In search of a wild eagle owl in Yorkshire

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In search of a wild eagle owl in Yorkshire

Postby Robert Fuller » Tue May 29, 2018 1:43 pm

Hidden in the hills and dales of Yorkshire lives a mighty eagle owl. These hefty birds are back here in the north of England after an absence that stretches back 1,000s of years. There is some debate as to whether eagle owls can be classified as native to Britain. There are fossil records that date back 700,000 years, but these stop at about 10,000 years ago and no one is sure whether these latest owls, of which there are estimated to be only 50 pairs in the country, are captive birds that have escaped into the wild or whether they have migrated here from Europe – a short flight for a bird with a 6ft wingspan!
However they got here, they are an impressive presence. The females are larger than the males and stand at two and a half feet tall and weigh over 4kgs. This makes them one of the biggest owls in the world. The males, which weigh in at just under 3kgs, are still over six times heavier than Britain’s largest owl – the tawny owl. Their sheer size and force makes them formidable birds of prey. Eagle owls can kill a fox or small deer and I’ve even heard of them swallow a hedgehog whole. Even their scientific name, bubo bubo, sounds menacing.
Recently I heard about an eagle owl living in the northernmost tip of Yorkshire. I have been asked to keep its location secret in order to protect it. This owl was reportedly highly territorial and had taken umbrage against walkers, runners and climbers that ventured onto its patch.

I couldn’t resist trying to see the owl for myself.
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Robert Fuller
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Joined: Fri Mar 27, 2009 6:03 pm

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