A large eagle owl has moved into a village in Northern England, scaring some residents and fascinating others.
The owl has leather straps on its legs, suggesting it may be an escapee from a falconry, The Daily Telegraph reported. It also appears to be attracted to children, suggesting that it belonged to a family.
But no one has reported a missing owl, so the owner may have been violating the law.
Matthew Bacon said that when he first heard the bird in Harthill, South Yorkshire, he thought its loud cries were a car alarm.
"I banged on the window and this huge owl flew off our house and onto another one nearby," he said. "It must have had a six-foot wingspan, I couldn't believe it."
The eagle owl, the largest species of owl, is found from Western Europe to China. Scientists are unsure if birds spotted in Britain in recent years are escapees or flew in from the continent.
The owl, with its size and sharp talons, could kill pets and harm children. The local school sent parents a warning letter.
Copyright 2008 by United Press International