Recently, I spent time with a lovely man named John Potts. John works tirelessly to protect and rescue wildlife, mainly in the South of England. John and his wife Linda run a charity called “Swans & Friends Bird Rescue”. They came out to Dunsfold, Surrey about 6 weeks ago to rescue a swan in the local village that had injured her foot.
Recently we had to call him out again as there was a lone swan (the brother of the swan he rescued previously) being bullied by his dad to leave the area. Cygnets get to stay with their parents for a year but come the next Spring and they are expected to fly off and find a flock. This swan had decided he rather liked staying and the Dad wasn’t having any of it. He chased him down the road and a couple of times, and locals had to stop traffic! I found the swan sitting in the middle of the road one time as he had been evicted from his pond, by his Dad, where had lived alone for at least two months. We decided it was best for him to be taken to a flock where he could be around other swans and hopefully find a girlfriend eventually. It was possible that either he would get run over or his Dad would kill him. No one wanted to take that chance.
I asked John if I could accompany him on the trip as I wanted to see where our lone swan, whom I had grown quite attached to, would live. I also wanted to highlight the amazing job, John and Linda do to protect our wildlife. At their home in Copthorne West Sussex, they care for over 100 birds and they take hundreds more to wildlife hospitals to be treated.
On the day I accompanied John, he received 38 calls in the morning. One call was from someone who had found an injured baby mouse. We stopped off along the way to pick up a baby owl too that someone had found- the sweetest little thing that had fallen out of its nest on to a road.
Linda and John use donations from others to fund their valuable work. I was impressed at how much effort they put into saving birds in the area. John mentioned that he received calls from all over the country and from what he told me, it seemed that there just aren’t enough rescue services available to help our wildlife. John and Linda focus mainly on birds but still help all animals in need by referring them to the right centre. Amazing work!
After a two hour drive, we arrived in Kent, our lone swan’s new home. John had quite a few scratches from the swan and told me about previous incidents where he had been pretty badly injured whilst trying to rescue birds. It’s a perilous job at times and John also spends a lot of time on the road taking injured or endangered birds to wildlife hospitals and new homes.
It was so rewarding to watch the swan (I’d named him Sotu) swim off into his new home and finally see him surrounded by other swans. He had lived in Dunsfold for around two months completely alone. He now lives at Bow Bridge Marina in Kent and will be looked after by a lovely lady called Sue, who also feeds the ducks living there and the four geese at the marina. There are many swans that live there too (usually around 50) and Sue is kind enough to feed all of them and keep an eye on their health and wellbeing.
John and Linda are experts at what they do and have extensive knowledge when it comes to bird rescue, treatment, and release.
Here is footage of Linda (John’s wife) releasing a buzzard that they cared for:
John and Linda desperately need more funds to help wildlife. They are self-funding and rely on the goodwill and generosity of others to help them.
If you would like to make a donation, here are the details to help John and Linda continue their vital work: Swans & Friends Bird Rescue:
Swans And Friends Bird Rescue
Sort code: 30-94-38
OR click on the “donate” paypal button on the right hand side and be sure to reference: Swans and Friends
I can’t thank John and Linda enough for rescuing the swans in Dunsfold. I fretted daily about them and thanks to “Swans & Friends Bird Rescue”, these two swans now have the chance of a full, healthy life. John and Linda really do make a difference.