RESIDENTS are being asked to look for a sick bird of prey which flew off while on holiday in Weymouth.

The captive goshawk belongs to Paul Wilkinson from Stoke-on-Trent who is visiting the coast for a break to help the bird recuperate.

He said the four-year-old female bird flew off while they were at Sandsfoot Gardens in Old Castle Road on Wednesday. It was last spotted in the Rodwell area.

Mr Wilkinson, 41, said: “My bird was really ill, I think possibly with sour crop, so I had to bring her down with me to give her as much attention as possible and help her get better.

“I think the heatwave had something to do with it because her crop (the first stomach) must have got too warm and caused the feed to sour before it reached her second stomach.

“She’d already made a miraculous recovery and she was full of energy on Wednesday morning, but when I got her out of her travel cage to put her on the perch she shot off straight out of my hand and flew up into a tree.

“I watched her hop from tree to tree and I think she’s probably headed across the coast.

“She’s still got her tethers and leash attached so she would be easy to spot.”

The RSPB says goshawks are large hawks slightly smaller than a buzzard. They have a distinctive expression with bright red eyes and a white brow, and the female is significantly larger than the male.

Mr Wilkinson said: “These kind of birds only come back for food and she’s a bit overweight so I’m worried she could be missing for a while, as she won’t be back until she’s hungry.

“She was bred in captivity in the UK but what could happen is that she’ll go and live in the wild and survive on rabbits and pheasants, maybe for five or 10 years.”

He added: “I last spotted her near Belle Vue Road.

“There’s also a blue ring on her leg with a phone number on it that people can call if they spot her.”

Gary Benson, Assistant Curator at the Hawk Conservancy Trust said: “This species is a fantastic hunter and would have no problem finding food but even if captive, goshawks are very difficult to get back as they are very aloof.

“It’s a bit of a bad time of year because the magpies, crows and corvids will readily attack it if they think it might rob their nest. The best chance of catching it is at night, because goshawks can’t see so they’ll stay in the trees to roost”

n Anyone who sees the goshawk is asked to contact Paul Wilkinson on 07803 535830.