ARCHIE the naughty owl has escaped from his South Tyneside home while his owner jetted off on holiday.
It’s the third time in recent years that the 14-year-old Bengali eagle owl has caused a flap by fleeing from his home in Jutland Avenue, Hebburn.
Owner Stephanie McDowell, 37, flew off to Florida for a fortnight, leaving her friend Steven Mulvey “bird sitting”.
He is now desperate for Archie to return before Stephanie’s arrival next Tuesday.
Steven said: “He’s too clever that owl. He escaped during the night. There was nothing I could do really, I couldn’t sleep outside his cage all night.
“To be honest, I think he’s just fancied a holiday of his own and tried to follow Stephanie to Florida. I think I am in a bit of trouble for losing him though.”
The bird of prey escaped between 11.20pm on Friday night and 1.20am on Saturday morning.
It’s understood the latch on Archie’s cage had become slack and the clever bird had managed to work it free.
It’s not the first time Archie has gone AWOL.
In December 2007, he flew off for a week, and then in March 2012, he had another short break. Both times Gazette readers had reported his whereabouts to his owner, and he was safely returned
Despite Stephanie being out of the country, she is aware her pet is missing, due to a neighbour posting a message on Facebook.
Steven said: “One of the neighbours had spotted him and sent her a message, so she does know he’s wandered off again.
“I’ve notified the police, the RSPB and the bird groups, so I just hope someone will have spotted him so we can get him back.”
He added: “This is the first time I’ve been asked to look after Stephanie’s pets, but I think it’s probably going to be the last.”
If you’ve spotted Archie, call Steven on 07516 837557.