Enthusiastic birdwatchers, still celebrating the discovery of rare storks in a British village, could not believe their luck when they spotted a large owl perching on a telegraph pole.
The bird seemed to return day after day, maintaining a statuesque stillness at the village of Wrenthorpe near this West Yorkshire town.
But admiration turned to anger when they found that an unidentified prankster had planted a realistic decoy on the pole.
“One chap phoned me and said it had appeared and every day when he went to work it was still there,” local bird enthusiast Harold Barrett told the local press.
“Owls can stay in one place for a while, but not that long,” he added.
The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds said it hoped the disappointment would not discourage people from continuing their interest in birds.
“A lot of people became very excited by birdwatching after the rare storks were found and generated such national interest,” a society spokeswoman said.
“It is great that they are looking out for birds. Let’s just hope that next time they spot something more than a decoy,” she added.