Fleetwood RNLI volunteer rescues Eagle Owl

Lifeboats News Release

When one of the volunteers from Fleetwood RNLI heard there was a life in danger, he didn’t hesitate to offer help. What was unusual was that the casualty was an escaped Eagle Owl.

The muddied Eagle Owl safely on the canoe, with RNLI volunteers Skip Frith and Nathan Hackney

RNLI/Nathan Hackney

Rescued owl with RNLI volunteers Skip and Nathan.

Skip Frith, a Safety Assistant at Fleetwood Nautical College and a volunteer at Fleetwood RNLI, was first alerted to the owl in distress, by local birdwatchers, Steven and Jane Dunstan. He went to find the owl, spotted on Kincraig Lake, Bispham and after several attempts at finding the large bird, found it via its bright orange eyes, which were all that were visible. The rest of the bird was covered in mud.

He enlisted the help of fellow RNLI volunteer, Nathan Hackney, the Community Safety Officer with the RNLI at Fleetwood and they took a canoe out to rescue the owl.

It was found deep in mud and it was eventually freed and returned to dry land, where the rescuers washed the mud off and gave it its first food for several days.

Skip, a registered Falconer, had experience of handing large birds of prey and was soon able to help the owl to recovery.

The owl’s owners were discovered through the leg ring containing the bird’s information and the Independent Bird Register. The Eagle Owl is now back with its relieved and happy owners.

Skip said ‘It was in a sorry state when we eventually got to it and we were just relieved to see it was still alive. It looked like it had been in the mud for several days. I’m not sure it would have lasted much longer. It’s definitely one of my more unusual rescues and not one I’ve been trained for with the RNLI!’.

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The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates over 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.

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