Pets warning as eagle owl still on loose

HE has gone without sleep for more than a day, travelled hundreds of miles in his car and spent all week looking to the skies.But the desperate owner of a missing European Eagle Owl, named Tiny, has still not had his prayers answered.

HE has gone without sleep for more than a day, travelled hundreds of miles in his car and spent all week looking to the skies.

But the desperate owner of a missing European Eagle Owl, named Tiny, has still not had his prayers answered.

The animal lover's search for his pet of three days has taken back and forth across Suffolk and, yesterday, into Norfolk.

As the bird of prey travelled across counties, the RSPCA issued a warning to pet owners to keep their animals inside to prevent them being attacked.


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Sophie Wilkinson, of the RSPCA, said: “We've had a couple of calls about the owl. Someone was quite worried because it was trying to attack her dog in Saxlingham Nethergate, in Norfolk.

“Our advice to pet owners in the area would be to keep to their animals inside until the owl has been recaptured.

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“It seems to be doing quite well for itself in the wild.”

The 26-year-old owner, who does not want to be named, is determined not to rest until he is back in possession of Tiny.

He said: “I haven't slept for more than 24 hours - caffeine is a wonderful thing.

“I've been searching throughout the night using a night vision eye piece and I'll keep looking until I find her.”

The bird, which made a break for freedom from its Ipswich home on Monday, has been spotted a various locations, usually sitting in trees or on house tops.

Yesterday the search switched from Shingle Street, near Woodbridge, to Saxlingham Nethergate, near Long Stratton, in Norfolk.

But so far Tiny has remained defiant and stubbornly resisted attempts to recapture her.

The owner said he spent several hours watching the bird switch between roof tops in south Norfolk yesterday.

His bait of mice, chickens and hares has so far not tempted Tiny, who has a five-and-a-half foot wingspan.

He said: “I've been waiting with my big net to try to catch him but I haven't had any success yet.

”I know she has been feeding on rats because a woman has got video footage of it. She wants to feed but isn't hungry enough at the moment.

“My main chance of catching her rests on waiting until she gets hungry enough to swoop down to get my bait. That's what I'm hoping for.”

n Tiny escaped from her home, in Valley Road, Ipswich, early on Monday morning.

n She was spotted later that day in Christchurch Park in the town and then in the Broomhill Road area.

n The next sighting was just after midnight on Tuesday, in Martlesham.

n Tiny then took flight to Sudbury, where she seen in Market Square, on Tuesday evening.

n Yesterday morning saw the search switch to Shingle Street.

n Later in the day, there were reports an owl was attacking small mammals in Newton Flotman, Norfolk.

n The owner travelled across the border and was persevering with attempts to recapture her last night.

The European eagle owl is the world's largest owl.

It is a very vocal bird that can growl, bark and whinney to indicate its mood. Its typical sound is a “oo-hoo” noise.

Generally nocturnal, it can be spotted all year round, especially at dusk and early evening.

It feeds on a diet of insects, medium sized mammals and even other birds of prey such as goshawks, buzzards and small owls.

It can live for up to 20 years in the wild and as old as 60 in captivity.

Treated as under threat in some regions, the eagle owl is not generally considered to be endangered.

It cannot be found in the wild in the United Kingdom unless they have been illegally released or escaped, as they were heavily hunted during the 19th century.

Source: www.lightwaterbirdsofprey.co.uk

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