Missing vulture captured 400 miles from home

August 6, 2010 | by | 0 Comments

This is the moment a massive vulture which cannot fly properly was finally captured on a rooftop after it was blown – 400 MILES from home.

The nine-year-old bird – named Jackson – went missing from his roost at a falconry in Northampton more than three weeks ago.

Male turkey vulture Jackson was then spotted in Colchester, Essex, in Somerset and then in Paignton, Devon.

Jackson’s worried owners explained the hapless bird is a poor flier and had no option but to go whatever direction the wind takes him.

But the errant vulture has now been caught after it was spotted on the roof of a farmhouse in Plymouth, Devon.

Owner Tracey Murray, 46, of the Icarus Falconry in Guilsborough (corr), Northants., said Jackson had never flown before she took him in.

She said: ”Jackson doesn’t know how to use his wings properly and gets carried long distances by wind.

”He has a seven-foot wing span and he doesn’t know how to work it properly. He is pretty good until he gets in a situation which is outside his sphere of knowledge.

”It is a bit like giving a Ferrari to a 17-year-old boy. They know how to drive, but they don’t know how to use it.

”He got carried away by a gust of wind because he doesn’t let the wind out of his wings.”

Jackson was finally caught on Thursday after falconer David Buncle (corr) was called in and used pieces of meat to tempt him down.

He said: ”There had been a lot of talk about the vulture and all the time I thought to myself ‘I’ll catch that bird’.

”I had come back from work and my two children came running up the road saying someone had called to say there was a turkey vulture sitting on a house just three miles away.

”When I got there he was very reluctant and shy and I knew straight away that he wouldn’t just land on my arm so I tried to tempt him down with some food.

”He wasn’t that hungry because I think people were giving him food along the way.

”Because he attracted so much attention, well meaning people tried to catch him but ended up spooking him instead.

”The owner was heartbroken that he was lost. My wife phoned her and she was so excited she burst into tears.”

He added: ”She was so glad that we found him. She’s had him for a few years and is very fond of him.

”She drove 1,000 miles up and down the country trying to get him back from various sightings so I am pleased we have returned him to her.”

The turkey vulture, which has a wingspan of 6ft and a short, hooked, ivory-coloured beak, can live for up to 20 years in captivity.

It is a scavenger which feeds almost exclusively on carrion and finds its meals using its keen vision and sense of smell.

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