Nesting buzzard attacks runners and walkers in Drenthe

A common buzzard in flight. Photo: Wikipedia
A common buzzard in flight. Photo: Wikipedia

Walkers and joggers in Drenthe have been warned to watch out for an overprotective buzzard that has attacked several people in recent weeks.

The bird of prey is nesting near Sluisvierweg and the Oranjekanaal in Emmen and reacts aggressively to passers-by who come too close, the local council said.

In most cases the buzzard swoops down low over people’s heads to scare them off, but some victims have been left with scratch wounds in the head and neck.

The municipality advised people in the area to protect themselves by maintaining eye contact with the bird if they see it, as it attacks by stealth, and wearing a hat and sunglasses when they go out.

The behaviour is described as atypical, but there have been several reports in recent years of walkers, runners and cyclists around Emmen having close encounters with buzzards.

Two years ago a runner on Sluisvierweg sustained a head wound and another was injured in nearby Hoogezand. Further north, in Appingedam in Groningen, cyclist Dick Koster was ambushed last year by two buzzards while he was out on his racing bike.

‘I didn’t know what hit me,’ he told the Dagblad van het Noorden. ‘I thought at first someone was tapping me on the head, but then I heard the claws scratching my helmet.

‘Before I realised what was happening the next one struck. If they’d been any bigger I’d have been carried off into the sky.’

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