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The baby bird season is upon us! We have had great success with some of our babies and the change is weather has meant that some birds who came in as tiny little chicks have now been released. It takes long hours and dedication from the staff here at Raystede, but the joy of being able to see them fly off into the distance after months of work makes it all worth while.

The sanctuary has been home to several goslings recently as well. They are very sweet and the parents do a very good job of protecting them from other geese and any other dangers that present themselves up there.


We recently had in a blue tit, which had flown into something and his head was falling all the way down to the floor and twisted to a funny angle. We were worried that he had damaged some of his nerves or muscles in his neck; however after some support feeding and TLC he has now made a full recovery! We will keep him for a couple more weeks and then release him at the centre.

15 ducklings were brought in a few weeks ago, aged only three days. These had to be kept under a heatlamp for the first couple of weeks and now they are up at the sanctuary in their own pen. They are very sweet but very very messy! They have been keeping the staff busy here and as they are half domestic we will be looking for homes for them soon.


We had a hedgehog come into the centre in spring, which had been looked after by a very kind member of the public over the winter on the advice of her vet. Unfortunately this was a very greedy hog and he had managed to chomp his way up to the grand weight of 1.80kg. Considering the average hedgehog here weighs 850g, this was quite a shock! Unfortunately we could not release him straight away as due to his weight he could not curl up properly and would be easy prey for any animal that rolled him over. He is therefore on weightwatchers here and will be released as soon as he can curl up and protect himself fully.

Last week we were cleaning out a cockerel pen up in the sanctuary and there was a brilliant flash of yellow. After closer inspection we realised that there was a beautiful male Yellowhammer stuck in the pen. He had obviously flown in to take advantage of the corn put out for the cockerels. Yellowhammers are Red Status birds so we are very lucky to have them on our land. The UK yellowhammer population fell by 54% between 1970 and 1998. The main factor is lack of food in the winter months due to a change in farming technique. This male was very stressed and had to be kept quiet in the wildlife hospital until he had calmed down, as stress can lead to heart attacks in small birds. When he had fully recovered we took him back up to the sanctuary where he was found and released him. He flew off very well and hopefully back to his nest to help rear more of these amazing colourful birds.

The following is some very useful advice from the British Hedgehog Preservation Society:
‘June is the time when many female hedgehogs will be giving birth to their hoglets. Sometimes the expectant mothers will suddenly decide to make further additions to their nursery nest or even make a last minute move to a new site. So you may see a female hedgehog hurrying with a mouthful of leaves into her nest and then reappear and search for more and be back and forth in the daytime. It will be obvious that although she is out in the day there is a definite purpose to her actions and this is one of the few times when a hedgehog out in the day should not be rescued.
The females that decide to change nest site can be a real problem. Some are seen wandering in the day (and I wonder if these are first time mums) not really knowing what to do with themselves. If they do this and are seen for some time then they may need to be rescued as they could well give birth in the open. Others may be caught short and find the nearest cover they can and make an inadequate nest there. One of the often-used sites is rubbish bags. These bags are put out with recycling waste, garden waste or whatever. Sometimes the hedgehog is lucky and when the owner of the bag picks it up some of the hoglets fall out and are seen. Others are not so lucky and the whole nest is sent to the rubbish tip or recycling plant resulting in the death of the whole family.

So if you have bags for your rubbish please do keep them off the ground so hedgehogs cannot get into them. However if you do find this happened the first priority is to catch the mother. The hoglets will be newborn and not very mobile; the mother will be quick and difficult to find if she escapes. They can all be put into a high-sided box with some towel and torn up newspaper.
Disturbed nests in other parts of the garden, eg under some bushes or under a shed should be left alone, the mother should return and over a few days is likely to move her brood to a new nest site. If the nest entrance is still obvious just place a small object ie a stem from a plant at the entrance so if it is disturbed you will know mum has returned. Hopefully she will feed her youngsters and built a new nest nearby. Leave some food nearby (not to close to attract cats to the vulnerable hoglets) so mum will have less time to forage and more time to suckle. It is unlikely that she will move back in with them once the nest has been disturbed. If it appears that mum has not returned overnight then the hoglets need to be rescued.
Any hoglets found wandering around in the daytime are likely to have been abandoned or are orphaned. Do not wait to see if mum will return – she is nocturnal and will not be out in the day. Collect it or them up and keep them warm on a hot water bottle.’

If you are at all worried about a hedgehog in your garden then please do call us here at Raystede. We are open everyday between 10am and 4pm and are more than happy to give advice or to take any hedgehogs into care here that need it. Please be aware of the fact that females may be looking after their young though so do not bring any hog into care unnecessarily.

Love to all my friends,
Wally xx

The Pigeons of March are come.

It has been very busy at the wildlife hospital over the past few weeks. Usually at this time of year it is quite quiet with overwintering hedgehogs and a few pigeons. However, at the end of February we were brought a Dormouse. The Dormouse is a very rare mammal, which does not come in to rescue very often. It was found unconscious on a pavement. We believe that something probably disturbed it while it was hibernating, but not enough to wake it up!

The dormouse was brought in to us here at Raystede, however because they are so rare we immediately transferred it on to a specialist wildlife care unit, which holds a license to care for these very rare creatures. We are informed that the Dormouse will be kept until it is well enough to either be released or to go into a breeding programme to ensure the survival of this enchanting creature.


