How releases differ

I’ve lost count of how many creatures I’ve released recently. The little hog in Herbies’ hutch reached the perfect weight and is now back in the wild. Hedgehogs are sooooo easy…they just curl up in the undergrowth, or creep off, deeper and deeper into it.

Releasing birds, however, is never straightforward. I’ve long since given up trying to predict what each one will do. These birds hung around for hours, then suddenly they went as one, almost as though an invisible signal had been given.

As usual, most are ringed, a racing pigeon and a ringed dove. I get so frustrated by people who release doves at weddings and funerals etc… many end up with us. The breeders are all about the money, most couldn’t care less about the birds, as it’s so easy to replace them.

Nine herring gulls also gained their freedom. It was a glorious day, so I took them to the canal, inadvertently attracting quite a crowd. The canal is a softer release than the sea, for hand-reared juveniles, as there are plenty of fish, and people regularly feed the ducks. Gulls are scavengers and happily chomp on bread and other titbits, including my arm, blood was drawn, but that was just catching them.

Six birds flew beautifully, but three decided to simply swim and aimlessly flap their wings. I knew they could fly, the crowd, however, didn’t!!! Talk about trying to justify yourself. I was almost tempted to jump in the canal after them to get them moving….shame I can’t swim!

This little black-headed gull was my biggest concern. It arrived at the rescue with a broken wing and although it was flying well in the aviary, flying in the wild is an entirely different ball game.

It was an absolute joy seeing it go. After a quick bath and a, get your bearings-swim, it lifted off, effortlessly, and soared around and around the canal in wide, arching loops. The onlookers certainly enjoyed this release!

What a fantastic outcome. I could bore everyone with this one bird alone…..

I was astonished to find the ducks I released a few weeks ago in such excellent company. There they were, happily hanging out with a cormorant. I’ve never seen one on the canal before, according to the local boaters, they are often seen fishing in these waters.

As fast as animals are released, more pour in. This kestrel arrived suffering from starvation. It’s certainly making up for lost time by eating everything in sight. Every time you enter the aviary it flies straight at you, rather unnerving for the staff! When it’s time for it to be released, we’ll just leave the aviary door open, and hope it doesn’t feast on the released garden birds that hang around the graveyard where this aviary is.

A very hissy, irate, angry swan was admitted. You have to be very wary around their wings as a swipe could actually break an arm. Such strong creatures. Hopefully, it will be back where it belongs soon.

Here’s an odd one…..this little field mouse had me puzzled recently. It was feasting away on the bird table, in the courtyard, in broad daylight. Given Buddy had two eyes firmly fixed upon it, I gave it a gentle poke. It didn’t dash off, just Β walked back into the ivy on the wall. Maybe it’s blind, or pregnant…or ill. It certainly has an appetite though!Β 

Talking of Buddy, I love this pic, Buddy, watching Buddy, watching Buddy! All very Matrix!

And Finally……

I had to leave you with a few pictures of the Clippers leaving Liverpool for their biannual race around the world.

  39 comments for “How releases differ

  1. Jo
    August 31, 2017 at 8:55 am

    I love hearing about all the releases, it’s wonderful to think that these animals have been given a second chance at life. Poor little field mouse, that doesn’t sound like normal behaviour, I wonder what’s wrong with it. Love that photo of Buddy,

    • Snow Bird
      September 7, 2017 at 4:56 pm

      It is wonderful seeing these animals going back into the wild, I hope their second chance works out. I haven’t seen the little mouse since, I have a feeling it’s given birth somewhere. Buddy does love watching

  2. August 31, 2017 at 9:20 am

    Someone told me that a friend of their’s had his back broken by a swan and ended up in a wheelchair. The advice was if they raise their wings then scarper.

