A toddler nearly lost his eye after being savagely attacked by a pet hawk that swooped down and gouged his face while he was having fun in a playground.
Two-year-old Alfie Hall was with his mother Elysia in Farnborough, Hampshire in the UK when the preying bird pounced and latched onto the boy with its razor-sharp talons and went into a crazed attack, according to The Sun.
The Harris hawk, which has a wingspan of up to four feet and can fly up to 200 miles per hour, had torn up the two-year-old's face and sliced up his ear, just missing the boy's eye and almost severing part of the boy's ear, which had to be glued back together when the boy was rushed to the hospital.
Elysia, recounting the gruesome events, said she had watched helplessly as her son was attacked.
"It was really frightening. The bird looked so big and powerful as it swooped down on my son's head," she told The Sun.
"There was blood everywhere. The bird ripped several chunks out of his head, including a big gash right next to his eye which needed stitches. The doctors told us he was lucky not to lose his sight," she said.
Alfie's uncle had tried to scare the bird away by shouting and screaming at it when it landed on the toddler's face. Elysia had rushed to her son to find him in total shock with his eye swollen and his ear badly mangled.
"We called an ambulance and they whisked Alfie off to the hospital, where he was given anaesthetic and kept in overnight," she said.
The Harris hawk had reportedly ignored its teenage owner's calls and attacked the Alfie without warning.
However, the teenage owner had reportedly done nothing wrong as there are no laws in the UK that ban owning a dangerous bird or taking it out in public. The 18-year-old from Farnborough had been arrested and was later released.
"We'd seen the owner walking around the estate with the hawk on his glove before. This time he was letting it fly around the park and then calling it back to him. But the bird flew up into a tree. He was trying to coax it down when it suddenly dive-bombed and landed right on Alfie's head," Elysia said.
Jemima Parry-Jones, of the International Center for Birds of Prey, warned that hawks are dangerous and "not to be trifled with," according to The Sun.
"Flying one in a children's playground is about the most irresponsible thing you could do. It's extremely stupid," she said. "Sadly this will affect everyone who owns a bird of prey. One person has been irresponsible, but it gives us all a bad name."
Published by Medicaldaily.com