Plea for help as crow escapes

A CROW expert who runs a series of educational shows has appealed for help tracking down one of his beloved birds which has gone missing. Wildlife lover Martin Rapley runs a series of insect, animal and bird shows for schoolchildren across the region.

A CROW expert who runs a series of educational shows has appealed for help tracking down one of his beloved birds which has gone missing.

Wildlife lover Martin Rapley runs a series of insect, animal and bird shows for schoolchildren across the region.

But during a training session for “the crow show” on Saturday, his female bird, Toki , was carried away by a gust of wind and the frightened bird then flew off into the distance.

Mr Rapley, of Beaumont, has been searching high and low for the one-year-old African Pied Crow which he said looks like a large magpie.


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He is now hoping the bird, which flew off in the direction of Thorpe-le-Soken, has stayed in the local area.

He revealed Toki's brother, Sambu, had been pining for his sibling since her flight of fancy into the Essex skies.

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He said: “You are supposed to have them attached to a long line when training them but I was convinced she did not need that as she often just sits on my hand.

“I am worried now because although crows are intelligent she has not had to hunt her own food before.

“Sambu is really missing her as they are always playing together and they have a swing in their aviary and sleep with their wings touching.”

Toki was hand-reared and her favourite food is mince, although as a scavenger she is also partial to the odd chick supplied by Mr Rapley, who used to be the education officer for Essex Wildlife Trust.

Mr Rapley has put up signs around the village and people are on the look out for Toki, though he remains hopeful she has not gone for good.

“She has never flown any great distance so I am hoping she will be within five miles - she answers to 'come on then' so I am hoping that will do the trick,” he said.

Mr Rapley's crow show teaches pupils about what the birds eat, their habits and how they live.

n Anyone with information about the missing crow can contact Mr Rapley on 01255 863812.

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