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Last Updated: Monday, 23 May, 2005, 19:46 GMT 20:46 UK
Escaped bald eagle found in tree
Bald eagle
A tracking device attached to Alaska was not working
A bald eagle that flew off during a display at a bird of prey sanctuary has been found safe nearly 40 miles away.

Fourteen-year-old Alaska was spotted in a tree in the garden of a property near Faversham in Kent on Monday.

The star of the Eagle Heights Bird of Prey Centre in Eynsford, near Dartford, escaped during a show on Sunday.

She was coaxed down from the tree by a bird of prey handler from Eagle Heights who had been investigating other possible leads in Kent.

The centre said it had received calls throughout Monday with reported sightings of the 4.5kg (9.9lbs) bird across the South East.

'Fantastic sight'

Robin French was the man who found Alaska in his garden just after 1600 BST.

"I saw lots of crows attacking a large bird in our tree," said Mr French.

"I must admit I was a bit shocked to see this big bird looking back at me but she was a fantastic sight."

His wife Maureen said: "We've got quite a large garden with three acres of ground and some very large mature trees, so I presume she came down for shelter.

"We were just in awe of the size of the bird."

Handler Johnny Ames arrived at their home to find Alaska high up an oak tree.

He said she was "looking perplexed" because of the crows attacking her.

She is a part of the family and I can't tell you how much this means to us
Alan Ames, Eagle Heights Bird of Prey Centre

"I couldn't get near her but Mr French was having rabbit for his dinner and he allowed me to wave that at her.

"She immediately swooped down and came to me."

Alaska had come to no harm and she was taken back to Eagle Heights by Mr Ames and his father who runs the centre.

Alan Ames said he was relieved to have the bird back.

"She is a part of the family and I can't tell you how much this means to us.

"Alaska is totally indifferent to all the fuss she has caused."

The bird, who has a six-feet wingspan, has gone missing on five occasions in the past and each time has been found up a tree or on a roof.

Alaska was hatched from wild disabled parents in Winnipeg, Canada, and has lived at the centre since she was six months old.

She has visited hundreds of schools in the South East and even flew inside the Royal Albert Hall in London.

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