Video: Sam the European eagle owl returns home after his two-week escapade

11:28 12 July 2014

James Mann has been reunited with his pet owl Sam, after he went missing for nearly two weeks. Picture: Ian Burt

James Mann has been reunited with his pet owl Sam, after he went missing for nearly two weeks. Picture: Ian Burt

Archant © 2014

Those glowering orange eyes suggest a wild sense of adventure – but this European eagle owl seems glad to be home safely after surviving an eventful two-week escapade.

Scraps with chickens, rows with crows and journeys around the Norfolk countryside all appear to have featured in the exploits of the owl, named Sam, who went missing from his owner James Mann’s garden on Tunn Street, Fakenham June 27.

It was originally thought the bird had been stolen, but it now appears to have been set free by a well-meaning but ill-informed passerby.

Mr Mann said his pet owl can not fly far because it is moulting. The sociable bird was left on a perch in his garden and he disappeared overnight.

The owl had a metal clip attached to its feet and its perch.

Mr Mann, a chef, said Sam, wanting attention, had been making a lot of noise, and he believes someone set the bird free.

He feared it would not survive in the wild but was found on Thursday at Pudding Norton, near Fakenham, and has been returned home.

Despite having lost weight and suffered feather damage, Mr Mann, 22, said it will make a full recovery.

He said: “I’m amazed and delighted Sam’s survived.

“I thought he would starve.

“He must have picked off at roadkill or whatever he could get - there were reports of chickens going missing every day from the Sculthorpe Mill.”

Sam was spotted by David Siseman in his garden in Pudding Norton on Thursday morning.

A few days earlier Mr Siseman, 67, who is chairman of the Fakenham and Dereham Talking Newspaper Association, heard Sam’s story during recording of the Dereham and Fakenham Times, a sister paper of the EDP, and contacted Norfolk Police.

Mr Siseman said: “Some blackbirds in the garden were alarmed by the owl and were making a heck of a racket, but he didn’t look to be too bothered – I think he was exhausted.

“James said whoever freed Sam in the middle of a moult, thinking they were doing him a favour, nearly killed him.”

Mr Mann said he wanted to speak to whoever set Sam free.

“People may think they are helping the birds, but they could be giving them a death sentence and wreaking havoc,” he said.

“He’s a domesticated bird so should not be set free in the wild.”

Anyone with information should contact Norfolk Police on 101.

Do you have a story about an unusual pet? Email


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