The dangers netting can pose to wild birds has been highlighted after a gull became trapped and fatally injured in Cardiff.
RSPCA Cymru was contacted after the gull was seen trapped on netting attached to the Royal Mail’s Cardiff Mail Centre on Penarth Road, on May 3.
The gull was trapped approximately 18ft in the air, and the RSPCA enlisted the support of firefighters from the South Wales Fire and Rescue Service, who used a hydraulic platform to access the bird.
Sadly, the gull was found to be badly cut, with sores to his wings, and a fractured leg. As he was suffering, the bird was humanely put to sleep.
The animal welfare charity say the sad incident is a “reminder” as to the importance of maintaining and monitoring deterrence netting to protect birds. If netting is not checked and maintained, there is a risk of birds suffering and dying from injury or starvation.
RSPCA animal collection officer Fiona Thomas said: “Sadly, netting on buildings can be fatal for wild birds, who can easily become trapped.
“This gull became trapped on this Penarth Road building, and when rescued was found to be so badly injured that – on welfare grounds – he sadly had to be put to sleep.
“We feel this incident is another reminder about how important it is to monitor bird deterrent wire or netting on buildings, which can pose a troublesome obstacle for our wild birds.
“There are some circumstances where netting can be an effective means of keeping birds off structures as it can prevent problems without needing to resort to other measures such as killing birds. However, it’s vitally important that any netting is properly installed and maintained.
“The RSPCA is exceptionally grateful to firefighters from the South Wales Fire Rescue Service, who helped us come to the gull’s aid and at least prevent further suffering.”
Each year around 2,000 reports are made to the RSPCA about wild birds trapped in or behind netting, many incidents involving bird-deterrent netting. All types of bird netting should be professionally installed and regularly maintained as birds can suffer a long and painful death if they become trapped. Unfortunately bird-deterrent netting is often fixed in high or hard-to-reach areas, making the rescue of trapped animals difficult and dangerous.
If you find an injured bird, or see one trapped in netting, please call the RSPCA’s cruelty line on 0300 1234 999. Should you wish to help the RSPCA, you can donate online.