‘It was unbelievable’ - falconer Jo Daffin thanks supporters who helped get lost Harris hawk Chink home following Storm Doris
- Credit: Eastern Daily Press � 2017
The owner of a Harris hawk who was successfully brought back home after his aviary was damaged by Storm Doris, has thanked the volunteers who helped on the exhausting search for her bird.
Jo Daffin, who runs Phoenix Bird of Prey Rescue, in Reymerston, near Dereham, said she was also eternally grateful to all those who shared the appeal for sightings on social media, saying the response was 'unbelievable'.
The 14-year-old hawk Chink was blown away from his damaged aviary after the gale-force winds on Thursday blew the roof off.
As he disappeared towards the Hardingham estate, volunteers from the rescue charity sprang into action to form a search party with torches. They heard Chink's bell, which was still attached to his tail, but could not see him in the dark.
'Harris hawks have brilliant eyesight during the day but not at night so we hoped he had gone to roost and wasn't injured,' said Miss Daffin.
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At first light on Friday the search continued and around midday a volunteer spotted Chink a quarter of a mile from home.
'He was sat in a tree, as bold as anything,' said Miss Daffin. 'I called him and he followed me all the way home, without any food, which shows what an incredible bond we have because birds of prey are very much food orientated.'
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It took another six hours to encourage the shaken bird to be caught.
The pair have spent a quiet weekend, recovering from the drama, and Chink is now back in his repaired aviary.
MORE: Chink is home! Miss Daffin has had Chink, who was captive-bred, for four years after he came to her as a rescue. But the charity's main aim is to rescue, rehabilitate and release British wild birds.
'We set up the charity four years ago but I have been doing rescue and rehabilitation for about 15 years. It is incredibly rewarding watching them go back into the wild,' she said.
'The birds are my family, my friends, my children, my life and that is why it is so devastating to lose one.
'I could not believe the response to my appeal for sightings, it was unbelievable. We are still getting calls today.'
Thanks to her appeal another Harris hawk was also reunited with his owner in Thorpe St Andrew, Norwich, after people looking out for Chink reported sightings of his bird.