Kind-hearted Antrim tree cutters rescue five baby squirrels from danger
“Just as we were starting up a chainsaw to cut it up on the ground, one of my colleagues thought he heard a noise…”
People working for a major electricity company aren’t normally shocked.
But a couple of tree cutters from Northern Ireland Electricity (NIE) could be forgiven for their surprise when they came across a scurry of baby squirrels in Co Antrim.
It’s not the sort of thing you encounter every day and, to add to the drama, the newborns were all alone.
Emergency action was required, and the workmen rose to the occasion.
One of them, NIE Networks’ Krsztsof Kuchta, told how it was just “a typical day on the job” when the unexpected happened in Dunadry.
“We were felling trees and clearing timber from the power lines,” he said.
“Everything was normal until we came to the very last tree, which was dead and covered in ivy.
“Just as we were starting up a chainsaw to cut it up on the ground, one of my colleagues thought he heard a noise...
“It was lucky because we were wearing earmuffs — but we turned off the chainsaw and, sure enough, we heard something that sounded like little kittens crying.”
Krsztsof began investigating the area and then he saw some movement.
“I thought I saw something...then I looked closer and found what turned out to be a nest,” he said.
“I put my hand in and out came one baby squirrel... soon there were five of them.”
Having found five homeless and parent-less squirrels, Krsztsof wasn’t sure what to do.
But then he said he did what most of us do when faced with a dilemma — he consulted Google.
“It told me how to create a home for them in another tree so that’s what I did,” he said.
“We found a bucket in one of the vans and filled it with dust and wood chippings and used a cherry picker to put it in another tree in the same area.
“We told the owner of the land we were working on what happened and asked him to watch out for the mother squirrel coming back.
“Sure enough, he sent us a message saying that she had returned to her babies and the squirrel family was reunited.”
The Dunadry resident, who witnessed the rescue, commended the engineers for their prompt action.
“They were cutting trees on my property when they came across the baby squirrels,” he said.
“They got a container from their van and produced a makeshift home for the squirrels.
“I was really touched by how the team handled this surprising find.
“It wasn’t long before the mother came back to find her babies. It was a true act of kindness and I’m especially delighted that it had such a happy ending,” he sdded.
Judy McElroy, Sustainability and Environment Manager at NIE Networks, said staff are trained to respect nature.
“We have collaborated with Ulster Wildlife to develop a bespoke Wildlife Aware Guide and associated training programme to help employees protect and identify wildlife and better understand the environment they come in contact with daily,” she said.
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