Owl attacks Beaufort teen, leaving puncture wounds

"I had my back turned, and her older sister screamed, 'Mom, an owl just landed on Haley's head!' while she was ducking for cover," Haley's mother, Joanna Kelnhofer, says.

An owl attacked a teen in SC. Image courtesy WSAV

BEAUFORT, S.C. (WSAV) – From some Beaufort oak trees, wildlife experts say it was a Barred Owl that swooped down onto 14-year-old Haley Wright. It went straight for her head with its talons.

“I had my back turned, and her older sister screamed, ‘Mom, an owl just landed on Haley’s head!’ while she was ducking for cover,” Haley’s mother, Joanna Kelnhofer, says.

Wright has the scars to prove it. There are five puncture wounds and two scratches on her head.

“At this point, she was going gray at the sight of blood,” Kelnhofer remembers the traumatic event, “and just the amount of blood, and not knowing what diseases birds can carry, we decided to take her to Beaufort Memorial [Hospital].”

The family had been moving some furniture from the house, in a spot where the owls live in trees across the street.

“I was a little alarmed. I mean, we’re used to seeing those owls in my parents’ trees,” Kelnhofer says.

The only explanation she can think of, could be that Haley was carrying a mirror when it happened. They say there was a smaller owl there, too.

“Just like we would protect our young, they’re going to do the same thing. So, it could have been that. It could have seen a reflection in the mirror and thought ‘Oh there’s another owl in the area, going after my baby’, things like that,” licensed wildlife educator Nancy Owen says.

Although experts say it’s very rare for an owl to attack, the family will keep their distance for now.

“So, I guess people just need to be aware of the certain times of year, and definitely stay away from where you know they are and whatever trees they’re in… especially if there’s a baby, because I guess they are known to attack,” Kelnhofer says.

As for Haley, she is doing fine, recovering.

WFLA.com provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s