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Owls found on oil rigs hundreds of miles from shore return to wild

Scottish SPCA said it is unusual to find as many as six owls in North Sea in a short space of time.

Wild return: Owl which was found on North Sea platform.
Wild return: Owl which was found on North Sea platform. Scottish SPCA

An owl which had to be airlifted to safety after crash-landing on an oil rig 160 miles from the shore has been released back into the wild.

The short-eared owl was found exhausted on the platform last Wednesday and staff on the rig notified the Scottish SPCA.

Staff arranged for the owl to be brought back to the mainland via helicopter and flew alongside crew returning to Aberdeen from the rig.

The owl was then taken to the charity's National Wildlife Rescue Centre in Fishcross, Alloa.

The Scottish SPCA also revealed the bird was one of six owls that had been found on platforms in the North Sea in recent weeks.

Centre manager Colin Seddon said: "After this owlwas rescued we took in a further five who were also found on North Sea oil rigs."

Wild return: Owls which were found on North Sea platform.
Wild return: Owls which were found on North Sea platform. Scottish SPCA

He added: "There have been previous instances where birds have landed on rigs but to have this many owls in such a short space of time is unusual.

"These owls have quite likely flown over from Scandinavia, Russia or Iceland to spend the winter in Scotland. Most were merely exhausted, which could be due to high winds and stormy conditions.

"Some also had oil on them from the rigs which thankfully we were able to remove successfully.

"Of the six short eared owls, we have so far released five on the east coast north of Dundee. The remaining owl is currently in an aviary at our centre and will be returned to the wild shortly."

Oil rig: Found on North Sea platform last month.
Oil rig: Found on North Sea platform last month. Scottish SPCA
Oil rig: The owl was airlifted back to shore with crew returning from North Sea.
Oil rig: The owl was airlifted back to shore with crew returning from North Sea. Scottish SPCA

In June a lost racing pigeon also had to be airlifted to safety after crash-landing on a North Sea oil platform 160 miles from shore.

Anyone who discovers an injured or distressed wild animal should call the animal helpline on 03000 999 999.

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