A Campbell River woman’s fangirl moment with an eagle turned bloody this weekend.
Chelsea Cheeba is a self-declared eagle fan who says she photographs the birds all the time. She even takes selfies when she can get close enough.
But a recent photoshoot went sideways. She may have gotten a little too close to a nest. Or she found a particularly camera-shy eagle.
“It was probably tired of me taking its picture,” she told CTV jokingly.
When Cheeba turned to leave, the eagle reportedly attacked the back of her head. It clawed her multiple times.
Eagles have four talons on each foot. They’re great for catching food. And photographers, apparently.
“I’d just taken some pictures, and then I started walking away and then next thing you know the eagle dive-bombed me,” said Cheeba.
“I felt the back of my head, looked at my hand and it was pretty much covered in blood.”
Natisha Fournier, who was passing by at the time, saw the incident happen.
“She was running, like ducking,” said Fournier.
“I asked her if she was OK just because she looked scared, and then when she turned around I saw blood all over the back of her head.”
Fournier immediately ushered Cheeba into her car and they took off to a store for first aid supplies.
Cheeba then went to the hospital for an exam and a tetanus shot.
Though she’ll definitely avoid that bird, she says the attack won’t change her love for eagles.
“It was scary, but then afterwards I started laughing about it.”
The Mountainaire Avian Rescue Society (MARS) in Merville says the bird was most likely aggressive because it was protecting its nest. Eagles don’t generally attack humans unless something provokes them.
“So not hunting, but just protecting its young,” Gyl Andersen, manager of wildlife rehabilitation at MARS told CTV.
“Eagles could do a lot of damage if they wanted to, so it was probably just trying to scare her off.”
Make sure to always fully observe wildlife before you get too close.
And be careful who you take photos with. They might not be in a celebrity mood.