We also saw the end of a very happy story this month. Back in September last year we were brought a tiny little hedgehog of 80g that had been found cold and unmoving in someone’s garden. The young family that brought him in decided to name him ‘Boggy’. We usually do not name wildlife, as wild animals are not pets and need to be kept here for as short a length of time as possible to ensure that they do not become imprinted on humans. However, this was a very special young thing. Although Boggy should have been big enough to feed himself, even at that young age, he was so cold and in such poor condition that we immediately started him on puppy milk substitute.

He was taken home by our animal care assistants for a week and fed into the small hours. Luckily this little guy pulled through and began putting on weight very quickly. The ideal weight for a young hedgehog to go into hibernation is around 600g. Unfortunately Boggy did not reach this weight in time to be released.

However, he was put into hibernation here at Raystede when he did reach that weight. In fact he was almost 850g on going into hibernation here as he was given extra treats as he ha such a special place in everyone’s hearts. Towards the end of February Boggy awoke in the fine weather we had. The family who had brought him in were very keen to have him back in their garden and so at the beginning of March they came to collect him and he has now been successfully released back into the wild.


Love to all my friends,

Wally xx


Three bantams

These three young bantams were dumped and bought to Raystede because they had nowhere else to go. Unfortunately Wendy who is the Sanctuary Keeper, had no spare space to put them and because the weather was poor and these bantams were young, they spent their first few weeks in the hospital and outside in a grassed run, while they were health checked, wormed, dusted for mites and observed closely. It seems likely that two of the three are cockerels, however they all get on well and hate to be separated from each other. Wendy has since found a spot in the sanctuary for them and hopes to find them a good safe home. Problems often arise with cockerels as they fight, often inflicting quite severe injury. Bantams, although small, can be very aggressive.

In the right home, with plenty of space and a knowledgeable keeper, they can be kept successfully with hens, but this does have to be monitored. Hens and cockerels have to sort out who is boss and sometimes this position is challenged! Many bird species are like this!

These bantams are pretty and quite social, so fingers crossed they find a suitable free range pet home.


This handsome young quail came from the same place that one came from before. He had made his escape from a quail farm and was found by a lady on her land, hiding in a stable. He is doing very well but will have to overwinter inside now, until the weather improves in the Spring.


Some of the hedgehogs are overwintering in the hospital, to keep them awake and feeding. The albino hog, while it was still mild, successfully went out to a large, secure nature garden owned by one of our vets. Initially ‘Barry White’ was foraging around for grubs and worms at night and tucking into the food put out for him, gradually dragging in leaves for bedding in his new hog house, preparing for his big sleep.


Although the weather has still been quite mild for this time of the year, there have been some very cold snaps, so Barry is now well and truly tucked up in bed! Food is still put out for him but he has not touched it for a while. He is well over the necessary weight to hibernate, so should be well insulated with fat!

Hogs can stir and become active again, albeit briefly, in milder weather, so it is always a good idea to put some hedgehog biscuits out regularly, in case they get hungry.

Once there are freezing temperatures, heavy frosts and snow, they will be sleeping and will do so until it warms. Any natural food sources, such as worms have disappeared for the winter.

There have been a number of late babies this year due to the mild conditions. Sadly not all of them will have been rescued. Any less than 500-600 grams will struggle to survive on fat reserves through the winter and hibernation.
Let’s hope it is a short winter this year!


Collar dove

This little collar dove arrived with some abnormal feathers, quite tatty generally with a noticeably weak beak. He did not seem to be able to feed himself and appeared to be quite poor overall. The vet felt that he had a calcium deficiency and instructed that he should be given daily liquid calcium supplements and hand fed mash to improve his condition. He was also given smaller grains so he could pick up food easily. He can now feed himself properly and has improved dramatically.

The two ferrets you met last time have been playing together and are getting along brilliantly. They can’t stay together all of the time at the moment, as they are both natural and will come into season by February – we don’t want any kits! They are due to be spayed and neutered in due course and can then live together permanently, but in the meantime they play and play, like a couple of kids!

Demon is soooo in love and it is lovely to see them have so much fun together.


Well my friends, Boggy the hoggy is hibernating in the aviary, now that all of the pigeons and little birds have been released. I’m glad to say it has quietened down a little in the hospital, although casualties still arrive regularly, RTA’s, cat victims and the usual cases. The team do everything they can to help them recover.

Now we have the Christmas period and it is appropriate for me and Phooey to wish you all good things for the festive period. Don’t forget to put some Christmas presents out for the wild birds such as fat balls and clean water. They need your support through the tough months when natural food supplies are scarce.

Wally & Hong Kong Phooey

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all of our friends!
Love from Wally and Hong Kong Phooey xx

Wally  Wally

Well, it’s starting to slow down a bit in the bird hospital. Many of the pigeons have now been released, including the racer who had been shot. It is nice to see he is still hanging around and getting plenty of food. He is welcome to stay or return home, as he pleases and flies really well.

Albino Hedgehog

The little albino hedgehog is very restless and has gained a great deal of weight. I have heard the staff discuss whether he will be suitable for release before the weather deteriorates, as he is more active than some of the other hedgehogs. There are two options at the moment for release, as he will have to live In a large secure garden in the hope that he will be safer than in the wild. Predators would see him as he would stand out like a sore thumb!

