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Chickens escape as harris hawk lands in Herne Bay garden


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Three pet chickens had a lucky escape when a huge bird of prey landed in the back garden of a house - and had its eagle-eye on an easy meal.

The arrival of the imposing Harris's hawk was an alarming sight for Andrew Eve, who had raised the chicks with his fiancée Dele Adedapo at their home in Forgefields, Herne Bay.

The Harris hawk on the chicken run
The Harris hawk on the chicken run

"We'd never seen anything like it in a garden before," said computer technician Andrew.

"It looked like an eagle and was perched on the chicken run, eyeing up my birds, the oldest of which is 16.

"The chickens were actually out of their enclosure and ran for cover, although one was left just cowering on the grass trying to stay perfectly still to avoid attracting attention."

Dele, who runs a vegan cosmetics business, was fearful of the raptor making a quick meal of the chickens.

"It was quite a formidable sight, with its huge talons, and we were worried there was going to be a gory ending," she said.

Andrew Eve with his pet chickens
Andrew Eve with his pet chickens
The Harris hawk on the garden fence
The Harris hawk on the garden fence

"I tried to distract it with some bird seed, but that was never going to work."

The couple posted photos of the bird on Facebook, and it was quickly identified by enthusiasts.

Several volunteered to come over as the hawk had falconer's equipment attached to it, and there had been reports of such a bird going missing recently.

"We decided not to scare it away in case someone came who could actually capture it," said Andrew, who is a classic car enthusiast.

"But I would have stepped in very quickly if it went for one of my birds. They are Lulu, Freddie and Larrie, and are part of the family as I've had them for so long."

The Harris hawk on the garden fence
The Harris hawk on the garden fence

The hawk was in the garden for about 10 minutes before flying off to another roof nearby and then away to a field.

It is not known who its owner is, or whether it has yet been captured.

The Harris's hawk is a medium to large-sized bird of prey, especially popular with falconers because they are easier to train.

They are dark brown with reddish wing feathers and can stand up to two feet tall with a wingspan of four feet.

They feed on small mammals and other birds.

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