Essex

Owl missing in Essex could scare people for food, owner fears

Wicket the owl with owner Kate Harris
Image caption Kate Harris said Wicket might approach people for food as he had not been fed for several days

A woman whose owl went missing in Essex said she fears the "very tame and hungry" bird might hurt someone if it thinks they have some food for it.

Kate Harris's one-year-old Peruvian striped owl flew into nearby Harlow Town Park when "something spooked it".

She said Wicket, who had never flown off before, last ate on Tuesday night and would not survive long in the wild.

"He is such a good little boy, but if he approaches someone for food and they flinch, he could scratch accidentally."

She said she was very distressed and worried about his welfare.

'Ball of fluff'

"Owls are gorgeous creatures but incredibly stupid. They have such natural, primitive instincts - either love, or food.

"I have had him since he was a three-week-old ball of grey fluff, and before he learnt to fly he used to sit on my desk at work," she said.

Miss Harris had been training Wicket off the leash in her garden for some time, and said he was usually very timid, not venturing beyond the fence.

He flew off earlier in the week and she said he would now be very hungry.

"It's important that people in at least the Harlow area are aware of him because he is very tame," she said.

"When he gets hungry he may fly to someone in the hope they'll give him some food, because he thinks humans are there to feed him."

Miss Harris reported Wicket as missing and is putting posters in the area asking for information.

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