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Local Runner Survives Buzzard Attack During Scenic Run

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Steven Morgan, a dedicated member of the Belfast Association of Rock Climbers and Fell Runners (BARF), embarked on a 9-mile run through the picturesque Donard Wood, known for its challenging hills and stunning scenery. What started as a routine run quickly turned into a harrowing encounter with a protective buzzard.

Morgan, who frequently runs in Donard Wood when weather conditions make mountain running difficult, found himself under attack at the notorious Heart Attack Hill around mile six. The buzzard, fiercely guarding its nesting area, swooped down three times, narrowly missing Morgan on the first pass before making a more direct assault.

“I felt the rush of air as it flew over my head the first time,” Morgan recounted. “Then it came down again, clearly aiming for me. I know this is the season for their young ones, and the buzzard was just doing what it needed to protect them. It was a bit scary, and I started shouting, ‘Enough!’ to try and deter it.”

Despite the frightening experience, Morgan pressed on with his run, encountering friends along the way and sharing his encounter. As he approached the Donard car park, several concerned runners stopped to check on him, offering assistance and support.

“The off-road running community is incredible,” Morgan said. “Even when things get a bit scary out there, there’s always someone willing to help and make sure you’re okay. It’s one of the reasons I love being a part of BARF and running in places like Donard Wood.”

Buzzard attacks are not uncommon during the breeding season, as these birds become highly territorial and protective of their nests. While the experience was unnerving, Morgan remains undeterred and looks forward to many more runs in the scenic woodlands of County Down.

Morgan’s story serves as a reminder to all runners and outdoor enthusiasts to stay vigilant and respect wildlife, especially during sensitive times of the year.

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