An eagle latched on a child during a bird show in Australia. Even as the distraught mother watched helplessly, the bird of prey tried hard to carry the young boy away. Though the predator of the skies didn’t succeed in its endeavor, it did caution the attendees about respecting nature and not taking it lightly.
A young boy was injured after a wedge-tailed eagle, one of the most powerful aerial predators in Australia, swooped down during a bird show and latched on him. The eagle then attempted to fly away with the terrified boy, but couldn’t succeed, according to witnesses. The park confidently advertises its bird show as a chance to “Get up close with Australia’s largest bird of prey, the wedge-tailed eagle” and to discover their “interesting lives.” It appears a visitor got exactly what the show promised, and then some more.
The incident occurred on July 6 at a “Birds of Prey” show at Alice Springs Desert Park in Australia’s Northern Territory. Bird watchers were promised a stunning display of aerial maneuvers that these giant predators of the sky are skilled at. However, instead of flying over to a perch as it had been trained to, an eagle flew at a young boy and latched on to his head with its talons and even attempted to carry the boy away as if it was just another prey.
The terrifying moment was rather expertly captured by one of the attendees of the show. The visitor, identified as Christine O’Connell, snapped multiple images of the wedge-tailed eagle coming in for the kill, latching its talons on the boy, who was wearing a green hoodie, and then trying its best to fly away with the boy firmly held, reported The Huffington Post. The woman shared the image on Instagram with the following caption.
“At a nature park in Alice Springs we decided to go to a bird show the young boy in the green kept pulling his zipper up and down. For some reason the wedge-tailed eagle did not like it and instead of flying over to the log he is meant to for a photo opportunity he flew straight at the young boy and attacked him.”
NT News quoted another witness, Keenan Lucas, who was visiting Alice Springs from Victoria.
“We were at the bird show in the afternoon having a great time and looking forward to seeing the wedge-tailed eagle come out for the finale. The bird then flew over the crowd and tried to grab on to a young boy’s head. He screamed, the mother was distraught, and the presenters wrapped up the show very quickly. It looked as if the bird tried to pick him up like a small animal and take off with him.”
The news outlet didn’t reveal the name of the unfortunate boy but noted that he was 6-years-old and was visiting with his family from Albury in NSW. The boy might have proved too heavy for the eagle and hence escaped with just a gash to the face.
A spokeswoman for the park confirmed the incident, reported The Guardian.
“On Wednesday, 6 July, an incident occurred at the Alice Springs Desert Park where an eagle made contact with an audience member. A thorough investigation regarding the circumstances behind this incident is under way and the eagle will be removed from the show while this investigation is ongoing.”
Apparently, the show was immediately halted and the boy was administered first-aid. The park stressed that the boy sustained superficial injuries.
It is not clear why the eagle chose to attack the boy. Local experts say the eagle might have been confused with the attire the boy was wearing. According to witnesses, the boy was wearing a camouflage hoodie which had been zipped up to conceal his face. Since eagles are able to decipher human faces, not finding one may have confused the bird.
[Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images]