The ducklings I told you about who were lucky to have avoided being run over by a speeding car but sadly lost their mum and siblings have been released in a quiet area of the sanctuary here at Raystede.


Initially they were too busy looking for worms in the mud, to think about getting on the small lake. I have to say they were very well camouflaged in the dried leaves with their dappled plumage but after a short while they left the bank and enjoyed a swim.
Over the next week they were checked by the staff to make sure they were alright and had plenty to eat. It is lovely to see them adapt and they clearly enjoy the freedom they have been waiting for. They have also grown rapidly, obviously getting lots of other natural things to eat around the pond.


Boggy has progressed well and is quite a prickly customer. He probably won’t be able to be released until the spring now.


To think that it was a short time ago when he was refusing to eat and just a little tiddler in size…


We have had a few late juveniles arrive, that have been found out during the day, searching for food. Those that survive will overwinter and be released in the spring. They have to be a good weight, around 600g, in order to survive hibernation. Most of the juveniles are bought in between 200-400g.


Having found a lovely home for some of the ferrets you have met coming through the hospital doors, we find we have two new additions.
Not really having any space for them, it was a bit of a shock when they both turned up unannounced, within a week of each other!


Jenny a pretty young girl was to be a companion to another female ferret and a young girl. They were both to be kept as pets in the home with a lot of freedom and playtime, however Jenny seemed to have a bit of a nasty streak and would bite unprovoked. After a while the girl became more and more scared of Jenny and mum had to decide what to do. She didn’t have a lot of experience with ferrets apparently, so did not know what else to do as she was confused by Jenny’s behaviour.
Not knowing her personality when she arrived at Raystede, discussing her needs to try and advise was tricky for the staff. Perhaps Jenny was nervous at times or overexcited and just needed training, as she was only approx 15 weeks old. It was clear that her daughter had reached the end of the road and had no confidence with her, so we took Jenny in.
A week later a stray male was found running along the edge of a busy road, looking dirty, skinny and a little shell shocked.
Luckily he was eventually picked up, but tried to bite a few times in the process!


Oh what fun is in store for the team! Two stroppy ferrets to deal with!
‘Demon’ as he is currently known, can be very playful and cheeky, but that’s with gentle handling, wearing gauntlet gloves! As soon as he gets near bare hands he is lunging and trying to get a good hold on a finger or the whole hand!
A ferret bite can be painful I believe, if they really mean it! I have heard they latch on and won’t let go! I wouldn’t want to get near one of them!
I think Jenny will be spayed and Demon ( name change needed when personality changes!) will be neutered in a few months and then they can be introduced to each other as playmates. If they are ever ready for re- homing they will have to go out to a suitably experienced pet home or else stay at Raystede.
Poor Demon, you wonder what kind of life he had before he was found. He was lucky not to have been an RTA case.

Wally Bathing

Although I am no longer interested in humans, I still have to let them know when I need a bath. I have to sit by the sink and beckon someone over to turn the tap on so I can refresh myself! It is very important that I keep my good looks and Hong Kong Phooey still loves me!

Hong Kong Phooey

He is very handsome after all and very stroppy with the staff. What a lovely couple we make!


Next time, I’ll update you on a few more stories about casualties past and present but for now I’ll say goodbye and lets keep our fingers crossed that the weather stays mild. Don’t forget to feed the birds in the garden, a good quality winter food and fresh water should be available every day. They need your help and will reward you with their lovely colours and antics through the winter.

Love to all my friends,

Wally xx


Boggy, as named by the little girl who found him, was outstretched on their lawn, tiny, cold and lifeless. He was bought to Raystede and well, he must be the sweetest looking little hoglet I have ever seen!
He was a worry for a while because he would not eat any food and although he had those crucial fluids given under the skin directly, by the vet; the only other nourishment he got was from the milk replacer, esbilac and critical care formula. He drank lots of the stuff, but would not eat solids for ages. He was tended by some loving team members and they became more and more concerned for him, as they were very fond of him.
Boggy, was of an age where he would be and should be on solids. He only liked the milk and would lap it up hungrily!
However, small spoonful’s of puppy chum was added mashed into tiny pieces into the milk and Boggy was gradually persuaded to take both.


Enjoying every mouthful of food….
I hasten to add he is growing well and entirely on a solid diet now! He is over 300g but won’t be able to be released this year as he is too small to survive hibernation.


Other hogs recently released!


This poor woodpigeon had been cared for by a concerned person for a few weeks, being hand reared with a mixture of food but mostly canary seed. His feathers were terrible being very brittle especially his wing feathers. Whether this is a genetic problem or something else, his feathers have not improved dramatically, although they are somewhat better on his chest. His wing feathers are still poor and the staff are getting concerned, hoping he would have fledged through some good feathers by now. He has been put in the outside aviary to see if the weather and fresh air will help. He has shelter and enough feather coverage, not to get cold but if he does not grow decent feathers through in the next few months, it may be that his days will be numbered. He would not survive in the wild, but he is a wild bird, so could not fairly be kept in captivity long term either. Woodpigeons do not cope well in a captive state and panic at any opportunity, especially when disturbed and can inflict serious damage to themselves, in a bid to escape. Stupid woodpigeons!

Let’s keep our fingers and claws crossed for this chap, as he is a confident bird otherwise and it is a sad situation, but maybe this is why he ended up being picked up by a member of the public in the first place as often birds with problems will be discarded from the nest by the parents, to perish.

