I never thought I would say this but I can see some of the attraction of twitching having spent a large part of Friday evening and Saturday afternoon watching a European Eagle Owl in the wild. For me and many local residents the sight of such a magnificent bird in trees just yards from their front doors is amazing.
The owl, which I am reliably informed by a number of local amateur experts is female, set up home in a group of trees approximately three weeks ago. Clearly having escaped from presumably a private collector as she is ringed and still wearing her jesses, she has become the local village attraction.
But whilst my family and I have found the owl amazing seeing it close up, it is also extremely sad given that it is clearly in distress as it is constantly calling for its owner or keeper. The calling approximately every minute continues most of the day and night which for the residents has become extremely annoying. One couple who live next door to the tree have a branch outside their bedroom window and whilst originally enjoying the close up view, have now had three weeks of disturbed sleep and want it caught or worse shot!
Falconers have set up camp and are trying to lure the owl down during the day time, but she continues to evade them. Her huge wingspan for us non twitchers is a beautiful sight as she flies effortlessly between the trees.
But the bird is in danger from crows and other wild birds who do not take well to a natural predator in their locality. The owl has begun hunting and feeding with the carcus of squirrell being found, the rumour of chickens also being taken is a possibility but evidence would suggest a fox may be the more likely cause.
Local Experts have said that there are no reports of the bird being missing which appears strange but it is a concern about how much longer it may survive on its own in the wild having been in captivity probably for most of her life. I just hope the team of falconers on duty will catch this magnificent bird of prey and be able to look after it for yet more people to be able to see it but not in such distress.