Sparrowhawk rescued from Wicks Warehouse Eastbourne

Being frightened of the dark might be a drawback to some but it was the saving grace for a sparrowhawk which took a wrong turn and ended up inside the Wicks Building Supplies warehouse in Lottbridge Drove, Eastbourne this evening (Thursday 13th March 2008).

Luckily sparrowhawks are frightened of the dark which makes life much easier for the volunteer rescuers from East Sussex Wildlife Rescue and Ambulance Service (WRAS) which attended onsite in order to catch and release the trapped bird of prey.

WRAS rescuers were called this by staff from Wicks during the afternoon after the bird was spotted flying round their store. However experienced rescuer Trevor Weeks decided not to rush and wait till dark before attempting a rescue with a difference. The store closed at 8pm and rescuer were ready and waiting. Positioning themselves on different sides of the store with nets they waited for the bird to fly across the store before turning the lights out.

"As these birds are frightened of the dark, they normally flutter to the ground" said Trevor Weeks, founder of WRAS, "but with so many high up pipes and signs etc the bird just flew to the nearest sign and stopped flying, which wasn’t what we hoped. Luckily the bird was low enough for us to disturb with a pole and slowly bit by bit the bird flew to lower and lower perches till eventually rescuer Tony Neads and myself were able to catch the bird in two nets as it sat on a low sign."

"It amazes me that these powerful and skillful birds are so frightened of the dark, it was amazing to see how majestically the bird was able to manoeuvre round the wires, signs and beams in the store when the lights were on and then so reluctant to fly when the warehouse was plunged into darkness" said Tony.

Staff at the store were relieved the bird had been caught as they feared the bird if left would be setting off the alarms all night.

The sparrowhawk could not be released outside the store this evening due to it being dark, so the bird was returned to WRAS's Casualty Care Unit for the night. The bird will be returned to Eastbourne in the morning for release.

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Press Contacts: Trevor Weeks, East Sussex WRAS, 07931 523958 (private)
Wicks Building Supplies, 01323 431 631

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