Shock as Hackney school bird display turns into Hitchcock thriller The Birds

20:42 29 March 2012

Paul with Frank the falcon

Paul with Frank the falcon

Archant

A bird of prey display at a Hackney Wick school turned into a scene from nightmare Hitchcock thriller The Birds last week, when a swarm of crows mobbed a falcon, forcing it to go on the run for over five hours.

A bird of prey display at a Hackney Wick school turned into a scene from nightmare Hitchcock thriller The Birds last week, when a swarm of crows mobbed a falcon, forcing it to go on the run for over five hours.

Around 240 youngsters from Kingsmead Primary were enjoying the show put on by fancier Paul Vanvynck from Bird Talk in the fields behind the school, backing onto Hackney Wick.

That is until Mr Vancynck released his Lanner Falcon.

A lot of crows suddenly became territorial, and ganged up on the bird, known as Frank.

“It was a bit sinister, there were lots of crows circling aggressively in the sky, and it got very loud with a high screeching sound,” said school head, Liza Hooper.

“Some of the teachers were saying it was like the film The Birds.

“The falcon just took off. We thought it was part of the display and he was coming back, the trainer was trying to tempt him back with some meat, but he just disappeared.

“The trainer got his tracker device out and started to look quite worried, and that was kind of the end of the show.”

The children, many of whom were concerned for the bird’s welfare, filed back to their classes while a panicked Mr Vanvynck swiftly packed up his remaining birds.

He then began a mad chase around London, desperately trying to track down Frank before too much distance came between them.

“A bird can travel miles in no time at all and if it gets too far away you lose all signal and you can lose them for good,” explained Mr Vanvynck.

“Frank is worth £400, but I’ve had him for a year and you do get very attached to them.

“To be honest it’s part and parcel of falconing it does happen from time to time,” he added.

The chase lasted five and a half hours, and the children were delighted to hear the next day Frank was finally caught in Edmonton at 8pm.

Lanner Falcons have a wingspan of around a metre and originate from north Africa, but Mr Vancynck brought Frank from a friend who breeds them in Poland.

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