Kevin O’Neil left the woods near Nova Scotia’s Mink Cove covered in blood after an animal attack. It was not a bear or moose that assaulted O’Neil, but instead a sharp-taloned owl. According to novanewsnow.com, O’Neil spotted the bird sitting in a tree as he came to check on his snares after a day of lobster fishing. The trapper was concerned that the bird may make a move for the snared rabbits, but it was not until he was heading back to his truck that the owl swooped down at him.

“Drove three of its talons in my forehead and the other three right around my right eye,” O’Neil told the CBC. “One in the corner, one in my eyebrow, and one in the corner of my nose. The blood just started running out of me. It knocked me down.”

The trapper was lucky that the owl did not take out an eye. A similar case occurred in Oklahoma last year when a Barn Owl struck a hunter in his treestand, nearing knocking the man off. The attack left the hunter with a torn retina.

O’Neil said he carried a shotgun at the time and held it ready in case the bird decided to come around for a second pass. However, the owl seemed content to stay in the tree and the trapper left without further incident. O’Neil later added that perhaps the bird was guarding a nest.

“First it knocked me over in the snow but it didn’t go for the rabbits,” he said. “It went right at my face.”

O’Neil is now recovering from his injuries, which appear to be minor. Right before the attack the trapper said he talked to the owl to let it know he was there. O’Neil said he jokingly cautioned the owl against taking any of his rabbits.

It seems that the owl might have had the same idea.

Image from Mdf on the Wikimedia Commons

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  • Boris Ochry

    Looks like a barred owl in the pic. I’ve talked to them in their language (sound like ‘who, who, who cooks for you’) February is breeding/nesting season, so the guarding it’s nest conclusion may be correct.

  • Francois Couturier

    Breeding season stay out of there way ….