Racing Pigeon

This poor racing pigeon had been targeted by a nasty person who wanted to get rid of him. He came into Raystede clearly injured but I heard that, on closer inspection, he had been shot. A shot had penetrated the chest and left through the top of the shoulder, luckily only causing muscle damage. The area was checked by the vet and flushed with a suitable disinfectant on a daily basis and an antibiotic was given for infection. He was a lucky bird in the end but unlucky to be targeted in the first place. I am shocked that someone would want to hurt us, as life is tricky enough as it is!

Racing Pigeon

Poor chap, also caught canker, a nasty contagious infection prevalent in the pigeon population at the moment. He has responded well to the treatment and is nearly recovered from his ordeals.
He is yet to have a test flight, so I hope the injury did not result in long term damage to the muscle preventing him from flying normally.


Here is another young fledgling found locally. Sadly there are a lot of canker cases in sub adult woodpigeons this year. Lesions appear in the mouth and throat and a cheesy like substance forms effectively closing the throat, causing amongst other things starvation. If caught in time it is possible to treat with medication, but not all cases survive. Some of the parent birds can unknowingly pass the disease onto their vulnerable young while feeding them, without developing the illness themselves.

Hedgehog Hedgehog

Remember these two from the last time I wrote to you? They have grown a lot but one is definitely a ‘greedy guts’ and eats more food than the other one!
Just think, when they came to Raystede, they could both sit in one hand!


These lucky ducklings, at least had each other for company. Their mum and their other siblings were mown down by a driver who clearly did not care one way or the other what happened to them. This person did not slow down, did not waver and did not stop at any point.

The horrified person driving behind saw this and DID stop, but could only find three birds alive. Thankfully they are doing well and will eventually be released into the sanctuary.

Hong Kong Phooey Wally

What a fine couple we make!
Love and best wishes to all my friends,

Wally xx


Hello my friends, it’s me again!
It is still a busy time in the wildlife hospital. There was a sudden surge of casualties over the bank holiday weekend and my poor team members were pulling their hair out, trying to find space to accommodate them all. There were all types of casualties ~ pigeons, a tawny owl, collar doves, a very poorly wild rabbit and another hedgehog or two.

Tawny Owl

The Tawny Owl was probably an RTA as he was found by the roadside. He was taken directly to Mallydam’s (RSPCA), as they are well equipped to care for owls. It is important with RTA’s that the eyes are closely checked with an ophthalmic scope for damage. It is not uncommon for owls to suffer serious eye damage and sad as it is, it is better to find out the bad news earlier than later, as a blind owl will not survive in the wild.

An early welfare and quality of life decision has to be made, usually resulting tragically, in euthanasia.

In the case of this particular owl, once checks had been made and x-rays and rehydration therapy given, it was a positive result with no broken bones or any significant damage, luckily.

The owl was collected by our helpful receptionist, who lived nearest to the release site where he had originally come from.
He had to be returned quickly in order to be accepted back into his territory. News is that he flew off well. What a good result. Thanks Mallydam’s and thanks to Judy!

Albino Hedgehog

The young fella is now doing well and feeding on puppy chum, cat biscuits and mealworms. He was only 200g when he arrived but has doubled in weight now. The colouring often makes these unusual hogs easy targets to predators, so it is likely, once he reaches 600g and weather permitting of course, he will be released into a hedgehog friendly but secure garden where he can live his life without being obvious to foxes and badgers. I’d hate to see him run into trouble with one of those!

We have a number of young hogs at the moment. Some will have to stay awake, be well fed, remain warm and overwinter at Raystede as they will not have reached the minimum weight needed to get them through the winter and their hibernation. Others have nearly completed their worming course of treatment, which is important as lungworm is usually fatal to hedgehogs. They will be able to go back home very soon, which will be a relief as they can be quite smelly!


A strange thing happened recently…

2 long eared bats arrived at Raystede on the same day.

Long Eared Bat

One arrived on his own and was found hanging upside down, asleep on a wall outside of the aviaries. Never before had this been seen and of course his presence caused some concerns with the staff. They did not want to disturb him but were keen to get him checked over by a local bat expert and enthusiast.

Long Eared Bat

Yes, he did have 2 ears in the end, as one was tucked under his wing! To start with he only looked like he had 1!

Long Eared Bat

Long Eared Bat

The other bat was found asleep in a similar way but near a front door step, barely a foot off of the ground, in the village of Halland. The lady who found her said she could not have been there long and she must have arrived during the day. She did not climb very high so may have been quite weak. She certainly needed a drink when she arrived and ate a few mealworms, perking up a bit in the process.

She was very thin though, so her future was of concern to my staff. The other was thin, but of less concern as he took flight in the bird hospital, which you can see as a blur in the photo below!

Long Eared Bat

Good job he was recaptured, as it was a bit tricky catching him again!

The lovely lady from the bat group collected them both. I hear the weaker one did not survive and that they were both juvenile’s, but why they ended up in trouble in the first place we don’t know as the weather was fine and there did not seem to be any good reason for it.

