With immediate effect, Starlight Trust will be closed to new intake. As you’ll be aware, we’ve been closed to rodent intake since March 2020 because of the pandemic, but this will now extend to pigeons as well. We anticipate this to be the case until at least the end of 2022. I’ve set out the reasons for this below

  1. The primary driver is lack of space. On paper we have space for about 40 resident pigeons between our two satellite aviaries and the one we have here. We currently have 49 pigeons who are either confirmed as needing or expected to need permanent sanctuary. Partly due to an increased demand for space for abandoned domestic pigeons, 22.5% of the pigeons we have taken in so far this year have needed permanent sanctuary. You don’t need to be a mathematician to see that these figures just don’t add up. We’ve also lost one of our release aviaries which means we’re struggling to facilitate safe, supported releases for the birds we can return to the wild as well.
  2. The second driver is my health. You may be aware that I have a connective tissue disorder and I have been experiencing increased symptoms of late.  I’ve had numerous injuries this year and I’m currently nursing issues in both arms and one leg which means basically every movement is painful. Keeping 50 animals clean, fed and cared for when I’m in pain is not easy. But, more importantly, I don’t want to be in a place where the animals aren’t getting the care they deserve because of my physical limitations, and we’ve flirted dangerously with that line a few times this year.
  3. The third thing is the pandemic situation. We stopped rodent intake last March because we couldn’t rehome safely (for the animals or for us) as Dave is Clinically Extremely Vulnerable. We’ve managed to continue taking in pigeons but with all restrictions being lifted and CEV people being left to take their chances during a terrifying increase in cases, we feel very unsafe going out which means vet visits are stressful. I can’t be in a position of needing to choose between causing Dave stress and harm and not getting an animal the vet care they need.

Starlight Trust is not closing. We have 67 animals in our care of which the majority are permanent residents so they’ll be keeping us very busy for some time to come. We also remain available to any animals we have rehomed or any pigeons we have helped previously should they need us in future. Our work on HelpWildlife is getting increasingly busy and already this year we’ve helped around 2000 animals through our helpdesk on top of another 175,000 visitors to the site to make use of the advice and resources on it. We’ll hopefully be able to restart our free pigeon poo testing service when things calm down a bit and we have ideas for other online projects that we’ve not had time to pursue as well. So we’re not closing, just refocusing. I really do hope we’ll be back to taking animals in at some point in the not too distant future as well but our online work means we can continue to help animals whatever the situation with our space and health.

We’ll be sending this message to all those who support us with regular donations so that they can make an informed decision as to whether to continue donating to us or redirect their support to another charity.

I hope you understand why we’ve made this decision but if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch (sarah@starlighttrust.org.uk).


Sarah & Dave

4 Responses

  1. Hi Sarah & Dave,
    I understand your refocusing decisions. I ran my guinea-pig rescue and re-homing centre for 15 years. ( Aimwell Guinea-pig rescue, re-homing and boarding centre). I went abroad to live for 10 years, so had to close it. I am now back in UK to live. Since being back in the UK ( April 2020) I have 11 guinea-pigs of my own. I dealt with many animals over the years, including a white dove and two beautiful fa tailed doves and some pigeons. Doves and Pigeons used to be transferred to two wonderful ladies in Sutton, who did pigeon rescue. Tried desperately to stick to guinea-pigs, but you know what it’s like sometimes 😂
    You do brilliant work, I know how hard it is and the financial implications it can raise. I funded my rescue centre mainly from donations from new owners and my guinea-pig boarding service.
    I have thought about getting back into it, but only have one shed now. So have very limited space now. Used to have 100 Guinea-pigs off my own and usually around the same in rescue. Usually my lounge stacked high with hutches and cages too.
    Keep up your good work even if you have had to refocus it.

    1. Hi Julie

      Thanks so much for your comment (which I’ve just edited a little to take out your address since it’ll be publicly visible). We really appreciate the support


  2. Thank you for the update. You have made such a sensible decision. It really is a no brainer and I would commend you on your honesty and transparency. Yours and Dave’s health are your priority. If you don’t take care of yourselves you may find yourself struggling to look after your permanent residents. Your knowledge is invaluable and I am sure you will be able to continue to share that.

    I fully support you and appreciate all that you do.

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