A BIRD-LOVER is appealing for help to find his missing pet owl.

Andrew Ridyard was flying his feathered friend in his garden in Moorside Avenue, Farnworth, last Wednesday when a loud noise from a nearby garden spooked the owl — and it flew off.

Now the 28-year-old is growing increasingly concerned for the wellbeing of the female barn owl which has failed to return home.

He said: “I’m devastated that she has gone — she is 14 months old and I have had her since she was young, I used to feed her by hand.”

Mr Ridyard, a bird enthusiast, keeps a number of different species in aviaries in his garden including cockatiels, finches and canaries.

He said he has been encouraged that his missing owl will not have flown too far from the nest after consulting a bird expert.

Mr Ridyard added: “I spoke to someone who knows birds very well and he told me that by their nature barn owls don’t tend to travel too far away from home, so I am hoping that is the case and she might be in a neighbour’s garden or somewhere else close.”

The owl, who does not currently have a name, is described as white with black spots on her front and brown on her back — she will be wearing brown anklets with red and black jesses or straps hanging from them.

Mr Ridyard said: “I would just ask anyone who has seen it to let me know and I will be extremely grateful for any information that comes forward.”

Anyone who thinks they may have spotted the owl can contact the Bolton News Newsdesk on 01204 537271 or by emailing newsdesk@theboltonnews.co.uk.


  • The Barn owl is one of the most common breed of owls.
  • It is a pale, long-winged, long-legged owl with a short squarish tail.
  • It measures about 25–50 cm in length, with a wingspan of 75–110 cm.
  • Barn owls are nocturnal and become active at dusk.
  • It hunts by flying low and slowly over an area of open ground, hovering over spots that conceal potential prey. They may also use fence posts or other lookouts to ambush prey and feeds primarily on rodents.
  • In the UK there are about 5,000 breeding pairs of Barn owls, with between 12,500 and 25,000 birds spending the winter months here.
  • There is a £5,000 fine for killing or injuring a barn owl, catching a barn owl, taking or destroying any egg of a barn owl, damaging or destroying the active nest site with eggs or young or before eggs are laid, disturbing the dependent young of a barn owl, possessing or offering for sale or selling a barn owl.
  • The law does not require captive Barn owls to be registered.