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Last Updated: Thursday, 24 May 2007, 14:45 GMT 15:45 UK
Battling buzzard attacks cyclist
Puncture wounds on Mr Mahey's scalp
Mr Mahey was left with puncture wounds on his scalp
A man from Cornwall has been attacked by a bird of prey while riding his bike in north Devon.

Euan Mahey was left covered in blood after the bird, thought to be a buzzard, sank its talons into his head.

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

Mr Mahey was left with small puncture wounds to his scalp and bird experts said he could have been badly injured.

Mr Mahey told BBC News: "I was cycling along this very quiet road when I felt this awesome thud.

Their talons are razor sharp
Tom Screech, bird expert

"I turned round and saw this bird with its talons outstretched retreating away from me. It was quite incredible.

"I can't believe it was in exactly the same spot as the previous attacks.

"I think other cyclists should watch out and look around because they will be attacked."

Buzzard attack
A buzzard attacking a cyclist in June 2004 (top right hand of picture)

Tom Screech from the Screech Owl Sanctuary said the bird's behaviour is unusual, but potentially dangerous.

"They're about the same weight as a bag of sugar - imagine that coming from the trees about 50ft above you," he said.

"Their talons are razor sharp, so if it hit you on the back of the head it could be very serious."

One idea is that this bird has perhaps lived in captivity and is used to humans.

Buzzards can live for more than 25 years, so it is thought likely to be the same bird attacking cyclists.

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) has previously advised cyclists to avoid the area during the nesting season and members of the public have been reminded that all birds of prey are protected by law.


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