Ours is a very safe neighborhood, so I rarely worry when Porter goes out for a run, as he does several times a week. If the time of day happens to be dusk or dawn, I can't resist warning him to watch out for bears, and of course there's always the risk of angering a dog that's running loose. But we've always considered those to be remote possibilities.
The attack, when it came, was totally unexpected.
Due to a mild injury, Porter chose to walk this afternoon, rather than to speed along at his usual running pace. Suddenly, he staggered under a powerful blow to the head. Totally out of the blue. Literally, out of the blue. Shocked but still upright, he looked up to see one of our local hawks with murder in his eye. In truth, Porter coudn't exactly see the bird's eyes, and in any case it was probably murder in her eye. Our best guess is that there was a nest nearby and the—not helicopter, but certainly hovering—parent saw this slow-moving, strange man as a threat. The man thought it best to be on his way quickly.
Porter wears a hat when he runs, to keep off the sun. I rarely wear hats, because they make me too hot. Today, Porter's choice was vindicated.
Your joke about watching for bears - I'm told that the neighborhood in Fajara near the WEC headquarters was very unsafe at night 30 years ago because of the wild animals. Hard to believe that now.
Oh my.gosh! I hope he's okay!
He's fine, though I do admit to watching the rest of his progress via Google Maps, just in case.
My comment about bears was not a joke. We have black bears that prowl our neighborhood in the dawn and dusk hours, and in other neighborhoods a few people have been seriously mauled. Mostly he doesn't run during those hours. But when he does, there are usually enough other people around to minimize the risk.
I can imagine the animals around Fajara might have been quite scary. But I equally can't imagine them hanging around such a populated area as it is today.
Are there bears in Altamonte Springs?
Indeed there are bears here. The Florida black bear is a conservation success story. The state-wide population was down to several hundred in the 1970's, and after taking some care (primarily by banning hunting of the bears) is now over 4,000. They are abundant in the nearby Wekiwa Springs State Park, and are tempted out by easily-accessible food—garbage cans, bird feeders, pet food placed outdoors—and have been known to enter and open garage and help themselves to food from freezers. (Not ours yet!) I have yet to see a bear on our street, but apparently they have been spotted one street over.
Poor Porter! Any chance he got some superpowers, like John Travolta in "Phenomenon"?? That would be a fair exchange.
That might be handy for keeping up with the grandkids. But this is my chance to gain wife points by insisting that he's duper enough already.
This is amazing, and a new one for me.
We have a pair of neighborhood hawks I enjoy watching on my walks. Now I might start wearing a hat!
Our son-in-law was attacked once in a similar way by an owl while running at night. It was painful and startling!
So glad Porter is OK!
My daughter opened the front door last year to let in her friend and they heard something. Turned to look straight into the eyes of a large bear! They hastily came in and shut the door. I arrived seconds later and watched a lumbering black bear amble across our front porch. It was really, really big. And furry.
So, yes, there are bears in Altamonte Springs!
Thanks for all your comments. It's especially fun to hear from people who don't usually write. I'm not recommending Porter get attacked by any more wild animals, but it does make the blog more exciting.
What a story - and well told! Bears & stray dogs, even angry turkeys and a snake or two are possible in our area, but a hawk?? Wow! I trust Porter isn't too scratched . . .
That means a lot coming from you, Grace. No scratches at all, thanks to the hat, and even the hat only has puncture wounds, not tears. I'm glad the hawk didn't make off with it. It's a hat Porter bought when he worked in Thailand, which would be hard to replace.