An owl who was rescued hanging from a tree by fishing litter is on the mend after being treated with steam from a KETTLE.

The tawny owl had gotten tangled in discarded fishing line 10 metres up a in a tree in Green Lane, Walsall, on Thursday 9 November. West Midlands Fire Service attended and requested the assistance of the RSPCA to rescue the stricken bird.

RSPCA Animal Collection Officer Cat Strawford said: “We don’t know for sure how long he was hanging there for, however he was first spotted by a member of the public at 8.30am that morning, and as owls are nocturnal it is likely he’d gotten tangled the night before. The poor bird could have been struggling for hours.

as safely brought down I checked over him but unfortunately saw that he had damage to the feathers on his left wing.”

As a result, the owl was taken to the charity’s Stapeley Grange wildlife centre in Nantwich, Cheshire, to be treated.

There, a simple method was used to fix his damaged feathers – using steam from a kettle.

Bev Panto, vet at Stapeley Grange, said: “It sounds like an odd treatment but it is simple and it works. The owl’s damaged feathers were held over steam from a kettle for a few seconds and this helped the damaged feathers to naturally repair back together.

“The owl is currently in our isolation unit where he is recovering well. Soon he will move into our aviary before being released back into the wild.

“He was extremely lucky that there were no more serious injuries, as often, birds caught in fishing line end up with compromised blood supply to their tissues, and in severe cases can even lose limbs as a result.”

If you see an injured bird, please don’t try to treat it yourself. You can report an injured animal to the RSPCA via the charity’s 24-hour helpline on 0300 1234 999. More advice on what to do can be found on the RSPCA’s website.

The RSPCA urges those who enjoy fishing to be extra cautious when packing up to make sure no litter is left behind. Most anglers are very responsible when disposing of their litter, but it only takes one careless person to endanger the life of an animal.

If any member of the public sees discarded litter around if they could pick it up and put it in the bin they may save an animals life.

All sorts of litter can cause problems, line can wrap around necks causing deep wounds in flesh and cutting off the blood supply, hooks can pierce beaks, become embedded in skin or get caught in the bird’s throat, and weights can be swallowed causing internal injuries and blockages.

RSPCA tips to help tackle the problem include:

  • Taking unwanted fishing line home and cut it into pieces before putting in the bin.

  • Being aware of surrounding trees – discarded line caught in foliage can entangle wildlife.

  • Don’t leave bait unattended – always remove from the hook and put it in a safe place.

  • Use a bait box – this will reduce the chances of leaving behind an empty bait tin by mistake.

  • Don’t leave hooks, weights or other paraphernalia behind.

For more information, visit the RSPCA’s website.