A bird-lover was gutted when his beloved Harris Hawk called Tequila flew off and disappeared – at SUNRISE.
Falconer Brendan Kelly, 54, is appealing for help after the bird of prey went missing from an aviary at his home in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffs., early last Friday.
Tequila was spotted in a tree at a nearby garden centre the next day but flew off – and has not been seen since.
Brendan is warning owners of rabbits and guinea pigs to keep their pets safe as he believes the eight-year-old bird will be looking for an easy meal.
The personal finance manager says Tequila has no fear of people so is likely to still be in the Stoke area of North Staffordshire.
Gutted Brendan, who has owned Tequila since she was a 16-week-old chick, said: “I just let my guard down for the first time in eight years, and she slipped past me.
“She was last seen on Saturday. Someone telephoned a garden centre where I had left a note.
“Tequila was in a tree and I was trying to coax her down, but she flew off. I haven’t seen her since.
“She’s a lovely bird but she screams at the sight of dogs and could get mobbed by crows, which are things to look out for.
“She was the first bird I have ever kept myself, and I’m gutted.”
Tequila is described as having distinctive brown flashes across her wings and a white rump and tail.
She normally flies at a local football club where she returns to owner Brendan’s glove to take food.
But Brendan doesn’t want members of the public to feed the hawk because it will make it harder for him to tempt her back.
He added: “You have to manage a bird’s weight very carefully, then it will come back to you for the food.
“But normally when I take her out she has a tracker fitted, so if she does fly away, I can track where she is. Because she flew off from the aviary, she wasn’t wearing it.
“By this time, she will be ready to hunt. Harris Hawks will eat rabbits, pheasants, hares or they would take a guinea pig.
“I have seen her take anything from a frog to a hare.
“They are prolific hunters, and about the size of a buzzard, just slightly bigger than a crow.
“They are not the fastest of birds, but they are so patient.
“They will wait for hours after a rabbit that has gone to ground.”
Brendan’s wife Claire, 49, said: “We miss her, she’s part of the family.
“You feel part of your daily routine has gone, because I feed her as well.
“I think she is quite fond of us, too. It is awesome to see her flying.”