Residents in a Black Country town are being terrorised by an aggressive owl which is swooping from the sky and attacking pensioners, children and pets.
The Canadian great-horned owl has been dive-bombing locals living in Sedgley, West Midlands, leaving some people too afraid to leave their homes.
Sighting of the ‘psycho’ bird, thought to be an illegal escaped pet, has increased in recent weeks as have the seemingly random attacks on members of the public.
Liz Hodgkins, 74, was savaged by the owl’s razor-sharp talons just before Christmas on her driveway and was left with deep cuts on her scalp.
The grandmother-of-five, from Sedgley, was left with a bloody head wound as she went to close her front garden gates in December.
Liz Hodgkins, 74, was left with deep bloody cuts in her scalp after a Canadian great-horned owl has been caught terrorising locals
The bird of prey, thought to be an escaped illegal pet, was pictured 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 big house and I was going down the drive to shut the gate.
‘The owl was in the tree and I waved to it and said hello. As I was walking back I felt this big hit on the back of the head.
‘I had my grandkids staying and they were worried about me when they saw all the blood.
‘I asked my neighbour and he said he’d been attacked while taking the dog out. They see it on their fence.
‘It looks a nasty thing really. One neighbour is soft on it and doesn’t want anything happening to it. Although it’s not a native bird.
‘I think it’s someone pet who had it illegally but you wouldn’t know.
‘To trap it you need a license. No one wants to get this owl, no one wants to catch this vicious owl. There’s not 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 in October he just didn’t come out much, but now he seems to be coming out all the time.’
The grandmother-of-five was savaged by the owl’s razor-sharp talons just before Christmas while her grandchildren were just down the drive at her home in Sedgley
The lab technician, pictured where she was attacked by the trees close to her front garden gate, said: ‘ ‘The owl was in the tree and I waved to it and said hello. As I was walking back I felt this big hit on the back of the head. ‘I had my grandkids staying 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 be getting more vicious as it grows hungry or protects its territory looking for a mate.
There were also reports of a 13-year-old boy being hurt as well as small dogs being targeted in their owner’s back gardens.
Great-horned owls can be 2ft tall with a 5ft wingspan. They feast on small and medium-sized mammals as prey – from rabbits, ducks, mice and voles.
Another resident Rachel Teague, 36, a mum-of-two, added: ‘It’s become a bit of a psycho and people are actually pretty terrified of it.
‘It’s crazy there’s a Canadian owl causing havoc in the Black Country, we only usually get to see birds like this at Dudley Zoo.
‘We do hope somebody is able to catch it safely because it has become very aggressive and I do worry about my two little ones.
‘We don’t want to villainise the poor thing, it is just displaying its natural behaviour. But it needs to be caught and nobody is doing anything about it.’
Other locals took to social media community pages to say they had been attacked and left with puncture wounds which left ‘blood everywhere’.
One mum wrote on Facebook: ‘My son who is 13 got attacked by a bird of prey yesterday. He’s thinking it could of been a large Owl.
‘It was near the allotments. Thought I’d make people aware’
Another added: ‘My friends have been attacked by it and are now scared to leave their house, they have little dogs and it went for one so be careful with your dogs.’
The random attacks have left locals feeling too scared to leave their homes in Sedgley, West Midlands and are worried for the safety of their pets
The large bird was sighted across the region last September but is believed to be getting more vicious as it grows hungry or protects its territory looking for a mate
Brockswood Animal Sanctuary, in nearby Dudley, first reported a sighting of the owl back in September.
They wrote on Facebook ‘Please share. Has anybody or do any of you know of anybody in the local area (or possibly slightly further afield) who has lost an owl?
‘We have had reports of a spotted eagle owl in Dudley/Sedgley area. These are not native species and obviously an escaped pet.
‘We have trawled the various lost animal pages but can find no reference to this bird so far and keen to help find its home.’
One woman replied: ‘Unfortunately the owl attacked Jay and our neighbour and we are struggling with our dogs in our back garden, I do think it’s escaped.
‘There are now two neighbours in Turls Hill Road who have been physically attacked by this owl, one with scratches on her scalp.
‘Please be aware as people are also worried about their dogs.
‘Someone has a contact at a falconry so are now talking to them about it. As much as it’s good to know the owl has survived the winter, this is worrying.’
Another added: ‘You can protect it by all means, nobody wants to harm it, but you need to understand the severity of the problem here.
‘We have a child that has puncture wounds, and the mother has said there was blood everywhere, also the other two people that were attacked, one was almost knocked to the floor as it is so powerful.
‘We all want to protect it, just the same as you do and being caught is the safest option for the owl and local people.’
Bird expert Barbara Royle, the owner of the International Bird Registry, believes the owl is becoming territorial due to the breeding season.
She advised members of the public to avoid the big bird at all costs.
Barbara said: ‘From its behaviour, we suspect it is now looking for a mate. It is protecting its territory because of its breeding condition.
‘With all of the publicity, I’m surprised someone hasn’t come forward and I would suspect it has been let go on purpose.’