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Hunt still on for bald eagle who escaped from falconry centre

AN eagle with a wing span of 7ft should be easy enough to spot in Scotland, but yesterday there was still no sign of Alaska the bald eagle, who escaped from a falconry centre earlier this week.

eagle EYED: Mark McAllister of World of Wings keeps a lookout for Alaska, below. Picture: Stewart Attwood
eagle EYED: Mark McAllister of World of Wings keeps a lookout for Alaska, below. Picture: Stewart Attwood

Alaska flew off from the World of Wings near Cumbernauld on Tuesday after his tethers snapped. After circling a group of schoolchildren who were at the centre to watch a falconry demonstration, he flew off and hasn't been seen since.

Staff at the centre have now alerted farmers, residents and businesses in the area and are carrying out searches several times a day. Alaska was last seen at Palacerigg Country Park near the centre but yesterday no-one at the park had seen him.

Mark McAllister, 22, a falconer at World of Wings, said Alaska normally wears a transmitter that can be used to trace him but that this broke off when he escaped.

Mr McAllister and his colleagues are now checking all the spots in the area where Alaska has been before. They expect the bird will be sitting in a tree rather than flying and so are walking along the line of trees, whistling for him and hoping he responds.

"Alaska disappeared on us once before during a flying display in strong winds so we're checking all the previous areas he's been to," said Mr McAllister. "I've been round a few times so far so now it's just basically going by ear and following leads. It's a waiting game – it depends when he gets hungry and wants to come back."

Staff at the centre said Alaska had been well-fed before he disappeared, which means he is unlikely to have gone too far. They also said he would range over a couple of miles at most.

"We're hoping that when he gets hungry, he will come back," said Mr McAllister.

"He will recognise places he's been to before – because an eagle's eyesight is so good, he can see a rabbit from four miles away – he will probably be able to see the falconry centre from where he is right now. So we're hoping he might float right across."

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