Giant runaway bird worries villagers

FROM bitterns and avocets to Dartford warblers and peregrine falcons, the Suffolk countryside is well-known for being a haven to some of England’s rarest birds.

But even the keenest ornithologist could be forgiven for raising their eyebrows at a sighting near Woodbridge.

The bird – a rhea – was spotted yesterday in a field off White Woman’s Lane in Eyke.

And if the photographs reproduced here are anything to go by it is making itself very much at home in the heart of the Suffolk countryside.

In recent months the bird – which is believed to have escaped from a local estate – has also been seen near Campsea Ashe and Marlesford.

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Residents in the area are now concerned that if the bird is not caught soon it might cause an accident.

Steve Friend, of nearby Tunstall, said he had contacted the RSPCA and the police but as yet they have been unable to apprehend the bird.

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“When I first saw it I was coming past Campsea Ashe,” he said. “I had to take a second look because I couldn’t quite believe it.

“I went back but by that time it had disappeared. Until today the last time saw it was about two months ago.

“It seems to be doing well for itself. It has survived the winter.

“I heard a rumour that it had been chasing people and horses. That’s the worry.

“It could actually be very dangerous. If it runs out on to the road it could cause a nasty accident.”

Mr Friend, 47, who runs a domestic appliance service, said he was now hoping the appropriate authorities would try to catch the bird.

“I want to raise awareness that it is here and try and get someone to take responsibility,” he said.

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