Norfolk County

Owl attacks Medfield man, nearly snatches his dog

MEDFIELD, Mass. — While on a routine hike at the Noon Hill Reservation, a Medfield man was attacked by an owl Monday night and suffered gashes to his head. Moments before, the bird’s talons barely missed his dog.

Kenneth Wadness was walking his dog, Micah, back to their car in the reservation. With a headlamp on, Wadness noticed a dark figure to his right.

“This owl came and swooped right next to Micah and right by my elbow,” he said. “He took off and I couldn’t see him.”

The bird flew away but returned moments later.

“Within 10 seconds, he whacked me with his talons. He hit me on the back of the head.”

Wadness picked up his dog and retreated a half mile to his car with a branch in his hand for protection.

Andrew Vitz, ornithologist for the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, said an owl attack is rare but not unheard of.

“It’s that territorial behavior that’s kicking in,” said Vitz.

According to Vitz, owls are approaching nesting season and could be aggressive if threatened. Small pets may be more vulnerable to these attacks.

“Keep them indoors at night,” Vitz advised pet owners. “Usually, the presence of a person is enough of a deterrent.”

Wadness sustained minor injuries, and was back walking Micah in Noon Hill Reservation Wednesday.

He finished, “If [the owl] got his claws in Micah… I think he would have the force to kill.”

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