A man in Medfield, Massachusetts, is nursing injuries following an owl attack that nearly snatched his dog, Boston 25 News reported.
According to Kenneth Wadness, the incident occurred on Monday night, Nov. 13, as he was walking back to his car with his dog, Micah. The two were returning from a routine hike at the Noon Hill Reservation when the owl attacked.
While it’s fortunate that the bird missed Micah by a whisker, the attack left Wadness with minor gashes on the back of his head.
Medfield man recalls terrifying encounter with owl
“This owl came and swooped right next to Micah and right by my elbow,” Wadness said. The bird flew away after the first unsuccessful attack attempt, only to return almost immediately — this time, diving to attack with its feet.
“Within 10 seconds, he whacked me with his talons,” Wadness said. “He hit me on the back of the head.” With a branch in his hand to fight off the aggressive bird, Wadness quickly picked up Micah and dashed to his car. “If [the owl] got his claws in Micah … I think he would have the force to kill,” Wadness told the outlet.
Evading an owl attack with your dog
Ornithologist for the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, Andrew Vitz, noted that while owl attacks on pets and humans are rare, that doesn’t mean they can never occur.
He added that owls tend to get aggressive as they approach the nesting season and are more likely to go after smaller pets. “It’s that territorial behavior that’s kicking in,” Vitz shared.
According to National Geographic, the federally protected bird perceives anyone near its nesting area as an intruder. If one does not heed an owl’s initial warning, chances are, it will strike with its talons.
While the presence of something much larger than themselves — like a person — is enough to deter an owl, Vitz encouraged dog owners to keep their pets indoors at night.
Surprisingly, the scary incident didn’t come between Wadness and his love for hiking with Micah. The duo were already back at the Noon Hill Reservation for their usual hike as early as Wednesday, just a day after the attack.