Scottish Runner Attacked By Buzzard, Survives With Six Holes In His Head


In most cases, as long as you are following the rules of the road and being mindful when you go running, running is a relatively low-risk activity.

However, accidents do happen to runners, some of which are wholly terrifying, dangerous, and potentially even fatal.

One such unfortunate incident happened to runner Ewan Cameron, who was out for his run about three miles from his home in Friockheim, Angus, a village in Scotland.

Ewan Cameron was brutally attacked by a buzzard that swooped down and plunged its claw into his head.

Buzzards are the most common birds of prey in the United Kingdom and may have a wingspan of up to 60 inches or 130 centimeters.

The buzzard attack left runner Ewan Cameron with painful claw marks on the back of his head in a pattern of six holes.

While it may sound wholly surprising to other runners that buzzards might be a hazard to be mindful of while running, Ewan Cameron said that this was actually at least the third time he’s had an encounter with a buzzard while running.

The 46-year-old runner said he managed to run away in the previous encounters where the huge bird swooped in on him mid-run, noting, “The first time it happened to me I actually thought that a truck wing mirror had hit the back of my head on the way past.”

In describing the attack, Cameron told the Daily Record:

“It sunk its talons into the back of my head which felt like a punch because it’s flying at a reasonable speed when it does it. I came to my senses and realized it had got me as it came back around for another couple of swoops. But by that time I was aware and ducking accordingly. I definitely sped up my pace to get out of there. I’ve maybe got a few less brain cells but there probably won’t be any lasting damage.”

Ewan Cameron, who was rightfully relieved to survive the buzzard attack while running, shared his story online, describing the run-in with the bird of prey “like someone is punching you in the back of the head.”

He was left with blood dripping down the back of his head, but feeling thankful that the damage wasn’t worse.

Cameron was surprised to see the number of other runners (over 240) who responded to his post regarding the buzzard attack he survived while running, mentioning their own similar attacks or near-attacks when buzzards swooped down at them while running. 

Runners are encouraged to wear a helmet if they run in areas with a high population of buzzards.

For more tips on staying safe while running on the roads and trails, check out our article on running safety here.

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Amber Sayer is a Fitness, Nutrition, and Wellness Writer and Editor, as well as a NASM-Certified Nutrition Coach and UESCA-certified running, endurance nutrition, and triathlon coach. She holds two Masters Degrees—one in Exercise Science and one in Prosthetics and Orthotics. As a Certified Personal Trainer and running coach for 12 years, Amber enjoys staying active and helping others do so as well. In her free time, she likes running, cycling, cooking, and tackling any type of puzzle.

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