Missing: one beige-and-white barn owl. Last spotted perching on the heads of commuters on Blackfriars Bridge. And sadly, it’s in mortal danger.
The mystery owl, which suddenly appeared in Blackfriars last week, has caused quite a stir. ‘I walked [with] him on my head around there: very friendly,’ reported commuter Andrea Boatswain before snapping it perched atop her furry hood and on the shoulder of a woman wearing a furry cossack hat. Other (non-furryhatted) passers-by reported spotting it in the skies above the bridge.
Concerned about the owl’s welfare, we contacted the Barn Owl Centre. Sadly, the prognosis is not good. ‘It needs feeding urgently otherwise it will die,’ said the centre’s trustee, Vincent Jones. ‘These owls lose two-and-a-half ounces of body weight in 12 hours. It will be desperate in this cold.’ Owls need chicks and mice to feed on. Jones said the bird would have been bred in captivity. ‘It’s lost its identity. It thinks it’s human. Nothing to do with furry hats, it’s just very tame.’
We promptly despatched our owl correspondent, Fred Latty, to investigate, but without success: ‘Sadly, it evaded us. Keep your eyes open and let’s hope it turns up alive and well.’ Rebecca Taylor
What to do if you see the owl:
The owl has a brown tag on its leg with its owner’s ID on it. If possible, note down the number.
Call the Independent Bird Registry on 0161 790 5613, who can trace the owner through the ID.
Call a vet or rescue centre.
Don’t feed it your leftover KFC.