Photo gallery: Norfolk owl and wild bird centre needs help to survive

Stratton Strawless based Wing and a Prayer charity trustee Cat Hodgkinson is hoping they can raise £5000 to help them look after wild birds like tawny owl Spikey.

Stratton Strawless based Wing and a Prayer charity trustee Cat Hodgkinson is hoping they can raise £5000 to help them look after wild birds like tawny owl Spikey. PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY

Archant Norfolk

Bird-lovers are being asked to help make sure this winter isn’t too bleak for a wild bird and owl rehabilitation centre north of Norwich.

The stories of Pixie and Spikey....

Tawny owl Spikey and little owl Pixie are both set for happy endings thanks to the Wing and a Prayer Bird and Owl Haven in Stratton Strawless.

Pixie came to the sanctuary from the Long Stratton area on November 21 after being hit by a car and suffering feather damage on her left wing.

Diane Emmett, one of the trustees of Wing and a Prayer, said: “Pixie is having to regrow all the feathers on that wing.

“She will probably be here until the spring, and she will probably be released close to here so we can monitor her and give her supplementary food.

“She is a typical little owl, much happier hiding away than being with people.

“We try to handle her as little as possible and she is kept as wild as possible.”

Spikey, who is thought to be male because of his size, came to the sanctuary on December 6 after being hit by a car at Thurning and suffering a head injury.

He is recovering well and due to go back to the wild before Christmas.

Diane said: “I think in about a week Spikey will be released into the wild again.

“When he first came in he had concussion and was like a little teddy bear.

“He had to be hand-fed but he can now feed himself again.

“Now he is eating on his own he is just under observation for a few days.

“He will go back to the Thurning area when he is released into the wild.

“We have to handle Spikey with extreme care – he is usually quite placid but he can be extremely grumpy which is why he is called Spikey.”

Wing and a Prayer Wild Bird and Owl Haven in Stratton Strawless, near Hainford, is in need of help after seeing donations decrease during the recession.

The rehabilitation centre now needs to raise £5,000 to survive through until next spring.

Richard Gallop, one of the Wing and a Prayer trustees, said: “In the current recession, we are finding it very difficult to raise funds to feed and care for the birds through to next spring.

“We really need to raise around £5,000 to take us through to spring when, historically, we tend to get more donations as we take in orphans for hand-rearing.

“We are in fairly dire straights trying to cope with what we have here already. We know times are tough for most people but if we cannot raise enough, I doubt we will still be here next year.”

To try and combat the financial challenges, Wing and a Prayer – which takes in around 600 birds and owls every year – has launched a Christmas appeal to raise £5,000.

The Suffolk Owl Sanctuary has donated an Understanding Owls Experience to the campaign and for every pound donated to Wing and a Prayer, an entry into the Christmas Eve draw will be made in that person’s name.

Mr Gallop added: “Costs are constantly going up as seed and utilities prices rise, but funding is harder to find. Unfortunately, charities such as ours tend to be low on the list of priorities when people think of donating, many preferring to give to the larger, high profile charities, but these are our birds in our country and they desperately need the help of the local community.

“Often, it is only when someone finds a creature in need of help, such as a tawny owl having been hit by a car or a bird that their cat has caught, that they actually think as to who is going to care for it.

“Very few vets have the facilities to do more than emergency treatment. It is centres like ours that take them in and care for them.”

There will also be an opportunity to support the centre at Norwich’s Castle Mall during the afternoon of Thursday, December 20, where people will be able to meet one of the centre’s resident owls, Rik, a southern white-faced owl.

There will also be items for sale such as cards, jewellery, Wing and a Prayer mugs and sponsorship packs and people will also be able to donate and enter the Christmas appeal draw at the stall.

- The centre is also looking for new volunteers to help them care for the birds. For more information about the rehabilitation centre and its Christmas appeal, go to or

- Have you got a story for the Evening News? Contact reporter David Freezer on 01603 772418 or

Most Read

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Latest from the EDP

Show Job Lists

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 19°C

min temp: 14°C

Listen to the latest weather forecast