Escaped Kookaburra returns to Axe wildlife park

PUBLISHED: 08:59 15 April 2020 | UPDATED: 12:59 16 April 2020

The kookaburra resting on a fence in Musbury. Picture: Daniel Lazar

The kookaburra resting on a fence in Musbury. Picture: Daniel Lazar


A kookaburra, which escaped from the Axe Valley Wildlife Park and was spotted in communities across East Devon, has finally returned home.

A lemur - one of the 500 animals living  at Axe Valley Wildlife Park. Pictyre: AVWPA lemur - one of the 500 animals living at Axe Valley Wildlife Park. Pictyre: AVWP

The bird – a native of Australia – escaped from its aviary after the netting was damaged by a broken branch during high winds.

In the following two weeks the kookaburra was seen in several locations, including Membury, Kilmington and Dalwood.

The hungry bird, which had apparently been keeping alive by eating frogs and other bits and pieces, finally returned home on Easter Sunday, spotted by wildlife park owners Andrew and Jayne Collier.

Mrs Collier said: “He was sat on a telegraph pole looking at us.

“Andrew played his kookaburra call, which he has on his mobile phone, to attract him and he came down – but then he flew off again.”

When he returned again the next day the couple eventually attracted him back by showing him his favourite feeding bowl.

“We had a net but we did not want to use that in case we frightened him off,” said Mrs Collier.

“So because he was hungry Andrew held out the feeding bowl and as he stretched out to reach the food Andrew swung around with his left hand and caught him.

“He had been on a right old jaunt for two weeks and we had lots of calls from people asking what to do for him.

“We told them to just leave him to his own devices. Apparently he had been eating frogs and bits and pieces but being chased by crows and other birds.”

Mrs Collier said the wildlife park, located alongside the A35, near Kilmington and currently closed because of the coronavirus lockdown, was struggling financially because there are no paying visitors but still all the running costs, with more than 500 creatures – from zebras to cockroaches – to feed.

Fortunately many generous people had been donating fruit and veg, cat food and dried dog food to help.

And anyone who wants to help feed the animals can go to the a GoFundMe page -

There is also an amazon wish list for the animals (food or enrichment toys) and a bin at the entrance to drop in supplies.

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