Bid to capture giant eagle owl living in village put forward

A giant eagle owl has stunned villagers in Ormesby St Margaret, Norfolk

This stunning shot of a Eurasian eagle owl was captured by Tony Bushkes in Ormesby on Christmas Day. Since then residents have gone out of their way to catch a glimpse of the bird of prey, likely to have escaped from captivity. - Credit: Tony Bushkes

An eagle owl at large in a Norfolk village may be better off returned to captivity, according to an owl sanctuary which has met the bird before.

The Eurasian eagle owl has been at large in Ormesby St Margaret for some weeks, delighting walkers and residents who have enjoyed spotting the magnificent bird as it roosts in treetops during the day.

However, it has now emerged the bird was on the loose in Great Yarmouth's busy King Street last summer and that an attempt was made to catch it then, before it moved north to Ormesby.

Louise Thorpe and Mark Weston from the Fritton Owl Sanctuary.
Louise Thorpe with an African Spotted

Louise Thorpe of Fritton Owl Sanctuary says she is concerned about the Ormesby eagle owl's ability to survive in the wild. - Credit: Nick Butcher

Louise Thorpe, founder of Fritton Owl Sanctuary, said she believed it was the same individual.

She said it had been spotted by scaffolders in a derelict building, but had taken flight and rescuers were not able to find it again.

Mrs Thorpe said she was aware of the sightings in Ormesby and had been sent footage.

No-one had so far been able to get close enough to see if it was ringed.

She said one man had been putting dead chicks out for it, but worryingly it didn't seem to know how to rip its prey apart and was probably "just getting by".

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There were also reports of it bothering doves.

She said if remained in the wild it could starve.

"We were called out to what we were told was a tawny owl in King Street in Yarmouth in the summer. I took some food for it and it literally swooped down and flew off and we couldn't find it again," she said.

"Then a couple of people in Ormesby told us about it and I do believe it is the same one.

"The problem is if it has been out for some time it has got used to being out there. What concerns me is how it is getting food.

"It has probably escaped but we have had experience where people have got fed up with them and just released them, although it is awful to think.

"They do not do well if they have never been able to fend for themselves. We definitely want a good outcome for it."

She said the next step would be to contact a bird control expert to capture it.

Meanwhile in Ormesby the bird is generally spotted every few days with locals tagging it "a bit of a celebrity."