I got attacked by what I think was a buzzard, but certainly a bird of prey, whilst out running this morning. And whilst certain people in my life think it was hilarious (a point I may concede later but not yet), frankly, I was bloody terrified.
I was settling into what was promising to be a strong, 10 mile (potentially more) run and feeling good. The sun was shining, I’d finally found paths I didn’t have to drive to that were mostly track based (often through woods) and I had 6 miles behind me and loads left in the tank. I was experimenting with my route and had just run down a track, past an idyllic farmhouse complete with gambolling lambs that came to greet me and successfully navigated a field of cows, lazily sunbathing in the morning rays. I made my way through the gate into the next field and started running across the obvious track, down towards the next copse in the distance.
I spotted a shadow on the hard ground ahead of me and a large bird swooped over head. I felt at one with nature, full of joy. Then suddenly, preceded only by a slight unexpected draft, my head was buffed by sharp claws as said bird decided to…attack me?! I jumped out of my skin, my (prescription) sunglasses flew off and I’m embarrassed to say I ran screaming back the way I came towards the gate and almost clambered into a bush so I’d be safe from further attacks.
The cows in the previous field were confused, to say the least. They all clambered up and trotted up to the gate to see what the fuss was about. I called Dan, slightly hysterical, who tried to calm me down. After a few minutes I decided I’d try and retrieve my sunglasses then make my way back the way I’d came. I stealthily started back down the path, not running this time, taking it slow. The bird came AGAIN. I ran back to the safety of the bushes, screaming (sorry cows); half hoping the noise would attract the local farm whilst simultaneously dying of embarrassment for my reaction.
I don’t think I was thinking clearly so I decided to message my work chat on Facebook, thinking that a bunch of outdoorsy types might have some useful tips on what was happening. Unless you count useful tips as requesting I record it next time and asking if I was dressed as a dormouse, I was wrong. In a bit of a panic, I threw my over-the-head headphones into the track, wondering if that was what the bird was going for. I ventured out to look for my glasses again and down the bird swooped, for a fourth (or possibly fifth time). Obviously, the headphones were not the target.
To my shame, I phoned Dan again, crying and asked him to pick me up. Clearly he couldn’t come into a field so I had to get to a road. I had two choices, take my chances with the bird and run as fast as humanely possible (for me) across the field or back through the field of agitated cows. I chose the cows. Now, I know that cows are generally docile and caring animals but walking surrounded by a herd of 20-odd large animals who are anxious, skittish and head butting your arse is not a comforting experience when you’re already a little, ahem, distressed. But I made it to the stile and hot tailed it back up the track and through the golf course to the car park where my ever-patient husband was waiting.
Whilst sympathetic, his first question was also whether I filmed it or not. As you can imagine, I was hugely impressed by this. However, he made up for it by driving to the nearest lane to the field and gallantly striding through (with a very eager middle boy) where he retrieved my glasses and headphones successfully with no sign of the bird in sight. I’ll admit though, there was a part of me that was disappointed the bird didn’t go for him to, if only so he knew how I felt!
My first thought was…how will I ever run again? This might have been one of the most frightening experiences ever for me (I’ve led a sheltered life) and I love running…but definitely do not want a repeat experience!
Now, in a more sensible space, I have realised that as a colleague helpfully suggested, the bird was probably nesting and protecting her young/eggs. A quick google has verified this theory. I also realised that I’ve been running regularly for almost 8 years now and this has happened once…so odds are it won’t happen again. I’m never running in that field again though!
But I thought that those of you in need of a chuckle this morning might appreciate my embarrassing tale which is why I’ve told the whole sorry thing to you! And fellow, runners – if this has ever happened to you, please tell me!
(Picture below is of part of the run, before the fateful field of terror)