This year, one of our biggest refurbishment programmes has been the replacement of our Raptor Hospital. The hospital plays a key role here at the Sanctuary, allowing the falconers to care for and rehabilitate wild, injured birds of prey.
The original hospital was installed in 1995 and has withstood some really extreme Suffolk weather, including the last two bitter winters. As you can see from the pictures, it had finally given up the ghost and was suffering from a leaking roof and rotten flooring. Fortunately, Chief Fundraiser Maz was on the case and applied to Pets at Home for a grant to buy the necessary materials for a new building. We were all really chuffed when Maz won her application and Andy and the team duly set about demolishing the old building and clearing the site to make way for the modern log cabin destined to be our new hospital.
Now, a few months on, the shell has been completed and weather-proofed and the inside has been well insulated and painted, all fresh and ready for the final installations. The inner part of the new hospital is where injured birds are initially assessed by a falconer and will house an examination table for this purpose. Once a raptor has been thoroughly looked over, it is then housed in one of several specially designed convalescence containers, providing a quiet, stress-free environment for the bird until it can either be taken to our supporting vets or has recuperated enough to be transferred to one of the rehabilitation aviaries.
In addition, the new hospital will also contain basic first aid equipment, such as crop tubing apparatus, disinfectant, flat fly spray and rehydration food/fluids, all things that might be needed at a moments notice if a sick or injured raptor is brought in to us. Another very important piece of equipment is the intense care unit. Although the entire hospital has air conditioning and is kept at a carefully maintained temperature, the intensive care unit has a much more specific temperature range, so that it can be regulated for a particular bird’s needs, then monitored and altered as required. The other essential facet of this equipment is that it is especially designed so that the falconers can administer drugs directly into the unit for birds with respiratory problems.
The outer area of the hospital will house CCTV for the rehab aviaries, so that the falconers can monitor the raptors in this area carefully. It will also have information and pictures for visitors about injured birds of prey and their rehabilitation. We’re very much looking forward to the hospital being completed and will keep you updated as to its progress.