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WHEN he heard a racket [...]; Bird of prey was causing a flap in chicken coop.

Byline: Felix Davies

WHEN he heard a racket coming from his chicken coop, farmer Roy Peckham may have thought it was another regular fox intruder. But when he went to investigate, he found this magnificent bird of prey had found its way in.

With a wingspan of up to 60 inches, you'd expect a goshawk to be soaring high over the beautiful Welsh countryside.

But pony centre owner Roy was stunned after finding one of the majestic birds struggling to escape from the coop.

Despite its size and fearsome looking talons and beak, Roy casually and carefully picked it up before capturing the moment on camera and releasing the bird back into the wild.

Roy, 65, decided to investigate after hearing sounds of distress coming from his wide range of poultry.

He said: "It was around 3.30pm when I discovered the magnificent raptor, but the guinea fowl were really creating a racket before that."

The chickens are all free range so the door to the coop is left open much of the time, Roy said.

"We do have regular problems with foxes and other predators," said Roy, who lives and works at the Fforest Uchaf Horse and Pony Centre and Pit Pony Sanctuary, which is based on a small 20-acre hill farm in Penycoedcae, Pontypridd.

"We get a lot of visitors to the centre, but this was very unexpected. We keep around 50 chickens on the farm.

"I don't think the falcon posed a big threat to the larger chickens but the little ones were certainly in danger."

Thankfully, Roy managed to get the bird to safety with no harm to himself or the animal.

"I simply picked it up by its two legs, being very respectful of its talons and beak, just like I would if it were a chicken," he said. "It wasn't really worried and waited patiently whilst we found the camera to record the scene.

"Then I tossed it up into the air and away it flew out across the valley. What an experience."


* Roy inside the coop, left, at the Fforest Uchaf Horse and Pony Centre, Penycoedcae, Pontypridd * Roy Peckham with the goshawk he found in his chicken coop
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Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Jul 7, 2011
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