Tawny owl babies Charlie and Teddy are amongst a host of tiny birds and animals who have arrived at a wildlife rescue centre as spring has sprung.

Selby Wildlife Rehabilitation at Barlby, near Selby, says Charlie was found by Caroline Lewis, a wildlife artist from Riccall, while out walking her dogs.

"Caroline thinks he may have been cast out of the nest due to illness," said spokeswoman Annette Pyrah. "This was confirmed when it was discovered he had a mouth infection."

She said the centre was 'bursting at the seams' after receiving dozens of calls about cat attacks on baby birds, with the smallest patient weighing just 5 grams. "Thought to be a little blue tit, its three siblings were killed by a cat," she said.

"However, this fourth little chick was carried into the house, complete with nest, and somehow survived. She is fed every 30 minutes and now weighs 9 grams.

"Ducklings are also flocking to the centre and often arrive very traumatised.They are provided with a feather duster for comfort and kept warm with a heat lamp.

"Three baby rabbits, still with their eyes closed, were accidentally dug up in a garden. They are quite a handful and have been nicknamed, Havoc, Mayhem and Mischief. They are bottle fed every two hours with Esbilac milk."

She advised anyone finding a baby bird or mammal to first ensure it was indeed an orphan, as the best start in life for any wild creature was with its natural parents. "However, if they are abandoned or orphaned, then the finder needs to act quickly and do these three things: keep them warm, keep them quiet and take them to a Wildlife Rescue as quickly as possible."

She added that a result of the influx of spring orphans, the Rescue Centre was running low on funds and asked anyone able to help to call 01757 290459 or 07803 180720.

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