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Last Updated: Sunday, 18 February 2007, 15:02 GMT
Lucky escape for tawny 'jailbird'
Tawny owl
The owl may have tried to lay her egg in an old crow's nest
Inmates went to the rescue of an owl that sought sanctuary by escaping into a Devon jail when it was being chased by crows.

The tawny owl was spotted by inmates at HMP Channings Wood in Newton Abbot as it flew into a perimeter fence.

When the owl was forced to the ground by the angry crows, it was rescued by prisoners, who then contacted the nearby Barn Owl Trust in Ashburton.

The owl appeared to be unharmed and has now been released back to the wild.

David Ramsden, the trust's senior conservation officer, told BBC News the attack was slightly puzzling.

'Less manoeuvrable'

"When we examined the owl there didn't seem to be much wrong with it at all," he said.

"It's stomach was a bit hard, but an attack like this would normally only happen if the bird was weak."

The trust kept the owl under observation and the discovery it had laid an egg gave staff the possible reason for the attack.

Mr Ramsden said: "Tawny owls do tend to breed early and it's our guess she had tried to lay her egg in an old crow's nest, when she was spotted and attacked.

"Obviously because she was carrying the egg inside her, she was less manoeuvrable."

The owl was taken back to the prison grounds at Channings Wood and has been released back into the wild.




SEE ALSO
New home for evicted tawny owls
05 Jun 06 |  South East Wales
Owl attacks bird watcher
01 May 03 |  Devon

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