Worcestershire Record No. 27 November 2009 pp. 33-34
Compiled by Harry Green
On 10th June 2009 I received the following email from a neighbour:
“Dangerous buzzard!! My son-in-law, was out jogging this morning between Elmley castle and Kerso when a buzzard attacked him six times. It swooped down at first and then sat on a tree branch to come near and mob him. He looked up this type of attack on the web and found that there had only been about five occasions of this happening to a grown man. He was quite shattered and could not defend himself.”
I then heard from the man who had suffered the attack:
“The buzzard first swooped from behind flying up at the last second! Several further stoops followed until I had run a few hundred yards.”
This report was soon followed by an email from Roger Umpelby, who lives not far from the site of the attacks, dated 28th June 2009
“I am checking out stories that two runners have been mobbed, completely separately, by a buzzard on the road between Ashton and Kersoe. One of the runners works for the RSPCA so he should be a very reliable witness/observer – I’ll keep you posted – have you heard of this sort of thing before?”
Later he wrote:
“I have spoken to the RSPCA man and got the full story from him. Basically it was between Kersoe and Elmley, so it ties in exactly with your neighbour’s experience. He had run from Ashton and the bird attacked from behind three times on his way to Elmley and twice on the way back – about 8pm in the evening. I have yet to speak to the other chap but he has been attacked twice in the same place, the last one as recently as Fri 26 June”.
Later he wrote again:
“I have been to check out the site and sure enough the/a buzzard was in the tree, but it didn’t like the look of me and flew off – well I’m not into running anyway!!”
Later still 30th June 09
The saga goes on – RSPCA man was attacked/mobbed again this morning. He normally wears a white top, but the other chap wears various colours and will not run along there now”.
We thought – it would be nice to get a photograph of an attack and the victim volunteered!:
Yes that is the tree. I ran past it yesterday morning and no bird in sight then it flew over my head from behind, grazing my hair! It then flew up into that tree and joined another one. It's a fantastic experience! Perhaps you should be there [with a camera] when I run past.”
|The buzzard in the tree - two views © Roger Umpelby|
Much later from Roger Umpelby
“I have nothing else to add on the buzzards, the two runners from Ashton have nothing extra and the attacks stopped soon after my last email (30th June). Interestingly yesterday (10th November) when I drove past the tree, a buzzard was perched on the same branch as the one I photographed in June. Did you pick up the bit in the email that when a victim was attacked on 1st July there were two buzzards in the tree, only one of which attacked, probably the female and one of her young”.
Sadly, or perhaps for the best, we didn’t get a picture of Buzzard attacking man!
At the time I emailed various acquaintances as follows: “I am trying to remember another incident like this a few years back when a buzzard regularly attacked - a Car? or a man on a bike? In Worcestershire? I seem to remember talking about it on local radio. Can anyone remember?” This brought one response:
“Yes I can remember. It was just over the other side of the motorway from High Green. It had a go at a guy on a push bike and walkers I think. It was supposed to have come out of the sun to attack ... .... Calls for it to be removed were heard but presumably ignored. Safety notices went up at each end of the danger area”
I also discovered the report in the Worcester Evening News archive. This edited extract was published on 31st July 2003.
“TERRIFYING buzzard attacks along a quiet country lane have finally come to an end as their nesting season has ended for another year. Walkers through Kerswell Green, between Kempsey and Kinnersley, near Worcester, had been hit by a series of four separate swooping attacks in the last six weeks. Parish councillors put up posters warning residents after Group Capt Richard Bridges, a 69-year-old RAF veteran, was knocked to the ground and badly cut in one attack. And a fifth incident, when an aggressive bird "dive-bombed" a car and tried to grab its aerial, was also recorded some weeks before.”
I also found the following on a web search. The article was illustrated with a picture of a man with blood running down his face
A tourist suffered slash wounds to his head when he was attacked by a buzzard while jogging in Cornwall.
He said: "I was jogging along a very quiet lane near the river at about 9am when I suddenly felt something on the back of my head. I thought somebody had thrown some heavy sacking or carpet at me but I couldn't see anyone. I carried on a few paces and then saw blood running down me and noticed a buzzard flying off into the trees."
The victim suffered three 6cm (2in) long gashes on his scalp from the bird's claws. However, despite his injuries, he was not put off from jogging and bought a sun hat to wear for his next run. He said "I have brown hair and I wasn't sure if the buzzard had mistaken me for a big, slow rabbit so I decided not to take any chances and invested in a hat. I had wanted to get a bicycle helmet but thought I'd look a bit stupid in that so I went for a sun hat instead."
If readers have heard of anything similar in the past please let me know. Look out in 2010!! Basic lesson is ... don’t go jogging!
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