The gull was stuck in a narrow gap between a third-storey apartment and pillars fronting the rooftop of Park Tower in Park Road. The distressed young bird had been trapped for two days and a resident, who had been feeding him, contacted the animal charity.
After getting permission from the property owner, RSPCA inspector Krissy Raine demonstrated her head for heights as she climbed up on a ladder and reached the bird, pulling him clear with a rescue net and pole on July 21.
Krissy said: “This poor gull was in a really difficult position to reach as he had dropped down a v-shaped gap on the rooftop.
“The windows of the flat next to it are grilled off and while that was the best route of access we weren’t able to remove them because the building is listed.
“So we put some ladders up around the back of the building and I climbed up that way. While I was reaching out to the gull, I attracted the attention of the parents and they weren’t that happy to see me. They were dive bombing me!
“But I managed to hook the young one in my net. He was fine and I was soon able to release him and he was off in the air with his mother.”
The inspector says it is not the first time that birds have been trapped at this location. The RSPCA regularly deals with reports of wildlife trapped on hard-to-access tall buildings and those that have had bird deterrent netting installed.
In recent weeks the charity’s rescuers have been busy freeing birds from netting at several high spots around the North East.
A gull was spotted hanging upside down from the roof of the Asda store in Coronation Street in South Shields after his legs got caught up in netting. Inspector Helen Nedley received assistance from fire and rescue officers, who accessed the roof space, where they also found a fledgling caught in the same netting on July 27. Both birds were taken to local animal rescue Pawz for Thought for rehabilitation.
Again with the help of the fire and rescue service, inspector Nedley rescued a kittiwake stranded in netting placed high on a building in Sandhill at Newcastle-upon-Tyne on August 5. The bird also went to Pawz for Thought to have a foot problem checked out.
In 2022 the RSPCA dealt with over 1,300 reports of wild birds trapped in or behind netting. Problems arise when netting is put up incorrectly or becomes damaged, leaving gaps where birds can enter and 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.
The RSPCA says if people are aware that there is a persistent problem of birds becoming trapped like this, then they should forward the address, property owner (if known) and date of the incident to [email protected]. The charity will write to the owner of the property with advice and guidance about resolving the issue.
If you are concerned about the welfare of a wild animal or you see an animal in distress then you should call the RSPCA’s emergency line on 0300 1234 999 or find a local wildlife rehabilitator.
Heartbreaking figures released by the RSPCA have shown that reports of animals being beaten increased by 22% last year – with incidents peaking during the summer months, with three reported every minute.
The charity has launched its Cancel Out Cruelty campaign, to The RSPCA’s frontline rescuers, volunteers and a network of branches are working tirelessly to save animals this summer but we can’t do it alone.