Understanding what happens to wild animals after they leave our care is an important part of our work; it helps us to ensure that the animals we rehabilitate have the best chance of survival after release.
Current research projects
Our current research project hopes to shed some light on hedgehog hibernation patterns.
We're working with the University of Reading to follow more than 40 hedgehogs in the wild with tiny transmitters so that behaviour, location and hibernation patterns can be tracked and analysed to see how well they cope after release.
Although there has been previous research done on hedgehogs in summer, this is the first time information about their winter hibernation has been recorded.
Mallydams Wood wildlife officer, Richard Thompson, said:
We are all really excited about this project. There really is not that much information out there about them – this kind of study has never been done before.
What we've learnt from recent monitoring
A peregrine falcon, like the one on the right, came into our centre with fight injuries.
He was badly beaten up and spent several weeks recovering before he was well enough to be ringed and released.
We returned him back to where he was found and he immediately tried to recapture his territory. The dramatic fight that followed was captured on film - watch it on YouTube.
Peregrine battles over territory can be fatal, and this was a particularly vicious fight. Could we have prevented this second fight by doing things differently? Thankfully our peregrine, recognised by the ring we placed on him, has been spotted alive and well and nesting on Chichester Cathedral.
Successful release of wildlife
In similar circumstances, a gull was brought to us after being attacked by a pair of gulls who were taking over his territory. We fixed him up, ringed him, and put him back where he was found. Two weeks later, beaten in another fight, the gull returned to the centre.
This time he stayed a bit longer. When he was released again, the gulls who had attacked him had established a nest and he had to admit defeat and move on to a new territory.
How you can help
Ringing these birds has allowed us to follow their progress long after release. In February 2010, we received information to say a barn owl we had rehabilitated six years earlier had been spotted living happily in the wild.
We rely on members of the public and other organisations to report sightings to us. Our gulls can be identified by the additional large white ring on the right leg. If you spot a ringed bird whilst you are out and about, please help build a picture of its life - report your sighting online through the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO).