Couple from Leiston ask the public to watch the skies for pair of missing Ural owls

Alec Mayhew in from of his aviary. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Alec Mayhew in from of his aviary. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

A Suffolk couple are desperately searching for two owls that escaped their aviary last week – and are asking the public to watch the skies for any sight of their beloved birds.

One of Mr Mayhew's missing Ural owls. Picture: ALEC MAYHEW

One of Mr Mayhew's missing Ural owls. Picture: ALEC MAYHEW - Credit: Archant

Alec Mayhew, 67, and his wife Diana, 67, have kept owls at their home near Leiston for the last 25 years and now care for a total of 38 birds of prey in their garden.

On Friday, October 6, two of their Ural owls, Misty, four, and Dawn, seven, escaped their aviary and flew off.

Despite a few close calls, the Mayhews have been unable to get them home.

Mr Mayhew said he was concerned for their welfare as they were hand-reared and do not know how to hunt in the wild on their own.

Alec Mayhew in from of his aviary. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Alec Mayhew in from of his aviary. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN


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“There were three birds in the aviary, two got out but one of them stayed in there”, he said.

“We have been looking for them ever since.

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“We were chasing one of them on today but lost it again.

“I almost got a net over it but it just squeezed away.

Alec Mayhew in from of his aviary. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Alec Mayhew in from of his aviary. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

“It had been sitting in someone’s garden just 200 yards from our home.

“The problem is they will eventually get weaker, they don’t know how to hunt on their own.

“It is imperative we get them back home soon.

“Owls also do not drink water either, they get moisture from their food, so will be getting dehydrated.”

Alec Mayhew in from of his aviary. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Alec Mayhew in from of his aviary. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Mr Mayhew said if people see the birds they should not approach them and call him straight away.

He said they would not act like normal wild birds of prey and would be comfortable perching outside in the daylight.

“The thing with these birds is they are used to humans,” he said.

“They are not afraid to come out during the day time so will come into people’s gardens and will sit on fence posts.

“The best thing for people to do if they see one of them is to call me and keep an eye on them until I get there.

“I have got everything ready in my car.”

The last time one of their owls went missing was two years ago.

It was spotted just 100 yards from their home after six days of searching.

Misty and Dawn are described as grey and black and have a 4ft wingspan, much larger than more common-seen owls.

If you see them, call Mr Mayhew on 07717 724713.

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