Bird of prey spotted in Hackney town centre

A magnificent bird of prey, thought to be a golden eagle by an onlooker, visited Hackney town centre yesterday (August 15).

The bird, spotted in Amhurst Road at around 3pm, was “probably a red kite”, according to an RSPB spokesman.

Amazed resident Grazyna-Maria Edwards contacted the Gazette after she saw the “enormous golden brown bird” under the viaduct over Amhurst Road.

She said: “I was coming out of my house and I saw a crowd of people at the bridge. My heart jumped because in the past someone has been stabbed there. I thought something was happening so I hurried forward.

“I saw this enormous bird crouching down with its wings spread out like umbrellas on both sides.

“Its beak was bloody and it was eating a pigeon I think. It was enormous; it was as big as my knee.

“I stayed there for quite a while. Some people were trying to scare it away and saying ‘shoo’ but I said ‘it’s a protected bird, leave it’.”

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Ms Edwards believed the bird was a golden eagle after checking it in her bird book.

She added: “It was such a privilege to witness it. I have got absolutely no idea how it got there.”

But RSPB spokesman Tim Webb said it was “highly unlikely” that it was a golden eagle, a bird usually found only in mountainous regions in northern England and Scotland.

He suggested that the bird was a red kite, which can have a wing span of up to 1.75m, only slightly less than the golden eagle’s 2.3m span.

Mr Webb said: “There is the very small possibility it was a domestic one that has escaped but if it was a bird living wild it’s more likely to have been a red kite.

“There have been sighting of red kites in Hackney before and they do hang around in the area. Particularly if it was under a viaduct it wouldn’t have looked so red.”

He advises members of the public to leave birds of prey alone if they encounter them.

“It’s a wild bird but they don’t normally attack people or animals. Particularly if it’s eating, it’s probably better to stay away but marvel at it too.”

Did you see the bird? Did you take a photo? Get in touch with the Gazette at or 0208 477 3776.