If you find an injured or sick small animal, this is what you can do (and see below for information about fledgling birds in spring/summer , large wild animals , swifts, juvenile hedgehogs and bats. See also special information regarding bees.
The basic rule of thumb – if you can pick up any wildlife it probably needs help. The exceptions are baby deer (fawns), foxcubs and baby birds. See here for more information.
St Tiggywinkles Wildlife Hospital is about 40 minutes drive, near Thame. It is Europe's longest established wildlife hospital, a charity supported by donations. It is open for all wildlife emergencies 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. No need to call ahead - just go there.
The Pines Vet Clinic will assess any injured wildlife to decide the best course of action. There are three pathways:
1. If an animal is injured but could be treated, the Pines will ask you to take it to St Tiggywinkles for treatment as they don't have facilities on site for treating injured wildlife. If you cannot transport an animal to Tiggys because you don't have a car or have work or caring responsibilities, you will need to try to find someone to do the run, unless the Pines staff are able to help. An urgent appeal posted on the Wild Maidenhead Facebook group for help with transport can be one option. There are also local volunteers for St Tiggywinkles who drive animals from the Maidenhead area to the hospital. Mark Wadsworth is one of them, 07814 445173, but please don't expect him to be able to help - volunteers are usually extremely busy.
2. If an animal is generally okay but is (for example), stunned or exhausted, they may be able to give it rehabilitation on site for a day or two before releasing it.
3. If the vets assess the animal as being too injured to survive, they will euthanase it, but this is always a last resort.
Other local vets - by law, any vet practice must take in a native injured wild animal and treat it based on what is in the animal's best interests (no cost to you involved). Vets follow an ethical code and the animal's welfare is their primary concern.
Harper Asprey Wildlife Rescue is a wildlife centre which is about 30 minutes’ drive from Maidenhead (town): Westwood Rd, Windlesham GU20 6YW. It takes all types of wild animals which are injured or need help like underweight juvenile hedgehogs in autumn. The centre’s website is at www.harperaspreywildliferescue.co.uk/. The centre does not put its address on the website because they are sometimes full so if you want to take an animal there you will need to call them first: 01344 623106. They also have volunteer drivers. They are always short of volunteers so if anyone is interested in helping, do get in touch with them.
Be aware that grey squirrels, parakeets and muntjac deer are not covered by this legislation and vets are not obliged to treat them. Contact The Pines who can advise you if you find a sick or injured animal which is one of these three species.
St Tiggywinkles Wildlife Hospital is open 24/7 - just go, no need to call in advance.
Mi Night Vet at Summerleaze Vet Practice, 9 Summerleaze Rd, Maidenhead SL6 8EW: 01628 628121
Vets Now: 01494 257174
Swan Support: Claire and Wendy will deal with other animals as well as swans. 01628 876336 or 07968 868172.
Further afield - at any time
If it is a small animal you can safely transport, like a bird or hedgehog, go to St Tiggywinkles, there is no need to call, you just turn up at the hospital, which is at:
Aston Rd, Haddenham, Aylesbury HP17 8AF.
There are also local volunteers for St Tiggywinkles who drive animals from the Maidenhead area to the hospital. Mark Wadsworth is one of them, 07814 445173. He also has contacts to help with large injured animals (see below).
If it's a large animal or one in distress (eg caught in fencing or in a trap), the RSPCA should help: 0300 1234 999
Some of you may have been aware of Amber Glossop's Hope for Hedgehogs care centre in Ascot. We have been told that this is now permanently closed.
For hedgehogs, try Hedgehog Bottom, whose founder and manager is Gillian Lucraft. The number is 01635 826120, 72 Chapel St, Thatcham RG18 4QN, and the website is www.hedgehog-rescue.org.uk. They may be full - advice is to call first.
Help Wildlife is a major resource, and includes on their extensive web site, a list of Berkshire's specialists carers - helpwildlife.co.uk/category/berkshire/
This website, Wildlife Aid, has excellent advice on how to help sick or injured wild animals, listed by species.
Fledgling (baby) birds: if you find a young bird on the ground, interfering with it will do more harm than good. Fledglings are extremely unlikely to be abandoned by their parents. Just because you cannot see the adult birds does not mean that they are not there. See the RSPB's advice here.
If you find an injured or sick large wild animal (fox, badger, deer):
The advice from Wildlife Aid is 'Stop! Do NOT attempt to handle a live badger, deer or fox. They can all inflict severe injuries to humans. If found on the road, you can protect these larger mammals from receiving further injury by positioning a car with its hazard warning lights and headlights on, behind the creature, to warn other road users, providing it does not endanger you or other road users.'
Call St Tiggwinkles Wildlife Hospital - they will try to send one of their local large animal specialists to the scene, 01844 292292.
RSPCA - if you find a severely injured large wild animal, the RSPCA has a national network of inspectors and they can be dispatched to help. The emergency number is 0300 1234 999.
If you find an injured owl or raptor (red kite, falcon, hawk, buzzard etc) do watch out for the talons as these are their most dangerous weapon. Throw a towel over the bird and pick it up using thick gloves.
If you find an injured Swan, contact Swan Support 07968 868172, or the Swan Rescue Centre at Eton ww.swanlifeline.org.uk, 01753 859 397.
If you find a grounded swift, it needs specialist help. Do not throw it into the air. Contact Maidenhead, Marlow and Cookham Swift Group on 07710 171704.
If you find a very small hedgehog out in the autumn in cold weather, try to collect it (with gloves) and weigh it. It needs to be 600g to be able to hibernate successfully. If it is less than 600g, it needs to be taken to a specialist carer. The best option is St. Tiggywinkles, see above in the 'Further Afield' section.
If you find an injured or grounded bat, or if a cat brings one in, then please see for detailed help or call 0345 1300 228 which is the national bat helpline.
If a swarm of honey bees is gathering or there is a bumblebee nest, ideally, leave the bees alone and enjoy the spectacle. Whatever you do, please don't harm them. If you need the bees to be moved, the person you use depends on where the bees are. Beekeepers can't remove bees from roofs, chimneys or other cavities in buildings and you will need a specialist company such as BeeGone who try to ensure the bees are humanely removed and re-hived. Otherwise, a beekeeper can help. There are four who will help in SL6: Joss - 07970 675363; Nicola - 01628 638 221 / 07775 580476; Ro - 07799 624428 and James - 07980 225301. Please read the advice on this local page and also this page