Tinker's Hill Bird of Prey & Swan Rescue Centre

How it all started
Maria Evans, with the support of husband David have, for many years, been actively engaged in rescuing, rehabilitating and whenever possible releasing, wildlife.

Starting from their home in Hertfordshire, many animals such as foxes, badgers, deer, squirrels, hedgehogs .... and birds, from the tiny Wren to large Herons and, of course, birds of prey, all found sanctuary at their home at Waterhall, Hertford.

Maria and David moved back to Pembrokeshire twenty years ago, when the centre was founded in the village of Martletwy.

However some years ago the centre moved to larger premises at Tinkers Hill Farm, Amroth, and this has enabled Maria to expand the sanctuaries’ facilities, thus increasing the number of birds they are able to take in, care for, treat and ultimately release.

In 2008, 220 birds of prey, 126 seabirds and 305 swans have been successfully treated and subsequently released back into their natural habitats, and the numbers have been increasing in the last few years.

The injuries that many of these birds had suffered were quite horrifying, the majority inflicted by man, either deliberately or through negligence or ignorance. Such injuries include shotgun and air gun wounds, trapping and poisoning (these mainly to birds of prey), a crossbow bolt through the neck of a swan, fishing line, hooks and lead weight ingestion. Oiling too, has been a real challenge, with the large numbers of birds involved in even small spills.

The latter, in particular, cause serious injuries to swans and sea birds. We must all realise that if we do not care for our wildlife we may lose many beautiful species. Future generations may not be able to experience the thrill of seeing a bird of prey soaring high on the thermals, or a Peregrine stooping at 150 k.p.h. down onto its prey. It is our responsibility to protect them.

Tinker's Hill is constantly striving to maintain and improve the facilities to house the permanent residents—those birds that have been too badly injured to survive in the wild—and also for treatment and rehabilitation. Whilst we do not like any wild creature to be caged, if it must be we want to provide the best possible accommodation for them.

We have built a permanent Therapy Pool for the swans, and a large Flight Enclosure for the birds of prey to strengthen muscles and exercise lungs prior to release, with grazing paddocks and rearing pens to aid bird independence.

Tinker's Hill is not open to the public because the birds under treatment are wild, and for them to have the best chance of recovery and ultimate release, they need as little contact with people as possible.

Tinker's Hill is entirely funded by the Evans family and the generosity of the public. A sponsorship form is available and any donations, however small, would be gratefully received.

When time permits in her busy schedule, Maria welcomes enquiries from interested groups to arrange talks, in support of her Rescue activities. She regularly lectures to branches of the Women's Institute, Scouts and Cubs, Pain Support Groups, Senior Citizens Groups and local schools, and is involved in both the Carmarthen and Pembrokeshire Colleges Small Animals Course.