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Last Updated:  Wednesday, 26 March, 2003, 09:21 GMT
Hawk retires after wig theft
Harry, a Harris hawk, is to be retired
A performing hawk is stepping down from his perch after he stole a spectator's wig during a show.

It was just one in a series of mischievous incidents which has led to the decision to retire Harry, a harris hawk.

Owner Tom Graham says the bird, who lives at Thorp Perrow Arboretum, near Bedale, North Yorkshire, will start breeding instead.

It will be the hawk's first season away from the limelight in 15 years.

Mr Graham said: "He just became too mischievous and was doing his own thing.

"He was losing his fear of people. But he has been a brilliant bird over the years. He is certainly a character."

Victim 'shocked'

The problems began when Harry flew off with a spectator's toupee at a show in County Durham and tried to eat it, thinking it was live prey.

It occurred during a "dummy bunny" routine when a piece of brown fur was thrown among the audience for him to retrieve.

Mr Graham said: "There was one gentleman there so Harry decided to use him as a perch but unfortunately when he took off he still had the toupee in his feet.

"He tried to eat it and was having a bit of a tear at it."

The middle-aged victim was said to be "a bit shocked."

In the past Harry has also punctured a bouncy castle and ruined an ice cream vendor's stock when he flew into the vehicle and landed in one of the tubs.

Owl mistakes wig for lunch
04 Feb 03 |  England

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