Appeal over missing bird of prey

A SUFFOLK woman has urged people to keep a look out for any unusual sights in the county's skies after her pet bird of prey escaped from her garden.

A SUFFOLK woman has urged people to keep a look out for any unusual sights in the county's skies after her pet bird of prey escaped from her garden.

Wendy Hainsworth, of Waterford Road, Ipswich, has lost three-year-old Harris Hawk, Helga.

The clever bird of prey went missing on September 13 after untying the knot which secured her to her perch.

Despite a number of sightings and some early morning starts, Ms Hainsworth, 54, is yet to find her beloved pet, which was last seen in the Norwich Road area of the town.

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“I'm missing her so much,” she said. “The trouble is she has got quite clever and has learnt to unpick her knot and she has flown off.

“It was a very windy day when she left and I'm worried that she might get confused because she's not often been far away from home.

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“Obviously she flies for a bit of exercise but she will always come back when I whistle or hold out my hand.

“I've been awake all hours trying to find her - calling and whistling hoping that she'll respond but so far I've had nothing.

“I tend to go out when its quiet - around 3am or 4am - because she has two bells attached to her feet and if she's there then I should be able to hear them.”

Ms Hainsworth, who also keeps cats and dogs, said Helga was last spotted in Larchcroft Road, in the north west of Ipswich, and just off Henley Road.

“So far I haven't had any luck but I won't give up,” she said. “There have been a few sightings so that's encouraging because I know she's got to be out there somewhere - but it's just a matter of if she wants to be found.

“Most of the sightings have been around Henley Road and she'll like it there because there are a lot of trees. I also think she might be near a pond because I've got one in the back garden and she's used to catching frogs so she'll go where she can be fed.”

Anyone who spots Helga should contact her on 07984 705606.

Do you own an unusual pet? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail

§ It is sometimes known as the Bay Winged Hawk or Dusky Hawk.

§ They are common in south western USA, Chile and Argentina.

§ It has blackish brown plumage with chestnut forewings and thighs and a white tip at its the tail.

§ They nest in a tree and lay two to four eggs, incubated for 28 days to hatching.

§ Its prey includes rabbit, hare, pheasant, rodents and reptiles.

§ Aside from falconry, Harris's Hawk is now widely used in European towns to scare pigeons and starlings and many airports employ falconers to scare these birds away from the land around runways and reduce the risk of bird strikes on planes.

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