Owl out of love in search for mate in the Hebrides

Snowy owl. Pic: RSPB Scotland The snowy owl has search North Uist, Lewis, Harris and St Kilda for a mate

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A male snowy owl has appeared on the Western Isles for the eighth year running in a search for a mate.

RSPB Scotland said the large white owl first visited the islands in 2003 and has previously flown around North Uist, Lewis, Harris and St Kilda.

In 2008, birdwatchers' hopes of snowy owls breeding in the UK for first time in more than 30 years were raised when the bird was joined by a female.

However, the pair were later spotted 50 miles apart.

Hopes of the bird finding a mate on his latest visit remain slim.

But RSPB Scotland conservation officer Martin Scott said: "You'd have to give him full marks for effort.

"I just hope that this year he gets lucky in love. To have snowy owls breeding in the Hebrides would be fantastic."

The last pair of snowy owls to breed in the UK was on Shetland in 1975.

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