BONFIRE night fireworks may have scared an owl into seeking shelter inside Coventry’s Lower Precinct shopping centre, according to the RSPCA.
This stunning female short-eared owl was rescued from outside clothes store New Look on the ground floor of the city centre precinct last Thursday (November 7).
A shocked security guard spotted the bird around 8.30am and immediately alerted the RSPCA.
When Animal Collection Officer Cara Gibbon arrived at the scene the security guard had managed to safely contain the owl in a box.
Cara said the bird appeared unharmed, but took her to the Stapeley Grange Wildlife Centre for a check-up. Baffled as how the owl had flown into the shopping centre, she believes the creature may have been panicked by fireworks.
She said: “The owl is beautiful and she appears to be fine. She can walk and fly.
“I just wonder if she was frightened by the fireworks and this left her in shock. I think with a couple of days rest she will be back to her normal self and then we will be able to release her back into the wild.
“We know fireworks cause serious problems for pets but wildlife can also be startled by loud noises and flashing lights and so I wonder if this was the case here.”
The short-eared owl, also known as ‘Shortie’, is an unusual owl because it prefers to be out and about in the daytime. It is most easily spotted in winter, over moorlands and saltmarshes.
The RSPCA believes that the public sale and use of fireworks should be limited to being closer to four specific celebration and festival dates (November 5, December 31, Chinese New Year and Diwali). It is also calling for a noise restriction on the maximum level of decibels fireworks can reach with all public fireworks displays licensed and advertised in advance.
RSPCA government relations manager Claire McParland said: “We see the impact of fireworks on animals every year and we know there is strong public feeling about the use of fireworks with more than 100,000 people signing petitions to restrict their use in recent years.”