Warning after thieves steal hawk from aviary

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BIRD owners in Suffolk and Norfolk are being urged to be extra-vigilant after the theft of a hawk from a Tostock falconer.

Baz Malcolm spoke of his shock after the theft of partner Nicky Reynold’s Harris hawk, Marty, from his aviary last week and said he feared for the bird’s survival if it was not looked after properly.

“My partner is quite devastated – there have been a lot of tears.

“I don’t know if somebody took him because they wanted that type of bird or why they did this. They are quite delicate things, unfortunately people get involved every year that don’t have the right expertise and they end up dying or having to fend for themselves.

“I just feel pure disbelief and disappointment.

“I’m more sorry for Nicky. It was her first bird. She doted on him. We got him when he was 10 weeks old and she has been working with him since day one. We were just in the process of looking for a suitable female to breed from.”

The couple noticed Marty had gone missing at about 5.50am on Thursday.

Mr Malcolm, who has looked after birds for more than 20 years, said: “Nicky came in and said Marty was gone. I thought she was joking, then when I realised she wasn’t. I went and checked the unit wasn’t damaged and checked the other birds.

“There is no way it could of get out by itself. I checked the roof. The strange thing is that he was on one side of a double unit – the birds on the other side were untouched. I would have thought if anybody was going to do anything malicious they would have let them all out.”

He said he bought the hawk to train up for falconry and described the financial value of the bird as in double figures ‘at the low end of the market’. “We finished the season with him a couple of weeks ago and because he is a juvenile and needs to get his adult plumage, we put him down for four to six months to moult his feathers and have a rest,” Mr Malcolm said.

Now he is warning other bird owners to review their security to prevent more birds from being stolen. The hawk has an identification ring on its leg.

The theft happened between 8.30pm last Wednesday and 6am on Thursday. Anyone with information should phone the Crime Investigation Bureau (CIB) on 01473 613500 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.