The Problem Of Wing Clipping

Rook

Over the years we have been contacted repeatedly by rescuers and lay people, who were caring for corvids such as magpies, jackdaws and crows, and who observed that their foster birds showed difficulties with flying despite appearing otherwise fit and healthy. Some of these birds demonstrated abnormal flight feathers and showed an unusual or even abnormal behaviour not normally expected in wild birds. A closer assessment of the plumage showed quite quickly that these birds had been wing clipped.

What is feather or wing clipping, and why is this being done?

Magpies
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When Can I Release My Rescued Corvid Fledgling?

Jackdaw nestling

At this time of the year we are contacted on a daily basis by members of the public, who have found, rescued and raised a corvid fledgling, all with good intentions of course. If we are not being contacted at the very beginning of a rescue journey, mostly for advice about the diet of corvids, then it is usually at the point where people feel that their foster bird might be ready for release soon. Unfortunately, our advice is often a disappointment if not a shock to many of these hobby rescuers, as in most cases the desired immediate release is not an option, or at least not an option which gives the foster bird a sufficient chance of survival. We do understand that circumstances will differ greatly, and that expert help is not always at hand. Therefore it is also important that the rescuer understands, that the likelihood of survival will differ greatly as well, as corvids are not belonging to those bird families, which can be hand raised by their own and hard released immediately after they have fledged. There are of course certain ways to ensure that the rescue bird gets the best second chance he or she deserves. However, to achieve the best possible outcome, decisions should ideally be made before a bird is being hand raised without appropriate company.

Carrion crow Amor and jackdaw Alyona
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The Protection Of Birds During Nesting Season

Goldcrest

All wild birds are protected during nesting season. This includes their nests, whilst in use or being built, as well as any eggs the nest may contain. Under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (WCA) it is an offence to:

  • intentionally kill, injure or take any wild bird,
  • intentionally damage, destroy or take the nest of any wild bird while it is in use or being built,
  • intentionally destroy an egg of any wild bird
  • and intentionally or recklessly disturb certain wild birds or their dependent young while they are nesting.
Robin

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Rook Nell – An Obituary

Rook Nell

Nell came to us in May 2013 after being rescued as a fledgling near a rookery. She has been found on the ground after being abandoned by her parents, most likely because she was not able to get herself off the ground to follow her siblings and parents round. Unlike carrion crows, it is known that rooks will not feed their offspring on the ground. Luckily Nell has been rescued right in time and brought to us for treatment and rehabilitation.

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