Young man helps distressed bird of prey in Skegness

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A Sparrowhawk which almost came a cropper in the heart of Skegness is safely back in the wild after a passer-by, Skegness Standard staff and a local Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust ranger came to the bird’s rescue.

Nineteen-year-old Norton Cooke was walking home from his plumbing course at Skegness’s Lincolnshire Regional College when he spotted the dazed bird on the pavement of the High Street on Tuesday evening.

Dave Miller and Norton with the box containing the Sparrowhawk.

Dave Miller and Norton with the box containing the Sparrowhawk.

Seeing the animal on its back, he picked it up and placed on its feet only for the confused bird to then fly straight into the window of Wilkinsons in the Hildreds Centre.

Once again Norton picked the bird up, and fearing it might have a broken wing, he decided to seek help.

Luckily at that moment Standard reporter Lee Croft was leaving the office just a few doors down and noticed the bird in Norton’s hands.

And, after chatting with Norton, and a quick phone around the office’s contacts, Lee was able to enlist the help of Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust’s, Dave Miller, who works as a Coastal Ranger at Gibraltar Point.

He offered his expert advice and, although not a bird handler himself, he advised that the bird be placed in a box with a blanket of some sort until he could get there.

The bird was duly placed in a box with a tea towel from the staff room and taped up to recuperate and calm down and Dave arrived at the office within a quarter of an hour to offer his assistance.

Dave praised Norton for helping the bird, saying: “I thought the young man dealt fantastically handling a bird of that size, however I wouldn’t normally advise it due to their large, nasty talons that can do some damage, so it was probably a good job she was dazed when he found her”.

Dave also advised that anyone in the same position get a tetanus jab to ward off infections as a precautionary measure.

It is thought that the bird may have been hunting for pigeons or other birds such as swallows or starlings in the vicinity of the Hildreds Centre before getting into difficulty, perhaps becoming entangled in one of the hanging baskets underneath the canopy and became confused after a heavy collision.

Now much calmer and seemingly much more lively, Dave suggested that the extent of the damage to the young female Sparrowhawk be assessed by opening the box and allowing it to fly, to test whether or not the bird was lame.

To everyone’s delight, after the bird’s ordeal the Sparrowhawk jumped out of the box and gingerly flew high above and away from the Hildreds Centre.

Dave said that Norton may have saved the birds life, because if another large bird or animal such as a crow had seen it in that state, then it could have killed it.

However, all was well and after a little rest and some tender love and care, the bird,s health was restored and it made a full recovery.

“I was just glad to see it was OK,” said Norton.