    • Snow Bird
      September 7, 2017 at 4:57 pm

      I’ve heard similar stories Sue, oh yes, best keeping away from the wings of an irate

  3. August 31, 2017 at 9:34 am

    Superb! Releasing birds really captures that sense of ‘Freedom’ when they take off ‘in flight’. Love that black headed gull in flight…. πŸ€—πŸ€—

    • Snow Bird
      September 7, 2017 at 4:59 pm

      Nothing says freedom like a bird in flight, it’s always magical. Black headed gulls are so pretty aren’t they?xxx

  4. August 31, 2017 at 1:14 pm

    A most enjoyable post and lovely pictures. You certainly get all sorts to look after then release. xx

    • Snow Bird
      September 7, 2017 at 5:00 pm

      Thanks Flighty, life is certainly varied at the

  5. veggiemummy
    August 31, 2017 at 1:39 pm

    Releasing must be the best feeling – although, I love the thought of the 3 gulls shaming you in front of the onlookers! R has actually picked up a swan when it mistimed its descent onto the local river and ended up panicking in the road. He carried it down to the water, but I bet he would have thought twice if he had known that they can break an arm! An infinite number of Buddys – how wonderful. xx

    • Snow Bird
      September 7, 2017 at 5:13 pm

      Releasing is always fantastic, although occasionally it can be complicated. Those swimming gulls….sighs…I certainly was shamed! R certainly was lucky, I’m glad he came to no harm! Buddy is obsessed with technology, he watches everything, T.V’s, laptops and even phones. He knows what he’s looking at too, a very intelligent

  6. August 31, 2017 at 5:53 pm

    Actually, the closer I went to a swan… the most scared I was and I always dashed away! They are strange and shaggy animals, thus beautiful; they hiss like snakes and they just attack you since it doesn’t seem that they are afraid of humans. Somehow they know that they are intimidating us!
    This little mouse, for sure he isn’t feeling ok, but in so far he keeps eating… guess isn’t that terrible. I’m thinking about something else: never happened to you to guess that animal’s perception is quite high? They “feel” when a human love them, and this could be the reason why he doesn’t run away when you look at him. Well, I just hope he’s will be soon alright.
    Think about: in two years I hope to be part of the fancy party at the Race departure πŸ™‚ oh, how much I wish to do it… that could be my greatest dream coming true.
    We’ll talk about it. Promised.
    Hugs and much love from all of us (the school started and here we’re all in a turmoil!)
    :-)claudine and family

    • Snow Bird
      September 7, 2017 at 5:16 pm

      Swans certainly have no fear of humans! They can be such aggressive birds, especially when protecting their offspring. How lovely it would be if animals felt our good wishes, I’m quite sure they do. I have a feeling that mouse was heavily pregnant and has now given birth somewhere. It would be fantastic if you took part in the race, keep me posted! Hugs and love to you all…here’s to quieter

  7. lowcarbdiabeticJan
    August 31, 2017 at 6:30 pm

    It’s always good to see your photo’s and read the stories behind your releases.
    Sounds a great idea to release them on the canal … I love walking along canals.
    That picture of Buddy, watching Buddy, watching Buddy … it’s brilliant.
    Good to see the boats, or should I say clippers.

    Hope this last day of August has gone well for you … here’s to a good September.
    Take Care

    All the best Jan

    • Snow Bird
      September 7, 2017 at 5:26 pm

      Thanks Jan. I love walking along canals too, there’s something magical about them. Buddy is always looking at photos and videos of himself, even animals are becoming more savvy re technology! All the best to you too, time is simply racing by!xxx

  8. August 31, 2017 at 7:18 pm

    Is your camera back in action again, there’s some great photo shots in this post?

    Releases are obviously providing educational moments for your pubic audiences.

    The field mouse is an interesting one, I wonder what will eventuate with it.


    • Snow Bird
      September 7, 2017 at 5:29 pm

      My camera is in a repair shop at the moment, if it’s too expensive to fix I may have to save up for a new one. At the moment I’m using my phone and hubs old nikon which is also playing up. It’s surprising how quickly a crowd can gather, us humans are a curious lot. I suspect that little mouse was heavily pregnant, I haven’t seen it since so reckon it has holed up and given birth

  9. Kitty
    August 31, 2017 at 8:25 pm

    What a happy and interesting post. Neat that people gathered round and, I hope, learned more about the rescue and what it takes to release these sweet birds.

    Sorry about that little fieldmouse; hope he’ll be right as rain after all those seeds! πŸ™‚

    I’d stay away from the swan and let a tall, strong person deal with it, though I do hope it can be released soon.

