An owl has been rescued and taken to the RSPCA’s Mallydams Wood Wildlife Centre in Fairlight after the bird got tangled in fishing line and was left hanging precariously from a tree.
The tawny owl was spotted dangling from a branch in Belfry Fishing lake in Hailsham on Tuesday (September 2), and it is believed he had probably been there overnight.
The RSPCA was called and asked for the assistance of East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service, whch came to the aid of the stranded bird.
RSPCA inspector Charlotte Baumann said: “One fire officer climbed up the tree and cut the branch, then swung it down to another officer in the lake. The owl then had to be cut out of an utter tangle of nets and line which he had got caught in.
“It was quite some operation and we are very grateful to the fire service for their help, there is no way this bird could have freed himself without them.
“He is likely to have died a horrible and lingering death from starvation if he had not been spotted or freed.”
The owl was taken to a vet who is hopeful that he will survive. There is feather damage but no broken bones, so he was moved to Mallydams Wood Wildlife Centre where it is hoped he will make a full recovery.
Inspector Baumann added: “There was a happy ending this time – but there often isn’t with cases of wildlife and fishing litter which can be very damaging to wildlife.
“The management at the lake here do their best to clear the fishing litter but so much is left that it is hard to clear it all.
“It is so easy to dispose of rubbish properly and we urge people to take greater care – it could save a life.”
Earlier this year, in June, another owl was rescued after she was seen dangling from a tree from a piece of wire at Alexandra Park in Hastings.
It was believed that, like the tawny owl, she had also been stuck in the tree overnight.
A dog walker saw the female bird which led to one of the RSPCA’s inspectors joining East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service at the scene.
The owl, which was unhurt, was taken to nearby wildlife centre Mallydams Wood to be checked over and was then released straight back to the wild.
Anyone who sees an injured bird or animal should call the RSPCA’s emergency helpline on 0300 1234 999.