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Bart the buzzard is flying high
A BUZZARD released back into the wild soared high into the sky more than a year since it was found critically wounded after getting caught in a rabbit snare.
Staff from Kirkleatham Owl Centre who nursed ‘Bart’ back to health, have set him free back onto the North York Moors.
The young bird of prey had his flight feathers badly damaged when he was cut free from a trap, thought to be by a poacher, and was discovered abandoned by member of the public.
It was taken to the animal centre near Redcar for Rehabilitation where volunteers treat sick and injured wildlife casualties from owls to hedgehogs and bats to buzzards.
Bart was meant to have been freed last month but the long-anticipated event had to be delayed after flash floods on September 6 forced the centre to temporarily close.
Craig Wesson, centre manager, said: ''When he was brought in his flight feathers down one wing were missing right down to the base.
"It looked like they had been cut, probably done by whoever was checking the snare in order to set him loose.
"He was then found on the ground by a member of the public unable to fly.”
As the injury happened last August, just after Bart had grown his new flight feathers, he had to wait 12 months until this year’s moult to fly again.
Mr Wesson said that Eurasian buzzards had made a huge comeback into the British Isles in recent years and now were of the country's most popular birds of prey yet still scarce in Teesside. They are vulnerable to persecution and were under threat of being shot or poisoned, he explained.
Bart, who is thought to be about three years old and has a four-foot wingspan, will now settle back into the wild before, hopefully, gaining a territory and a mate by spring.
“It has been a very long journey but after all that effort releasing him was very rewarding," Mr Wesson added. "He had no feathers down one side so we didn’t know if he would make it. It was great to see him soar, glide and then become a speck in the distance.”
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