Thankfully the weather has been kind and a number of birds have been released. All of the blackbirds, pigeons etc etc have flown and have the opportunity to feed on site, as the team feed them daily. They can move on if they choose to do so…

Well, I choose to stay…
Bye for now my dear friends,


Love from Wally xx


A little update from the bird hospital, for you again my friends,
It’s hard to keep up with the comings and goings at the moment. There is so much happening…
I of course like to keep myself busy, my beau ‘Phooey’ (as in ‘Hong Kong Phooey’) is busy chasing away two racing pigeons who have very recently arrived. They seem keen to check to see if there is any spare food going. Phooey is adamant of course, that there isn’t any and is vigorous in getting his message across to them… they are not welcome!
I have assisted him when necessary, but spend a lot of time nesting, which is quite exhausting.

Wally nesting

Those two new boys don’t bother me; they will find food at Raystede and go on their way when they are ready and recuperated. They just can’t feed out of our bowl – I mean, what do they want, US to starve?


Oh well, I suppose I should tell you about the other birds and hedgehogs being cared for …

Blackbird Blackbird

Both fledgling blackbirds are doing really well now, self feeding and ready to go into the rehabilitation aviary.


Do you remember the hedgehog with injuries to his ear and areas of his body, so severe it was touch and go whether he would survive? Fortunately he has gone to live in a secure area on a farm, much bigger than a normal garden, having an orchard area to roam and gardens and food put out for him too, by a kindly family, who love hedgehogs. He has to go here first, as he has not grown all of his prickles back and it is uncertain that he will, because of the injuries he sustained. Apart from that he is in good health. It is possible the other prickles will re-grow, though unlikely as they probably would have grown back by now. However if they do, then the family will release him back into the wild. It is vital he is fully spiked up, as he needs to be able to defend himself by rolling up into a tight ball, with sharp prickles everywhere. A very good defence, but not so good in the middle of a road with cars passing by…

Another hog was found by the curb in a road and must have been hit by a car. Apart from appearing to be a little bit dazed and with a small cut to the left ear, she appeared to have had a very lucky escape. Some fluids were given for shock and fingers crossed she will be fine.

Two hoglets, both weighing in around 80g each, came from the same garden to Raystede within a day of each other. One was out in the open and active during the day and the other was seen later. The finders were worried that something may have happened to their mum.

Hoglets Hoglet

Another hog was found out during the day with what seemed to be an injury to his leg. A GA was done with no signs of injury but he was a bit underweight and fluids were given, to help boost him and he was kept warm and quiet with plenty of good food – puppy chum is a firm favourite! He perked up quickly and was only wobbly on his legs because he was so weak. He is now eating heartily and growing day by day.



‘Spikey’ the hoglet was found at Skate Park in Ringmer, he had a scratch and cut to the nose. Some medication was given and fluids. He was quite lively but would not feed, so had to have fluids daily. He initially weighed 200g but dropped weight rapidly over a few days. My staff decided that he needed some special convalescence food and he has started to lap that up well from the syringe. He has even eaten a few mealworms since.

It is possible he had a bit of concussion as he seemed to need to be guided with feeding, hopefully he will start to self feed now, but we’ll have to see as it is still a tricky time for him.


This woodpigeon is very lucky indeed. It was stuck in a chimney for 4 days without food and water. He or she was obviously extremely thin and very dirty. He was cleaned up a little and especially around his face before being tube fed small amounts of rearing food and kept really warm. Gradually, much to everyone’s surprise he started to improve and though he was unable to feed himself for some time because he was so weak and ill, he took the feeds well and has now been feeding himself for a few days without any help from the staff. He is also perching now, which is quite something as the odds were stacked against him to start with.


The gulls that were exercising and getting ready for release have finally gone. They were released successfully on the coast in Newhaven and loved to be free flying, with no restrictions! I hear that the staff were chuffed to bits and felt it made all the work worthwhile to see such a good release of healthy birds, which are so often victims of cruelty from unkind, compassionless members of the public.

Racing Pigeon

Talking of racing pigeons, a racer was bought in to the centre because he could not stand properly. His ring was cutting into his leg, which had become swollen as a result. The ring was removed and the racer was given a course of antibiotics to help with the pain and swelling. His feet have had to be bathed each day as they have got soiled because he cannot perch but he is slowly improving and gaining some stability and can bare some weight on the leg now, but the joint is still swollen, so he does not stand or walk for long. Time will tell with this one! Poor chap.


This young crow was caught up in barbed wire in a nearby gliding centre. The finder cut the wire, but for safety of the bird (as it seemed the wire was cutting through his wing) a fair bit of the wire remained attached. The vet removed the wire carefully and assessed the crow’s wing. Although swollen he felt that it was mainly bruising and swelling on the joint and would mend with some antibiotics, anti inflammatory drugs and rest. The kind finder returned later in the afternoon and made a £20 donation for his and other animals care. Well, I think I could get a lot of corn and peanuts for that!

Sadly the jackdaw Esme, who was doing so well, was attacked from outside of the aviary probably by a crow or magpie and had her leg severed. She sadly could not recover from her ordeal and passed away. She was a great character and no matter how much care you try to provide and how safe you try to make their environment there is always a chance that something unforeseen could happen. It is a tough world and those of the corvid family are the toughest characters of them all. They have much to lose, being top of the ‘food chain’. They have to be incredibly territorial and protective of their own young. It is only in September or October that the corvids raised at Raystede can be released as this is when the crows start to flock together and socialise. They are only then, no longer a threat.


