Readers' letters - June 15

RSPB: Please don't kill baby birds with kindness

Friday, 15th June 2018, 7:06 pm
Updated Tuesday, 19th June 2018, 6:07 pm
People are being warned to think before trying to help chicks Picture: Gerard Harris

At this time of year, we get calls from the public about the seemingly helpless baby birds they’ve discovered on the ground. But it’s vital that people resist the urge to intervene – this is a natural part of the bird’s development, so keep calm and step away.Just before baby birds are ready to take flight for the first time, they leave their nest – “fledge” as it’s called. Fledglings then spend a couple of days on the ground, developing their final flight feathers. The fledglings will hop around your garden in broad daylight – hence why members of the public are convinced they need rescuing. Another common fear is that the fledgling has been deserted by its parents. But fledglings are unlikely to be abandoned. Mum and dad are probably off gathering food or hiding nearby, waiting for you to leave. Removing a fledgling from the wild reduces its chances of long-term survival. There are only a couple of situations when the public should lend a helping hand:n Immediate Danger: If the baby bird is found on a busy road or path, and if it is safe to do so, we advise it is picked up and moved a short distance to a safer place. This must be within hearing distance of where the fledgling was found. n Injury: If an injured fledgling is discovered, this should be reported immediately to the RSPCA on 0300 1234 999. n Nestlings: If a baby bird is discovered on the ground that is either unfeathered or covered only in its fluffy nestling down, it has likely fallen out of its cosy nest ahead of schedule. Very occasionally it is possible to put these babies back in their nest, but only if you are 100 per cent sure of the nest it has fallen from.However, sometimes a parent bird will intentionally eject a chick from the nest if they sense it has an underlying health problem or is dying. It’s a harsh truth to stomach, as humans we want to fix things, but sometimes we need to allow the law of nature to run its course.Chris CollettRSPB Northern England

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People are being warned to think before trying to help chicks Picture: Gerard Harris

Turn off, tune in and go outThere have been a number of reports of the dangers of too much online gaming, with concerns ranging from sore thumbs to poor school results, although now the emphasis is on mental health.The WHO (World Health Organisation) has now included it as a disorder in the draft version of the 2018 International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11). The idea that it is a medical issue seems difficult to comprehend for those over 30.The older citizens have their own ‘time wasters’ – crosswords, card games, sudoko – and these are not talked of as being addictive although another example, the poker machine, is a different matter altogether.There seems to be many young people who spend much of their time online with Facebook – friends you have never met, YouTube – cats are cute and Instagram – photos that don’t seem real, but the issue is can they stop?A medically defined online addiction needs to be treated in the way of most addictions including recognising the problem, stopping the action, finding the underlying cause and repairing relationships with family and friends. This is far more difficult than just switching off the device.There needs to be an emphasis on a better use of time – study, sport and volunteering would be better options for themselves and others. There also needs to be some control over the inclusion of game components designed to get young people playing and keeping them playing. Turn off, go outside and get some sunlight – it’s actually nice.Dennis Fitzgeraldvia emailYour pets could appear on TV

I am a TV producer working at Shiver Television, part of ITV Studios (makers of Come Dine With Me, Paul O’Grady’s For The Love of Dogs and Gino’s Italian Escape) and we’re producing a brand new teatime series about pets.We are looking for owners of pets who want answers about their animals’ medical and behavioural issues. We have a team of qualified vets and behaviourists who are here to help owners gets answers and remedies to their questions!We are currently casting in your area. We are looking for a variety of pets – from dogs, cats, reptiles and birds, to alpacas, hedgehogs, ferrets and guinea pigs. If someone in the local area has a pet with a funny, quirky or embarrassing habit, has behavioural issues or has a medical issue that needs diagnosing, we’d love to hear from them! Email [email protected] or ring 0161 952 1756.DaviniaProducerShiver TelevisionGot to laughRail chaos, Brexit botch-ups, conflict, Trump and Kim, collapsing high streets, pollution, knife and gun crime...and what do Brits seem to mostly talk about? Love Island on TV. The mind boggles...T Ithebarnvia email