Second rhea spotted on the loose near Doncaster

Another exotic bird has been spotted roaming near Doncaster.

Tuesday, 21st March 2017, 10:53 am
Updated Friday, 24th March 2017, 9:47 am
A second rhea has been spotted on the loose at Sprotbrough

Bird recorders and walkers have reported a second rhea on the loose at Sprotbrough Flash Nature Reserve.

It comes after the RSPCA captured another of the birds, which are native to South America, last week.

Bird recorder Chris Johnson

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Craig Johnson, a bird recorder with the South Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, saw the rhea earlier this week.

He spotted it near the Boat Inn during one of his regular recording trips around the reserve.

Rheas are related to ostriches and emus, and Mr Johnson said it was tough to tell them apart.

"They all look the same, and unless you know any different, you could be mistaken," he said.

Bird recorder Chris Johnson

He urged people who spotted the bird to stay away from it.

"They have vicious feet," he said.

"They'll rip your stomach out if they kick you."

They will only become aggressive if they feel threatened," he said.

"By nature, birds don't go round attacking people," Mr Johnson said.

Mr Johnson said there were about 100 species of birds on the reserve, and he's seen most of them.

"Over the years, I've seen all sorts," he said.

"Winter birds, summer birds. It's a good all-round native reserve."

There are woodland, wetland and migratory birds.

He is one of six recorders at the reserve. Mr Johnson said he had been recording wildlife there for longer than he cared to remember.

"Donkey's years," he said.

Mr Johnson undertakes the spotting trips four days per week.

He said capturing the bird would be a difficult prospect.

"Heaven knows how they'll catch it," Mr Johnson said.

The RSPCA has confirmed it had received reports of a second rhea in the area.

RSPCA inspector Jo Taylor urged members of the public to not approach the birds, but call the police if they spotted them on the loose.

"Rheas have the potential to be dangerous as they are strong, fast and have sharp claws," she said.