All of the other birds, sparrows, finches, pigeons, doves, starlings, thrushes, blackbirds and so on, have been released on site at Raystede.

Soon I hope to breathe a sigh of relief and take stock of the season. Not that I do very much really, apart from watch the world go by…

Wally & Phooey

Enjoy the sun and for my young friends, have a great summer holiday!

Love from Wally xx
Hi my friends, some more news from the wild bird hospital…


These 5 fledgling sparrows were bought in because builders were working on a roof of the house where the nest was located. The nest was damaged and the babies had to be taken away. Terrible shame really, a couple more weeks and they would have flown the nest. With parental care they would have been better equipped to survive in the wild, however my team of workers have to work their magic again and rear them for eventual but certain release. It’s a time consuming task but these babies have fed really well and are coming along nicely, so much so that they will be put in the rehab flight very shortly. They were joined by another sparrow which being another youngster, became easy prey to a cat. However this little chap has recovered, is now self feeding and in with the others for company. 6 sparrows will be free soon, which is good as I hear sparrow numbers are in serious decline so they need all the help they can get.

My human friends, if you live in a house, please, please, please place sparrow nest boxes high up on the wall in a sheltered position avoiding full sun and driving wind, for next years nesting. I know they are a bit drab and no way nearly as good looking as me, but I say ‘support your local sparrows!’

Herring Gulls Herring Gulls

These herring gulls are in their aviary and eating well and getting fit for release. Their feathers are in good condition, probably partly due to the great diet of fish including mackerel, sardines and prawns. They won’t go free until 100% ready.


This little duckling only days old was the target of an adult gull, trying to feed its own young in the Lower Dicker area! Fortunately it was dropped from a height and bounced uninjured and was rescued by a kindly human.

Luckily this baby is quite confident and independent and eating well.

Collar Dove

This young collar dove was attacked by a cat, but luckily only suffered some superficial wing damage. Not yet fully fledged or weaned, a little more care is needed before he is able to go into the flight and fend for himself.


The scared moorhen chick above must have thought its luck had run out completely. A cat victim, rescued and then bought in to the centre, freaked out every time it was handled. After a few days of medication, it was crucial to handle as little as possible to reduce stress.

Moorhens are very shy by nature and this little babe will be kept company by the tough little duckling shortly and they will both be released appropriately, when big enough. The team are keen to keep the human contact to a minimum and allow them to grow wild.


This blackbird fledgling, was another cat victim. Some hand feeding and medication to treat the infection was needed (the air sac in the leg was punctured, creating a bubble of air under the skin, requiring medication). The bird is now doing well and is in the rehab flight with a number of sparrows, chaffinches and doves. Sadly the same cannot be said for the young starling, which was probably grabbed by a sparrow hawk and dropped, as it was found in an area alone, away from any nesting sites. He took worms willingly but appeared to be having difficulty in sitting upright. He became more and more stiff, although he appeared to have mobility of all limbs he clearly needed veterinary attention The vet checked him over and found that he had some spinal damage and sadly had to call it a day.


Wesley the Aylesbury drake was bought to Raystede much younger, smaller, cute and very tame. He had been living in a house and was probably originally an impulse buy. The owners unsure as to what to do once he was bigger and making more of a mess indoors… ducks are very messy… contacted the centre to take him in! He was too tame and small to put him in the wildfowl directly so he was raised in the bird hospital until he met Emma…

Emma the female mallard is completely wild and had been attacked by a number of drakes. Her head was featherless and sore and she was badly bruised and beaten. Once her condition improved she was able to go outside with Wesley for company. She currently cannot fly as her flight feathers need to repair and new ones need to grow through, but she is improving day by day and Wesley is fortunately now less tame because he spends all of his time with Emma… and as you can see he loves her…

Plans are in place for them to go out to a safe new home together.

Wally & Hong Kong Phooey

Here I am with my beau Hong Kong Phooey. We are very close and I am thrilled that he has moved in with me. I cannot understand why my staff are not impressed. They keep saying that we need to move out and find our own home, but why should we do that when we are happy where we are?

I know he is a bit stroppy with them but he is only protective towards me and he shares nesting duties and we preen each other all of the time… I think they are jealous because I am so busy with him, that I am no longer tame with humans…that’s a good thing.

I may not help with the paperwork anymore but I do still have duties… I need to keep you updated on events, so I must still be a VIP – Very Important Pigeon!


Finally... a group of small birds almost ready to go into the aviary. It won’t be long now and once the weather is settled again, they will be released.

It has been a busy time, but always worth it! I am thoroughly exhausted watching everyone rushing around!


Well, I’m enjoying the sun, or getting the bits of it that I can, in amongst the clouds and will say goodbye for now, I will catch up with you next time, bye bye,

Love from Wally xx


Well, it has been a busy time in the hospital for my staff and for me too!
My new boyfriend you met last time was boring and I shooed him off quite quickly.
I have another beau now and he is gorgeous….
I did try to shoo him away at first, I even pecked him on the head a few times, but he was very passionate and forceful and refused to leave…

Hong Kong Phooey

I think it is possible ‘Hong Kong Phooey’ as the team have named him, came to Raystede some time ago as I think he was in the release flight for a little while, I’m sure I have seen his photo in Wally’s journal before but he just appeared, suddenly, a few weeks ago and forced his way into my life…

Hong Kong Phooey

I don’t know what has happened my staff say I am a changed bird and now obsessed with my handsome beau…
I think they are pleased, as I have not had a proper boyfriend since I arrived in 2005 and they do not want me to be lonely.
They also say it would be better if we move out together, as proper pigeons, instead of him moving in.
Why should I give up a good home and plenty of food that would just be silly, wouldn’t it?


