Female eagle owl spotted in South Tyneside causing mayhem.

An adult female eagle owl has been spotted flying over Cleadon Hills in South Shields and Boldon Flats Nature Reserve in recent months. Many bird watchers believe the female bird, which has a 5ft wingspan, must be an escapee. However, the owl has been worrying many walkers, after swooping down and has even ripped a man’s jacket, and there’s talk that she’s helped herself to a few stray cats from the local farm.

Read the complete story here but be warned the article contains a lot of journalistic licence most of which is not factual. For instance the rediculas claim eagle owls can kill large animal such as deer which of course is complete rubbish. The next thing someone will be claiming is they have witnessed an eagle owl carrying off a baby! Why must everyone automatically believe any eagle owl they see in the natural environment is an escapee? Isn’t it just possible to be a bird which originated and fledged from a nest in the wild? After all it was only a few years ago one of the 2007 fledglings from the Bowland nest was found dead south of Edinburgh.

18 comments to Female eagle owl spotted in South Tyneside causing mayhem.

  • Here we go again with more stupid and unfounded rubbish from the press who don’t know one end of an owl from another, things like a few cats seem to be missing out of 25 at a local farm etc etc suggests that this owl may have taken them. Stick to the facts for God’s sake, although sadly the truth does not sell papers, it may be wild or it could be an escapee nobody knows ,but printing some of the rubbish in this newspaper article does not bode well for this magnificent owl, there are plenty of persecutors out there just looking for an opportunity to kill a raptor I just hope this owl is left alone or if there is an owner out there he/she is doing their level best to recover it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.jarrowandhebburngazette.com%2Fnews%2Fex_owner_solves_mystery_of_eagle_owl_1_4188835&h=SAQEXoBeeAQFvyM0GJZagOreR9tfhSan4DM4RXCopTKcIVA&enc=AZORVf7xDxVVLZpP1BuI5foKE7POcf2EufHgSNjy84ID1ppx8FLEyP07xl3ARIdR9iIhX5P45KkxjHU-pIFnNwX88lsW6RISN4ePau1t3SXu6A
    It seems that this owl does indeed belong to some irresponsible person who lost her a year ago and has done nothing to try and get her back, link to the story above.
    Given away by someone who didn’t want her anymore and lost almost immediately by an even more unsuitable owner. This makes me so very angry, these people should not have these wonderful owls as they just don’t understand or even think of the committment involved. I just hope she is caught and that no harm comes to her.

  • harrier man

    Typical UK press who chase around looking for glorified news who are as ignorant as the news readers themselves on TV, and those rich arrogant and selfish raptor killers of the grouse moors who have aready removed eagle owls.

  • paul williams

    When the seagulls follow the trawler they think they are being given sardines. ( Eric Cantona)

  • paul williams

    Verity Ward, South Shields Gazette,Stick to what you know best and leave wildlife journalism to the professionals.On Eagle Owls you are way out of your depth.

  • I would hope that the previous owner of this owl has disclosed the name of the irresponsible person who lost the bird and seems did very little to get it back except put a few notices up, this shows what little regard he had for the owl anyway. WE all know it is an offense to leave a captive bred bird out in the wild and I am sure that had the owner done things correctly, like notifying the IBR and local falconers he would have had plenty of help to try and get this owl back.This is a sad state of affairs and does nothing to help those who are trying to protect the ones on Bowland and elsewhere that have been in the wild for many years. I hope the owl is caught and nothing harmful happens to it, but it will be no thanks to the stupid and unthoughtful newspaper reporter who may well have condemned this owl to death with her stupid remarks.

  • Chris Mitch

    Well, I spent about 3hrs up on Cleadon Hills with my daughter today and didn’t see a bat …or an owl ! Plenty of Magpies, Gulls, a few Robins, Blue Tits, Blackbirds…but no owl ! Never mind, we’ll be back, it’s not very likely we’ll ever see one in the area again so worth spending some time to catch a glimpse..we probably walked past her a dozen times ! Very few other people about so hope no-one got it into their heads to hurt her, we’ll be back next week to try again !

  • Tastyflea

    I saw this owl twice last September ,type south shields eagle owl in YouTube. I mist admit I was horrified when I seen the sensationalist report in the gazette regarding ripping joggers coats and eating stray cats,what a crock,its a nocturnal bird and no one jogs the hills late at night

  • Mark Newsome

    The Eagle Owl did actually rip someone’s coat. At Boldon Flats, in the early evening, a friend was watching the bird when it repeatedly flew down to where he was standing – maybe associating humans with food? It did strike him and slightly ripped his jacket. OK, bit of journalistic license used and not sure where the jogger bit came in, but it happened.
    The Eagle Owl has been causing concern to locals – sitting on house roofs and calling, making their dogs go a bit mad. No doubt the odd cat has been taken – an Eagle Owl won’t discriminate between cats, rabbits, rats. All just a food source. It’ll be much better for the birds welfare if it could be recaptured, even though it still seems to be surviving quite well. It’s still in the area as of a couple of days ago.

