An RSPCA wildlife centre has admitted a small number of gannets which were blown off course by the recent storms that have been battering the UK.
Staff at Stapeley Grange, in Nantwich, Cheshire, have been monitoring the seabirds after they were found grounded, exhausted having been blown off-course by the strong winds.
Two of the gannets, pictured left, will soon be ready to be released. One of them was found grounded in Bangor, Clwyd, and the other in Hollyvale, Birmingham. Both were found on the 14 November.
Staff at the centre are monitoring them to ensure they are eating well and putting on weight before they can be released back into the wild. They must also be fully waterproofed, too.
Lynsey Cale, wildlife assistant at the centre, said: “It is so important that they are feeding well and putting on weight, but it is often stressful for the birds and staff to catch and weigh them.
“I was a little worried that one of the two gannets was not eating properly, and so one afternoon I gave them a bowl of sprats and hid behind a fence to watch as I wanted to see who was eating from the bowl.
“I was delighted when I saw the gannet that had not been eating so well at first was tucking into the bowl of fish. At last, he was eating and I did not need to worry about his weight anymore.”
Gannets are the largest seabirds in the North Atlantic, with wingspans which can reach up to two metres. In the UK, gannets, like all birds, are a protected species. Gannets fly over the sea at heights of around 100 ft while searching for fish and when they find a shoal they can dive from a height of 60ft at speeds of 60mph, in order to catch them.
The RSPCA is a charity relies on public donations to exist. Anyone who would like to support the vital work of Stapeley Grange can text RSPCA2 to 70007. Texts cost £3 plus standard network rate.