Stonham One wings his way home

ISIS the Pharaoh Eagle Owl - dubbed the Stonham One - is enjoying his home comforts again including juicy rat and mice treats after his week long taste of freedom.

ISIS the Pharaoh Eagle Owl - dubbed the Stonham One - is enjoying his home comforts again including juicy rat and mice treats after his week long taste of freedom.

The 11-year-old is back with ten bird pals who escaped after suspected animal rights activists or vandals broke into about 30 cages at The Suffolk Owl Sanctuary at Stonham Barns.

Isis - who was free the longest before being tracked down to a bird table at a couple's bungalow in Pettaugh - seems to have decided that the call of the wild is not for him.

The cheeky bird, who used to try and attack handlers as they cleaned his cage, is now much more mellow and looks forward to his tea of chicks, rats, mice and quail at 4pm every day.

Maz Robinson, assistant manager at the centre which is visited by thousands of people, said: “Isis is a lovely little chap but he used to be quite feisty.

“He knows how to handle himself and would attack some of us as we cleaned his cage. But he is a lot calmer and looks very proud and happy to be sat back at his home.

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“If Isis had been out any longer he would never have lasted, he was really thin and weak, which is why we were able to catch him. He is putting on weight and enjoying his home comforts again.”

Staff managed to catch five of the birds quite quickly, but five more were on the loose including a Burrowing owl, Great Horned owl, African Spotted Eagle owl, Tawny owl and Isis the Pharaoh Eagle owl.

The spotted eagle owl was found hiding in a hedge on site and the Great Horned Owl was discovered in a tree, with volunteers who had come in to help in the search climbing up to rescue the beautiful bird.

Titch, the one-year-old Burrowing owl, was found later too and staff had been out camping on the site grounds to see if they could find the birds when they came out at dusk or dawn, as well as responding to calls flooding in from residents of potential sightings, catching Isis last.

Workers at the centre have been contacted by animal rights activist groups who claim not to have been involved in the recent incident, leading staff to believe it was simply mindless youngsters causing mischief.

The centre, a charity, has now had to spend £2,000 on new locks and is investigating upgrading security further. The birds are unable to survive in the wild because it is an environment they have never known and would have died if out for too long.

A spokeswoman for Suffolk Constabulary said the force was still carrying out enquiries, although no-one had been arrested at this stage in connection with the incident.

Police are appealing for anyone who may be able to assist them with their investigation to contact officers on 01284 774100.

Are you a fan of Stonham Barns? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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