Tinker's Hill Bird of Prey & Swan Rescue Centre

Samson’s Story
These photographs illustrate the remarkable story of Samson , a wild Swan whose bill had been largely destroyed in a vicious attack by vandals.

Thanks to the dedicated care at Tinkers Hill and the pioneering work of the prosthetic specialist, Samson was fitted with a false bill that enabled him to lead a normal life.

Without this care, Samson would undoubtedly have suffered a lingering death, as his injuries prevented him from eating or drinking.

However, the work with Samson had to continue for some time, as the damaged part of his bill gradually receded, and a new bill had to be fitted to compensate, usually at 6 month intervals.

Eventually, this condition was expected to stabilise, and it was hoped to be possible to release him back into the wild.

Samson survived for over 5 years at Tinker's Hill thanks to the support he received, particularly from Ed Hanniford, the skilled Dental Technician who spent many a long hour preparing, reparing and fitting Samson' artificial bill. Samson was probably around 17  years of age at the time of his death.

He is still missed at the sanctuary.

Samson represented the more unusual side of the Rescue work. Most of it is less spectacular but just as dedicated and rewarding. Both swans and birds of prey are subject to more acts of unwarranted and brutal cruelty than they are to accidental damage, although Maria cares for both with equal skill. Broken wings, shotgun injuries, barbed wire, fishermen’s nylon line ligatures are familiar injuries, as are the Guillemots, Cormorants, terns and other sea birds that haver been subjected to the all too familiar ‘oiling’ that is a particularly nasty injury as it is often accompanied by internal as well as external effects.