A local hotel has expressed its concern over the safety of an African Grey Parrot lost in the region, amid fears it may have been snatched – not by the unseasonably cold start to the winter - but by local buzzards and is warning others who keep birds in the Peak District to be vigilant, following a spate of attacks on its own flock of hens.
Award winning hotel and restaurant East Lodge in Rowsley first heard of the disappearance of the local African grey parrot back in September. This was just considered to be perhaps a local story, where the bird would be found and returned safely until a number of unexpected and frightening avian attacks upon other birds on the estate prompted a rethink - and a warning.
“We had spotted a leaflet asking for anyone with information on the lost Parrot to come forward,” said East Lodge managing director Iain Hardman. “But when our gardener Neil reported several attacks on our own flock of hens from local buzzards, we became concerned the parrot may have been attacked in the same way. Hopefully this is not the case and the parrot will be found safe but anyone who keeps birds locally should be aware of these powerful hunters we have living among us.”
East Lodge keeps its own flock of hens, to ensure a steady supply of fresh eggs for its award winning restaurant but was very nearly several birds less when two of the powerful avian hunters swooped to carry some off. It was only thanks to the quick thinking of gardener Neil that the hens were saved to lay another day.
“At first it looked like a few of the hens had climbed on top of one another, then I realised they had a buzzard on their backs,” explained Neil. “It was quite an unnerving sight and it took what seemed like ages to prize them from the buzzard’s talons.”
For a bird normally associated with circling carcasses in the dessert, it may well come as a surprise to many to learn that buzzards are actually very common in Britain. They became a protected species more than 50 years ago and are now rumoured to number anywhere between 30,000 and 40,000 breeding pairs in the UK, with the buzzards of Rowsley a common sight.
Neil was right to be cautious of these magnificent birds, as while they mainly prey on rabbits, voles and carrion (and will clearly try hens too), these great aviators must be treated with the respect they deserve should people come across them as they will protect their own territory if they feel threatened.
“One of the attractions of staying at East Lodge and visiting the Peak District is the fantastic scenery and abundance of amazing wildlife we have on our doorstep,” added Iain. “So while we will not be joining in any calls to be rid of these amazing birds, it is important that everyone is aware they are among us and that we all take the necessary steps to protect our livestock and indeed our pets. We would also take this opportunity to send out a Christmas message and renew the appeal for information on the lost parrot in the hope he will still be retuned home safely.”
Situated in ten acres of its own grounds, East Lodge is the perfect place to relax and unwind in the heart of the Peak District – and thanks to Neil’s efforts in saving the birds bacon, you can be confident you will still have the freshest eggs on your breakfast! Owned by the Hardman family and one of the top hotels and restaurants in the UK, East Lodge has a prestigious range of accolades to its name. The coveted AA “Inspectors’ Choice” Award, with three red stars for 2010 places it within the top 150 hotels in the whole of the UK and the hotel’s remains just one of 48 hotels in the country presented with a Visit England Gold Award.