    I just started as a volunteer at the rescue that brought us Micky. All the pups come to us in Wisconsin from three partner rescues in the Houston, TX area, which is now seriously flooded, so many vans with sweet babies are coming Monday and every week thereafter, for quite a while. We’ve been collecting and ordering online supplies for them all week. A little boy, Johnny, is coming is to us, and I hope we’ll get him to a good home before I fall too deeply in love with him. πŸ™‚

    All the best toyour week’s end. xxoo

    • Snow Bird
      September 1, 2017 at 7:44 pm

      Oh, how wonderful it is to hear that you are volunteering at a rescue, I’m sure they are utterly delighted to have you there. I have been watching those floods with utter horror, so many people and animals losing their lives. It’s good to know people are looking out for the dogs, I hope donations absolutely flood in, they must be sorely needed. Is Johnny going to be staying with you? I’m smiling here, he better find a home quickly if that’s the case or you’ll end up with three dogs!!! I keep well away from the kennels at the rescue, I try to avoid all eye contact with the dogs or I’d end up with a dozen!
      Looking forward to hearing more, good luck with all those incoming

      • Kitty
        September 8, 2017 at 4:22 pm

        Update: I’m in love with Johnny and really don’t want anyone but someone retired or who works at home to have him…yes, in another week, we may have three dogs. Malarky and Micky play at the park well with him, but Malarky still seems a little put out, so we’ll see. It is hard, because little John has been through so much and is already so attached to me…I’ve written you a million times in my head about this. Foster fails happen, but he’s my first, so I’m not sure if I can do this if I already want to adopt myself! Yikes. xxoo, K

        • Snow Bird
          September 11, 2017 at 6:34 pm

          Oh Kitty, I’m laughing here, I could have written the script! Of course you were never going to part with him, no one would have been good enough. I ended up keeping a Jack that I was just fostering many moons ago. If Laura hadn’t taken Baby Bear I would have kept her too. I am very careful around the dogs in the rescue, I try to avoid looking at them at all as I know how easy it is to get attached. I’m not down as a foster carer, I know I couldn’t do it and would quickly be overrun with dogs. When Buddy arrived here Annie absolutely loathed him, then after many months of avoiding him she began playing with him, now she adores him. Hopefully Malarky will settle down, how lucky Johnny is!!! Ahhhh, a happy ending indeed for him. Please do write to me next time!!!xxxx

  10. September 1, 2017 at 3:51 am

    I hadn’t realised how difficult it could be releasing birds into the wild again. You do a very good job, and it must be lovely when you actually see that they have succeeded! LOVE Buddy watching Buddy…just wish I knew what he is thinking about it!

    • Snow Bird
      September 7, 2017 at 5:32 pm

      Most releases are straightforward thankfully. There’s always the odd one that’s more complicated, but that’s life I suppose. It always brilliant when a release goes well, especially when a creature comes in so broken. Buddy recognizes himself in photos and video and knows who Sam and Annie are too. He loves watching all animals, fancy a dog being so up on technology, if we don’t hit keys he does to move a picture on. He smashed daughter’s computer once hitting keys with his

  11. September 1, 2017 at 6:54 am

    Buddy watching Buddy watching Buddy – I LOVE that πŸ™‚ I can see that you are as busy as ever…..and of course at this time of the year, I can only imagine things hotting up….

    Happy beginning of Autumn dear friend. Sending love Janet xxx

    • Snow Bird
      September 11, 2017 at 6:55 pm

      Buddy is certainly an interesting little character, brimming with intelligence and curiosity! He just loves watching himself, especially videos of him playing with Sam and Annie, he relives the game, it’s fascinating to watch. Thanks Janet, all my love to

  12. September 1, 2017 at 8:08 am

    Beautiful pictures. And so nice to see the release into nature. Hoping for success in every case.

