Seasoned runner falls victim to a buzzard attack in Derby

runner buzzard attack

Matt Murphy is the latest runner to be attacked by a buzzard whilst out running in Derby. After a large bird-of-prey swooped down on him as he ran along Infinity Park Way earlier this month, the runner reportedly took a stick out with him every time he ran, worried about future attacks.

This came in handy last week, as the bird tried to attack him again. Murphy told the Derby Telegraph: “On Monday the bird tried to attack me again. If I hadn’t looked over my shoulder in the nick of time and waved the stick frantically, it would have been attack number two.

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“The first attack actually drew blood and left me with a headache for the remainder of that day and the following day.”

Yet this is not the only reports of such attack in the area; earlier this month, two other Derby runners were attacked by a buzzard who sunk it’s talons into the back of one of the their heads.

Also in the News this weekend, Tom Davidson, a 62-year-old runner in Fife, Scotland, sustained a buzzard attack whilst on a ten mile run from Cupar towards Fernie.

Telling the Scottish newspaper The Courier, “It was a really terrifying incident. I don’t know if there’s much runners can do to be honest, but it kept on coming at me and I was lucky I wasn’t seriously injured.

“I could hear it swooshing down, almost like the sound of a glider, and it really came at me at some rate of knots. It just missed my ear and luckily it didn’t hit me with its talons, as I’ve heard of joggers receiving some really nasty injuries. I’ve been jogging all my life and I’ve never come across anything like that before.”

What should you do if you see a buzzard whilst running?

We spoke to the RSPB about the issue, and asked them how runners can stay safe when running outside. They told Runner’s World: “Just like us, buzzards have a strong instinct to protect their young. Over the summer months they will be busy raising a family, which can mean someone unwittingly coming too close to their home may be seen as a threat to their children.

“In most cases a buzzard will be content to see a runner move away or ignore the nest as they follow their route, however in very rare situations, the bird may feel so distressed and concerned that it acts more aggressively. These are incredibly unusual circumstances and attacks are extremely rare.

“If you notice a nesting bird of pretty where you run, it may be worth changing your route slightly during July and August to give the birds some space while the chicks are at their most vulnerable. If that spot is popular with runners or other locals, maybe contact the council or landowner and ask them to put a sign up so other people are aware and know to take a different route.”