AN animal welfare warning has been issued after a second Indian eagle owl was recovered from Witham in a fortnight.

A group called the Independent Bird Register managed to track down both birds and rescue them, probably saving the domesticated owls from starvation.

The latest owl was first spotted on July 24 and was finally caught last week after multiple sightings in the town.

The IBR’s Barbara Royle said: “It was on a building site around the Redrow estate.

“There was another sighting in a garden that backed on to the building site.

“That was where I had the initial sighting of it.”

Barbara manages the IBR network, which is made up of several thousand handlers and lookouts across the UK.

To date, it has recovered more than 8,000 birds of prey from the wild, and coordinated last week’s rescue by mobilising one of its contacts in the Witham area.

Barbara said: “He put food on the glove and the bird came in.

“Obviously it was hungry. It ate straight away and showed signs it had been handled because it had anklets on its legs and it sat on the glove.”

She said it was unusual for the IBR to get reports of two birds of the same species coming in from residents in the same area at the same time.

Barbara suspects both owls were released on purpose.

“We put them both together and they were fine so might have come together,” she said.

“People get birds not knowing how hard it is to keep them. European eagle owls can get wild quite quickly if you’re not manning them constantly.

“The riskiest ones are barn owls. If they’ve been hand-reared and don’t learn to look after themselves, we have known some to die.

“It all depends on the bird really. Some survive, some don’t.

“I’ve had eagle owls that have survived quite happily in the wild for years.”

Barbara said a new home has been found for both of the owls rescued in Witham.