Hong Kong Phooey has been so named because he struts and coos and attacks with a winged karate chop any staff if they ‘overstep the mark’. He gets angry easily and is very protective of me and won’t let anyone near.
I don’t mind as it means I can concentrate on finding a suitable nesting spot. I have been under the table in a plastic dog bed, hidden from view, which was funny because everyone was worried about me. They thought I had not returned to bed for a few nights… but of course I had, I was just hiding!
I have tried the top shelf in an old egg brooder where the lid had been knocked off (by me!)… But alas, I have returned to my trusted cat carrier and both of us share brooding duties. I have one egg now and a big colourful orange one, the staff gave me, that hasn’t ever hatched for some reason.
I hope I can hatch this one and have my own little ‘squeaker’.
While I have been occupied, many birds have been cared for in the hospital…

Fledglings of all shapes and sizes…

Blackbird chick  Pigeon chick

Pigeon chick  Hungry pigeon chick

Blackbird fledglings  Blackbird fledgling


Orphaned sparrow and blackbird snuggled together. Most species will appreciate company when they are young. They will develop better and learn to self feed with others of a similar age. Eventually, when they are in rehab, they will go their own way…


Two messy fledgling blackbirds had been hand reared, like all of the others. They are learning to self feed and it takes a little time. They learn quickly with mealworms… the wiggling encourages them to peck! Once they are feeding they will go into rehab to build up their strength and develop the ‘wild’ natures they need to survive in the big mean world. At this point there is little contact with the staff.


The orphan sparrow and blackbird, a little older now with a young starling for company… still need hand feeding, but won’t be long… soon to be self feeding.

Two Youngsters

Two youngsters, who had fallen from their nests, unable to return, hand reared and ready for rehabilitation. Won’t be long now and you will be free…

Woodpigeon and collar dove

A young woodpigeon and collar dove soon to be released.


This young quail found in a stables, probably escaped from a quail farm somewhere near Eastbourne. He is very lucky to be alive, as probably his future prospects were grim. I think he is very noisy and still lucky to be alive, because I really could not stand it anymore!
Males can make a lot of noise when they call for a mate and will continue constantly throughout the day! Aaarrgh!
This fella has, thank goodness, gone into a huge aviary with cockatiels and lovebirds. He is alone sadly, as he attacked a female he met on a previous occasion; however he seems really happy and is enjoying the space provided.

Herring gull

This poor herring gull was found in Eastbourne, he had damage to his leg and severe nerve damage to the foot. He was given some time to recover – fresh food, medication and comfort but sadly the injury to his leg was too severe and he could not gain enough strength to support his own weight, so it was kinder for the vet to ‘put him gently to sleep’.

A young great spotted woodpecker found in a garden in Horam, had been fed by his parents in the garden previously, but for some reason, apparently was found lying by the house. It is likely he flew into a window and injured his wing. The worried finders looked after him well for a few days and kept him in a run outside during the day as the parents were still nearby. When he was bought into Raystede the wing was x-rayed and showed swelling but no clear sign of a break. He needed rest for a few weeks and it was felt best that he should return to the pen in the garden as the parents would soon disappear if he was taken away. Woodpeckers do not cope well when in captivity, so this was the best chance for him and the finders had done a great job so far. Fingers crossed he recovers and can rejoin his parents soon.


These three blackbirds came in because the strong wind knocked their nest down. They have been doing really well and have joined other babies in a nest… My word it’s been busy!

Look at these…. A mixture of babies!


Chick Chick

The blue tits and long tailed tit were rehabilitated in a summer house and soft released from there into a heavily wooded area where lots of other tits were living. Food was put out for them, but they have not been seen and the window remains open for them to come and go as they please. Lots of bugs and grubs everywhere so I hope they have adapted well and are mixing with their own.


Worn out racer with bruising to his wing, with some rest he was rehabilitated and went on his way home again…


This beautiful little jackdaw is very lucky indeed, but sadly her sibling did not survive. They fell down a chimney and had to be rescued. This one had a damaged leg but has been trained to perch and use the leg effectively and has been progressing really well. She is small for her age but will get lots of love from the staff. Eventually, but not yet she will be released but she will have to be 100% as I know it’s a tough world out there, especially for corvids.

Why do you think I stay at home?! It’s much nicer!

Many other birds have been cared for by my staff. A thrush was played with by a dog and left limping and surrounded by tail feathers in the lounge with the dog looking innocently on… It is in rehab now and almost ready for release, once weatherproofed and strong enough to fly well.

Blackbirds, sparrows, chaffinches, gulls have all come in for different reasons. Cat attacks, orphans and RTA’s generally, poor things!


This curled up hedgehog looks a mess…
Nasty sore patches and scabs all over his body indicated an attack by a larger predator such as dog, fox or badger. The pain this poor chap must have been in was evident. He was gassed down and thoroughly examined by the vet. He was cleaned up and luckily for him not severely damaged. He was medicated and later treated for lungworm and is currently eating well, gaining weight and improving dramatically.


