IOW Wild Bird Rehabilitation. 
Mr 'Wally' AWOL & Friends


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Meet Me. Hello!

Posted by on 15 March, 2022 at 20:15

I just wanted to say 'Hello' and introduce you to my blogs.

Im new to this stuff so please be patient. 

I'm an understanding person who, although having my own personal views, try not to impose too much (or anything) on others or be disrespectful of other's ways, views or emotions. Naturally, I will never please everyone all the time, but I will try to remain impartial.

I'm neither an activist or opinionated. Im not here to argue over individual's food choices, sport choices, whether or not they should have pets or how they should be cared for (unless asked by individuals for my opinion on such as a private discussion) etc.

Some of what I have to say may be absolutely factual, some just ideas for others to consider or merely passing thoughts. It's not my place to tell people what they can or cannot do or should or shouldn't do or for me to get upset that I may not be listened to. That's your choice. I write it, you read it and you can make a decision as to what you find interesting, what you wish to absorb and which advice you feel is worth taking on board.                 All I can do is offer the public what I know :)

I think I am a normal average type person. I know what I know and do what I do just as others have knowledge that I do not. When it comes to things like this, I remain a normal person. I dont come with a professional air or demeanour about me. I wont judge you, please dont judge me. Im here to help :) 

Kind Regards

Kay, Manager at IOW Wild Bird Rehabilitation @wallyawol xx



BIRDS and CHIMNEYS. Why a chimney cowl could save more than one life.

Posted by on 15 March, 2022 at 20:05

Many species of bird like chimneys. In the winter time or on colder days, the birds enjoy the warmth they supply as households stoke up a log fire or turn on their gas fire. Gathering on the rooftop or perching on the chimney brim.

Come Spring and Summer, birds like the perfect sized, ready made support structure...perfect to build a nest all other birds would be jealous of.

A roof and chimney area is teaming with warmth loving beetles and bugs...a great place for a bird buffet!


The chimney is a potential death trap...

and not just for birds...

A chimney without a cowl can be deadly. Birds fall down them, with causes being high winds, squabbles and fighting, unstable nests, illness or injury. Some adults will even try to fly down chimneys in order to still try and feed fallen young, who then themselves become trapped.

Thousands die a slow painful death, often from starvation or scorching ��

A lucky few get saved ��

However, what about you??

You're not safe, no, no!

Do you have an undamaged cowl? Relax, you're reasonably safe (remember to sweep) ��

You don't have a cowl? You're in danger.

The next time you light a fire, consider the amount of ignitable debris that could be in your chimney...straw, hay, feathers, moss, twigs, and gases from accumulating bird poop �� A great concoction for something greater than just a nice warm glow in your lounge!! This debris could easily accumulate after the chimney has been swept.

Smell? The accumulation of bird droppings, carcasses, rotting left overs from the carrion crow's last 200 meals?! �� Yuk!

and if that isn't enough to make you think about having cowls installed...

A nesting bird atop your chimney will block the opening, preventing poisonous Carbon Monoxide gas from escaping into the atmosphere and instead sending it on a disasterous course, back into your living quarters. Slowly poisoning you without you even knowing.


Keep protected and 'Cover up'


Posted by on 15 March, 2022 at 19:45

To prevent birds falling down your chimney, please install a Cowl. Many birds see chimneys as good nesting or roosting sites. Location security, moss, insects, size of the average chimney and warm rooves will attract birds such as Woodpigeons, Collared Doves, Crows, Jackdaws and Gulls, sadly often to their detriment.

We have a separate post about the dangers of chimneys and nests.

Many people are also not aware of the dangers associated with one's supposed good deed of leaving out materials to help nesting birds:

Cut hair, cut fabrics, string, soft knitting wools and tumble dryer lint are believed by many to be good nesting material sources for birds. People are proud to have helped nature...

Sadly, this is one of the largest causes of something typically known as 'string foot' ��

Thin threads (twine, string, cotton and hair) can get wrapped around the legs and toes, all too frequently leading to deep cut wounds, arterial strangulation, infections, gangrene and subsequently loss of toes, legs or even loss of life due to sepsis. Tumble dryer lint can also contain harmful chemicals used in our washing cycles and retain moisture making it doubly unsuitable for nesting material.

Those birds with 'stumps' or hobbling around in town with nasty looking feet, most likely have or suffered a 'string foot' injury.

The same types of materials can also become entangled around beaks, necks and feathers, ingrown into developing baby birds skin, or sometimes even partially or fully consumed, potentially causing choking and internal blockages.

In the same way we may want to prevent sea creatures consuming plastic by not littering, we can prevent birds becoming crippled and sick also, by not littering our gardens and countryside with those materials.

Birds typically nest using materials such as -Small twigs

-Real feathers

-Dried leaves


-Dead Ivy

-A few collected hairs from animal fur (such a sheep's wool or horse hair snagged on barbed wire*)

-Cut grass/hay and straw.

*Some small amounts of animal short furs are OK (not cat because of a deadly bacteria known as pasteurella). Even horse hair can tangle although more rarely. Do not use fur from long coated dogs and certainly not human hair. Of course, birds will readily use these if found in nature but we can reduce hazard by not purposely supplying large quantities of it in big clumps post grooming.

Leave an area of your garden more wild perhaps, leave leaf litter and dead ivy veins. For those intent on helping, bird feeders/tables can be filled with the natural materials listed above. It's still helping birds out by having all they need in one place, saving them time and energy.

Thank you.