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Hunt for hawk absconder

PUBLISHED: 18:17 18 August 2002 | UPDATED: 12:30 03 March 2010

CHOPPER the Harris hawk has given Ipswich the bird!

The Essex-based hawk didn't find the delights of Suffolk's county town to his liking and decided to escape while he could.

CHOPPER the Harris hawk has given Ipswich the bird!

The Essex-based hawk didn't find the delights of Suffolk's county town to his liking and decided to escape while he could.

The large brown bird, who works for Natures Way Pest Control in Rayleigh, was meant to be shooing pigeons away from the stands at Ipswich Town Football Club when he made his getaway.

Although the two-year-old bird has been missing for 11 days now his owners are still optimistic they will get him back.

Don Warren, one of the partners of Natures Way Pest Control, said: "We will get Chopper back eventually. It will just take a bit of time.

"Chopper was in Ipswich working on a job when he escaped. He was being used to deter pigeons away from the football club."

Mr Warren is offering a reward for anyone who provides information leading to the capture of Chopper and urges anyone who spots him not to approach him.

"If people try to get near him, he will fly away and then we definitely won't get him back," said Mr Warren.

Morris Hawkins of the Suffolk Owl Sanctuary said: "Harris hawks are the most sociable of all breeds of falcons and pose no danger to the public whatsoever.

"They are a hunting bird and if hungry then their most likely prey would be rabbits.

"We would advise anybody who sees the Hawk not to feed him as it will make the job of catching him very difficult because the birds fly on reward.

Harris hawks are used by many football clubs around the country, as a way of getting rid of pigeons from the stands.

"Pigeons tend to gather in the stands and create a lot of mess on the seats, which takes a lot of time and money to clear-up.

"As a result, many clubs employ the services of the Harris hawk to scare the pigeons away," said Mr Morris.

Anyone who sees Chopper should call 01375 392032 or 08950 772794.

www.the-owl-barn.com/bbop/info.html

www.hawk-conservancy.org

www.natures-way.co.uk

www.birdbarrier.com

Fastfacts:

N Harris' have distinctive chestnut, black and white feathers.

N The Harris' hawk originates from the United States, but is the most popular hawk for falconers in the United Kingdom.

N They are 18 inches in length and have a wingspan of 43 inches.

N Their diet is mainly small to medium sized rodents - rats, mice. It is also known to take birds - often in flight - and lizards and can take mammals up to the size of a full-grown rabbit.

N The voice of the mature Harris Hawk is typical of the buzzard family - long, harsh screams when disturbed or when calling for food. Mild disturbance brings on an unimpressive "eee eee eee eee".

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