Eagle owl attacks man leaving him in pool of blood in Highlands

Owl attack
Owl attack: John MacKay was left in a pool of blood.SWNS

A man was left was left lying in a pool of his own blood after his head was ripped open by an eagle owl.

John MacKay, 58, of North Kessock, Inverness-shire, was walking into a masonic club when he suddenly woke up on the floor with a "fountain" of blood pouring from his skull.

Sitting on a nearby van was a two-foot high eagle owl glaring down at him.

Mr MacKay said: "I was just crossing the car park to the clubhouse with some pals and we noticed this eagle owl because it was making rather lot of noise.

"We never really gave it a thought and so I stopped to make a phone call, while the others went into the club. The next thing I knew, I was on the deck.

"It was as if I had been hit by a brick or something as it had ripped my head open and the blood was everywhere - it had erupted like a fountain.

"When I went to look up, I saw that this owl had gone from my right hand side to my left hand side and was sitting on a roof of a van looking at me.

"It was so silent, it had just swooped down in a fraction of a second and attacked me with its talons, slicing my head like a stanley knife would."

Mr MacKay was able to crawl into the club to get help and staff immediately dialled an ambulance to pick him up.

Mr MacKay, a retired businessman, said: "When I got to the hospital I had an option between stitches, staples or glue. I opted for the glue and so they stuck me all back together.

"I am ok now and that's the main thing, it could have been a lot more serious if the bird had got my eye or the cut was deeper."

Keith Campbell, who used to own the nearby Redcliffe Hotel, stressed that this was not the first time the owl had visited the area.

Mr Campbell, who now owns Kinkell Guest House in Inverness, said: "When we owned the Redcliffe we actually had an eagle owl come and visit our garden for a week.

"It caused chaos, the neighbours were all complaining that it was attacking their cats, so I wouldn't be surprised if it's the same one that has returned."

Tommy Horne, of Croy, Inverness-shire, rescues birds of prey in the area and has been trying to find the animal since the most recent attack on last Saturday outside Inverness Masonic Club.

He said: "It's very strange for any bird of prey to attack a human, I've never heard of it. Perhaps it's injured or something like that, but I really don't know. I was out looking for it on Saturday night, but so far there's been no further sightings of the owl.

"Eagle owls are very large birds, and for me the welfare of the bird is important now, so I'm keen to find it."

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