Page last updated at 20:44 GMT, Friday, 17 July 2009 21:44 UK

Jogger injured in buzzard attack

Stuart Urquhart
Stuart Urquhart was given a tetanus injection following the buzzard attack

A tourist suffered slash wounds to his head when he was attacked by a buzzard while jogging in Cornwall.

Stuart Urquhart, who is from Westbury Park in Bristol, was holidaying in Helford with his family when he was attacked by the bird last week.

The 36-year-old had gone for a morning run when the bird swooped from behind and attacked him with its talons.

Mr Urquhart, a solicitor, was taken to Falmouth Minor Injuries Unit where he was given a tetanus injection.

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 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
Stuart Urquhart

"I carried on a few paces and then saw blood running down me and noticed a buzzard flying off into the trees."

Mr Urquhart 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.

"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."

However, it seems that Mr Urquhart's prudence paid off as a couple of days later he spotted the buzzard on a telegraph pole and it swooped down with its talons out.

(Photo copyright: Apex)
Buzzards have been known to attack cyclists (Photo: APEX)

"I clapped my hands and shouted at it and it flew off but my brother-in-law said it had followed him too when he had been out for a run last week."

This is not the first time that buzzards - which can weigh up to 1kg and have a 1m (39in) wingspan - have attacked people in the south west of England.

There have been a number of incidents involving a large bird attacking cyclists in north Devon.

Two years ago Euan Mahey from Guernsey was left covered in blood after a bird, thought to be a buzzard, sank its talons into his head.

The attack happened just outside Holsworthy - in the same place were there had been a series of attacks over the previous three years.

Experts believe buzzards which attack may be protecting a nest or have once been in captivity and are used to people.



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