A BOLTON factory has attracted an employee with a difference — a female sparrowhawk.
The bird flew into the premises of Heightvale Ltd on Monday morning as it chased a pigeon in through a goods delivery door.
The pigeon evaded its talons and the falcon could not find its way out again.
Staff at the factory on the Spa Road Industrial Estate, near the town centre, have been trying to free the bird by offering it chunks of meat, but have so far been unsuccessful.
Yesterday, experts from North Wales Bird Trust’s Lancashire hub in Rossendale visited the factory to try to free it.
Business development manager James White, from the building contractor firm, said: “We’re trying to get the bird out, but we don’t want it to get frightened or agitated.
“The reason it’s flying around is because it’s nervous around people, so we’re trying to keep the noise level to a minimum.
“We’ve tried to give it food but it’s not taking it, and now we are concerned not just for the bird’s safety, but for our staff’s safety.
“It must feel vulnerable.
“It’s a beautiful bird — I’ve never seen anything like it in this factory. We’ve obviously had pigeons in here before, but nothing like this.”
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The sparrowhawk has been offered raw steak and chicken by staff, while experts from the Bird Trust have tried to feed it dead baby chicks.
Jacqui Kemp, a volunteer for North Wales Bird Trust, said: “It needs peace and quiet, but in a working factory this is easier said than done.
“It will be panicking because it can’t get out and it will be scared because it’s in unfamiliar surroundings — all birds of prey are the same.”
Bolton has a breeding pair of peregrine falcons which nest at the town hall, and workers at the factory at first thought the bird may be one of them.
Experts later confirmed that the bird was a sparrowhawk, however.
Heightvale Ltd is a damage management company, involved in building and contents re-instatement, and has been at the premises for 12 years.