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Young injured tawny owl found beside Norfolk A-road prompts warning to motorists

PUBLISHED: 15:49 14 May 2018 | UPDATED: 15:49 14 May 2018

The baby tawny owl has now been taken in by the Raptor Trust, Picture: North Norfolk Distict Council.

The baby tawny owl has now been taken in by the Raptor Trust, Picture: North Norfolk Distict Council.

North Norfolk Distict Council

An injured tawny own is recovering well having been hit by a car, says the saviour who took the little bird in.

The young owl was found in Holt last night by the North Norfolk Police, who called Norfolk birds of prey charity the Raptor Trust, for their help.

Claire Halls is a long-time volunteer and trustee of the charity, and rushed to the scene on the A148 last night, and then brought the owl home with her.

“He’s been hit by a car,” the 31-year-old said. “He’s got an ulcer in his eye and he had blood in his mouth from where he’s bit his tongue, and he was in shock.

“But we’re putting eye drops in and we’re hopeful that he could have recovered in a week and a half or two weeks.”

Ms Halls continued: “Sadly this is something we’re seeing more and more often. We have about 150 birds a year which have been hit by cars, and now tawny owls are in the amber conservation bracket because of their rapid decline in numbers in recent years.”

Ms Halls continued: “This little tawny should be fine- he’s moulting his tail for the first time so he can only be between nine and 12 months old.”

There are a number of things which drivers can do to avoid hitting birds of prey on the roads.

Ms Halls said: “With kestrels and barn owls you can predict their behaviour. Kestrels hover over an area listening for a heartbeat of prey. If you see it hovering, it’s not a case of if it’s going to swoop, it’s when.

“So slow your speed and switch lanes if necessary, because it will dive.”

She added: “People often think that barn owls are chasing their cars because they fly along the side of roads beside a car. They’re not, they’re flying along the edge of a field beside the road because in the embankment is where most of their pret is.

“But having searched one field with no luck, they’ll then come across the road to search the one beside. So they will cross, in front or behind your car, so it’s worth keeping an eye our for those behaviours.”

Ms Halls continued: “You can also buy animal alert whistles, which emit a noise only wildlife can hear when a car is travelling above 30 miles an hour. It’s often enough to jerk birds of prey out of their hunting pattern.”

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