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from Yorkshire Post

   

Moors eagle owl caged after two years on wing

March 11, 2002

Sally Cope

EURASIAN eagle owl that has been swooping on walkers on Ilkley Moor has been captured after almost two years.

The owl had been spotted several times in Wharfedale and is believed either to have escaped from a private collection or been released illegally.

Fears were raised after it tried to attack a six-year-old girl near Ilkley Crags last Sunday. It has a wingspan to rival that

of a swan and appeared to have taken residence in the Rocky Valley area of Ilkley Moor.

Bradford Council's Countryside Service had been monitoring the owl in recent weeks and had been in close contact with the RSPB and the World Owl Trust. Now rangers have captured the owl, which is safe and well and being cared for by a licensed keeper for the Independent Birds Register, who is looking to rehouse it.

Countryside Service team leader Danny Jackson said: "The bird is not native to Britain and its presence in the area was causing concern, as it posed a threat to other bird populations, such as the golden plover, peregrine falcon, short-eared owl and grouse.

"Just as worrying was the threat of attack to walkers on the moor. It is possible the bird had expected these people to feed it as it had come from captivity. The presence of a bird with a wingspan of around 1.5m must have been very distressing."

Copyright Yorkshire Post Newspapers Ltd


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