Stray vulture poses threat to Scottish airspace

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Pilots in Scottish airspace have been warned of the potential danger posed by a vulture which flew off from a public display and failed to return, air traffic controllers said on Wednesday.

Gandalf, a seven-year-old female Ruppell's Griffon vulture, was performing in a display at the World of Wings birds of prey centre in Cumbernauld, near Glasgow, on Tuesday when she took flight, possibly caught in a gust of wind.

Air traffic control company NATS said pilots using Glasgow Airport were alerted about the bird.

Joanna Timson, one of the falconers at World of Wings, said: "The conditions for flying for vultures were absolutely perfect. She was last seen heading in the Stirling direction.

"Gandalf has never done this before."

The vulture stands 1.2 metres (four feet) high with a three-metre (10-foot) wingspan.

"Our main concern is if members of the public see her, they may be frightened," Timson said.

A NATS spokesman said: "We made pilots aware of the possibility of seeing this bird as it has a three-metre wingspan and can fly at altitudes used by commercial aircraft."

© 2010 AFP

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