Falcon attack prompts track closure

Warning: Distressing image

A falcon attack that left a woman with serious scalp injuries has prompted the temporary closure of a track in Whakarewarewa Forest.

Rotorua Trails Trust shared a post on social media on Monday night warning forest users the Box of Birds track had been closed after one of their Falcon Watch team members, described as “well-versed in falcon safety protocols”, had been attacked by the falcon requiring stitches.

“The team has decided to temporarily close the track for everyone’s safety,” the post said.

“This closure will remain in place until the nesting season is over in a few weeks. This isn’t like your usual run-in with magpies; it’s not a mere peck on the head that can be warded off with a stick.

“These falcons mean business — they wield large, razor sharp talons capable of causing severe bodily harm with just one strike.

“They are not attempting to scare you off; they want to kill the perceived threat.”

Rotorua Trails Trust asked the mountainbikers to avoid riding the Box of Birds Fluffy Ducks line and to “leave Bellatrix the wonderful Falcon mum alone to do her job raising her young”.

The trust said the hard line of Box of Birds was still open to mountainbikers and walkers.

“Prioritise safety and steer clear of these areas until further notice.

“This is for your safety and the bird’s.”