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Last Updated: Sunday, 22 August, 2004, 12:00 GMT 13:00 UK
Eagle owl returned to owner
European eagle owl
European eagle owls can weigh up to 9lbs
A European eagle owl which vanished over a year ago has been reunited with its owner.

Andrew Davies,39, had thought he would never see Bobu again after it disappeared from his home in Pwllheli, north Wales.

But in July, an eagle owl was found on farmland near Ruthin in July and taken to a nearby bird of prey expert who stages flying demonstrations.

It later emerged that the unringed bird was, indeed, Bobu.

Mr Davies travelled from his home at Glanrafon, Rhydyclafdy, to Penybryn Open Farm at Llanfihangel near Ruthin, for an emotional reunion.

Penybryn owner Islwyn Jones said it was obvious the bird was used to Mr Davies when he began handling him.

"Usually, birds are held on the left arm and fed with the right, " Mr Jones said. This bird was never comfortable on my left arm but as soon as it went on Andrew's right arm it was fine.

"It was quite clear that the bird knew him straight away."

He has been very well cared for at Penybryn and I am so very grateful to them
Owner Andrew Davies

The bird was not wearing his identification ring when it was found. It was tired, hungry, and weak when captured at Nilig Farm, Cyffylliog, which is in the Clocaenog Forest, between Ruthin and Cerrigydrudion.

His finder took him to Mr Jones because he had a number of birds of prey at his tourist attraction.

Mr Davies is delighted to get his bird back at last, and had given up hope of seeing him again.

"It just vanished. I assumed someone had stolen it because the closed ring on his leg had been cut off," he said.

He received reports of various sighting from time to time, but they turned out in the main to be small native tawny owls.

"People didn't realise how big he was," he explained. "They don't come any bigger than European eagle owls.

Distinctive marks

Mr Davies said a friend rang him about a newspaper story about a bird that had been found.

"The trouble is that one eagle owl is very much like another eagle owl," he said.

"But there were some marks on him and, when I started handling him, I was convinced he was mine and so was Islwyn."

Andrew lost the use of his left arm in a motorcycle accident in 1985 and Bobu was held on his right arm.

"There were a couple of things that only my bird would know," he added.

"After spending half an hour with him, I was totally convinced that he was the bird I had lost. All the little quirky things were there."

"I assume that after he was stolen he escaped or was released. But he has been very well cared for at Penybryn and I am so very grateful to them. Their hospitality was wonderful.

"I spent the day there and I helped with the displays. It was great. I had a great time."

"I would really like to express my heartfelt thanks to Islwyn and his family for everything that they have done and the great care they have given Bobu."

Mr Davies received Bobu in July 2000 as a chick. He had heard of someone who had been given an owl as a birthday present, but did not want it.

European eagles owls can weigh up to 9lbs, and there are records of eagle owls living up to 85 years old in captivity.

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