Sparrow hawk free at last

A SPARROW hawk which was trapped for three days after chasing its prey into Ipswich Gymnastics Centre made a successful bid for freedom today.Young gymnasts and coaches at the centre, next to the Gainsborough sports complex, had been captivated by the presence of the impressive bird of prey after its dramatic entry on Monday.

A SPARROW hawk which was trapped for three days after chasing its prey into Ipswich Gymnastics Centre made a successful bid for freedom today.

Young gymnasts and coaches at the centre, next to the Gainsborough sports complex, had been captivated by the presence of the impressive bird of prey after its dramatic entry on Monday.

Ipswich Borough Council workers successfully lured the hawk out of the gym this morning after placing a dead magpie, not the sparrow hawk's usual prey, in the doorway.

Andy Wood, head coach and manager at the centre, said: “The dead bird seems to have done the trick.

“I think the hawk came down and had a look and realised it could fly out.”

Concerns were growing for the sparrow hawk after it was shut inside the gym for a third night last night. After flying into the hall - and hitting a gym coach with one of its wings in the process - the hawk patiently waited for the chance to snare the thrush which had drawn it inside.

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It captured its prey overnight on Monday and was seen devouring it early on Tuesday but since then had gone without food and water.

Mr Wood said: “I was pretty concerned about the bird. It hadn't had a drink for four days. We'd put water out for it to try to get it to drink.”

Staff had also attempted to lure it out of the hall by placing meat near the exit but all efforts had failed until the magpie was brought in.

The hawk didn't eat the magpie but the lure seems to have brought its attention to the exit and, after a thorough search of the gym this morning, Mr Wood and his team are sure it has made a final escape.

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