"Horror owl" caught in Purmerend; had attacked 50 people

Eagle owl (Picture: Wikimedia Commons/suneko). (Eagle owl (Picture: Wikimedia Commons/suneko))

The eagle owl that terrorized Purmerend since last March was caught by a falconer on Friday, the city revealed. At least one eagle owl is believed to be responsible for over fifty attacks on people, which increased dramatically in recent months.

It was caught humanely, and it is in good condition. “The municipality had planned to leave the bird alone, but the attacks grew more intense,” Purmerend officials wrote in a statement.

“The situation was so dangerous for residents, that it was no longer safe to do anything.”

An anonymous falconer hired by the city was aided by a raptor specialist as the owl managed to evade capture over the last two weeks, even attacking five more people during that time. Now caught, it will be housed in a temporary environment while awaiting a permanent habitat.

Falconry expert Rob Schenkelaars believes the bird escaped from captivity before going on its rampage. “This owls has lost its natural fear of humans, and is therefore targeting them,” he told newspaper Parool. “Wild eagle owls are shy of people.”

“It was no longer livable, we had to do something,” said Councilman Mario Hegger. “Of course you prefer to leave such a bird of prey alone, but the situation was too risky,” he added.

It even got to a point where Purmerend “advised people to leave the animal alone and carry an umbrella,” Hegger pointed out.