'Quite an adventure' - Missing owl found in kitchen 20 miles away

Barn owl

Willow the barn owl turned up in this Mulbarton kitchen six days after her escape from Bradwell - Credit: Nina Demetriou

An escaped Bradwell barn owl has been reunited with her owner after turning up in a Mulbarton kitchen six days and 2,700 Facebook shares later.

Willow the barn owl was rehomed in Great Yarmouth by Ormiston Venture Academy's assistant principal Spencer Doggett a year and a half ago after the previous owner was unable to look after her.

spencer and his owl

Spencer and Willow taking a walk on Gorleston seafront - Credit: Spencer Doggett

Having spent her life in captivity, never learning to hunt and only flying "five feet at a time" in her garden aviary, Mr Doggett feared she'd "starve or be eaten" after she escaped on the evening of February 14.

But against all odds, she turned up nearly a week later in a Mulbarton kitchen - having managed to fend for herself and somehow cover a 20-mile distance in the wind and rain.

barn owl

Willow the barn owl in Spencer's kitchen - Credit: Spencer Doggett

The 45-year-old said: "It was so cold over Valentine's weekend that we took her inside. As I was returning her to her aviary, the door of the cat carrier got caught in a branch.

"It swung open and just like that, she was gone."

Frantically spreading the word on Facebook, a post set up by Mr Dogget's partner Ali Chilvers was shared over 2,700 times.

Spencer and Willow

Spencer and Willow on the day she was adopted by the family - Credit: Spencer Doggett

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He said: "Someone said they saw a barn owl in Burgh Castle, so we drove up there four days in a row looking for her.

"Then we were told a barn owl was sighted in Porringland, but dismissed the idea she'd have travelled that far.

"Turns out she was in Porringland after all - making her way from Bradwell to Mulbarton."

Kevin Murphy, 51, who runs Norfolk Wildlife Rescue from Norwich, received the call from the neighbour of 'Willow House' on Saturday - the home in which the owl had flown through the window of.

Kevin Murphy

Kevin Murphy, who runs the 24 hour service Norfolk Wildlife Rescue, looked after Willow until she was able to be returned to her owner - Credit: Kevin Murphy

He said: "She was sitting on the kitchen island letting everyone stroke her.

"After taking her to my house, I got a call from Spencer and he provided me with the correct documentation so I could make sure the owl was his.

"We organised to meet up on Sunday, February 21. It was like seeing a father reunited with his child."

Mr Doggett laughed: "It was an uncanny coincidence she got into the kitchen of a 'Willow House'.

"When I first took her home she was exhausted after flying for six days straight.

"She's been on quite an adventure, and the support she's had from everyone has been brilliant."




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