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…..so 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!
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 walked back into the ivy on the wall. Maybe it’s blind, or pregnant…or ill. It certainly has an appetite though!
Talking of Buddy, I love this pic, Buddy, watching Buddy, watching Buddy! All very Matrix!