Robert Bjegovich was bored, and the crisp, dry night made for a good excuse to get outside on Tuesday.
He had just moved from Ontario to Abbotsford three weeks ago, and he did an online search of local parks. Mill Lake wasn’t far from where he was staying with his mom.
Robert set off and arrived at the park within minutes, enjoying the tunes coming through his headphones.
There was no one else nearby; just another person off in the distance.
All of a sudden, Robert felt something sharp dig into the top of his head.
He was panicked, thinking someone was attacking him.
It stopped as quickly as it started, and Robert caught movement out of the corner of his eye.
He turned to face his assailant. It was an owl as big as a turkey.
The bird flew into a tree, and perched on a branch that was less than 15 feet off the ground.
The two of them stared at one another.
Robert was a bit nervous, thinking the owl might attack him again. But other than ruffling its feathers once, it didn’t move.
“I could take you out with a rock,” Robert thought, but the grace and beauty of the bird prevented him from venting his frustrations.
Still shaking his head, Robert returned home, where he discovered that the burning pain on his head was due to two large talon marks.
He was relieved to recall that he had received a tetanus shot three years ago and wouldn’t require another one.
Two days later, Robert was still laughing about the incident and wondering how common it is for owls to attack humans.
He did an Internet search and found wildlife forums where people discuss the possibility that the birds will attack when protecting their territory, particularly if they’re nesting.
“But I couldn’t find anybody that had actually been attacked,” he said.
Robert wonders if he gives off some kind of vibe that attracts birds.
When he first arrived in Abbotsford, a crow tried to grab a fast-food burger out of his hand as he was walking down the street.
The bird’s wings slapped him in the face as it flew away.
Robert said if he ever comes across that crow again, he has an owl in mind that he’d like to introduce it to.