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The appearance of an Eagle Owl

Wild Bred or a Captive Bred Escapee?

This is not one of the Centre's European Eagle Owls! As anyone out there lost one?

During the evening of the 24th August 2008 we were alerted by what looked to be the shape & size of a fox looking into one of our Eagle Owl aviaries. We zoomed one of the security cameras in to discover that this was not a fox but a loose European Eagle Owl. When observed we could see that the Owl was walking around the outside of our Eagle Owl aviaries to try & get in, first impressions were 'WOW' where the heck did he come from!

On entering the aviary area to get a closer look we did manage to get within 10ft of him before he took flight into the darkness. This us left standing opened mouthed, it seemed quite funny really especially if someone could of seen the look on our faces & the Eagle Owls.

The Eagle Owl soon appeared again in the trees that bordered the aviary area, we watched with amazement with many thoughts entering our heads to where it had escaped from. The one thing we did notice was when we got within 10ft, the Owl wasn't wearing any anklets or jesses. The feathering around the Owls legs were untouched & natural looking, there were no signs of leg wear from leather anklets, these are normally worn by captive bred Owls. The question that is unanswered is this: Is he a wild bred Eagle Owl or a captive bred escapee; this is something we will never know especially as there have been no know reports of anyone loosing an Eagle Owl in the County.

With the aviary area at the Centre being well lit in the evenings we managed to monitor the Eagle Owl's movements for days, this followed by then weeks & then months. The Eagle Owl appeared at irregular times both day & night & at times visitors also managed to get a glimpse of this amazing Owl.

Close to bonfire night & with the start of the fireworks, the Eagle Owl soon disappeared & hasn't been seen since around the Centre.

A question now pops up more or less every day between staff, I wonder where he is or I hope is OK out there.

To be realistic, on one hand it was good to have him about but on the other hand we did fear the effect he could have on the birds we keep here & fly at our Centre, he did concern us especially as they are capable of taking out a local Owl population including Barn Owls.

With regards to local wildlife, we did loose sight & sound of local wild Tawny Owls & Barn Owls, this was not good news for a Barn Owl Centre. The good news is the wild Tawny Owls are calling again & the Barn Owls are back hunting over our fields.

Life here at the Centre is now got back to some normality now the Eagle Owl as moved on. Will he return, nobody knows.

For further sightings visit Mike King's web site THE GLOSTER BIRDER

Updated 24th December 2008
Further reports are still coming in where an Eagle Owl has been seen at locations within a 5 mile radius of the Barn Owl Centre

Images below were taken during the Eagle Owls stay at the Barn Owl Centre.

Watch duties
Watch duties
Off he goes
Off he goes
Security Lookout
Security Lookout
Being Mobbed
Being Mobbed
Enjoying the Sun
Enjoying the Sun

Relaxed & roosting
Relaxed & roosting
Being alert
Being alert
Calling Out
Calling Out

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Other Barn Owl Centre News

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The Barn Owl Centre is a registered charity dedicated to community education, conservation and bird welfare
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