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Birds of prey raised as pets ‘abandoned’

NewsBirds of Prey NewsMonday 06 February 2012

THREE birds of prey, believed to have been raised as pets, have been rescued by the RSPCA after being dumped in Flintshire. 

The RSPCA has taken care of a barn owl and a buzzard which have been found separately in Holywell, along with a barn owl discovered in Buckley.

They are part of a group of nine birds of prey which have been admitted to the RSPCA’s Stapeley Garage in Nantwich, Cheshire, after being found in an injured, sick or lethargic condition.

The specialist needs of the birds, which have been bred as domestic pets, have made finding suitable new homes very difficult.

Lee Stewart, RSPCA centre manager, said all the birds were struggling to survive when found and he believes there are different reasons why they may have been abandoned by their owners.

“People may dump these birds when they realise they can’t look after them,” he said.

“For some, it may be a consequence of current financial times as these birds can cost a lot to keep, especially when you consider veterinary bills.

“For others, personal circumstances may have changed, such as having children or moving house. Whatever the reason, they are just let go and can be very difficult to re-home afterwards as they need very specialist care.

“We would always recommend that anyone who owned a bird of prey got them ringed so that should they escape, they can be traced.”

The RSPCA, which believes the birds would probably have died if they had not been rescued, has said the birds have been bred as domestic pets and cannot be released back into the wild.

One of the barn owls was found on a private garden gatepost in Holywell last November and was described as being in a very weak condition.

It was taken to Stapeley for recuperation and it is not known if it had escaped or been dumped.

The barn owl in Holywell was found by a dog walker in woods near his home in Buckley on January 16.

It was on the ground and seemed to be struggling to fly.

An RSPCA spokesman said: “The inspector discovered there was a mark where a ring had been and been removed.

“It is thought the owl had probably been dumped.”

The buzzard was found on the ground in woods in Holywell on January 2.

Although uninjured, it was very weak and lethargic and kept losing its balance and falling flat on its face.

“It was found to be a domestic bird, and again thought to probably have been abandoned,” added the spokesman.

Sophie Adwick, exotics and trade officer for the RSPCA, said: “It is vital that anyone taking on an animal thinks very carefully about whether they will be able to care for it properly for all of its life.

“Too many people buy on a whim without really doing any research into what the animal or bird eats, how big it will grow and how difficult it might be to keep it in a home. 

“This can lead to a raft of welfare problems as well as abandonments.”

Source: The Leader

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