Hereford & Worcester

Man, 71, attacked by buzzard in field near Severn Stoke

Nick George suffered four deep talon scratches: Photo courtesy of Stan Fagg
Image caption Mr George was treated for four deep scratch wounds at Tewkesbury Hospital.

A 71-year-old man was left pouring with blood after being attacked by a buzzard in a field in Worcestershire.

Nick George suffered deep claw injuries to his head when the bird dive-bombed him on a path in a wheat field near Severn Stoke on Monday.

Mr George, from Bredon, near Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire, said he had no idea why it attacked him.

Experts have said such incidents were rare, but was usually the behaviour of a parent protecting its young.

Mr George had been planning a route for the Tewkesbury University of the Third Age walking group when he spotted the buzzard being "mobbed" by a group of crows.

At one point, it flew close to him and he shooed it away with his walking poles.

Later, as he returned to his car, the bird swooped at him.

'Quite a shock'

"I thought I'd been hit on the head with a stick or a brick and I staggered forward with my walking poles which luckily kept me on my feet," said Mr George.

Image caption Falconry expert Mark Palmer said such attacks by buzzards were rare

"I looked up and could see the buzzard flying away, then the blood started coming down over my eyes and down my face."

He was treated for four deep scratch wounds at Tewkesbury Hospital.

"I've seen lots of buzzards in the past, but I've never ever been attacked by anything. Quite a shock it was when it happened," Mr George said.

Mark Palmer, falconry expert at the International Centre for Birds of Prey in Newent, Gloucestershire, said he had heard of isolated incidents in the UK, but that they were very rare.

"June is the month when young buzzards will be leaving their nests and trying to find their way in the world and some of them might not be that good at flying, so they may land on the ground or a low branch," he said.

"Like any good parent, the buzzard is going to do its best to protect [its young] it if it feels they are threatened."

He advised anyone who sees a struggling fledgling to leave it alone and "let nature take its course".

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