NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Lost golden eagle Odin reunited with his owner after flying off

Les Gibson reunited with Odin Image copyright Scottish Gamekeepers Association
Image caption Mr Gibson said he thought Odin had fed well on this Scottish odyssey

A young golden eagle is back with his owner after flying off on a trip to the north east of Scotland.

Les Gibson, from County Durham, was flying Odin on the Glen Muick estate in Aberdeenshire when they became separated.

The keen falconer issued an appeal to help find Odin and he was spotted eating a rabbit by gamekeepers in Angus, who helped reunite the pair.

Mr Gibson said he had begun thinking he would never see Odin again.

He had been able to track the eagle for a while using transmitters on his tail, but these had become waterlogged in bad weather after he went missing over a week ago.

Fresh rabbit

Gamekeepers at Millden Estate had seen appeals to find Odin on social media when they spotted an eagle which had leather straps, or jesses, sitting on a meal of fresh rabbit.

Head gamekeeper Mark Palmer then got in touch with Mr Gibson.

Mr Palmer said: "Les came up, stayed over locally on the Friday night and we went out onto the moor to have a look on Saturday. We went out onto the top of the hill and saw a good sheltered bit where an eagle would look to find prey.

"We started looking around and there he was, about 200 yards away. Les was ecstatic. He had been through so much worry. We were just glad we could help out."

Using a lure of hare, Mr Gibson managed to coax Odin back to him.

'Unbelievable' relief

"It was unbelievable to see him again," Mr Gibson said. "I didn't sleep a wink after he went missing.

"He was a bit wet but I put him on the scales and I would normally fly him at 7 lbs 5 or 6 ounces. I didn't have enough weights with me to get a definite reading, but he was up at 8lbs, which shows he had fed well in Angus.

"When they have fed, it is harder to lure them back in with food. I thought he might have shied away but he recognised my vehicle and, thanks to some brown hare, I managed to walk him in."

Odin and his owner have now headed back home to Consett together.

"I never thought I'd see him again after losing him so long ago, and in such bad weather," Mr Gibson added.

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