Fear for young children after buzzard flies to Chihuahua
Fears for the safety of children are raging in one town after a woman claimed a bird of prey swooped down and tried to grab her Chihuahua. The bird, which she says was a buzzard or a red kite, appears to have bombarded the woman’s small pet with a drive.
She says the incident happened on June 14 at New Road Park, Royal Wootton Bassett, Wiltshire. The woman says the bird swooped on her Pomeranian Chihuahua, who was on a leash at the time.
She says she saved the dog from the alleged attack and rushed to defend it, taking cover until the bird flew away. Posting online, she said: “It circled a few times then fell down but couldn’t find the right angle.
“Then it was about to do it again, so she hid, but it was very close to her. He had his claws out, ready to grab and [my daughter] too scared to walk her dog right now.”
The local resident is concerned that small pets in the area may be at risk but is equally concerned about the risk to young children and advises people not to feed them. Other locals have denied the incident, claiming birds of prey would never choose a dog.
But the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) says it’s possible for a raptor to attack dogs or humans to protect its chicks. “Although it is very rare for a bird of prey to come close to people, they are wild animals and can startle and try to warn people to stay away if they feel threatened, especially if they have chicks around,” a spokesman said .
Adding: “Some individual red kites have also become less afraid of humans over the years because of people feeding them in their yards. If red kites are acting defensively we would recommend avoiding the area for a period to give any chicks a chance to leave the nest and we also strongly advise people not to feed red kites – these amazing birds travel far and wide to get their food, and with their keen eyesight they rarely have trouble finding it.”
Last year in Henley-on-Thames, Oxon, a two-year-old boy was left bloodied when a red kite swooped down to snag his biscuit. In 2020, red kites attacked people attending barbecues in Watlington, Oxon, forcing a local elementary school to advise parents not to eat outside.
The incident has sparked outrage on social media, with most residents claiming a bird of prey would never try to snag a dog. A local said: “We have at least eight breeding pairs here – they have no choice but to ‘catch’ live prey but I don’t worry for a minute about my dogs.”
“It chased away a possible predator near its nest and didn’t look for lunch. Just avoid that area,” added another. A man backed the woman’s claims, saying: “Have we all forgotten that a few years ago a seagull took away a chihuahua, it was all over the papers and the dog was never found…”
Others agreed it was possible and shared their own stories of encounters with vicious birds. “Dragons definitely have a desire to steal little furries…when my dog was a pup we routinely had dragons circling over the yard watching them,” wrote another.
A Swindon resident said: “It happens in my garden every year. Once they grabbed a neighbor’s chicken!”
Another added: “We were in Medmenham for the anniversary and the Red Kites landed alongside us and others in the grounds.
“We were told to keep all food and small dogs off the premises as they had stolen food from grills a few weeks earlier and also attempted to attack a small dog.”