A peregrine falcon which became trapped behind netting at the exit of the car park at the Brighton Hilton Metropole hotel has been rescued by the RSPCA.
When a concerned member of the public spotted the bird on Saturday 19 March, they called the RSPCA for help.
RSPCA Inspector Tony Woodley said: “We are not sure how long this poor bird had been trapped in the netting, but he really needed to regain his freedom as soon as possible.
“We first tried leaving the big car park gates open throughout the day in the hope the bird would work out that he could fly through them. But it became clear that the bird only wanted to fly upwards rather than down low, so didn’t spot the open gates.
“As he was still trapped on Sunday morning, I visited the site again and decided at that point that the best solution would be to cut a hole in the part of the netting the bird was bouncing against whenever he was disturbed.
“That way, he wouldn’t be able to miss his specially-prepared escape route.
“I was really pleased when this strategy worked. Once he was free of the net, he took a few moments to orient himself but then he just soared into the sky.
“We think he may be one of the Sussex Heights peregrines – which are a large and powerful falcon species – and I’m very relieved that we managed to free him unscathed.
“My thanks go to everyone who helped on this rescue, from the person who first spotted the peregrine to the hotel staff who kept a close eye on him before agreeing to make an escape hole in the net.
“The hotel will now make repairs to the net, to ensure birds cannot become trapped in there again.”
Every year the RSPCA receives many hundreds of reports about wild birds trapped in or behind netting. A major cause is bird-deterrent netting.
Tony continued: “Bird deterrent netting can be an effective way to keep birds off structures, as it can prevent problems without needing to resort to other measures such as killing birds.
“But problems arise when netting is installed without a regular maintenance contract in place, is put up incorrectly or becomes damaged or eroded in the weather, leaving gaps where birds can enter and become trapped.
“These birds can suffer a long and painful death from injury or starvation. Unfortunately bird-deterrent netting is often fixed in high or hard-to-reach areas, making the rescue of trapped animals difficult and dangerous and many people do not regularly inspect or maintain it.
“While the use of netting to prevent birds nesting is legal, it’s critically important that it is properly installed and regularly maintained.”
If you have seen dead birds in netting, or if you are aware of a regular issue of birds becoming trapped in netting at a certain location, the RSPCA would be grateful if you could please forward the address, property owner (if known) and date of the incident to email@example.com.
We will then write to the owner with advice and guidance about resolving the issue. More information on our “Wild birds and netting” project can be found on our website.
If you see a live animal entangled in or trapped behind netting, please contact the RSPCA’s cruelty and advice helpline on 0300 1234 999.