Woman attacked by bird urges others to stay safe

Deborah Flint and her dog beside a tree
Deborah Flint was attacked from behind by a large bird of prey [Deborah Flint]

A woman is warning people to stay vigilant after she was attacked by a bird of prey while walking in woodland.

Deborah Flint, from St Briavels in the Forest of Dean, was walking her dog through Mocking Hazel Wood when she came across a wooden crate attached to a tree.

Believing it to be a geocache, Ms Flint was peering into the crate when the bird attacked her from "high above and behind".

She now has a large lump on her head and three small cuts, presumably from the bird's beak and talons. Her neighbour was also attacked over the weekend in the same spot.

A finger pointing at a location among trees on an old map
Ms Flint pointed to the location of the tree on a map [Deborah Flint]

"It felt like I'd been hit on the head by a hammer or a rock, shockingly hard, and I didn't hear anything," she said.

"I turned around, expecting to see someone stood behind me, but there was nothing."

Ms Flint said she looked around "wildly" before spotting the feathered tail of a bird up in a tree.

She said she had never heard of birds attacking people but now knows "it's not unheard of".

Tawny Owl mid flight with its wings outstretched
Ms Flint believes it was possibly a large Tawny Owl trying to protect its chicks [Getty Images]

The ordeal left Ms Flint "really quite shocked" but she said she was "much better now".

She added: "I found out a neighbour was attacked in exactly the same place by the same bird the following morning and he had to go to hospital to have a tetanus injection."

Ms Flint escaped by making use of her dog's red lead - which she thought may look like a snake - and "wheeling" it around her head as she ran away.

She said she only approached the crate - which she now believes may have been a nesting box for owls - as she thought it may have been a geocache.

Geocaching is an outdoor pastime which sees participants leave containers in specific locations marked by coordinates for others to find through an app.

Close-up of a grey-haired man with cuts on his forehead
Ms Flint's neighbour, Simon Harris (pictured), had to get a tetanus injection after he was also attacked [Simon Harris]

"Had I thought there was a bird in there, I wouldn't have gone near it because I wouldn't want to disturb the bird," Ms Flint said.

She now wants to raise awareness by warning others not to approach boxes that may be serving as homes for wild birds.

She is also urging wildlife enthusiasts to clearly mark the nests or place them well above head height.

Ms Flint said the wooden crate containing the chicks was similar to those used to transport fresh produce and was not distinctively recognisable as a bird box.

She added there are other routes to take in the area, avoiding the tree at the entrance to the woods near Offa's Dyke.

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