A Haworth teenage falconer has been reunited with his beloved bird he feared lost forever... all thanks to Facebook.

James Dickinson, 17, works at SMJ Falconry in Oxenhope. During a display in Barnsley last Thursday, his prized Lanner falcon – Nekala – failed to return.

James and other falconers spent hours searching for her, which proved fruitless.

Four days passed before the search took a twist when it moved online. James found a photograph of Nekala posted from Malton in North Yorkshire – almost 70 miles from where she was last seen.

The bird had been found by a farmer, who managed to catch her using twine and a leg of lamb. He took her to his friend, wildlife artist Robert Fuller, whose knowledge of birds meant he knew exactly what type she was.

Mr Fuller then advertised his discovery on the social networking site. Although she had a tag on her leg, the transmitter that would normally have allowed falconry staff to find her had been chewed off.

Mr Fuller said: “I posted a picture of her with an appeal on Facebook – by the following morning, I’d found her owner.

“Amazing what social media can do. I’m just so pleased they are reunited. James was so happy to have her back.”

James described the moment Nekala, an 11-month-old which he has been responsible for training since she was a chick, disappeared. He said: “We were doing a show, she flew off, came back, but then flew off again. It is the first time she has done anything like that.

“I was made up when we got her back. Hopefully, she won’t do anything like this again.”

James, from Prince Street in Haworth, has been involved in falconry since he was 15, when he was given an gift experience for his birthday. He started volunteering not long after, and now works full time for the business.

He said: “I’m really into birds, and I’ve always had something to do with animals.”

Falconry owner, Sandra Johnson, said: “He just has a natural affinity with the birds. When one goes missing, I always say to staff never give up hope, even when it gets to four or five days.”

Barnsley was the setting for another story about a boy and his Kestrel – Kes, the Barry Hines novel that was also turned into a movie by Ken Loach. Fortunately, James’ story had a happier ending!