Notes from St Tiggywinkles: Seagull takes bath to help him stand up

Seagull in a bath at Tiggywinkles
Seagull in a bath at Tiggywinkles

One of the most depressing sights we meet at Tiggys are birds that can’t stand up.

It tears your heart out to see them ‘wing walking’ using their wings to drag them across the floor. 
More often than not there are no signs of an injury, not even on x-ray. As most are road traffic casualties we have to assume they have head and brain injuries when, in the long term and with medication, they might or might not recover.

At the moment we have two special wing-walkers from opposite ends of the bird spectrum.

The first a truly gorgeous barn owl, the fragile butterfly of the night sky compared with the truly magnificent master of the coastal skies, the formidable giant that is a great black-backed gull.

The barn owl was so sad huddled in the corner of his cage.

The x-ray showed no sign of an injury giving us no reason for his disability.

I had some ideas to try, as medication seemed to be offering no help.

I picked up the owl horrified it had no ability to attack me, as owls usually do with those razor sharp talons.

Slowly in a physiotherapy mode I exercised those flaccid legs up and down. 
A response!

Almost imperceptibly his feet closed around my fingers.

A few more exercises and he got stronger.

Physiotherapy was going to be the answer for the barn owl.

The great black back was another kettle of fish. 
Although unable to stand that massive beak could instantly latch onto an unwary hand.

He was a water bird, an ideal candidate for hydrotherapy in the warm water of our therapeutic Jacuzzi.

At first nothing happened as his legs hung useless.

Then, as he gained confidence, a tiny reaction and an effort to swim.

We now had high hopes that like the owl, he would, in time, recover his standing up glory.