Giant Owl Caught after Attacking Over 50 People in Dutch Town

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An eagle owl sits perched along a building in Purmerend, Netherlands.  Courtesy  Jacob Jorritsma/AP
An eagle owl sits perched along a building in Purmerend, Netherlands.
Jacob Jorritsma/AP

A rogue owl has terrorized a northern Dutch city for the past year, forcing locals to arm themselves with umbrellas at night. Officials have now announced the bird has been safely captured.

According to The Guardian, the aggressive Eurasian Eagle Owl has been dubbed the “terror owl” by residents of Purmerend, north of Amsterdam. The bird of prey is suspected of more than 50 attacks on humans, swooping silently from above and leaving many of its victims bloody and bruised. The bird even hospitalized multiple people.

“The animal was trapped by a falconer today,” the 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 council added.

The massive owl is believed to be responsible for a long series of mysterious attacks over the last year, prompting the city to advise people to carry umbrellas at night, for protection against the bird’s prevalent dive-bomb attacks, the Guardian reports.

“The attacks were getting heavier,” the city said, adding: “Many people were afraid to go out of their homes.”

According to Xtreme Falconry, The Eurasian Eagle Owl, also known as the European Eagle Owl, is the largest and most ferocious breed of owl in the world. Their wingspan ranges from 63″ to 71″, and they stand over 2′ tall. One of these birds was once seen flying away with a 28 pound roe deer.

The owl has been extinct in the United Kingdom since the 19th century, and is becoming very rare throughout the rest of Europe. So the city had to get special permission to trap the creature. Once that was granted, a falconer set out on a bird-hunt.

Owl experts believe the bird was either raised in captivity and associated humans with food, or had heightened hormone levels because of the start of the breeding season.

City council member Mario Hegger said he had mixed feelings about the owl’s capture.

“On the one hand, you would of course rather leave such a magnificent beast alone,” he said. “But on the other hand, the situation could not continue. We had to do something.”

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