Dutch town relieved after capture of ‘terror owl’

Residents in a small town north of Amsterdam no longer have to build up some Dutch courage to take a simple walk down the street.

A rogue owl who has reportedly terrorised the northern Dutch city of Purmerend for the past year – forcing citizens to arm themselves with umbrellas at night – has been caught, officials announced.

Dubbed the ‘terror owl’ by residents, it is suspected of more than 50 attacks on humans, swooping silently from above and leaving many of its victims bloody and bruised, The Independent reports.

‘Predator’ weasel rides into battle on a woodpecker
• Fish with two mouths caught in South Australia
• Very rare megamouth shark washes ashore

The spate of mysterious attacks on citizens prompted Purmerend City Council to advise evening strollers to arm themselves with umbrellas for protection against aerial assaults.

Some of the attacks by the aggressive European eagle owl left victims needing hospital treatment, with two runners needing stitches for head wounds inflicted in a swooping aerial assault last Tuesday; one of the runners required six stitches for gashes caused by the bird’s talons.

“It was like having a brick laced with nails thrown at your head,” one victim, Niels Verkooijen, told the Dutch news programme Hart van Nederland.

As the owl is a protected animal, the city council had to get special permission to trap the creature.

Once that was granted, a falconer set out on a bird-hunt, The Guardian reports.

On Friday, residents of Purmerend were relieved to learn the ‘terror owl’ had been captured once and for all.

“The animal was trapped by a falconer today,” a spokesperson for Purmerend City Council said on Friday evening.

“It’s in good health and is currently being kept in a temporary facility awaiting a transfer once a proper permanent home has been found.

“The attacks were getting heavier … many people were afraid to go out of their homes.”

Owl experts have said the bird’s behaviour was unusual, meaning it was either raised in captivity and associated humans with food, or had heightened hormone levels because of the start of the breeding season.

The European eagle owl is one of the largest owl species, with a wingspan of up to 1.8 metres and weighing up to 3kg.

Stay informed, daily
A FREE subscription to The New Daily arrives every morning and evening.
The New Daily is a trusted source of national news and information and is provided free for all Australians. Read our editorial charter.
Copyright © 2024 The New Daily.
All rights reserved.