• Rae Gellel

Two Trapped Birds, Two Very Different Outcomes

Two consecutive rescues this afternoon, one with a positive outcome, one with a pretty heartbreaking outcome.


The first was a report of a pigeon tangled in anti-bird netting on a balcony at private flats in Abbeywood, on Felixstowe Road. As so often in cases involving this kind of netting, we've been to this location before to free entangled birds. The housing complex was huge and it took a long time - and lots of walking in the heat - to identify the correct balcony. During our search we were waylaid when we spotted a kitten on a top floor balcony, wandering perilously close to the edge, with nothing to prevent her plummeting to the concrete below. We had to sprint up multiple flights of stairs to alert the owner, and advise that cats should not be allowed onto such high balconies unless they are fully and securely cat proofed.

Finally we found the correct balcony. The only way to access it was once again by using a ladder to reach and climb onto the balcony directly below. Sadly, once I got close to the pigeon, I could see that it had not only died but had been dead for some time. We know from experience that it takes many days for tangled birds to die, so we cannot imagine the pain and suffering that this bird experienced, and were so angry and sad that we had not been able to save it in time. How many people had seen it struggling and done nothing? We cut the body loose anyway.

Allowing animals to suffer in this manner is a breach of the Animal Welfare Act by those responsible for installing the netting.

Our sad mission complete, we then headed to Falconwood Train station to free a sparrowhawk who had flown into the ticket office and then become trapped. We know from previous cases like this that if the ceilings are too high, it can be virtually impossible to rescue the bird. Thankfully in this case, our telescopic nets were only an inch a way from reaching the stressed bird. With a bit of improvising - taping our net to a long pole and borrowing a different style of ladder - we managed to scare the bird down and then net him.

He had a few small wounds to his face from the struggle but was otherwise bright and alert, so we released him at a nearby wooded area.


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