Submitted by Steve on 12:50, 26th Feb, 2016 | 0

Earlier this week an injured Alderney buzzard took an Aurigny flight to Guernsey.

The injured bird of prey which was recently taken in by Alderney Animal Welfare Society and on Wednesday 'Buzz Aldridge' as the bird has been named was transported by plane to Guernsey Airport and then on to the GSPCA where we have the facilities to care and rehabilitate a variety of wildlife.

The bird is very weak and struggling to fly so will likely need time to rehabilitate.

Yvonne Chauvel Senior Animal Care Assistant "It is rare for buzzards to be rescued sick and injured and even more unusual to help one from Alderney."

"He's been named 'Buzz Aldridge' and spent his first night here in an intensive care unit but we have been letting him out in a rehabilitation aviary."

"He's quite weak so its hard to know how he will get on, but he is eating rodents on his own now and we are all keeping our fingers crossed."

Steve Byrne GSPCA Manager said "It's certainly been a busy bird month from oiled guillemots to two kestrels, 9 stray ducks to stray cockerels being rescued and brought into the GSPCA."

"With spring fast approaching and the many baby birds we often see it looks like we are going to have a few months."

"We often work with and help Alderney Animal Welfare Society who do fantastic work in Alderney helping many animals every year."

"They have a lovely set up in Alderney but sadly haven't got the diverse set up needed for all species of wildlife so on occasions we work together to help those in need."

"They called the buzzard 'Hana' in Alderney but the bird seems to have somewhere got a name change as the buzzard is now called 'Buzz Aldridge'."

"It is too early yet to tell how Buzz Aldridge the buzzard will do but the GSPCA team are doing everything we can and it was great to see him eat some small mice."

"We have many wild animals in our care from Buzz Aldridge to Bonnie the seal pup and you can sponsor an area or animal pen through our Angel Pen Pal sponsorship scheme and if you would like to know more please download a form on our website, pop in or give us a call on 257261." 

To visit the Alderney Animal Welfare Society facebook page please go to

Some buzzard facts -

  • The buzzard is a one of the commonest and most widespread birds of prey in the UK and the rest of Europe. It can be seen flying at any time of the year and its presence may also be given away by its plaintive, cat-like “pee-uu” call.
  • Among the more unusual items recorded as being killed and eaten are puffins, frogs and dung beetles. 
  • The latin name for the common buzzard is Buteo buteo.
  • A hungry buzzard is quite capable of killing a wide variety of prey, ranging from rabbits to birds up to the size of a wood pigeon, but any larger prey tackled was probably already sick. 
  • Numbers are greatest where the fields are smallest, as it favours abundant hedgerows and small woods. 
  • Despite its impressive size, the buzzard is not a major predator, preferring a diet of carrion and earthworms. 
  • It is thought that the buzzard is now our commonest bird of prey, pushing the kestrel into second place. 
  • For the first time for 200 years they now breed in every county in England, Wales and Scotland. 
  • Buzzards can be seen in Guernsey
  • While British buzzards are largely resident, many northern populations are highly migratory, many moving to Africa during the northern winter. 
  • Once restricted largely to the west and north of mainland Britain, the last 15 years have seen a remarkable expansion of these birds to the east. 
  • They don't like hot or arid areas either, so in Eastern Europe the long-legged buzzard replaces it. 
  • Though the buzzard can tolerate areas of high rainfall, it prefers temperate climates, so is scarce or absent in the far north of Europe, where the rough-legged buzzard takes its place. 
  • In 2013 we appealed for information about a buzzard that had been shot here in Guernsey -
  • The buzzard that was shot was rehabilitated by the GSPCA and returned back to the wild -
  • Each pair will have as many as 21 potential nest sites, usually changing to a fresh site every year
  • Buzzards build their own nest, and they have a curious habit of decorating it with fresh green foliage. 
  • Though most buzzards nest in trees, rocky crags or cliffs are also used. 
  • This is a very adaptable species, able to survive in a wide variety of habitats from lowland farms to high mountains. It's main requirement is a tree at least 20ft high in which to nest.
  • Buzzards breed in every European country except Iceland, but are absent from some offshore island groups, including the Balearics. 
  • It is because of its highly variable plumage that the French call it the buse (buzzard) variable. 
  • Buzzards have remarkably variable plumage. Most individuals are brown and heavily marked, but some are almost white. 
  • Buzzards have never been popular with falconers, as they tend to be far too lazy to be taught to fly at live quarry. 
  • In the USA, the word buzzard is often used to describe the native turkey vultures. The two species are not related. 
  • In Scotland, many tourists hoping to see an eagle mistake buzzards for their quarry. Any big bird of prey sitting on a telegraph pole is most likely a buzzard. 
  • The buzzard's enthusiasm for eating carrion makes it especially vulnerable to poison baits, often put out to kill other predators such as foxes

To become an Angel Pen Pal sponsor please click here.


If you find a sick our injured wild animal please call 257261 or click here for advice.

Bonnie The Seal from karldorfner on Vimeo.

To become an Angel Pen Pal sponsor and support the many animals in our care please download an Angel Pen Pal Sponsor form by clicking here.
To donate to Bonnie the grey seal pup please call 01481 257261, pop along to the Animal Shelter in St Andrews, by post or by clicking the link below.

