Man punches eagle in surprise attack
NOT many people can say they've been hit by an eagle.
And even fewer can say they've hit one back.
But 79-year-old Widgee farmer Graham Shooter can add it to his long lists of stories after an early morning attack "shocked the hell" out of him on Sunday.
Mr Shooter had just put the kettle on as daylight was breaking and stepped outside to relieve himself on the grass, when - "wham", a wedge-tailed eagle slammed into his chest.
"I almost had a heart attack," he said.
But the large predator, with a wing span of six feet, did not linger long because Mr Shooter punched it.
A natural reaction for the son of a boxing instructor.
The raptor went flying to the ground, Mr Shooter said, before it bounced up again and slammed itself against the window on the side of the house.
"It wasn't the eagle's day," he said.
Mr Shooter said it was not the first time the eagle had made itself known.
Apart from cruising up and down the valley, just days earlier, Mr Shooter's beloved sidekick Trixie was almost no longer.
During the pair's routine morning walk in the paddock, Mr Shooter saw the eagle circle the sky before it swooped down on the Jack Russel which had wandered ahead.
Mr Shooter furiously called Trixie, whose little legs bounded towards his owner just as the eagle missed him.
Mr Shooter said that was when he saw three angry crows scare the eagle off. While nothing like that has ever happened to him before, he thinks the eagle's attack days later may have been the bird's revenge.
"I don't know the mind of an eagle," he said.
"I think he might have been a bit dirty on me after missing the dog."
Mr Shooter has not seen the eagle since, but he wants to warn people about its presence.
"They're bloody dangerous," he said. "I could have been a 10-year-old child and it would have taken my bloody head off."
While he confesses to being a tad jumpy when he goes outside now, he thinks the eagle got the message.
"And so did I - I go to the toilet now instead of walking out on to the lawn."