    • Snow Bird
      September 11, 2017 at 7:01 pm

      Thanks Shimon, always good to hear from you. Hope all is well.xxxx

  13. September 1, 2017 at 8:25 am

    Thank you for describing the way you release your rescue birds so that they have a good chance of returning back into the wild. That needs a lot of know-how and patience. Love the photo of Buddy. We’re looking forward to visiting Liverpool from time-to-time as our granddaughter will be starting uni there this month. I haven’t been there since a child, but still remember the waterfront. This year seems to have gone quickly broken up by our times away and we’re now into September! Wishing you a good new season although I know you’ll be busy at the rescue place.

    • Snow Bird
      September 11, 2017 at 7:03 pm

      Thanks Linda, it’s always great seeing animals back where they belong. Oh, you must let me know when you are up in these parts, it would be good to meet

  14. September 1, 2017 at 1:50 pm

    Endlessly fascinating, seeing how the animals differ in the way they respond to release! And I luuuurve the pictures of the clippers. Beautiful, all of it! Hugs xx

    • Snow Bird
      September 11, 2017 at 7:05 pm

      Thanks Gill, I’m always surprised by how individual animals are. I’m a fan of the clippers

  15. September 1, 2017 at 7:50 pm

    The idea of releasing doves at a wedding is thoughtless in the extreme. These are creatures, not props. Actually, I feel the same way about swimming with dolphins. If you want to learn about dolphins, then observe the dolphins. Swimming with them makes it all about the person and their “experience”. Dolphins never seek out people to swim with, so we should take the hint and leave them alone.

    Sorry, went off on a tanget there.

    • Snow Bird
      September 11, 2017 at 7:11 pm

      We get so many doves that have been released at weddings etc, many end up lost and exhausted, and just sit on people’s lawns, hoping to be fed. They are so tame too, so sad. Totally agree re dolphins too. I like these types of tangents!!! xxx

  16. September 1, 2017 at 7:51 pm


  17. September 2, 2017 at 7:05 pm

    I’d no idea swans had such strength in those wings! It’s lovely to see all the releases you’re able to accomplish through the rescue. Hope that little chubby mouse finds safety.

    • Snow Bird
      September 11, 2017 at 7:13 pm

      Oh yes, beware an irate swan, they really are powerful! I haven’t seen chubby mouse since, I suspect she’s given birth somewhere! Thanks

  18. September 7, 2017 at 1:26 am

    From what you say about the swans, they sound rather like our geese. They can be quite large, and aggressive, too. I think we might have trumpeter swans across the bay, but I’ve never seen one.

    The people who were rescuing people in our Houston floods were so good about making sure that their pets were secure for the passage to dry land, and as far as I know all of the shelters allowed pets. In fact, two of the largest shelters in Houston had veterinarians on hand to care for any animals that were injured during the evacuation, or who had other problems.

    Caring for the larger animals has been a bigger challenge. There are the cattle, of course, and the deer, too. Many fawns reached higher ground, but froze and wouldn’t swim. So, our heroes in boats would go out and pick them up and bring them to shelter, too.

    When I went back to work, I was puzzled by droppings on the dock that I couldn’t identify. I know duck, heron, egret, gull, and nutria droppings, but there were a lot of strange piles around. Finally, one of the workers said they were from the river otters that sought safety there. I’d heard rumors that we have otters, but never have seen one. These were captured on camera when the water was high enough for them to reach the docks. Now I’ll keep my eyes open for them!

    • Snow Bird
      September 11, 2017 at 7:19 pm

      It’s really wonderful hearing how the animals have been looked after during those horrendous floods, it’s astonishing to think about how many people and animals are affected. Lovely to hear about the larger animals being cared for too. Fancy finding out you have otters, here’s to you seeing one, they really are fascinating! Glad all is well with you and that you have been able to go back to work. Here’s to lots of

  19. September 8, 2017 at 9:55 am

    I always leave your blog with a light heart. You frequently restore my faith in human nature.
    I love kestrel. I have one that hovers over the small copse in the garden.
    It is full of shrews etc. He/she will not starve here I am pleased to say.
    I have also seen evidence of dormice…….the tell tale nibbled hazelnut. I am so thrilled.

    It is a wonderful job you do and always a pleasure to read about those that have been released.

    • Snow Bird
      September 11, 2017 at 7:21 pm

      What a lovely comment Cheryl. Good to hear you have a kestrel, I love watching them hovering. Arial acrobats for sure. xxx

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