Lucky escape for ‘Tony the Tawny’ rescued from the railway after Storm Ophelia: Tony the Tawny waiting for the RSPB-2

Tuesday 17 Oct 2017

Lucky escape for ‘Tony the Tawny’ rescued from the railway after Storm Ophelia

London North Western

An owl which broke its wing when it was trapped under a tree felled by Storm Ophelia has been rescued by Network Rail.

The orange army was carrying out post storm inspections at Styal, near Manchester Airport, on Tuesday morning when the injured bird was spotted.

Quick-thinking staff wrapped the owl, named Tony the Tawny during the rescue, in one of Network Rail’s famous orange jackets before calling the RSPB and taking it to a depot in Manchester.

A quick RSPB health check revealed Tony the Tawny had a broken wing, an injured leg and was showing signs of an electric shock from the railway’s 25,000v overhead power lines which were hit as the tree fell.

Joseph Spiteri-Braysford, part of the Network Rail team which found Tony the Tawny, said: “We couldn’t believe our eyes when we spotted the owl under a tree blown onto the railway during Storm Ophelia. It was trapped amongst the branches which had been pulled clear of the tracks the night before.

“The tree damaged the power lines as it fell - which explains the owl’s suspected electric shock. While our feathered friend was in the wrong place at the wrong time when the tree came down, he was lucky we came back as he would have undoubtedly died if we hadn’t rescued him.”

Staff at Network Rail’s Guide Bridge depot, in Audenshawe, Manchester, are eagerly waiting for an update on Tony the Tawny’s condition. It’s hoped the owl will make a full recovery.

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