A Belgian jogger in Theux, in Wallonia, ruffled the feathers of one of Belgium’s small population of buzzards on the weekend, after being pursued by the 'medium-to-large' bird, according to Belgian broadcaster RTBF.
Belgian David Archambeau was jogging near the small village of Mont-Theux when he suddenly found himself being mobbed by the large bird of prey.
Upon spotting the bird, Archambeau “started to run a little faster” to get away from it.
“At that time, I started to be a little scared, especially since the bird has a wingspan of one metre,” he told the media.
The bird then began to chase the scared Belgian for a distance of around 500 metres, before finally giving up. A lucky escape, Archambeau said, as the bird did not strike him with its claws or beak.
In a similar incident in the United Kingdom in 2015, Neil Collier was attacked by a buzzard while on a run in Scotland, describing the incident as like “being hit by a rock.”
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Female buzzards are known to be extremely aggressive when protecting their young during nesting nesting season and will sortie out of their nests to defend their territory. Most of the time, rather than attacking with their beaks of talons, they will feign attacks to intimidate potential threats.
In a comment to RTBF, Serge Tiquet, from the environmental organisation Natagora, says that if Belgian joggers come face-to-face with a buzzard, they should slowly back away, protect their faces, and slowly walk away.
Attacks against pedestrians by birds are not entirely out of the ordinary.
In 2020, the residents of the Belgian town of Erpe-Mere, near Aalst in East Flanders, were terrorised by an aggressive, almost two-metre-wide, European eagle owl.
The angry owl killed local ducks, punctured a children’s swimming pool, and terrified locals’ dogs.