A JOGGER was taken to hospital with a gaping head wound after he was attacked by a buzzard.
Kevin Barclay, 37, was shocked when the huge bird of prey suddenly swooped down on him as he ran on a quiet country road.
The buzzard attached itself to his head with its sharp talons, tearing the psychiatric nurse's skin and causing blood to pour down his face.
The father-of-two, from Kintore in Aberdeenshire, who was treated in hospital for his injuries, said: "I've never experienced anything like it in my life.
"When I was running towards the bird it was staring at me and I felt the hair on the back of my neck stand up. I knew something was wrong, but I was still shocked when it swooped at me.
"I felt so vulnerable and helpless. It was scary."
Mr Barclay has been jogging for years and runs the same route three to four times a week.
On Friday, he was out on the B979, close to the village of Newmachar in Aberdeenshire, when he first spotted the fearsome buzzard on top of a telegraph pole.
He did not think it posed him any threat, but moments later the bird swooped without any warning.
He said: "It came at me from behind. It missed me the first time, but got me a cracker the second time.
"It grabbed on to the crown of my head and tore open the skin. Blood was pouring down my face.
"I was panicked and in a real state. I didn't know what to do. It flew off and perched on a branch on a nearby tree.
"It felt like it was working out how to get me again. I was exposed and I was worried it would come at me and do even more damage. I was going out of my mind."
A passing motorist drove Mr Barclay two miles to his parents' house where his wife, also a nurse, cleaned him up before driving him to hospital.
Mr Barclay added: "I don't know why the bird went haywire like that. I think it was nesting and must have been intimidated by me.
"I've been out for a jog along the same route since it happened, but I got a bit nervous halfway through and started walking.
"But it's not going to put me off. Hopefully, I'll be back to normal soon enough."
Duncan Orr-Ewing of the RSPB in Scotland said buzzard attacks were unusual.
He explained: "Birds rarely attack people. Those that do have usually been bred in captivity before escaping.
"Wild birds have an in-built fear of man that captive birds don't have, so that would explain the attack in part."
The incident is the latest attack by birds of prey in the Grampian area.
In 2005, Helen Summers and husband Leigh were both attacked within days of each other in Aberdeenshire, when a buzzard swooped at their heads.
Meanwhile, Brambles, a Yorkshire terrier had a lucky escape in the centre of Aberdeen when a Harris Hawk tried to lift it away, thinking the dog was food.
The bird, hired by the council to get rid of vermin, dug its talons in the helpless pet before it was restrained and the dog was rescued.