They might be a native species, but the eagle owl (pictured below) is a rare sight in the UK today. Persecution saw the demise of this bird many years ago, but over the past decade they have started to repopulate areas of the UK, to the dismay of many people and they are once again being targeted!
For over a year, a tame (escaped) eagle owl had been living happily in the Forest of Dean. However, a few days ago he went missing after a local resident heard gunfire and for a few days of not seeing him, they feared the worst!
Luckily a local workman found the owl in the middle of a road on his way to work and managed to catch him by throwing his coat over him. He was taken to a vet where it was discovered that he "had" been shot, through the wing!
He is now being rehabilitated at the International Centre for Birds of Prey and as I know this centre and the owner well, I know he will be looked after well. I just hope he is still able to fly after the wound has healed.
I have said this many times, but persecution is one of the biggest threats to our wildlife today and I for one am totally disgusted that anyone could, or would want to kill such a magnificent animal.
When first discovered over a year ago, this bird had jessies on his legs, which meant that he was once a captive bird. He was loved by the people of the local village and they were gutted when this atrocity happened.
If the person who shot this bird is reading this, I hope you are caught very soon and that you receive the maximum penalty available. Obviously education has not worked with you, so perhaps your punishment will serve as a reminder to others who persecute our wildlife that it is wrong and illegal.
The Eagle Owl