'I was freaked out' says charity walker injured in buzzard attack

A woman out walking for charity had to fend off an angry buzzard in the second attack by the vicious bird in the same area within days of each other.
'I was freaked out' says charity walker injured in buzzard attack
A buzzard is silhouetted as it surveys its territory in the early morning sunrise at Brittas bay. Co Wicklow. BirdWatch Ireland says attacks on people by the bird are very uncommon. Photograph: Garry O'Neill
A buzzard is silhouetted as it surveys its territory in the early morning sunrise at Brittas bay. Co Wicklow. BirdWatch Ireland says attacks on people by the bird are very uncommon. Photograph: Garry O'Neill

A woman out walking for charity had to fend off an angry buzzard in the second attack by the vicious bird in the same area within days of each other.

Lorraine Young was clocking up steps for a charity challenge when the aggressive bird swooped down and clawed its talons into her head just outside Collon, Co Louth.

The Camogie player then waved her hands and started shouting to ward off the buzzard as it circled the sky before dive-bombing her another three times.

The 38-year old athlete, who was left bloodied and needing a tetanus injection and a course of antibiotics, highlighted the incident on social media in an effort to warn other vulnerable pedestrians and cyclists who may be passing through the area.

Lorraine Young: "It hit me so hard that it nearly knocked me. I actually stumbled so I thought what if it was an elderly person out walking or a child on its bike that was knocked into oncoming traffic."
Lorraine Young: "It hit me so hard that it nearly knocked me. I actually stumbled so I thought what if it was an elderly person out walking or a child on its bike that was knocked into oncoming traffic."

It was the second attack within a few days last month by the buzzard that also left runner Sean Carpenter with puncture wounds on his head and Lorraine said her Facebook post drew comments from two other men who also met with the bird's anger.

"I was out walking the Collon/Kells Road in a 300km challenge for St Anne's camogie club to raise funds for LauraLynn and the Northeast Cancer Research and Education Trust.

"I was minding my own business when all of a sudden, I got an almighty bang on the head by this huge bird, that I later was told was a buzzard," she said.

It perched on a tree and stared aggressively at me. I was freaked out and started walking again along that stretch which is lined with a lot of trees.

"All of a sudden, it flew into the air and came at me again. It came at me a total of four times but each of these times, I could see it coming so I waved my arms in the air and started shouting so it couldn't get another swipe at me.

Sean Carpenter was also attacked by the buzzard
Sean Carpenter was also attacked by the buzzard

"I put my hands to my head and they were covered in blood but I was still 4km away from home. I rang the doctor when I got in the door and they said to come in for a tetanus shot and some antibiotics."

Ms Young said: "It hit me so hard that it nearly knocked me. I actually stumbled so I thought what if it was an elderly person out walking or a child on its bike that was knocked into oncoming traffic.

"So I put up a post on social media to warn others and since, two men have told me they met with the bird but thankfully were expecting it so it didn't get close to hurt them.

"I ran 411km and walked 250km for St Anne's in June but I haven't been along that stretch of road since. Instead I've taken all the hills and alternative routes I could."

Just a few days earlier, another local resident Sean Carpenter received two puncture wounds to his head after an attack by the buzzard while running along the same stretch of road.

At that time Niall Hatch of BirdWatch Ireland said the attack could be linked to birds nesting closer to roads which had little activity during lockdown. "These kind of attacks are extremely rare and what we are thinking is that buzzards have nested this year closer to main roads and footpaths because of the lack of human activity during Covid-19 lockdown," he said.

"They are extremely territorial so when people are out and about again, they are trying to fend off would-be attackers from the nest. It's terrible for those who have been attacked but the good news is that the nesting season is about to end so any attacks, however rare, should also finish."

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