Beds, Herts & Bucks

Golden eagle Norman: Missing Bedfordshire bird captured

Norman the golden eagle
Image caption Allen Smith said he was "over the moon" to have recaptured Norman the golden eagle

A golden eagle that escaped from a Bedfordshire falconer more than two weeks ago has been captured.

Norman was on loan to Allen Smith, 65, when he took flight from his workplace in Flitwick on 9 January.

The bird, who boasts a 6ft (1.8m) wingspan, was found at midday on Monday on an industrial estate in Barton-le-Clay.

Mr Smith, who caught him using a dead wild rabbit as bait, said he was "over the moon".

The handler said when Norman grabbed hold of the meat he managed to get hold of the straps that were still on his feet and put him in his car.

"He is now sat in the back of the car as if nothing has happened," he said.

"The help [finding him] has been fabulous and the response fantastic."

Image caption A dead wild rabbit was used as bait to capture Norman

Norman had evaded capture despite numerous sightings in the past two weeks.

After making his escape, the bird, who stands roughly 3ft (0.9m) tall, was spotted in Stewartby, about five miles from Flitwick and Lidlington, before being seen roosting in a tree at Center Parcs, near Flitwick, on 16 January.

Mr Smith walked around the site but did not see him.

Two days later, the bird was spotted in a Flitton garden, where the handler got within 50 yards of the bird before "he flew off".

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