Residents of a Black Country town are terrorized by an aggressive owl that appears from the sky and attacks retirees, children and pets.
The Canada great horned owl has been dive bombing locals in Sedgley, West Midlands, leaving some people too scared to leave their homes.
Sightings of the ‘psycho’ bird, believed to be an illegally escaped pet, have increased in recent weeks, as have seemingly random attacks on members of the public.
Liz Hodgkins, 74, was ravaged in her driveway just before Christmas by the owl’s razor-sharp claws and was left with deep cuts to her scalp.
The grandmother of five from Sedgley suffered a bloody head wound when she went to close the gate to her front garden in December.
Liz Hodgkins, 74, suffered deep bloody cuts to her scalp after a Canadian great-horned owl was caught terrorizing locals
The bird of prey, believed to be an illegal pet escape, was photographed by a member of the public in Sedgley, West Midlands and is believed to be responsible for the attacks
The retired lab technician said, “I live in a relatively large house and I wanted to pull down the driveway to close the gate.
“The owl was in the tree and I waved to it and said hello. As I walked back I felt a big blow to the back of my head.
“I had my grandchildren stay over and they were worried about me when they saw all the blood.
“I asked my neighbor and he said he was attacked while walking the dog. They see it on their fence.
‘It looks really dirty. A neighbor is soft with it and does not want anything to happen to it. Although it is not a native bird.
“I think it’s someone who had it illegally, but you wouldn’t know.
You need a permit to catch him. No one wants to catch this owl, no one wants to catch this vicious owl. There isn’t really a plan for it.
‘He’s been in the woods since October. The RSPB came and said he was probably hungry and that’s why he’s attacking now.
“Whether he just didn’t come out much in October, but now he seems to come out all the time.”
The grandmother of five was ravaged just before Christmas by the owl’s razor-sharp claws while her grandchildren were just in the driveway at her home in Sedgley.
The lab technician, pictured where she was attacked by the trees close to her front yard fence, said, “The owl was in the tree and I waved to it and said hello. As I walked back I felt a big blow to the back of my head. ‘I let my grandchildren stay over and they were worried about me when they saw all the blood’
The large bird was sighted across the region last September, but is believed to become more ferocious as it gets hungry or protects its territory in search of a mate.
There were also reports of a 13-year-old boy being injured and small dogs being targeted in their owners’ backyards.
Great horned owls can be 2 feet long with a wingspan of 5 feet. They feast on small and medium-sized mammals as prey – rabbits, ducks, mice and voles.
Another resident, Rachel Teague, 36, a mother of two, added: ‘It’s become a bit of a psychopath and people are actually pretty terrified of it.
‘It’s crazy that there’s a Canadian owl wreaking havoc in the Black Country, birds like this we usually only get to see at Dudley Zoo.
“We hope someone can catch him safely because he has become very aggressive and I am worried about my two little ones.
“We don’t want to scold the poor thing, it’s just acting out its natural behavior. But it has to be caught and no one is doing anything about it.’
Other locals took to pages of the social media community to say they had been attacked and left with puncture wounds that left “blood everywhere.”
A mother wrote on Facebook: ‘My 13-year-old son was attacked by a bird of prey yesterday. He thinks it could be a large owl.
‘It was near the allotments. I thought I would make people aware’
Another added: ‘My friends have been attacked by it and are now afraid to leave their house, they have small dogs and it went for a so be careful with your dogs.’
The indiscriminate attacks have left local residents feeling too scared to leave their homes in Sedgley, West Midlands and concerned for the safety of their pets
The large bird was sighted across the region last September, but is believed to become increasingly ferocious as it gets hungry or protects its territory in search of a mate
Brockswood Animal Sanctuary, in nearby Dudley, first reported a sighting of the owl in September.
They wrote on Facebook ‘Please share. Does anyone or do any of you know anyone in the area (or possibly a little further away) who has lost an owl?
‘We have had reports of a spotted eagle owl in the Dudley/Sedgley area. These are not native species and clearly an escaped pet.
“We’ve searched the various lost animal pages, but so far can’t find any reference to this bird and would like to help find its home.”
One woman replied, “Unfortunately the owl attacked Jay and our neighbor and we are struggling with our dogs in our backyard, I think he escaped.”
“There are now two neighbors in Turls Hill Road who have been physically attacked by this owl, one with scratches on her scalp.
‘Note, because people are also worried about their dogs.
“Someone has a contact at a falconry and is now talking to them about it. As nice as it is to know that the owl survived the winter, it is worrying.’
Another added: “You can protect it any way you can, nobody wants to damage it, but you have to understand the seriousness of the problem here.”
“We have a child who has stab wounds, and the mother has said there was blood everywhere, including the other two people who were attacked, one was almost knocked to the ground because it is so powerful.
“We all want to protect it, just like you and getting caught is the safest option for the owl and the locals.”
Bird expert Barbara Royle, owner of the International Bird Registry, believes the owl is becoming territorial through the breeding season.
She advised the public to avoid the large bird at all costs.
Barbara said: ‘From his behavior we suspect he is now looking for a partner. It protects its territory due to its breeding condition.
“With all the publicity, I’m surprised someone didn’t come forward and I suspect it was released on purpose.”