Wagtails found in air vent at Leighton Hospital

Four baby grey wagtails are recovering at the Nantwich RSPCA wildlife centre after their nest crumbled and fell into an air vent at Leighton Hospital.

Staff in the hospital’s pathology department were alerted to the birds’ plight after hearing tweeting and seeing a tiny bird inside the vent.

The bird was rescued by a member of staff and taken to the RSPCA’s Stapeley Grange Wildlife Centre on London Road.

But the following day, they saw a second bird in the air vent.

John Davenport, who works in the pathology department at the hospital managed by Mid Cheshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We managed to remove the grill and rescue the second bird.

“But we were concerned that there would be more which might fall down the chute, so myself and a colleague went onto the roof of the hospital with the estates team to see if we could find where the birds were coming from.

“When we got up there, we saw that their nest had completely disintegrated and fallen down the ventilation shaft.

“We found the other two baby birds, one of which was resting on the ledge of the roof, but we couldn’t see any sign of mum.”

The remaining three birds were also taken to Stapeley Grange, where they were reunited with their sibling.

Wagtails, air vent, RSPCA, Leighton Hospital

Lee Stewart, manager at Stapeley Grange, said: “Without mum around they would have starved as they’re not able to go out and get their own food yet.

“It’s really heartwarming to think that not only are the staff at Leighton Hospital saving people’s lives, but they are saving animals’ lives too!

“The birds are doing really well after their ordeal and they are very lively and chirpy. They are being fed a diet of mealworms which they are really enjoying.

“They will get bigger by the day and when they are big enough they will be moved into our aviary, which is the last step before being returned to the wild.”

Anyone who sees wildlife they think may be in need of help should contact the RSPCA, 24 hours a day, on 0300 1234 999.

For more information on what to do if you find a nestling or fledgling bird in need of help, visit


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