Page last updated at 12:10 GMT, Sunday, 19 July 2009 13:10 UK

Second jogger attacked by buzzard

The buzzard continued to "stalk" Miss Dennis for about 50m

A buzzard has attacked another holidaymaker in Cornwall - the second such incident in a matter of days.

Eleanor Dennis, 19, was jogging near the Helford River on Saturday evening when the bird of prey attacked.

The teenager from Hertfordshire, who is on holiday with her family, was not hurt, but was badly frightened.

Last week Stuart Urquhart from Bristol needed hospital treatment after a buzzard slashed his head while he was out jogging near the Helford River.

Mr Urquhart suffered three 6cm (2in) long gashes on his scalp from the bird's talons.

It screeched at me and just kept following me
Eleanor Dennis

The attack on Miss Dennis happened at about 1830 BST near Constantine.

"I was jogging along by the river when I suddenly heard this 'swishing' noise behind me," she told BBC News.

"When I looked round the bird was swooping down above my head, but it missed me by about 1m.

"I clapped my hands to scare it off, but it screeched at me and just kept following me for about 50m."

Stuart Urquhart
Stuart Urquhart needed a tetanus injection after the buzzard attack

Ciaran Nelson from the RSPB said it is likely the attacks were carried out by the same bird, whose behaviour indicates it is trying to protect its young.

"At this time of year if the buzzard has young preparing to fledge, it will see almost anything as a potential threat to its family and environment," he said.

"Put simply it is doing what comes naturally."

Mr Nelson said buzzards were normally extremely wary of humans after being persecuted and hunted almost to extinction, so the only other explanation could be the bird may have once been in captivity.

"It's just possible it's escaped and may be swooping down because its been trained to the lure for food," he said.

In previous years there have been a number of buzzard attacks reported on cyclists near Holsworthy, north Devon.

If a buzzard is defending its young, Mr Nelson said its aggressive behaviour should only last until the chicks have fledged.

"It's hard to say, without knowing what stage they're at, but it shouldn't be much more than a matter of days or a week until this one moves on," he added.

Buzzards, which can weigh up to 1kg and have a 1m (39in) wingspan, are a protected species.

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