8 days on and Bonnie the seal pup is doing better than we coul...

8 days on and Bonnie the seal pup is doing better than we could have hoped

Posted by GSPCA on Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Some facts about Grey Seals -

The grey seal (Halichoerus grypus, meaning "hooked-nosed sea pig") is found on both shores of the North Atlantic Ocean. It is a large seal of the family Phocidae or "true seals". It is the only species classified in the genus Halichoerus. Its name is spelled gray seal in the US; it is also known as Atlantic grey seal and the horsehead seal

Grey seal adults may be up to 2.5 metres in length and weigh up to 250kg, with males tending to be larger than females.

Previous seal pups rescued Jethou Bumblebee was 17kg on entry and Hanois 20kg, Eden 18kg and Trinity 15kg which was less than half the 40kg they should have been for their age with Bonnie only 14kg.

Male grey seals reach sexual maturity at 6 years, Females at 3 to 5 years and the latter give birth to their pups in the Autumn and early Winter.

Typically the first British pups are born off the Scillies and Cornwall in August and September and the time of pupping is progressively later as you move clockwise around the British Isles, the latest pups being born off the east coast of Scotland in late December.

All seal pups rescued locally were born early November to late December.

At, birth, grey seal pups weigh about 13 kg. and are covered in long, creamy white hair. A bond is formed between mother and pup at birth, and a mother can recognise her pup from its call and smell. For the first 3 weeks of their lives, pups rarely swim, suckling from their mothers 5 to 6 times a day, for up to 10 minutes at a time. The mothers milk is rich in fat and the pups rapidly put on weight.

The seal pups rescued have all been around two to three weeks when they were brought into the GSPCA.

The mother tends to remain just offshore between suckling bouts and rarely feeds, losing up to a quarter of her body weight before her pup is weaned.

Grey seal pups are weaned after losing their baby coat at 3 to 4 weeks of age. At this point, they weigh 40 to 50 kg; three times their birth weight.

The pups live off these fat reserves whilst learning to feed, which may take several weeks.

The adult females which are called cows become fertile soon after weaning their pups, mating with the adult males which are called bulls, who hold territories during the breeding season and may mate with over half a dozen cows.

Mating can take place on land or in water and pregnancy last for 11.5 months, there being a period of 3.5 months when the fertilised embryo does not attached to the wall of the uterus and its development is arrested ("delayed implantation"). As a result, pups are born at the same time each year. Grey seals moult annually in the spring, 3 to 5 months, after the end of the breeding season. In the wild, males may live for about 25 years, females for about 35 years.

We will of course keep you up to date with Bonnie's progress and keep your eyes open for pictures and videos.

If anyone see's a pup with or without a mum we really do appreciate a call so that we are aware of its location and condition but here is some advice.

A healthy pup looks like a big, stuffed maggot without a neck. However, a thin pup looks sleek (but not bony) and has a visible neck, like a healthy dog.

PLEASE DO NOT TOUCH THE SEAL. They can give a nasty bite, which will become infected by bacteria that live in a seal’s mouths.

Note: Do not allow dogs or other animals to harass a seal.

If a Seal is scared back into the water, it could then be washed out to sea by strong currents and be lost. You should not put a seal pup back in the sea as it may get into difficulty.

If a Seal pup is sick, thin or injured then we would ask you to contact the GSPCA immediately on 01481 257261 day or night

When reporting an injured, sick or abandoned seal to the GSPCA, please make sure you are able to supply the following information:

  • Exact location; nearest town / village
  • Position on the beach, and state of the tide
  • How long you have observed the pup; any disturbance / risk to it; whether the mother has been seen
  • Any wounds / obvious signs of illness
  • Length/colour/condition.

Caution:- Handling of any animal either domestic, wild, dead or alive may be potentially hazardous. Obvious dangers include bites, scratches and general hygiene issues. Common sense should be applied in all instances and, if unsure, seek additional advice or assistance. Personal hygiene should be taken into consideration after handling any animal, whether it’s domestic, wild, dead or alive.

To see some of the previous stories follow the links below

Seal Rescue to Save Jethou Bumblebee 25th November 2012

Hanois the grey seal pup rescued on Saturday by GSPCA staff 7th January 2013

Jethou Bumblebee & Hanois the rescued grey seal pups back in the wild 18th April 2013

The Rescue of Trinity the Seal Pup 9th January 2014

Extremely sick and weak Grey Seal Pup rescued at Corbier now at the GSPCA

Posted by GSPCA on Monday, 18 January 2016

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Pop Up Shop at the GSPCA has a new look thanks to Holeshot

Posted by GSPCA on Saturday, 6 February 2016

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To donate towards the many animals in our care, you can do so by:

Calling: 01481 257261

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Looking for pet insurance in Guernsey? Check out the GSPCA pet insurance with Rossborough

Posted by GSPCA on Tuesday, 30 June 2015

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GSPCA Build Partner programme at the GSPCA Animal Shelter in Guernsey - could your business support the GSPCA and animals in Guernsey - CSR - Corporate Social Responsibility -

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