It’s nesting season in Splott (and all over the UK to be fair) and some baby birds fall out of their nests and can’t get back. What do you do when you find one? Inksplott had up-close-and-personal experience of this last night when a little baby seagull fell down the chimney and ended up having a sleep over.
Swoosh, flap, scratch, bang, the little thing arrived in a flurry of old soot, brick dust and cobwebs. Thankfully uninjured, he was immediately nicknamed Sweep (because our chimney hasn’t been this clean in ages), and put in a box to protect him from the immediate interest of Stinky Kev the cat.
Obviously the first thing to do was google ‘reporting baby seagull’ or ‘what to do when finding baby bird’. Google offered very conflicting and confusing results.
Sod it, one may have said in more colourful terms, let’s turn to our old friend, social media. It did not disappoint.
Recommendations poured in, including ‘call him Santa’:
‘Hi Lynne, if you take him to the vet they might be able to take him to a bird rescue place. In the meantime they eat tuna and cat food!’
‘There is an organisation called Fauna who might be able to help. They helped when a friend found an injured bird. For now, cardboard box with a damp teatowel somewhere quiet and away from cat?’
‘Call him Santa! Sorry not much help Parents are probably nearby if you can put him back out anywhere safe?’
And my favourite…
‘You his mummy now.’ (I wish! Kevin is very particular about being an only child though)
Some people had experience of this before and advised getting in touch with these two organisations:
In the end, I went with this:
‘What a beautiful creature! RSPCA has helped us with injured birds in the past. Happy to adopt him/her, love seagulls :-)’
By that, I mean calling the RSPCA!
My call was answered in under a minute and the lady on the other end of the phone went through the story with me:
Is the bird OK?
Are the parents around?
Is it safe to leave him outside in your back garden?
(Stealthy look at Stinky Kev, currently sniffing the box)
OK, we don’t have any officers available right now, can you possibly keep him overnight?
Yes (glancing at Kev and thinking, ‘He’s not going to be happy!’)
Great! Take him to a vet in the morning and they will take him.
Really? A Seagull?
Yep, they have a duty of care to look after any animal in need.
Bloody hell, that’s awesome, will do, thanks!
So Sweep stayed in his box overnight and Kev was locked out. First thing this morning, I dropped him off to Pets at Home by IKEA in Grangetown and the staff there were absolutely happy to take him (we all agreed he was muchos cutos), reassuring me that they had a link with the Wild Bird Trust and that Sweep would be collected that morning and cared for.
Job done! Result! Massive sigh!
The responses on social media continued, including this from RSPCA: https://www.rspca.org.uk/adviceandwelfare/wildlife/orphanedanimals/youngbirds
So that’s the story of Sweep, the baby seagull who came down the chimney one sunny eve in Splott.
I hope if you have a similar experience, or find a baby bird in distress, you know what to do.
Massive thanks to everyone for their great advice!