Bird of prey slashed woman’s ear in horrifying swoop attack

Jennifer Humphreys' ear was cut after she was attacked by a bird of prey in Sunderland.
Jennifer Humphreys' ear was cut after she was attacked by a bird of prey in Sunderland.
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A woman says she was left terrified after being attacked by a bird of prey as she walked home in Sunderland.

Jennifer Humphreys was walking back to her home in Gray Road, Ashbrooke, when a bird swooped down and cut her ear.

Jennifer Humphreys was attacked by a bird of prey whilst walking home along Ryhope Road, Sunderland

Jennifer Humphreys was attacked by a bird of prey whilst walking home along Ryhope Road, Sunderland

The 32-year-old Zumba instructor has been left shaken by the unusual attack, which happened at about 8pm on Friday.

The mum-of-one said: “I’d been to Asda to get some shopping and buy a bunch of flowers to say thank-you to one of my neighbours who had done a favour for me.

“I was walking along Ryhope Road, near Backhouse Park, and I felt something pull me from behind and it was quite painful. I put my arms up and wafted them, trying to get whatever it was away from me, and I dropped my shopping and my flowers, then I looked down and it was sitting on top of the flowers eating them.

“I Googled it when I got home and it looked like a hawk or a brown eagle.

I dropped my shopping and my flowers, then I looked down and it was sitting on top of the flowers eating them.

Jennifer Humphreys

“I wish I’d took a picture but I didn’t think of it at the time; I was quite shaken up.”

Jennifer was taken home by a mystery couple in a van who pulled up beside her after seeing what had happened.

She added: “A couple pulled up in a van and told me to jump in and they took me home.

“I didn’t even get their names or anything, but I’d like to say thank you to them for helping me.

Jennifer Humphreys was attacked by a bird of prey whilst walking home along Ryhope Road, Sunderland

Jennifer Humphreys was attacked by a bird of prey whilst walking home along Ryhope Road, Sunderland

“This isn’t something you expect to happen while you’re walking down the street in Sunderland and it could have been much worse, if someone was eating or it was someone with a baby and it swooped down.

“A few people on Facebook said they’ve seen a man walking down Ryhope Road with a bird of prey before, so maybe it’s a pet that has got loose.

“It did leave me a bit distraught and I feel ill today. I went to the walk-in centre and they gave me some antibiotics but said they couldn’t stitch my wound up because it was from an animal and could get infected.

“You don’t expect these birds to attack people and I was quite shaken up by it.”

A harris hawk. Could one of these have been behind the attack?

A harris hawk. Could one of these have been behind the attack?

Washington Wildfowl and Wetlands Centre’s marketing manager, Leanne McCormella ,said it was possible Jennifer had been attacked by a bird of prey: “Without seeing a picture of the bird in question our best guess is that it could well be a hawk, as these are quite commonly kept as pets and have been known to escape.

“We wish Jennifer the very best for a speedy recovery from what sounds like a particularly nasty injury and shock.”

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