Jane Donnelly and I were on our way home from town this evening, when we saw a large injured speckled gull on the footpath of Nassau Street. The probably teenaged bird had been hit by a car, and was standing stunned facing a shopfront, bleeding slightly from its beak. It was able to walk but not fly.
There were two distraught young people watching over it, along with a seemingly inebriated man repeatedly offering to strangle it, and a steady stream of passers-by stopping to photograph it on their phones.
The DSPCA were not available as it was Sunday, and nobody seemed to know the best thing to. So we phoned a friend in the Gardai for advice. She said that if we could bring the bird to Store Street Garda Station, she would arrange for the Gardai to keep it in a cage until the following morning, when the DSPCA could examine it.
Jane and I got a large cardboard box from a nearby restaurant, eased the bird into the box, and brought it to Store Street where it is now resting in a safe environment. It may or may not survive, but at least it does not face the dangers of straying onto the road or facing drunken people streaming out of city centre pubs later on tonight.
So the lesson from this incident is this: if you find an injured bird (or presumably any other injured animal) when your local animal rescue services are unavailable, you can bring it to the nearest Garda station and ask if they can keep it safe until the animal rescue services return to work.
For your first option, in Dublin, the DSPCA phone number is 01 499 4700, and its emergency number is the same, choosing option 1. I’ve now put that in my phone so that I don’t have to look it up if I need it again. The DSPCA also has useful information on its website on what to do if you find a lost or stray animal and how to deal with uninjured wildlife.