The northern Dutch city of Purmerend has suggested residents to take up umbrellas towards vigilante owls who’ve gone on a spree of bloody assaults.
Over the past three weeks, because the daybreak settled European eagle owl silently swooped on dozens of residents of the often peaceable city, with many victims requiring hospital remedy.
The most recent aerial assault on Tuesday night noticed two members of an area athletics membership attacked, with one runner requiring stitches for six head wounds brought on by the nocturnal fowl of prey’s talons.
The membership has cancelled all coaching till additional discover.
Residents and employees at Prinsenstichting residence for the handicapped have been left terrified following a minimum of 15 assaults, spokesperson Liselotte de Bruijn stated.
“Throughout the day there’s no downside, however at evening we now solely enterprise outdoors armed with umbrellas, helmets and hats, something actually, to guard ourselves,” stated De Bruijn.
“The issue is that you just don’t hear the owl earlier than it strikes. Its claws are razor-sharp,” she stated, qualities which have made owls probably the most feared hunters within the evening.
“We hope town will quickly catch this rogue fowl.”
Purmerend metropolis council stated it was looking for an answer.
“We wish to catch the owl as our metropolis’s residents are in peril,” it stated on its web site, noting nonetheless that the European eagle owl is a protected species that requires particular permission to be trapped.
“These procedures can nonetheless take a while. In the meantime, we’re advising individuals to avoid the owl,” town stated, telling evening strollers within the space to protect themselves with umbrellas.
Gejo Wassink of the Netherlands’ OWN owl basis stated the fowl’s behaviour was uncommon.
“Both the owl was reared in captivity and launched into the wild and now associates people with meals — that means it’s not likely ‘attacking’ individuals.”
“Or it might have heightened hormone ranges because the breeding season begins, which influences its behaviour and makes it defend its territory,” Wassink advised AFP, saying the fowl “seems to be a feminine”.
He pointed to the broader downside of individuals hand-rearing owls after which releasing them into the wild after they grow to be too huge to deal with, probably resulting in a rise in assaults.
The European eagle owl is likely one of the largest owl species, with a wing-span of as much as 1.80 metres (virtually six toes) and weighing as much as three kilos (seven kilos).