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U.K. bus driver believes bald head may have led to owl attack

By Daniel Uria
U.K. bus driver believes bald head may have led to owl attack
A large Eurasian eagle owl in Exeter, England, attacked a local bus driver after possibly mistaking his bald head for an egg. The man Richard Clevedon Smith, 49, believes the reflection of his head in a streetlight caused the owl, which experts say usually avoid humans, to attack him. Photo by connorjonescreative/Shutterstock.com

EXETER, England, April 19 (UPI) -- A U.K. bus driver believes his bald head may have led to him being attacked by a large owl while walking to work.

Richard Clevedon Smith, 49, of Exeter, England, was attacked by a large Eurasian eagle owl while walking to a bus depot early one morning.

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"I heard the hooting first and just happened to look round and this great huge bird came down with massive wings and its talons out," he told the BBC. "It came towards my head so I ducked down and it flew off."

Karen Andriunas of the Devon Bird of Prey Centre said that the bird is not native to the area and would likely try to avoid people, but Smith believes the owl may have mistaken his head for an egg.

"I reckon it was the light shining on my bald head that attracted it - it could even have thought my head was an egg," he said.

Smith said his friends didn't believe his story at first, but the Exeter Express and Echo reports that the bird has been sighted several times dating back to Good Friday when it was seen at a local cathedral.

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"When I got to work I told my mates I'd just been attacked by a great big owl, they all just laughed – and then I saw the story in the Echo about the eagle owl on the loose and recognized the bird," he said.

Smith explained that his job has brought him up-close with nature before but said the attack will be a moment he will remember for some time.

"It's something I will never forget," he said.

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