Adorable Oystercatcher chick rescued from 6ft deep Yorkshire drain

Have your say

An Oystercatcher chick who feel 6ft in to a Yorkshire drain was saved thanks to some plucky heroes.

READ: Pocklington to get a trendy new hangout

The troubled Oystercatcher. PIC: RSPCA

The troubled Oystercatcher. PIC: RSPCA

The RSPCA and Humberside Fire & Rescue heeded the call after the chick had become trapped in Pocklington, East Riding.

The little bird had fallen into a downpipe from its nesting site on the roof of an industrial building and ended up far below in an underground drain.

Concerned staff from fertiliser manufacturers YARA were alerted to the problem by the frenzied calling of the chick’s parents on the building’s roof first thing on Thursday morning (June 21).

YARA’s Maintenance Manager Alban Timmons explained that Oystercatchers have been nesting on the building for five years.

Rescue crews work hard to save the Oystercatcher. PIC: RSPCA

Rescue crews work hard to save the Oystercatcher. PIC: RSPCA

“Our staff are used to seeing Oystercatchers on the roof, but when they arrived for work at 6am that morning, they knew from the shrieking parents that something was badly wrong, Alban said.

“When we realised that their young chick was trapped, we first tried dismantling the downpipe, before discovering the chick was actually underground.

"At that point, we called the RSPCA for help”.

READ: The charity that turns historic Yorkshire buildings into quirky holiday homes

RSPCA Animal Collection Officer Leanne Honess-Heather said: “The little chap was deep underground having fallen into a rainwater hopper on the roof of the building, then plunged about thirty feet inside the downpipe before ending up in the groundwater drainage system.

“The problem was although we could hear him we couldn’t see him or get to him. He was about six feet underground, and it was going to be a difficult rescue, so I called Humberside Fire & Rescue for support.

“When the Pocklington crew arrived, we worked out that the narrow underground pipe containing the bird was connected to a bigger drain which was much more accessible to us. So the fire crew used their hose to wash the bird out towards the larger drain. It worked a treat. The Fire Officer who had positioned himself with a net at the opening was able to catch the little chap when he sailed through on the crest of a little wave.

“When he was handed up to me, I checked him for injuries and thankfully, he was unharmed despite his ordeal. I then dried and warmed him up while the fire crew located the nest site.

“A fire officer completed the rescue by carrying the little bird up a ladder back to the roof to reunite him with his delighted parents. A mesh was then put into the top of the drain to prevent any further chicks falling down.

“My thanks go YARA’s alert staff and the Humberside Fire & Rescue Service for a really effective rescue.”

The RSPCA has advice on what to do if you find a baby bird

To report cruelty or an animal in distress please call the RSPCA emergency line on 0300 1234 999 or visit our website for more guidance at:
To help the RSPCA rescue, rehabilitate and rehome animals, visit