Baby herring gulls

These baby herring gulls were found separately. One fell from the roof and could not be returned as it was too high up! The other fell because it was very windy and there were other young on the roof. Life is tough and he was possibly pushed off anyway.
More food to go around, with one less mouth to feed.

Oh my, I am worn out with so many poor casualties to tell you about…But I must just mention one more…

Fox cub

This beautiful but emaciated fox cub was lucky to be found. Its sibling had been killed by a dog in the dog’s garden and this little babe was found in a gully huddled and scared. It is a curiosity as to why it was there, as the house is in a village and surrounded by farmland much more suitable for caring for cubs. Mum was not around so the finder, who was about to leave for the airport to go on holiday, rushed this cub to Raystede.
The cub was kept quiet so as to reduce stress and WRAS were called directly. They were fantastic and collected the cub quickly. I heard soon after that he was quite poor as he had been without food and water for some time and was particularly small for the time of year, however he was placed with other cubs, which was the aim and was picking up well, so fingers crossed this incredible fox cub will go on to live a natural life.

Bye for now my human friends,


Love from Wally xx

You are as welcome as the pigeons in May.


I know this looks a little odd but I must have regular baths in the sink to keep myself looking beautiful… I’m not bossy of course, but I do have to keep my staff in check and order them to turn the tap on just a little so I can bath in running water when it suits me!

Wally bathing

Especially now that I have a new boyfriend…

Wally and boyfriend!

Of course I play hard to get and chase him out of my room and I won’t share my seed with anyone! He looks a bit fed up though – I can’t think why!?...

Collar doves in the rehab flight

Collar doves in the rehab flight were released successfully and the aviary now has a few other doves and pigeons gaining strength and they are now nearly ready for release.

Blackbird recovering

A blackbird arrived a few days old found under its nest in a garden in Portslade, very cold and lifeless, probably a cat victim. After a few days of antibiotics and some gentle care and hand feeding constantly throughout the day by my team, this little fella rallied and has gradually got stronger and stronger. Juicy worms are a favourite and he gets up on his legs and stretches his neck forward in anticipation. He should do well and be released eventually.

The pigeon below was taken from its nest by a crow and dropped onto the ground. He was lucky really as he would have been dinner for the crow! He had a tear on his body but was otherwise ok. He was given antibiotics for the injury to prevent infection and hand fed often throughout the day. He is getting bigger by the minute and lucky to have survived.


Ferret sleeping

This ferret came in as a stray and has a sweet nature. Here he is asleep dreaming of lovely things. Little does he know that he is being neutered and micro chipped next week …

Ouch! I should not laugh really but well I can’t help myself!


Sad news, shortly after my last update, one of the hens suddenly passed away, leaving the other girl alone and missing her companion. Sinead had been used to spending time with them in the grass area allocated to them, so it was only right to put the remaining two together. They get on well and have enjoyed the lovely sunshine we have had lately and through Easter. Both appear to be fairing quite well and neither are on any medication anymore. The great weather helps us all and these ex battery hens deserve some luxury, but I worry for them as they have not had good lives and have suffered poor health and probably won’t make ‘old bones’.

Well, at least now they are getting pampered and Sinead is a great personality, even if she looks a bit rough!

Racing Pigeon

This beautiful racer was found in Eastbourne tired and the finder thought probably emaciated. He was hanging around for a while, which is common when racers get lost or need to rest to recover, before resuming their flights back home. In some cases they need time to ‘feed up’ as they can loose a lot of weight trying to get back on their course to return home, especially if they are young birds and perhaps on their maiden voyage.

This beauty has a ring on his leg, which should help my team find the owner as it has details of when he was hatched, in 2009 and his own special code. He also has another plastic ring on his other leg which has very little written on it, but may indicate a race he was in, on a previous occasion. He does not appear to have any injuries. The team dusted him for mites, as he had a few crawly creatures on his feathers and will try to contact his owners as soon as they have some spare time!

He is a handsome bird and is no doubt is being missed as he seems to be a seasoned flyer. Sometimes when these birds are grounded they just need a little time and then they go on their way, however there are people who find them and worry that cats will eat them. There are a lot of cats around these days, which does make it difficult for wildlife to survive.


The two little blackbirds I spoke of last time have grown well. One has a leg which is slightly twisted sadly, which cannot be corrected and the other has some tendon damage to his foot, probably caused by the original cat attack. However, they are growing and gaining strength and it is hoped they will cope well in the wild and they are able to use their limbs effectively enough. They certainly fly very well and give the staff the run around in the bird hospital which is amusing for me!

Another baby blackbird has been reared and placed with them for company. It is always a good plan to keep young birds together not only for company but slightly older birds are useful in showing younger birds how to learn to feed themselves. It is best in the long run and they will all be released into the wild together.

Adult male blackbirds placed together will fight and can kill in the Spring, so its only the youngsters that can live together.

Birds are so complicated! I’m so pleased that I am easy going, easy to care for and a joy to be around… not at all like my wild counterparts!

The remaining three hedgehogs are shortly going back into the wild. They have been waiting until the best release site has been found and they will be going next week.


No doubt then there will be a lot more baby birds in the hospital and little hoglets to rear again… Oh my poor staff, how will they manage with them and look after me too!

I’m very important you know!


Bye for now, love from Wally xx