  • Chris Green

    I think I just had a close encounter with this bird.

    I have just been up on the hills with my girlfriend (around 8.30) and while we were walking we heard a strange sound. I thought it was someone being daft making a ‘hee hee’ kind of sound.

    I scanned around with my torch and couldn’t see anything so we turned away from the sound to keep walking. About 5 seconds later I was struck in the back of the head/neck and when we looked up we saw a large bird swoop out of sight.

    Would this be the Eagle Owl you are talking about? If so I have a nice scratch on my neck to remember her by.

    Editor’s Comment. This is typical behaviour of an eagle owl when breeding. Please keep us fully informed because when they attack like this its likely the bird is defending an active territory.

  • Mike Paul

    I saw the Eagle owl in my garden this morning being mobbed by crows (Underhill Road – Cleadon)

  • Dom Gray

    My wife and I first saw a big owl like bird in January 2012 when it was eyeing up our 2 Yorkshire Terriers (Underhill Road, Cleadon). We then saw a piece on Look North saying there was a rogue female eagle owl around.
    We have just come back from a walk (9th Sept 2012 @8pm) walking down Underhill Road and saw a massive bird swooping down onto a house roof (approx 1.5m wingspan). It had big pointed ears and made a two tone hoot and sat on the roof for approx 5mins. It then flew off over us and into some trees over the road. From looking at the net it probably was a male but the news report in January said the owl was a female?!?
    I have the owls hoot on video and a hazy photo as the zoom was limited on my camera phone.
    Are they really rare?

    • No, Eagle Owls are very common in captivity in the UK, since thousands have been bred over the last 30 years. Some of these birds have escaped and being of little financial value their owners have not bothered to try and reclaim them. Many of these feral birds have been shot but a small number have managed to survive and breed and many welcome this new addition to the British list.

  • Christopher Mordain

    The same owl is currently sitting in the tree branches of my parents’ garden (Cleadon village). I just went out and took a few photos. It didn’t seem in the slightest bit bothered.

    Editor’s Comment. Thank you Christopher for the update, this bird because it appears use to people may well be an escaped bird. Do you have any images you can send? Please keep us updated?

  • Dawn Wildhirt

    This beautiful bird has been sitting in a tree opposite our house, making a very hooting noise. It then flew on our roof, huge bird, my hubby got a photo with an eye phone, this is the fourth time i have seen it. Fantastic, made my day.

    Editor’s Comment, All we can add is that it’s a good job your house does not over look a red grouse moor, because if it did it would not be a camera that shot it. Its ironic really, a large iconic raptor like an eagle owl is able to fly around and live in an urban locality near houses without being shot. But for those that have the misfortune to fly onto England’s uplands find a barrage of lead shot awaits them, or much worst a poisoned bait or trap.

  • Thomas Bowe

    My son was attacked by this bird in September some of you may have seen it in the gazette or daily mail he was on a footpath on cleadon hills and flew at his head 3 times hitting him twice and knocking him to the floor he had whiplash and still having problems with his back now. The previous owner can’t be found but the bird needs to be captured as my son is 6ft and it done serious damage If it was a child then it could be even worse although they are nocturnal creatures, connor was attacks just as the son was going down at 8 pm. If anyone has info please let me know

  • Steven

    I was attacked on Christmas morning at 6.30am by this eagle owl and it was massive. I was walking the dog so obviously it was after him, it swooped at me first opposite Cleadon Junior School which is worrying in itself as kids attend school every day there. I tried to run home down under hill road and it just kept swooping at me, I was eventually so worried for my safety never mind the dog that I had to knock on some poor guys door who was very generous and gave me a lift home. Anyway, this needs to be captured it was a frightening experience and luckily for me I am quick and have good reflexes or this thing would of took my head off.

  • Craig Sherriff

    Just saw an eagle owl sitting on roadside in Sunderland on Newcastle Road next to the Greyhound Stadium garage..it was next to a dead rabbit which looked like it had been knocked down , cars were swerving round it and it wasn’t moving so I turned round and parked up just before it. I got to within a couple of feet and thought it must have been hurt so I was going to try and throw my jacket over it , as I got closer it turned and looked at me one of its eyes looked half closed it then flew off towards the greyhound stadium. It was about two foot teal with a wingspan of about two metres but silent..It was an amazing beautiful creature. Surely someone can catch the bird and give it the life it should have it must be unwell to let me get so close without moving however it has survived this long hopefully it will survive longer. I moved the dead rabbit onto the pavement so hopefully it will come back for it and be safe.