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'They were amazing' - owner praises firefighters after city road closed while owl retrieved from tree

PUBLISHED: 20:12 07 September 2019 | UPDATED: 13:48 08 September 2019

Firefighters have been trying to free an owl from a tree on Unthank Road after it escaped from an event. Photo: Gordon Maw

Firefighters have been trying to free an owl from a tree on Unthank Road after it escaped from an event. Photo: Gordon Maw

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A busy city road was shut this afternoon after an owl was stuck in a tree after an event at a Norwich hospice.

Firefighters have been trying to free an owl from a tree on Unthank Road after it escaped from an event. Photo: Gordon MawFirefighters have been trying to free an owl from a tree on Unthank Road after it escaped from an event. Photo: Gordon Maw

Firefighters were called to Unthank Road just before 2.30pm today (Saturday, September 7), after the bird escaped its handler during an event at the Priscilla Bacon Hospice.

In a tweet posted at 3.43pm, Twitter user Gordon Maw said: "Unthank Road shut due to owl stuck up a tree?!

"Apparently a display owl escaped during an event at the Priscilla Bacon Hospice. "

Mr Maw, who runs a PR agency in Norwich, added: "I live on Unthank Road.

Firefighters have been trying to free an owl from a tree on Unthank Road after it escaped from an event. Photo: Gordon MawFirefighters have been trying to free an owl from a tree on Unthank Road after it escaped from an event. Photo: Gordon Maw

"It was between the Colman Road and Christchurch Road end.

"I had to ditch the car and walk back and saw what was going on."

The 51-year-old said: "Originally there were three fire engines and by the time I came back there was just one with the ladder with the guy up in the tree.

"I think they were having trouble manoeuvring near him.

Firefighters have been trying to free an owl from a tree on Unthank Road after it escaped from an event. Photo: Gordon MawFirefighters have been trying to free an owl from a tree on Unthank Road after it escaped from an event. Photo: Gordon Maw

"It's not easy to manoeuvre into a tree."

A Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service spokesperson confirmed they were called to an incident on the Unthank Road involving the trapped animal.

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He said: "The fire service are attempting to bring the owl down.

"The person who owns the owl does performances and shows and it got off its leash."

Speaking after 4pm, they said the service was alerted at 2.27pm and firefighters had not yet been able to bring the owl down to safety.

A clinical worker at the Priscilla Bacon Hospice confirmed there had been an event held there this afternoon, but declined to comment further.

And the barn owl's owner, who asked to remain anonymous, has praised the fire service for the help in retrieving their bird.

"I don't normally do events but did it for the palliative care hospital, at Priscilla Bacon Lodge, as they need funds to help pay for a new hospice based at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH)," they said.

"This owl doesn't free fly normally and would be asleep during the day. She got away from me and flew into the tree to roost.

"I phoned the fire service and they were amazing.

"Without their help the owl would have stayed there until dark and then could have gone anywhere - because she doesn't free fly she wouldn't have been fitted with telemetry."

And they added: "She was got back successfully.

"My daughter went with the fireman to get her. She is scared of heights and did amazingly, I'm so proud of her.

"It may be strange rescuing a bird from a tree but if we didn't get her back she would've starved as she is captive bred and doesn't know how to look for food."

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