Tuesday, May 29, 2007

A footpath in the Pennine hills, England, has been closed after a number of attacks by a rare breeding pair of Eagle Owls, who have chosen to build their nest near the footpath near Dunsop Bridge, Bowland. The path runs between the nest site and a favourite perch of the adult birds.

Birdwatchers at the site explained that the only other Eagle Owl nest in England is at an inaccessible location on military ground, making this site incredibly rare and important as one of just two nest sites, and the only one accessible to the general public. The birds are raising three chicks.

Multiple attacks have been reported involving people walking on the nearby footpath, mainly involving dog owners. One person required hospital treatment for minor injuries. Local police were forced to close the footpath, the entrances to which now display signs reading “Police Warning: This Footpath Has Been Closed For Public Safety”. The council had originally simply posted their own signs, but subsequently consulted with police, resulting in the closure of the footpath.

However, birdwatchers, who arrive from across the UK, have not been deterred from coming to see the owls. They are able to watch from a safe distance on another footpath, located on the other side of the valley in which the birds have made their nest.