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A Poem for August
Jean K Cave
Firstly, I hope you are all well and managing to find things to keep you busy in these difficult times.
I wanted to update you on our programme. The Committee have been discussing matters but feel that we are unable to make any firm decisions for a resumption at this stage. Following the latest guidelines, it seems that we will not be able to contemplate any meetings until the late autumn at the earliest. Consequently, we have taken the decision to cancel the Autumn Show and the October meeting of the new season. We will re-evaluate the situation prior to the AGM in November as to whether that can go ahead, but I have to say at this stage, it is looking doubtful. If this were to be the case, the AGM would be postponed until a suitable date next year.
Although we will individually make our decisions as to when we feel able to resume a ‘normal’ life, as Chairman I cannot recommend any further social gatherings until we are sure that it will be totally safe for us to do so. I will be back in touch with you to update you of the situation in October.
In the meantime, I hope that you are all getting enjoyment from your garden, perhaps more than usual, as we now have time on our hands to do so. I look forward to hearing about your successes (and failures) next time we are able to meet.
Rod Hirst – Chairman
Photographs from Previous Shows
by Jean Powley
Robin with Chick
Photo by Tommy Holden
Wildlife Health and When to Step In and Help
During spring and summer, I occasionally receive calls for advice regarding baby birds and injured or diseased birds. I am happy to give advice but cannot treat animals as I do not have the expertise and knowledge required. If you have concerns about any birds in your garden then I hope the following information will be helpful.
It is not unusual at this time of year to find baby birds on the ground looking helpless and alone. Young birds usually leave their nest just before they fledge. If they have developed their flight feathers they will at first spend their time hopping about on the ground or on low branches. Neither are they necessarily alone. Their parents will either be collecting food or they may be keeping a safe distance away because you are there. In most cases that will be the situation, but if a chick is in imminent danger, e.g. a prowling cat, larger birds, traffic, extreme weather, move it to a nearby safer place. The parents will soon locate it. Only if the bird has been alone for at least a couple of hours should you consider stepping in. Do not attempt to rear the bird yourself. Put it (wearing gloves) in a ventilated cardboard box and either seek veterinary advice or advice from a wildlife rehabilitator.* Think hard before you do this as chicks have a greater chance of survival in the wild than being hand-reared by humans.
If you find a downy or naked chick, place it back in the nest, if you know where that is. If the nest can’t be found, the nestling will need special care. Keep it warm and don’t feed it or give it water. Contact a wildlife rehabilitator.*
Injured birds: if you find an injured bird and are able to approach it very easily, put on some suitable gloves and gently pick the bird up and place it in a ventilated cardboard box, lined with newspaper or an old towel. By putting it in a box, it will feel less stressed. Keep it warm and quiet and away from pets, children, radios and televisions. Try not to disturb it too much and don’t offer it any food or drink. It will not eat in the dark and may drown in any liquid. If you know the bird has hit a window this may be sufficient for it to recover and then you may be able to release it. Otherwise, contact a veterinary practice. Most vets are happy to treat wild birds without a charge but it is worth checking first. If the vet is willing to see the bird, take it along. If the bird is beyond any help, then it will be euthanized to stop any further suffering. If the bird has been caught by a cat it should be taken to a vet immediately as there is a high risk of septicaemia setting in.
Diseased birds: If you see any diseased birds in your garden, it is usually too late to help them as it is rarely possible to treat them successfully. If you are able to approach and pick up a sick bird you can take it to a vet to be put to sleep. If there are any signs of diseased birds in your garden, stop feeding birds for at least two weeks and to prevent the spread of disease regularly clean all feeding areas such as bird tables, hanging feeders and bird baths.
Jean is a voluntary Ambassador for the British Trust for Ornithology’s Garden BirdWatch scheme in Nottinghamshire. If you enjoy watching birds and other wildlife which visit your garden, Garden BirdWatch may be perfect for you. If you would like a free information pack about the scheme, contact Jean at email@example.com or visit www.bto.org/gbw