, they do begin to fly before leaving the nest and will go back and forwards to the parents for food. We simulate a safe environment for them to learn to fly in a mesh lined tent!