Reports have been arriving on the desk of the editor of AudlemOnline of a rare bird being seen on several occasions around Audlem, so we have asked the Audlem Wildlife and Ecology Group (AWEG) if they could confirm these stories.
A spokesperson for AWEG advises that there are multiple reports, from members undertaking their isolation walks, of a rare Greater Peewee Hawk (accipiter mairorem urina) in the locality, which must have strayed well off its normal migratory route from North America to Greenland, possibly due to the severe northern gales that occurred over the winter.
Apparently this bird catches its prey by hovering (rather like a kestrel but at a lower level) over small mammals and then, very accurately, urinates on them, the urine contains a drug that has a soporific effect on the animal and it is thus easier to catch and consume its victim. It also means that the raptor can feed on much larger prey than you would normally expect.
Unfortunately no photographs are available of the bird as it primarily feeds only at dusk and dawn and is very wary of human contact, possibly because it is considered quite a delicacy in its native territory.
AWEG can confirm that the siting's have been independently verified but it has been decided to keep the exact location of the bird secret to avoid Audlem being overwhelmed by thousands of twitchers in these difficult times.
No doubt in due course the Greater Peewee Hawk will return to its traditional hunting and breeding grounds.
For the keen ornithologists amongst our readers AWEG do want to make it clear that this bird is not to be confused with the Greater Pewee Flycatcher (contopus pertinax) which is mainly found in the northern countries of South America and the south of the United States.