There's no place like dome for the owl of St Paul's
Thursday 03 July 1997
The European eagle owl was first spotted by stoneworkers repairing the exterior masonry on the colonnade beneath the huge dome. They found droppings, then noticed a pair of eyes gazing steadily at them from a dark recess. The owl then flew off towards the bell tower, revealing a wingspan of about five feet.
Clerk of The Works Terry Lee said: ''It's not actually been living here, but it has been in and out over the last two months. If it stops the pigeons from fouling the cathedral and its surroundings we're delighted to have it here.''
Mike Everett, a spokesman for the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, identified the visitor as a European eagle owl from a photograph. It is a species which is widespread in Europe but not resident in the British Isles.
''Quite a few are kept in captivity here, and they're popular with falconry centres where they're shown off to the public,'' he said. ''I'm sure it is one which has escaped.''
''They're big, tough, versatile birds and they'd have no trouble at all catching pigeons, of which there's an endless supply. It'll be taking them while they roost at night, and I reckon it could survive for ages.''
Eagle owls normally make their nests in rocky crevices on cliffs and mountainsides, and the nearest place they are found in the wild to Britain is in the mountains of the Ardennes in Belgium.
- 1 Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
- 2 Amber Roof: Sister of Charleston shooting suspect Dylann Roof launches fund-raising appeal for wedding and honeymoon
- 3 'Help me I'm trapped in a factory' messages keep being found on bottles of vitamin water
- 4 Right to die: Belgian doctors rule depressed 24-year-old woman has right to end her life
- 5 BP hit with record $18.7 billion fine over Deepwater Horizon Gulf oil spill
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Amber Roof: Sister of Charleston shooting suspect Dylann Roof launches fund-raising appeal for wedding and honeymoon
Russell Brand condemns moment of silence for Tunisia attack victims as a 'minute of bulls**t'
Right to die: Belgian doctors rule depressed 24-year-old woman has right to end her life
Worker killed by robot at Volkswagen car factory
Greece crisis: IMF was pushed around by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy – and now it is being humiliated
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
Greece crisis: The wider lesson is that it’s time to abandon this failed experiment in currencies
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture
They are neither a 'state' nor 'Islamic': Why we shouldn't call them Isis, Isil or IS
£25000 - £34000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you looking to work for an ...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join a successful an...
£45000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity is available to ...
£16000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This world leading specialist i...