This film is part of Free

Mousehole Wild Bird Hospital and Sanctuary

The cliffs of Raginnis Hill in Mousehole provide a perfect haven for injured birds.

News 1975 1 mins Silent

From the collection of:

Logo for South West Film and Television Archive


Dorothy and Phyllis Yglesias set up the Mousehole Wild Bird Hospital and Sanctuary in 1928 after they had cared for their first bird, a jackdaw named Jacko. The sanctuary came to fame after caring for over 8,000 sea birds in the aftermath of the 1967 Torrey Canyon supertanker disaster off the Isles of Scilly which spread crude oil around the coast of Cornwall over many years. The Royal Society for the Protection of Cruelty to Animals took over the hospital in 1953.

In 1975 the RSPCA faced a funding crisis and a public campaign to raise money saved the sanctuary. By 1976 the centre became a registered charity attracting donations from the multinational oil corporation Mobil in recognition of services to wildlife and the saving of seabirds affected by one of the biggest ever oil spills. Dorothy Yglesias published books on the work of the sanctuary including The Cry of a Bird (1962), In Answer to the Cry (1978) and Will I Fly Again? The sisters kept diary notes and logs of all the birds in their care and had over 100 permanent residents. Dorothy received an MBE in 1980 after a lifetime of work dedicated to saving and reintroducing back into the wild any bird in need of help.