SANCTUARY NEWS - SORING/SUMMER 2018
What a strange year it has been weather-wise. One of the worst winters for many years followed by a prolonged cold spell, then a few nice days before back to cold and unsettled again. Everything was late, local farmers moaned about the state of the land and the effect on crops, and everyone was pretty depressed. At least now we have had some good warm weather plus vital rain and everything is at last growing abundantly and catching up. The swallows are back in the stables and sitting on eggs and all the animals and birds are well and enjoying life.
Maybe because of the weather we have not had in so many tiny young birds this year but have taken in yet more pigeons and doves. We had a lovely success with a beautiful pure white dove. This lovely bird had been caught by a leg in some wire three stories up on a building, firemen had to get it down. Thankfully not badly hurt and very calm, she did well, ate eagerly and recovered perfectly. The kind folk who brought her in asked if they could take her back to release her there and picked her up to do so. Best result, probably a dovecot and mate nearby.
And another success story, we took in a swallow recently. My heart sinks with those type of birds as they are so hard to feed and care for. They only take small insects on the wing. This one had no injury but was I thought, just exhausted with the heat and long flight from Africa, so we gave him some honey water for nourishment and to boost him, kept him resting overnight and took him round to the stable thinking his best chance was on the stable overhang where he could see our swallow pairs and catch insects, but he kept coming down onto the straw and could have easily been trampled by the goats. So Paul thought he may go up into our big conifer tree and be safe there. He was carrying him over to the tree when he slipped out of Paul's hand and flew off across the paddock and over the fence into foliage. It was our first swallow success and such a joy to see. Such a sweet little bird and so trusting, birds amaze me how they seem to know you are just trying to help them. I hope this one has a long happy life.
We spent a week chicken 'sitting' again, enjoyed looking after the girls and being rewarded with some lovely fresh eggs.
Nelly, the wood pigeon is back with us for her six month foster stay. Good to see her again and she seems to remember us. As the unit she had last year was in use with a jackdaw, we gave her a unit among other pigeons so she has plenty of company.
Another permanent pigeon joined us recently, Sidney. The lady who hand reared him was forced to re-home him as her daughter is allergic to feathers, and he lived indoors. So sad to part with him and it is clear why, he is such a lovely chap, not sure he knows he is a pigeon he loves people and hops readily onto a hand and loves being fussed. Unusual for a wood pigeon and he is a joy, has settled in really well and enjoying a daily treat of chickweed.
Every good wish to firemen who used breathing equipment etc to resuscitate pigeons overcome by smoke in a fire. Inevitable complaints from foolish people who object to pigeons and other creatures wrongly considered 'pests' being helped. We believe every animal and bird in need deserves the best of care and help, so well done those firemen.
And also good wishes to Chris Packham who apparently keeps a freezer of road-kill to feed foxes and admits he likes pigeons. We need more with those sentiments.
We celebrated birthdays in April, all the goats; Phoebe's horns have grown magnificently but she does do a bit of damage with them giving Paul more work! Wol, our tawny owl is 24 this year and shows no sign of ageing. Wol loves his nightly head scratch which he has welcomed from a tiny owlet, hopping over and lowering his head in anticipation. Sorrel the Barn Owl is now 21, both achieving ages they would never have reached in the wild. We do seem to have some long lived residents, Holly the cockatiel is now coming up 19 and although looking slightly old, still talks readily and enjoys life.
We have a new cat – how do they find us? We noticed Tomas around the garden several times but he always ran away until recently. Then I called to him when he was outside the polytunnel and he came to me, such a friendly chap, rubbed around me and even let me pick him up and cuddle him. I noticed he is a whole male so maybe has an owner but wanders, or has got lost, or even abandoned here as has happened before. Now he has made contact he turns up frequently (no doubt in between searches for a suitable female), always wants a big fuss, has food, and even sleeps in Pru's posh bed during bad weather – she has three beds and doesn't seem to mind plus they greet each other when he shows up. Tomas is all black, not a white hair on him so we think of him as our lucky black cat.
Sad to say we hear a lot of complaints about our largest animal charity. Now we have heard something that is a real concern. We took in a young collared dove from someone who used to work for a local centre of this charity but had to give up being unable to cope with the sheer numbers of pets and wildlife being routinely destroyed without any attempt to find them new homes or healing and release of wildlife! The public should know about this, some do realise as they refuse to have anything to do with 'a charity that kills animals' if we suggest them. This charity receives massive financial support from public donations and legacies. They are trusted by people who, often with no other option but to give up much loved pets, distressing enough but knowing those pets were just destroyed would be heartbreaking. Equally with wildlife, people think they will be cared for and then released, not immediately destroyed. People are being duped, let down. Clear now why some tell us how disgusted they are with them and would never trust them again. Is this standard policy for all its animal centres? If so, just how many animals. birds, creatures are killed by them every year unnecessarily? I am sure there are good, truly caring people who work for this charity, they should speak out and expose this utter abuse of animals they are supposed to protect and care for. Maybe they should change their name to The Royal Society for the Destruction of Animals!
Worth stating again that we never ever put down any animal, bird or creature with a quality of life, whether pet or wildlife. If we do have that need, like a pigeon recently with a badly damaged crop that couldn't be repaired, it is totally distressing for us. We always want to do everything possible to heal that creature and give it a good life, even if that means in captivity. Don't they all deserve that? We think so.
Saw an adult slow worm and a baby in the paddock, wonderful sight, hopefully many more and some breeding in the compost heap too.
Our sanctuary in its present form is 25 years old this year. Unfortunately possibly due to financial circumstances and the difficulty of small causes achieving the necessary funding, we have always operated at a loss, making up shortfalls ourselves, and although a huge struggle at times, we plough on as the need never lessens. Unfortunately we recently had to let another fund-raiser in Bristol go due to unacceptable behaviour to members of the public and so further reducing our vital regular income. So once again, our grateful thanks to all our loyal supporters and fund-raisers. More news soon from the sanctuary.
The uncertain weather patterns are hard on birds and wildlife, please remember to put out food and water for them, so many of them need some help now.