Eagle owl shot in Gloucestershire making good recovery

An owl which was shot by an air rifle in Gloucestershire is said to be flying well after being rescued.

The hand-reared Eurasian eagle owl was living wild at Stowfield quarry near Coleford when it was shot.

Quarry workers found the owl alive after a three-day search and took him to the International Centre for Birds of Prey in Newent.

The centre's manager Jemima Parry-Jones said 'Harley' was doing "very well indeed".

Sgt Simon Clemett from Gloucestershire Police said the fact that someone could shoot an owl was "beyond belief".

"It's incidents like this that really make me wonder if we are a nation of animal lovers," he said.

One of the owl's wing bones had been broken by the air gun pellet which had lodged inside but a vet was able to repair the damage.

"Luckily Harley's bones healed without having any problems and so he is flying extremely well," said Ms Parry-Jones.

Jay Deakins from Tarmac Limited - which owns the quarry - said the owl must be an escapee because "it used to come into the control cabin and bring the guys 'presents' of rats and rabbits it caught".

Ms Parry-Jones said such behaviour was typical of imprinted birds which had been reared by humans.

"With birds of prey, if you hand-rear them and get them very tame as babies, then they will imprint on human beings for life," said Ms Parry-Jones.

"It's a perfectly natural process as any animal is imprinted by its mother."

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