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Bardsea Bird Sanctuary

Bardsea Bird Sanctuary is the only wild bird sanctuary between Wigton and Lancaster and there is a real call for the expertise of the staff at the centre.

“We are a very small sanctuary,” explains founder Tamsin, “but we’re hoping to attract more volunteers to come along and help us and hopefully this will help us to grow. We have certainly been a lot busier so far this year, it has been a busy breeding season. This shows that there is a need for a bird sanctuary in the South Lakes.”

Currently Tamsin runs Bardsea Bird Sanctuary with the help of her mum, Elisabeth – who deals with their Facebook page, and just a few more dedicated bird helpers who collect and care for injured and sick birds.


Many of the sanctuary’s resident birds have been orphaned or injured by man or nature, some hit by cars and lorries, others by bullets and shot and sometimes by natural predators.

As we speak on the telephone Tamsin is busy caring for a young sparrow who she has to feed every half an hour or so; “I’ve brought her home from the sanctuary,” explains Tamsin, “because she needs around the clock care. It is sometimes easier to bring the birds home.”


Most bird sanctuaries have to limit the numbers they can take in, and many don’t cater for permanently disabled birds unlike Bardsea who believe that even if they can no longer fly then they still have a right to live a happy life.

“Currently at the sanctuary we have some fledglings, be we’ve also got four geese, 11 ducks, pigeons, ten ducks and some special needs gulls who will never fly again. They all stay at the sanctuary and have a good life.”


Although rehabilitation is always a first response to caring for a wild bird, rehabilitation and release does not always work for all the birds that arrive at the Bardsea Bird Sanctuary. But the caring attitude of the expert staff means that even without flight, birds can live a happy life. The sanctuary firmly believes that as the birds have managed to survive their injuries then they deserve to continue to survive right here in their care.


“I’ve always loved birds,” says southerner Tamsin, “ever since I was a young girl. My mum had chickens, ducks and fan-tailed doves and I just fell in love with them. When I moved up from Brighton I volunteered in a sanctuary in Barrow. When that closed I decided to set up my own sanctuary and the lady who ran the Barrow sanctuary came to help me.”


So, what should you do if you see a bird that you think needs help? “If a bird is clearly injured then you should call us. But if you see a fledgling on the ground it might not be injured and its parent could be close by. You need to make sure the bird is in a safe space and step back and wait to see if mum comes back, they often do.”


“We’ve got high hopes for the sanctuary. We’re hoping to become a registered charity but need to raise more funds first. We’ve made a lot of improvements and planted a lot of trees but we’d like to do more and get more volunteers involved to help us save more birds.”

If you are interested in helping or want to make a donation to the Bardsea Bird Sanctuary please contact Tamsin on 07935950281 or 01229 587459 or contact Elisabeth through



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