February 2016 – The Chairman Writes

Dear Members,

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas.  Thank you for your lovely cards and letters, may I wish you all the best for 2016.  Let us hope that it brings less rain and a little more sunshine.  The last two months of 2015 were extremely hard work keeping the animals and birds warm and dry.

It was early November when a young sparrow-hawk was found injured in a garden in Fordingbridge and brought to the office at AV by a very kind man.  This sharp faced hawk is a predator and I had to think carefully where I would place him.  The aviary next to Rosie the owl had become vacant so after dressing the wing and feeding him I felt this would probably be the best place for him to stay.  His new accommodation would provide him with an area to fly once the dressing was removed.

He was such a beautiful bird and during his stay I called him Pedro.  Over the coming days he was happy for me to look at his wing and feed him.  At last the day came when I removed the dressing for the last time.  The wing looked repaired and within a few days he was flying well around the aviary.

With this kind of bird it was paramount I released him as soon as he was fit and well due to it being so easy for this kind of bird to become reliant on humans for food and naturally this would not benefit him upon release.  So apart from feeding and looking after the wing I distanced myself from the young hawk.

Happy with the sparrow-hawks progress, on the 17th December I took him with me to my fields where I keep Bonnie my cow.  We have a large barn and it was here I decided to release Pedro.  Within seconds he flew out of the barn, circled 3 times in the air and headed for the forest.  I called goodbye and good luck and felt my work was done, he was fit and well and we had given him an opportunity to carry on with his life.

All that remains to be said is to thank you all for your very kind letters and help over the past year.  Here’s wishing you all a very happy new year and a wonderful spring.

Betty Price