HART Wildlife Rescue in Medstead treated 3,615 patients in 2023 – including 2,478 birds, 1,126 mammals and ten reptiles.

A spokesperson said: “Exploring the numbers of different species we have admitted into the hospital provides critical insights for our team to be able to identify patterns and changes from previous years, and prepare for the year ahead – plus it is always enjoyable reflecting on our more unusual patients!”   

These patients were spread across the year, depending on the fluctuating seasons and the breeding and nesting patterns of different species.

Winter was dominated by hedgehogs and spring brought an influx of baby birds, with numbers peaking in May and June.

Avian admissions show a reliable pattern that allows the team to prepare for the upcoming rush at the beginning of the year, so by April they are ready for hundreds of birds.

In 2023 they saw 124 birds of prey, 41 game birds, 190 corvids, 272 waterfowl and wading birds, 915 pigeons and doves, and 917 garden birds.

Of the birds of prey there was a significant increase in buzzards and tawny owls, and a decrease in sparrowhawks and red kites.

Bird admissions present the most dramatic incline but mammals follow roughly the same pattern. In 2023 there were five weasels, nine badgers, 31 bats, 40 foxes, 45 deer, 117 rabbits and hares, 209 rodents and small insectivores, and 699 hedgehogs.    

And 2024 began with a very unusual visitor – a grey seal pup named Doxipoo! She arrived at HART in early January after being rescued by British Divers Marine Life Rescue on the Isle of Wight, and was found to be underweight and carrying some superficial wounds.

HART manager Robyn Leslie has previous experience working with seals so Doxipoo was in good hands before moving to a seal hospital in Cornwall.