Fugitive hawk to the manor drawn

A hawk which gave its owner the slip last year has found itself an upmarket new place to roost - in the Duke of Northumberland's back garden.

A hawk which gave its owner the slip last year has found itself an upmarket new place to roost - in the Duke of Northumberland's back garden.

Vortex the goshawk flew off last October during a training session with bird of prey keeper Barry Graham, near his home at Greensfield Moor Farm just outside of Alnwick.

Since then, locals have been keeping an eagle eye out for the speckled hunter, which was fitted with distinctive anklets to differentiate it from its wild cousins.

And now, after months of searching, Mr Graham says he is convinced Vortex has taken up residence at 3,300-acre Hulne Park, near the Duke's ancestral seat at Alnwick Castle.

A gamekeeper working on the Duke's estate tipped him off that a bird resembling Vortex had been repeatedly seen in the area.

Since spotting the bird in the air himself, Mr Graham says he is sure it is Vortex.

"She's certainly picked the best place to make her home," said the retired computer consultant, 58, who has been keeping birds of prey for around eight years.

"Hulne Park must be a hunting bird's paradise. There will be plenty of food and excellent cover for roosting. I would really like to have her back, but the only problem is that she's likely to have returned to her wild state. Goshawks are very adaptable birds, and she will have settled in well by now.

"People locally have been very helpful in keeping a watch for Vortex, and I'm very confident now that we know where she is.

"It's a big relief to know that she is safe and well ...

"If we can locate where she is roosting, we might be able to get her back. Saying that, it definitely won't be easy."

Fully-grown goshawks usually have a wingspan of around 1.5m and weigh up to 2kg. They particularly like to haunt conifer woods.

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