'Quite an adventure' - Missing owl found in kitchen 20 miles away
- Credit: Nina Demetriou
An escaped Bradwell barn owl has been reunited with her owner after turning up in a Mulbarton kitchen six days and 2,700 Facebook shares later.
Willow the barn owl was rehomed in Great Yarmouth by Ormiston Venture Academy's assistant principal Spencer Doggett a year and a half ago after the previous owner was unable to look after her.
Having spent her life in captivity, never learning to hunt and only flying "five feet at a time" in her garden aviary, Mr Doggett feared she'd "starve or be eaten" after she escaped on the evening of February 14.
But against all odds, she turned up nearly a week later in a Mulbarton kitchen - having managed to fend for herself and somehow cover a 20-mile distance in the wind and rain.
The 45-year-old said: "It was so cold over Valentine's weekend that we took her inside. As I was returning her to her aviary, the door of the cat carrier got caught in a branch.
"It swung open and just like that, she was gone."
Frantically spreading the word on Facebook, a post set up by Mr Dogget's partner Ali Chilvers was shared over 2,700 times.
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He said: "Someone said they saw a barn owl in Burgh Castle, so we drove up there four days in a row looking for her.
"Then we were told a barn owl was sighted in Porringland, but dismissed the idea she'd have travelled that far.
"Turns out she was in Porringland after all - making her way from Bradwell to Mulbarton."
Kevin Murphy, 51, who runs Norfolk Wildlife Rescue from Norwich, received the call from the neighbour of 'Willow House' on Saturday - the home in which the owl had flown through the window of.
He said: "She was sitting on the kitchen island letting everyone stroke her.
"After taking her to my house, I got a call from Spencer and he provided me with the correct documentation so I could make sure the owl was his.
"We organised to meet up on Sunday, February 21. It was like seeing a father reunited with his child."
Mr Doggett laughed: "It was an uncanny coincidence she got into the kitchen of a 'Willow House'.
"When I first took her home she was exhausted after flying for six days straight.
"She's been on quite an adventure, and the support she's had from everyone has been brilliant."