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10th Mar 2022

Massive two-and-half foot owl ‘tried to eat’ British jogger

Kieran Galpin

The bird’s name is Alfie

A Eurasian eagle-owl with a staggering wingspan has attacked a jogger, who says the creature was trying to eat her with its “hooked beak.”

During her 6am daily jog in Norwich, Hattie Atkinson Smith found herself assailed by a winged creature. The data scientist was running near the river, close to Norwich City’s Carrow Road football stadium, with her headphones in and unaware she was being stalked.

Having felt something on her head, Smith turned around to see a sight that would’ve sent most people screaming down the street.


Speaking to the Mail Online, she said: “I looked up and there was just this massive bird that had obviously come down. I think it thought I was an animal and tried to eat me – it was so weird! It was just so big – that was what was scary – and I’ve never seen a bird as big as that in the wild, not in a zoo!”

Hattie continued: “I sprinted away because I was obviously a bit scared it would try again. […] My hair was up in a ponytail, so this is why I think it might have thought I was a rodent or something.”

With the bird’s image firmly planted in her mind, Hattie googled the creature.


“I was sure it was a bird of prey as it was so big, and it had the hooked beak and stuff. Its feathers were two different shades of brown, and then it had these feathers above the eyes that kind of poked up,” she said.

Hattie soon discovered that her attacker was a Eurasian eagle owl, most of which grow to have a six foot wingspan.

But such species are not usually found in the UK. Having googled “Norwich Eagle-owl”, Smith discovered numerous articles about what is presumably the same bird.

She found that the owl, named Alfie by all accounts, had been flying around Norwich for some time. No one is quite sure where Alfie came from, but the prevailing theory is that he escaped from captivity.

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