Andy Llewellyn was on a run near Chellaston, England, on August 1 when he felt what he called an “almighty whack” against the back of his head.
His first thought was that a person had attacked him, but then he heard wings flapping around.
This was definitely not a person, but instead a hawk, with a wingspan about four feet long, digging its talons into the top of Llewellyn’s head.
“I suddenly heard a flap of wings around my shoulder and felt something crack my head and drag me forward,” he told The Daily Mail.
At first I thought it was a mugger who whacked me with a baseball bat or had thrown a stone at me, but then I just fell to the ground with blood pouring down my face.”
Despite everything, the 44-year-old composed himself and decided to continue his run back home. He even managed a 5K PR.
“I decided to just run home and get it looked at, but the best thing is I managed to beat my personal best whilst doing that,” Llewellyn said. “So really the bird did me a favour.”
According to experts, the gashes in Llewellyn’s head were about six inches long and caused by a 1.5-pound Harris hawk. And when he went to get the wounds looked at, he said the nurse treating him had never seen anything like it in her life. Not even his children could believe what had happened to their dad.
Derbyshire Wildlife Trust enquiries officer Nick Brown has a theory on why the bird attacked Llewellyn, saying it was probably loose after escaping its falconer and that maybe it was trying to land back on the bird handler.
“This was not a wild bird of prey. They virtually never attack humans,” Brown told The Daily Mail. "Also, August isn’t the nesting season for birds of prey. The time when they would be most likely to defend their young would be April, May and June.”
Llewellyn said he’ll now be doing all his runs with a hat on, and will stay away from fields and any other areas wild birds can be found during the time of the year they breed, just in case.