A rare bird of prey which was stolen from its owner and was then the subject of a massive hunt after being released into the wild has been reunited with its owner.
Sasha, a rare Russian goshawk, was snatched from an aviary at owner Ian Trotter’s home several weeks ago - and eventually ended up being caught nearly 80 miles away from home.
After the Free Press ran a story about the theft, the thieves released the bird into the wild and there were several sightings around the area as the keen bird breeding enthusiast strove to get his prize pet back.
Now the story has been given a happy ending after Ian was reunited with two year old Sasha after a fellow falconer captured her and returned her to him after three weeks away from home.
He said: “I would like to put out a big thank you to everyone who has given up their free time to help me look for Sasha.
“Without all the help from both the papers and the media, maybe she would still be hidden away in someone’s garden shed.”
Ian, of Misterton, received a call last Monday night to be told that a large bird of prey had been spotted by woods in Thirsk, North Yorkshire.
He said: “I got a call to tell me Sasha had been found by York Bird of Prey Centre.
“They had had a call from someone near Thirsk saying there was a big bird of prey in trees at the bottom of the garden. They went off to check it out and when they got there it was Sasha my stolen goshawk, who had been loose in the wild for at least two weeks.
“She came straight down to a falconer’s lure and they took her back to the centre.”
Details attached to the bird allowed Ian to be traced and within an hour or so, he was reunited with Sasha, who was none the worse for her three week vacation. Earlier, she had been spotted in Misson, just a few miles from her home, but before her discovery, there had been no further confirmed sightings.
He said: “I appeal to all falconers out there to register there birds with the International Bird Register because without their help it would be almost impossible to re-unite falconers or any bird keepers with their birds should they be found.”