Saturday, June 12, 2004

Meanwhile on the other side of the pond

Cyclists are being advised to paint eyes on top of their helmets after an angry buzzard attacked more than 20 riders on a country road.

The RSPB says the dive-bombing bird of prey, which has swooped on cyclists around Holsworthy, Devon, could be scared off by the eyes.

All 22 competitors in two long-distance cycle races at the weekend were attacked at the same spot.

Retired toolmaker Paul Dixon, 71, North Devon secretary of the Cyclists’ Touring Club, has also fallen victim to the buzzard.

He recalled: “The bird whooshed out of the sky, banging me on the head. I got three nasty scratches on the head and blood was pouring out.”

Mr Dixon, of Barnstaple, Devon, returned to the scene, on the A3072 between Brandis Corner and Anvil Corner, yesterday and was attacked again.

He said: “I had only got about 100 yards when it came out of the sky. It left three big holes in my helmet where his claws had been.

“Two were hovering when one spotted me and followed me along the road.

“Then it pulled back its wings and dive-bombed.”

RSPB spokeswoman Emma Parkin said buzzard attacks were “very unusual” but had been reported at the same place last year

She added: “Presumably there must be young somewhere around. Within a few weeks it will be all right because they will have flown the nest.”

She said cyclists were advised either to avoid the area or to paint a pair of eyes on their helmet or an umbrella as a warning sign to the buzzard.

But Mr Dixon joked that he had another idea. “I suggested putting a big spike on your head.”


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Damn those buzzards!

June 12, 2004 at 5:16 AM  

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