Appeal as Oaklands College barn owl goes missing

PUBLISHED: 13:17 27 August 2009 | UPDATED: 14:22 06 May 2010

A barn owl similar to Dusky

A barn owl similar to Dusky

A MUCH-loved barn owl is missing after being stolen or deliberately released from her aviary at a local college. Staff at Oaklands College in Smallford were shocked to find Dusky the owl missing on Wednesday morning with the padlock to her aviary gone and

A MUCH-loved barn owl is missing after being stolen or deliberately released from her aviary at a local college.

Staff at Oaklands College in Smallford were shocked to find Dusky the owl missing on Wednesday morning with the padlock to her aviary gone and the door left open.

The owl, which was last seen safe in her enclosure at 5.30pm on Tuesday, was hatched and raised by hand which means she lacks the hunting skills needed to survive in the wild.

Penny Hounsome, animal care lecturer, explained that Dusky was in the process of being trained and, although nervous, she might have been trusting enough to be physically taken.

She continued: "This comes as a devastating blow for the staff at Oaklands, who have spent many months training Dusky and it'll be a bitter disappointment to the many primary children who were looking forward to meeting her this autumn.

"If she has been 'released', the likelihood is that she is no more than a mile away; she could be near water and is more likely to be in buildings than trees. One of the telltale signs is magpies making a lot of noise because of a bird of prey in their territory."

Anyone with information about the whereabouts of Dusky or who saw any suspicious behaviour near to the aviary is asked to contact police on 0845 33 00 222.


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