Rescuing sea birds – RSPCA West Hatch


While we were in the West Country this weekend, raising awareness of the badger cull, we were able to visit work being done to rescue hundreds of sad guillemots and razorbills afflicted by the recent oil spill. It’s the second time in six months that this tragedy has occurred. How awful that these awful oil jettisonings are allowed to happen at sea. If the people that do it could see the suffering it causes, would they change their behaviour?

RSPCA agents and volunteers are working 24 hours a day at the RSPCA centre in West Hatch to save every bird they can.

The birds are brought in, in a pitiful state, covered in oil, more than half of them dead on arrival. The lucky ones have their feathers treated with Margarine, then they have to be washed with something very like Fairy Liquid, and finally rinsed and dried in a warm place, because without the natural oils in their feathers they will die of hypothermia.

The rescued birds are then cared for in sheltered recovery tanks where they can swim freely again, and they’re carefully monitored to the point where they are well enough to return to the wild.

These people do a wonderful job. As Vice-President of the RSPCA, I was very moved to see it in action – one of so many ways in which it makes a difference for animals.


Rescued birds

Bird cages

Washing the birds

A good shower