Animal sanctuary seeks help after aviaries damaged in storm

Birds like this barn owl have been displaced after the aviaries were damaged. Picture: Richard Austi

Birds like this barn owl have been displaced after the aviaries were damaged. Picture: Richard Austin - Credit: Richard Austin

It has not been a strong start to the year for a wildlife charity after its aviaries were badly damaged by strong winds, causing problems for birds.

Secret World Wildlife Rescue, in East Huntspill, has had to move the birds to its pre-release pens temporarily.

During the winter months around Christmas and New Year, the roofs of Secret World’s four aviaries were blown off, which forced charity staff to separate the birds into different sites.

This has left a number of birds with less human contact than normal and some feeling lonely.

The charity’s founder Pauline Kidner said: “The aviaries are very old.

“Initially, we were just relieved we did not lose any of the birds.

“However, we were not quite prepared for the toll it has taken on the birds.

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“The pre-release pens are used when we are weaning recovering animals from human contact before they are released back into the wild.

“They are designed to stop the animals inside from seeing humans, which is a stark contrast to where the birds were before.

“Unfortunately, until we are able to make the necessary repairs, we have no choice but to put them in there.”

The charity cares for more than 5,000 sick, injured and orphaned animals each year and it said many of the birds uprooted by the storm damage are calling for each other at night, including it’s resident European eagle owl, Mumbles.

Pauline said: “Mumbles is really missing his friends.

“Owls are sensitive animals and he does not understand where all of his friends have gone.

“It is the same for some of our other owls and kestrels.”

Bird handlers have been making regular visits to ensure the birds get a chance to stretch their wings following the ordeal.

Secret World – which is in its 27th year – has had to launch another appeal for money to help rebuild the damaged aviaries.

Pauline said: “It has been a very tough year financially and we just are not in the position to be able to build anything at the moment.

“If anyone can help us by donating materials or money, we would be so grateful.

“Once they are fully operational again, we can put our birds back in their rightful home.”

To offer support, contact Pauline on 01278 783250 or email