A majestic bird of prey and much-loved family pet has escaped from its quiet suburban home and won’t come back.

Comet, a three-year-old gyr-saker falcon, flew the nest from her home in Carus Crescent in Highwoods, Colchester, on Saturday afternoon.

Despite spending hours walking the streets and knocking on doors, her owners, experienced falconer Jay Poulter and his wife, Emma, have so far been unable to find the bird.


Comet is a three-year-old gyr-saker falcon

Mrs Poulter said: “She has not been very well over Christmas and the vets advised us to keep her inside overnight.

“We were getting her out of her aviary to bring her inside.

“She was tied on my husband’s gloves by a leash, but it came lose and she flew away.

“Jay instantly ran across the estate looking for her.

“We were out knocking on doors from around 4.30pm until 8.30pm.

“Then first thing on Sunday we were out again looking for her.

“She could be anywhere and she is probably a bit disorientated because she is not used to flying around houses and near people.”

After seeing a Facebook post about the missing animal, several eagle-eyed neighbours have contacted the family believing to have spotted Comet in Highwoods Country Park.

One resident even believes the disorientated bird may have landed on her conservatory roof.

Sightings have also been reported as far away as Boxted, Fingringhoe and Langham.

The family are becoming increasingly concerned for the rare bird, who is still recovering from her illness.

Mrs Poulter said: “She is a part of our family in the same way as a dog is to other people.

“My husband has spent the last two years training her and he has put a lot of time and love into it.

“We have some other birds of prey, two owls and a hawk, and so she is part of a pack.

“As she is ill she is not at her full strength and capacity which is worrying.”

A gyr-saker falcon is a hybrid between the saker falcon, which is native to the Middle East, and the largest type of falcon the gyr, which can be found in North America, Europe and Asia.

Although generally bred for the warmer Arabic climate, Mrs Poulter said Comet is well-adjusted to her UK lifestyle, but she may be extremely stressed by her the experience on the run.

“She is very clever but because she was so disorientated she probably won’t know her way back,” she said.

“If anyone does see her, if they call her name and whistle she will come.

“She is not a fighting bird and would not intentionally hurt people.

“But you need gloves to pick her up because of her talons.

“If people think they’ve spotted her and manage to take a picture, we would know straight away if it was her.”

If you think you spot Comet, please call the Gazette on 01206 508288.