Dramatic Grebe Rescue

The RSPCA were called out to Alexandra Park on Saturday 12th November after a bird got itself caught up in the wire net meshing surrounding the new floating island which is in the middle of the park’s lake.

Fortunately, a local keen bird-watcher, Tony, who had his binoculars with him, noticed the bird with it’s head caught and the RSPCA were called.

The RSPCA went across the lake to disentangle the bird – which was a grebe.

The bird was stressed but otherwise seemed to be uninjured by its ordeal.

More information about this bird’s misadventure has been submitted by a local witness below:

“Recently the first of a number of floating islands was installed in the middle of the lake in Alexandra Park. The purpose is to provide cover for young or spawning fish and to assist with improving water quality. It is also hoped there will be a knock on effect benefitting invertebrates and birds. The island is currently surrounded by a metal fence to prevent the geese from eating the new vegetation.

Last Friday (11th November) a Great Crested Grebe landed inside the fenced area, presumably attracted by the new habitat. Grebes are very clumsy on land and it probably found that it had insufficient space to attempt to take off again. So it tried to gain access to the water by squeezing through a gap in the fencing and became stuck.

A passing birdwatcher became aware of the situation and alerted the park staff who came down later in the afternoon to check whether the grebe had managed to escape. They called out the RSPCA but fading light prevented a rescue attempt that day.

The next day two vans turned up from the RSPCA Water Rescue Unit. A man in a wet suit waded into the lake and was able to reach the island. Fortunately, he was able to extricate the grebe from the fencing quite easily and, aided by his colleague, brought the bird back to the lake shore. An inspection of the bird revealed some bruising but no fractures. The bird was quite spirited and seemed otherwise to be in good condition. As a precaution, the grebe was taken away to have a feed and be put under observation. The plan is to release the bird at a suitable wetland location once it is clear that there are no hidden injuries and the bird has recovered from its misadventure.”




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